Friday, August 18, 2000

Sen. Harkin fires up the Ohio delegation

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOS ANGELES — Democrats' job this fall is to show voters back home that George W. Bush's “compassionate conservatism” is an empty slogan, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa told Ohio delegates Thursday.

        Mr. Harkin — who eight years ago was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination — told the last Ohio caucus breakfast of the Democratic National Convention that the campaign slogan used by Mr. Bush and the Republicans is meaningless “because it lacks commitment.”

        The Iowan explained what he meant with the biblical story of the Good Samaritan, in which a pilgrim who had been beaten and left for dead by the side of the road was ignored by many passersby until a Samaritan came to his aid.

        “Those people who passed the man by probably had a lot of compassion for him, just like the Republicans,” Mr. Harkin said. “But it was the Samaritan who was committed enough to help. That's the difference between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Al Gore is compassionate but committed, too.”

Favorite of labor
               Mr. Harkin was a favorite of organized labor in his unsuccessful 1992 bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination that went to Bill Clinton.

        As part of the surrogate team making the rounds of state delegation meetings this week, Mr. Harkin's mission was to fire up the delegates in advance of Thursday night's final convention session.

        He did it by lampooning Mr. Bush and the Republicans at every turn.

        “Everything you need to know about this election you learned while driving your car,” Mr. Harkin said.

        “If you want to go backward, you put it in "R.' If you want to go forward, put in "D.”


Associated Press coverage
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