The Republicans don’t intend to let the Democrats’ message go unchecked during this week’s Democratic National Convention.
The Republican National Committee’s Victory 2000 Campaign has a fully operational television studio across the street from the Democratic National Convention at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and it plans news conferences and interviews from a rooftop overlooking the convention site all week.
“We are there to counter the blizzard of spin and provide a little balance from what the Democrats have promised to be one of the most negative conventions ever,” said Terry Holt, communications director of Victory 2000. “We want to make sure that journalists realize they don’t have to take every word from the [Gore] campaign at face value.”
While GOP speakers from around the country will be heading to California to give their side of the issues, no Maryland Republicans will be going, said Paul Ellington of the Maryland Republican Party.
Virginia Gov. James Gilmore, who was a featured player at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia two weeks ago, will be doing most of the talking for the GOP in Los Angeles. Gilmore will head up the Republican’s rapid- response “truth squad,” Holt said, and is the only Republican who will be in Los Angeles for the duration of the convention.
Democrats, who unleashed their own daily “truth squad” on the Republican National Convention, said they were not concerned by that the other side would be watching them in Los Angeles.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” said Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Jennifer Backus.
“We welcome them to come to a real convention where real issues will be discussed. We have real inclusion and diversity. And we are the true party of fiscal responsibility,” Backus said.
Democratic critics who were making the rounds at the GOP convention included Delaware Gov. Thomas R. Carper and Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening. But Holt said the Republican effort this week would be different than the Democratic spin in Philadelphia, saying the GOP would be substantive while the Democratic criticism was personal and nasty.
Gilmore told The Washington Times he hoped to be more successful than the Democrats were spinning their message in Philadelphia.
“Someone asked me, did I think Gov. Glendening was raining on our parade? And my response was `a fine mist,'” Gilmore was quoted as saying.
Victory 2000 has a number of functions in this election cycle, but its main goals are to coordinate the national and state campaigns and to organize and fund grassroots efforts to get out the vote, Holt said.
Besides Gilmore, Holt said the speakers will include New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and California Rep. David Dreier. He also said there would Democratic participants from Texas to defend Bush’s record.
In addition to dueling politicians, each party is also hosting its own Web site that spins the other side’s message. The GOP criticizes Gore and his record on www.goreline.com, while the Democrats take aim at Republican nominee George Bush’s record as governor at www.iknowwhatyoudidintexas.com.