COMMENT: THE BIG PITCH - Should Janet Reno seek Bill Clinton's helpin her run to be governor of FL?

DAVON GRAY, Legislative associate, The MWW Group, Washington,


Should Janet Reno distance herself from Bill Clinton? Absolutely not,

and for two reasons. First, the Republicans won't let her. As Clinton's

attorney general for eight years, she is forever linked with his term.

Therefore, Republicans will give their spin on her time as US attorney

general on everything from her decisions at Waco to Elian Gonzalez.

Second, Reno should take advantage of Bill Clinton's campaigning skills

and popularity among Democrats. Let's not forget Bill Clinton won

Florida both in 1992 and 1996. In addition, the good economy during the

Clinton years and Reno's push for programs like community policing are

related to the downward spiral in crime throughout the country. A couple

of appearances by Clinton could spark a pleasant nostalgia in the

Florida Democratic faithful, especially after the 2000 election debacle.

In hindsight, not using Clinton last year might have hurt Vice President

Gore. If Reno is to beat Jeb Bush, she's going to need a big push from

state Democrats, and there's no better person to do that than her former


JAMIE MOELLER, Managing director, global public affairs practice, Ogilvy

Public Relations Worldwide, Washington, DC

Janet Reno should heed the lesson of Al Gore's failed 2000 presidential

bid - if you have a strong record, run on it. All of the exit polls and

analysis after the last Presidential election concluded the same thing:

the American people were more than capable of separating the

accomplishments of the Clinton administration from the embarrassing

personal scandals. Vice President Gore didn't believe this, and, as a

result, he paid the ultimate political price. Reno needs to embrace the

Clinton record that she helped shape: 100,000 new cops on the street,

eight years of falling crime rates, and aggressive enforcement of civil

rights and antitrust laws. These are accomplishments that will play well

with voters in Florida. To run away from the Clinton record would be

folly, and would result in the same dismal results in Florida that sunk

Al Gore.

JIM LANARD, President, FLG Strategies, Philadelphia

Yes! The next time President Clinton is in Florida, Reno should open her

arms really wide as Clinton leaps into them. And when Reno puts him

down, Al Gore should take that leap, too. Let's remember the facts. Gore

won Florida. And he did it on the Clinton record. Healthcare, elderly

care, Medicare, and prescription drug benefits. Florida seniors vote on

these issues. Plus, when they think about ol' W in the White House and

how he's stolen my most feared Reagan practice - "Ronnie, tell the

people what they want to hear, then do what your right-wing advisors

want you to do" - they too will be running into Janet's outstretched

arms. You didn't even hear me mention social security, and the $15 billion (that's billion with a "B") that may have to be "borrowed"

from that account. Janet, start waving your AARP membership card around,

and get out those pictures with you standing next to the cardboard

cutouts of Bill and Al. You're moving to Tallahassee!

RORY J. O'CONNOR, Vice president, strategic communications, Dittus

Communications, Washington, DC

Remember Al Gore! As soon as Reno divorces herself from her years of

service to Bill Clinton, she throws away her chances of winning, just as

Gore did. Reno can expect little support from Republican voters no

matter what she says or does. Even were she able to distance herself

from the Clinton dalliances, she would not be able to walk away from

Waco or Ruby Ridge. You can bet her opponents will use the video from

Waco in campaign commercials. She can also forget about support from the

Cuban-American community because of the Elian raid - again, an incident

that raised anger and provided damaging visuals. She must count on

Democratic support and garner the majority of swing voters who, as we

saw last November, are likely to decide Florida elections. Clinton

remains one of the most popular presidents in modern history. Most

Democrats still view him as the man who stopped the evils of Reagan and

George H. W. Bush. They may not vote Republican, but if Reno distances

herself from her old boss, they may not vote at all.

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