Thursday, August 10, 2000

Patton to speak to Democrats

Ky. governor plans to boost party themes

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton has been tapped to deliver a speech at next week's Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

        In an interview Wednesday morning, Mr. Patton said he had “been notified that I've been invited to speak” at the convention, to be held Aug. 14-17 at the Staples Center in Southern California.

        Details of the speech, including when it will be delivered and the subject, still have to be worked out, Mr. Patton said Wednesday over the phone from his state Capitol office in Frankfort.

        Mr. Patton said he will find out more details today after meeting with Vice President Al Gore and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman — the Democrats' presidential ticket — in Atlanta.

        Mr. Gore and Mr. Lieberman are meeting today in Georgia with Mr. Patton and a number of other Southern governors.

        During that meeting, Mr. Patton said, he expects to learn which themes the Democrats will try to carry out during the convention, and then he'll base his speech on one of those themes.

        Now that conventions are no longer about picking nominees, the parties use the events to promote planks of their campaign platforms “and solidify your message,” Mr. Patton said.

        “I'll begin to get a feel of the message they want to portray,” after today's meeting, he said.

        Mr. Patton, a co-chairman of the convention, also spoke during the 1996 Democratic Convention in Louisville. During his seven-minute speech, Mr. Patton used military analogies in predicting that President Clinton would carry Kentucky on his way to being re-elected.

        Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore indeed did carry Kentucky.

        Though it has just eight electoral votes Kentucky is a significant player in presidential politics. The last nine presidential races have gone to the candidate that has carried Kentucky, making the state an important bell wether for the candidates.

        The Democratic ticket, which is trailing Republicans George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in national polls.

        “We need to emphasize and remind people that this strong economy is a direct result of the Clinton-Gore economic program,” Mr. Patton said.

        “Likewise, I think we have to point out the inconsistency of the Republicans saying on the one hand they do all the things Democrats want to do, particularly on issues of women and child health care, when they are making no provisions to pay for it,” he said.

        Mr. Patton said he thinks the Democrats will win because voters are generally satisfied with the state of the nation.

        “It's highly unusual for voters to turn out the incumbent when things are going as well as they are going now,” he said.


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