Republican National Convention
Friday, August 04, 2000

Cheney gives delegates the edge it wants

He attacks faults of Clinton administration

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PHILADELPHIA - Though pleased with the positive tone of the Republican National Convention, some Kentucky delegates were happy to finally hear some harder-edged partisan politics Wednesday night from vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney.

        Mr. Cheney's speech, which included several swipes at Bill Clinton and Al Gore, “was the red meat that was missing from the menu all week,” said Kentucky GOP Vice Chairman Damon Thayer of Scott County, an alternate delegate to the convention.

        “And we are hungry,” he said.

        Until Mr. Cheney's acceptance speech Republicans made hardly any mention of Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore. The harshest rhetoric from the podium were references to the GOP's desire to return dignity and character to the presidency, a thinly-veiled reference to the impeachment of Mr. Clinton, his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky and the fund-raising practices and scandals of both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore.

        Instead, the Republicans have promoted an upbeat message about their own agenda and plans, though they offered few specifics and have sidestepped some of the more contentious issues within the party, including abortion and campaign finance reform.

        That changed with Mr. Cheney, who was more spirited and confrontational in remarks about the Democrats.

        “When I look at the administration now in Washington, I am dismayed by opportunities squandered, saddened by what might have been but never was,” Mr. Cheney said. “The wheel has turned and it is time. It is time for them to go.”

        Comments such as those drew the loudest cheers and response from the delegates and Republican supporters jammed into the First Union Center.

        The Republicans will continue to roll with a positive message, but they will not let attacks from Democrats go unchallenged and they will also go on the offensive against Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore, Northern Kentucky GOP delegates said Thursday.

        “We can't win this thing by being sugar-coated all the way through November against these opponents,” Mr. Thayer said. “We have to, like Dick Cheney, be prepared to go on offense and not in a mean-spirited way say, "Look, this is what these (Democrats) have been like for eight years. We quite clearly believe they are not good for this country.'

        “It's a balancing act of selling our positive message with reminding people that four more years of Gore is an extension of the last eight years of Clinton.”

        Said delegate Barb Haas of Fort Thomas, chairwoman of the Campbell County Republican Party: “We don't want to lose our civility, and I don't think we will. But I thought (Mr. Cheney's) speech hit the right note.”

        Northern Kentucky Republicans do not want, nor do they expect, the GOP presidential ticket to give Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore a pass. And they admit linking Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore could help inspire GOP voters and get them to the polls because so many Republicans dislikie Mr. Clinton.

        “If you noticed the audience really went wild” when Mr. Cheney went on the attack during his speech, said delegate Cathy Flaig of Hebron, a Boone County Commissioner. “How can you think of Al Gore without thinking of Bill Clinton. The sound bite is there.”

Back to Convention Page

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- Cheney gives delegates the edge it wants
Convention Notes