Al Gore, Telemarketer?

Posted October 5, 2004 at 6:41pm

While the former vice president may not be the hottest commodity in Democratic politics these days, surely Al Gore has better things to do on a Saturday night than sit around dialing for dollars, for crying out loud.

But someone who claimed to be Gore indeed called the home of a smalltime donor last Saturday night.

At first, the Democratic fundraiser identified himself as someone with the Democratic National Committee. “This is the Democratic National Committee calling,” the fundraiser said, “and it’s very important that I speak with her.”

Then, the conscientious fundraiser tried to nail down a better time to call back when the donor in question might be around to take his call. His parting message was, “Please let her know Al Gore called.”

The fundraiser, presumably holed up in some godforsaken boiler room somewhere, didn’t realize he was speaking to a reporter who knows Gore’s voice all to well. The reporter couldn’t help “laughing in the guy’s face.”

“I’m 100 percent sure it was not Al Gore,” the reporter added.

HOH called the DNC to see if fundraisers have taken to impersonating the former vice president and failed (or robbed, depending on one’s perspective) 2000 Democratic presidential candidate to solicit down-to-the-wire donations.

DNC spokesman Jano Cabrera, who, incidentally, is a former Gore aide, assures us Gore was not in that boiler room dialing for loose change.

“While Al Gore is certainly committed to helping ensure a Democratic victory in 2004, I suppose one does have to entertain the notion that what we have here is an overzealous fundraiser with self identity issues,” Cabrera told HOH.

Jocks for Vets. Seems very few lawmakers are interested in attending today’s briefing on the psychological challenges for U.S. service members returning from Iraq. The briefing by mental health and veterans experts will focus on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), a clinical psychologist who worked with soldiers returning from Vietnam, is one of three Democratic lawmakers sponsoring the event, which serves as a prelude to a bill soon to be introduced by House Veterans Affairs ranking member Lane Evans (Ill.).

Baird said the idea of the forum is to educate Members on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, explain the emotional devastation troops experience from working in grizzly, war-torn environments, and provide tips on how Members can help their constituents who suffer from the after effects of war.

The invitation to today’s briefing was sent to every Member of the House and to a smattering of folks in the mental health and veterans affairs communities. But at press time, less than 20 Congressional staffers had RSVP’d in the affirmative, along with a handful of people from off the Hill.

Perhaps the briefing comes at a politically precarious time for Republicans, just days before Congress is scheduled adjourn before the hotly contested presidential and Congressional elections, in which the Bush campaign would prefer to downplay the fallout of the war.

Peter Dickinson, a GOP spokesman for House Armed Services Committee, told HOH that Democrats are only able to hold a briefing on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among service members because, “They have the free time to do this while [Republicans are] working on legislation.”

Or as conservative pundit Ann Coulter said of Democrats on ABC’s “Good Morning America”: “They’ve all become jock-sniffers for war veterans.”

For what it’s worth, Baird insists today’s briefing is not political. “For me this is not about the election. Anybody who has been home talking to soldiers and their families has heard the kinds of stories I’ve heard,” he said.

Well, Hello There. Country singer Willie Nelson will be on Capitol Hill today touting an issue dear to him: the plight of family farmers. Nelson is joining Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) at a noon news conference to announce a resolution to help family farmers. The country music singer endorsed Kucinich for president saying, “he stands up for heartland Americans who are too often overlooked and unheard.”

Chin Music. Baseball sure can get to a guy. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) went on the House floor Tuesday morning and delivered a one-minute speech in which he declared, in twisted baseball logic, that President Bush should remain in Washington. Because, he said, “there’s finally a job in this town which George Bush is qualified for and the work is not that hard or tough.”

Here is the rest of Emanuel’s speech, which makes clear that the Clinton loyalist’s logic is much more twisted by partisan politics than by home runs or peanuts and crackerjacks.

“He might not know how many troops we need in Iraq. But, even he knows that you need nine baseball players on the field. And in baseball you don’t declare “mission accomplished” until the game’s last out.

“I am surprised the White House hasn’t boasted about the Expos’ move from Montreal. After all, they’ll finally be creating some jobs here in America.

“Of course, the president would have some explaining to do to his new team. He’ll have to break it to them that they have just moved from a nation with universal health care … to a nation where 45 million people lack health care coverage.

“And, he’ll also need to warn them that, it’s not just chin-high fastballs that they need to watch out for in Washington, since this Congress and the NRA just erased the city’s gun laws.

“While owner of the Texas Rangers, George W. Bush traded Sammy Sosa. In November, Americans have a chance to trade Mr. Bush.”

Emanuel might want to be careful about crowding the plate at the next White House picnic.