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News Briefs

Gore Hires Firm To Help With Campaign


Vice President Al Gore, continuing to expand his team of advisers, has recruited the Washington consulting firm of Shrum, Devine & Donilon to help advise his presidential campaign on message and strategy.

Best known among the three is Bob Shrum, a former adviser to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., whose skills include media, speechwriting and general strategy. Partner Tad Devine was campaign manager for Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey’s 1992 presidential campaign and is one of the party’s experts on delegate selection. Michael Donilon is a veteran strategist and pollster.

The three were brought aboard Gore’s campaign by Carter Eskew, who is in overall charge of sharpening and developing Gore’s campaign message. They will join other key members of that team, which includes pollster and strategist Mark Penn and media consultant Bill Knapp.

The new advisers bring considerable experience in Democratic presidential primary fights, something that has been in short supply at the top of the Gore campaign and a sign that Gore’s team isn’t taking lightly the challenge from former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley.

Reno Pressed for Independent Waco Probe


Democratic and Republican legislators Sunday intensified pressure on Attorney General Janet Reno to authorize an independent investigation of the FBI’s use of incendiary devices on the day of the final assault on the Branch Davidian complex in 1993.

Congress and the Justice Department long ago concluded inquiries into the assault on the compound near Waco, Texas, but Reno last week promised a new investigation after a former senior FBI official disclosed that contrary to the FBI’s denials, federal agents had fired incendiary devices a few hours before a fire consumed the Branch Davidian compound, where 76 people died.

Four members of congressional committees responsible for oversight of the Justice Department, including two Democrats who have been Reno supporters, urged an independent investigation because they believe the latest revelation has seriously damaged the department’s credibility.

“The FBI had its chance to do this investigation on its own. They clearly muffed it. The only way to clear the air is to have a full, outside, independent investigation,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., a Judiciary Committee member, on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Forbes to Unleash Radio Barrage on Tax Cut


Already dogged by newspaper and radio ads during his week on Martha’s Vineyard, President Clinton now faces a radio barrage from GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes, who is taking no vacation from spending his money on political advertising.

The Forbes campaign will start running radio spots Monday on a number of stations around Skaneateles, N.Y., where the first family plans to continue its summer respite.

The ads urge the president to sign the $792 billion tax cut passed by Congress earlier this month. Clinton has steadfastly vowed to veto the legislation in its current form, and Forbes himself has described it as woefully inadequate.

“Republicans in Congress have done the right thing,” the Forbes ad nonetheless intones. “By voting for a tax cut, they have taken a step in the right direction... Sign the tax cut Mr. President. I would.”

But is Forbes getting ahead of himself? Why should he spend money attacking the president when he will probably have to drop a pretty penny attempting to knock Texas Gov. George W. Bush off his front-running pedestal in Iowa and New Hampshire next year?