Howard Fineman

Stories by Howard Fineman

  • It's Dole Inc. Vs. Clinton Inc.

    They've raised more cash more quickly than any other nominees in history. Now these corporate candidates must prove they're more than the sum of their special interests. ..MR0- ...
  • The Phony War

    BILL CLINTON AND BOB Dole were glad to be back home in the neighborhood, comfortably doing what they like to do. After jetting 15,000 miles on a two-day trek to the Middle East, the president late last week took a trip just a block across Lafayette Park: from the White House to the plush quiet of the Hay-Adams Hotel. There Clinton regaled the Democratic Party's highest high-rolling contributors with stories of his peacemaking efforts and with cheery spin about his re-election prospects. Dole, meanwhile, spent quality time in his favorite place, a sunny veranda outside his Capitol office. There he enjoyed the sweeping view of the Mall, worked the phones and drew up plans to do what he loves most: "move legislation." Having locked up the Republican nomination, he cut his own campaign schedule in California-to one day. Instead, he will use the Senate this week to pass bills he hopes will define him as a responsible conservative. ...
  • Hunting The Angry Voter

    HERE'S HOW YOU KNOW BOB DOLE'S in a new phase of the campaign: Washingtonians want to know the whereabouts -- both physical and political -- of Ross Perot and Colin Powell. ...
  • The Last Insider

    AS BOB DOLE SEES IT, HE should have won it all by now. He should be busy "unifying the party." He's experienced, a leader, a veteran insider--and proud of it. But in his life and now in the Republican campaign, a pattern repeats itself: first the bad luck, then the pain, then the agonizing recovery. When he lost the New Hampshire primary, he was devastated. Steve Forbes had softened him up with negative ads; Pat Buchanan then shredded him with sound bites. To Dole it was an outrage: low-blow sucker punches from faux outsiders who'd never suffered and never served. ...
  • The Ground War

    For Bob Dole, 1996 has come to this: heading off Steve Forbes and his millions means playing to a religious right that has long distrusted the senator -- and will certainly keep score. ...
  • Last Call

    From the window of a chartered jet, the Great Plains looked so vast, so quiet, so much like home: square, snow-covered fields where they raise livestock, corn and hard red wheat. Not like Washington, D.C., where they only raise doubts. Bob Dole was in farm country, looking for votes last week in Iowa and South Dakota as he pursued- for the third time-the Republican presidential nomination. In Pierre, the smallest state capital, he was greeted like a brother. The national press corps had not followed him. He could relax. In the ornate Statehouse, addressing legislators at their oak desks, he was per-feet: the lanky Kansan who knows about planting wheat and passing laws. "He's just like us," said GOP Gov. William Janlkow, as if nothing more need be said about who should lead America. Dole joked that he wanted to get to work. He glanced at the electronic board behind the rostrum. "I see you have HR 1265 up," he said. "Want me to dispose of this bill first?" Pause. "Might be something I...
  • The Sum Of Dole's Fears

    He began as a joke, then became A curiosity: a man with a Faberge egg collection in the hardball of presidential politics. But now there's incontrovertible proof that Steve Forbes has made The Bigs. Ledby Bob Dole, the GOP field is attacking him. After seeing private polls showing Forbes within 10 points of him in Iowa, Dole approved a tough new TV ad, full of ominous music and black-and-white, slow-motion pictures. Launched in Iowa last Friday, the spot depicts Forbes as a fake conservative-soft on illegal immigration, crime and a balanced budget. Once Dole struck, his colleagues followed in a TV debate last Saturday in Des Moines. One by one, they ridiculed Forbes's "pure flat tax" proposal and needled him for his inherited wealth. "It was time to plug him," said Scott Reed, Dole's campaign manager. "I'm glad we started a trend." ...
  • Explaining Everything

    IF YOU'RE STEVE FORBES AND YOU need to get around Iowa fast, you rent a jet. In a sleek, eight-seat Citation (with trays of crudites and cookies on board), he swooped down to Dubuque last week to make a point: even in a rural Mississippi River town, a few miles from where they filmed "Field of Dreams," a high-tech, entrepreneurial future beckons. At fast-growing Eagle Point Software, young staffers nod reverently as he sketches his upbeat vision. Individualism triumphs, "unleashed" by a flat tax, hands-off government, worldwide free trade and a stable dollar tied to gold. He is candidate, sales manager, preacher. "Yes, ordinary people can do extraordinary things," he says, "when given freedom and responsibility to try.' ...
  • The Dole World

    Bob and Liddy Dole are consummate insiders in a capital most voters hate. This is their Washington life--the one you won t see in Dole's campaign ads. It's just before Christmas and Bob Dole is having his favorite kind of Sunday in Washington, the kind he thinks ears lead to contentment, salvation -- and maybe a budget deal. The sun's out, which is good; he hates cold weather. He is chipper and well rested. "Did my treadmill last night and went to bed early," he brags. His wife, Elizabeth, is home from a long campaign swing. She's even had time to get her hair done. So they'll do their favorite Sunday thing: brunch at a downtown hotel. ...
  • Flat Tax, Cold Cash

    Pat Buchanan was enjoying a hefty breakfast at a diner in Laconia -- two eggs sunny side up, link sausage, home fries smothered in ketchup -- when he was approached by a retiree straight out of New Hampshire central casting: wool shirt, hiked-up pants, painstaking delivery. "I'm for you, Pat," the old man said reverently. Buchanan smiled appreciatively. "But one thing: what do you think about the flat tax Steve Forbes talks about in all those TV ads?" ...
  • A Passionless Start

    She was the kind of republican matron you see at important party [events: hair like Barbara Bush, good but not flashy jewelry, an amused but unawed regard for power. Riding back to her hotel from the Orlando Convention Center in a "Dole for President" bus, Maxine Streiffert of Ft. Lauderdale was reminiscing. In Orlando in 1979, Ronald Reagan had won an upset victory in a straw poll--and set course for the White House. "There was so much excitement," she recalled. "It seemed like the start of something important." This time she was for Bob Dole because . . . well, just because. He was leaderly, deserving. And who else was there? "The emotion is missing," she allowed. ...
  • The Usual Suspects

    WHEN COLIN POWELL GRACEfully took his leave in a hotel ballroom last Wednesday, he evoked dreams of a campaign that might have been. But the reality of the 1996 race was elsewhere: in Bob Dole's Capitol suite last Friday night. No cameras, no media hordes, all cold business in the carpeted warren of high-ceilinged rooms a few paces from the Senate' floor. The GOP's "Mr. Leader" had just canceled a trip to Iowa. He had to stay in Washington for a budget confrontation with President Clinton. "Working hard," Dole grumbled with a thin smile. Now he was on the phone, trying to pacify right-to-lifers upset that he would not make Des Moines. ("Phil Gramm is going to be there!" one staffer warned Dole's aides.) ...
  • Moment Of Truth

    To understand Colin Powell's moment of consider the simultaneous events that took place on opposite sides of the Potomac River last Thursday. At the National Press Building in downtown Washington, a hit squad from the Republican Party's fight wing was attacking the retired general with mock sorrow and savage intensity. The professional "antis" were assembled: anti-tax, anti-abortion, anti-establishment. One by one, they warned him not to run for the GOP nomination, told him he could never win it and vowed political mayhem-a GOP civil war- if he tried. ...
  • Powell On The Brink

    Bruce Llewellyn got his call last Wednesday night in New York. His favorite cousin, Colin Powell, was on the line from the basement office of his stately home in the Washington suburb of McLean, Va. The retired general wanted to talk it through one more time. Yes, he wants to run for president, but should he? "He said he couldn't dillydally any longer," Llewellyn told NEWSWEEK. "He's getting to the point where he's got to decide." ...
  • Grappling With Race

    Ever the general, Colin Powell needed battlefield "intel." So from the Connaught Hotel in London and the Royal Monceau in Paris, he kept in touch last week with advisers back home while he traveled on his book tour. They gave him updates on the uncivil war consuming America since the divisive verdict in the O. J. Simpson trial and the advent of Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March. The events intensified pleas for Powell to run for president. But they also added pressure on him to speak out on racial themes-not his preferred topic--and raised the political stakes for doing so. ...
  • 'Those Are The Facts'

    After announcing his plans to form a new Independence Party in time for the '96 election, Ross Perot spoke with NEWSWEEK'S Howard Fineman and Joe Klein. Highlights: ...
  • Let The Party Begin

    A familiar voice with an angry Texarkana twang was on the phone: the sound of doom for politics as we know it. "Have you read the Pack-wood diaries?" Ross Perot demanded. If you have, he declared, you'd know why people think government is hopelessly corrupt. He cited the appropriate scary polls. "Only 19 percent of the people have confidence in government to do the right thing," he said. "When 62 percent of the people don't want to affiliate with either party," he declared, "you've got a serious problem." So what's a patriotic Texas billionaire to do? Why, build a whole new political party, that's what. "We're starting from scratch," he told NEWSWEEK. ...
  • A Powell Scenario

    Outside a bookstore deep inside the Washington Belt-way, a horde of reporters jostle for position. A thousand fans of Colin Powell wait in a line that snakes past a liquor store, a chicken takeout, a frame-it-yourself shop. Even the supermarket bagboys, red aprons flapping in the breeze, are out watching the scene in McLean, Va. "Is this really the start of a book tour, or a presidential campaign?" booms ABC's Sam Donaldson, who has said a Powell presidency would be "good for the country." The retired general smiles. "This does have something to do with the promotion of the book," he concedes. "But at the same time I do have a deep concern about the country . . . I'll find out after this book tour what the best way is for me to serve." ...
  • Mediscare

    Greg Ganske Of Iowa was ignoring the script. As a freshman Republican congressman, he as supposed to tell a stagey GOP "feedback forum" that voters in Des Moines are ready for major surgery on Medicare, the beloved colossus of postwar entitlements. But Ganske, a surgeon, was more doctor than spin doctor on Capitol Hill last week. The mood "is similar to when you walk through a forest," he said. "You notice that all the birds have stopped singing. It gets very, very quiet just before a big storm hits." ...
  • Powell On The March

    Presidents always want Colin Powell at their side. There is flesh evidence in "My American Journey," the autobiography Powell unveils next week. When George Bush won in 1988, Powell discloses, the new president-elect wanted to name him CIA director. Powell declined, and Bush later chose him to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After Bush lost in 1992, he turned to Powell for solace. Powell recalls how the two men and their wives spent the weekend after Election Day at Camp David, commiserating as they power-walked. ...
  • Dole's Dilemma

    Politics: This was to be Dole's momen. But he seems out of place--a man of moderate consensus at a time the GOP demands passion. The race has barely begun, and he's already running scared. ...
  • Death Of The Last Amateur

    In Duane Garbett's glory days the rule was simple. If you wanted him to raise your campaign money--and most Democrats did--you had to go salmon fishing with him. You had to board his motorboat in San Francisco Bay and cruise into the Pacific. Then you had to take the captain --so garrulous and eager to please--seriously. It was a small price to pay for the allegiance of a wealthy lawyer and art dealer with a Rolodex the size of a fanjet. In 1983 Walter Mandale took the cruise, and the next year Garrett raised record amounts of cash for him. The next cycle, Garrett hosted a procession of would-be nominees. He ended up working phones for Bruce Babbitt and, later, Al Gore. They were the only two who had actually enjoyed the fishing, and the company.Last week police dragged Garrett's body from the cold waters beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, from which, at the age of 48, he had jumped. On one level, his was just another story of a local hero's shocking suicide. Garrett had become a...
  • The Rollback Begins

    It was a photo op made in heaven. In a San Francisco conference room, the University of California regents were meeting to decide whether to end affirmative action in admissions and hiring. Gov. Pete Wilson wore the pressed suit and severe expression of a banker reviewing a loan. In the name of "fundamental fairness," he said, UC should not "trample individual rights" to give preference to group rights. It shouldn't "continue to divide people by race." The rebuttal came from Jesse Jackson, who arrived in the open-necked shirt he favors when he's in his Third World Leader mode. He bade the regents join in prayer. He sang "We Shall Overcome." He blasted Wilson as a lineal descendant of the segregationists who stood in schoolhouse doors. "What we have here," said Jackson, "is a blatant act of racism."No, what we have here is a blatant act of politics. Prodded by Wilson, suburban avatar of the angry white male, the Republican-dominated regents voted last week to end racial and gender...
  • Richie Rich On The Stump

    Malcolm S. (Steve) Forbes Jr. has faced character tests appropriate to his class. When Steve was a boy, his father made him memorize the names of dinner guests at the family's baronial New Jersey home. Because Dad owned Forbes magazine, the names ranged from Hubert Humphrey to Henry Ford II. When Steve launched a business magazine at Princeton, SDS radicals made a bonfire of the first run. He kept publishing. From the time he went to work at Forbes in 1970 until his father's death in 1990, he had had to labor under the label s.o.b.-- son of the boss.Still, you have to wonder if Forbes, now 48 and the magazine's editor in chief, is ready for the enterprise he's currently considering: running for president. Imagine a polo player seized by a mad desire to ride with the Hells Angels--that's the first impression you get of the chance that Forbes will seek the Republican nomination. Bob Dole, Phil Gramm and Pat Buchanan are gunning their Harleys. Upstairs in the paneled library. of the...
  • Shifting Racial Lines

    Sons of the deep south, Don Fowler and Haley Barbour know by heart the mathematics of race-and the power of the Voting Rights Act. As a boy in South Carolina in 1948, Fowler watched Strom Thurmond lead the white "Dixiecrats" out of the Democratic Party. Later, in the '60s, Fowler helped build an interracial Democratic alliance to replace them. As a student at Ole Miss, Barbour saw the Freedom Riders pass through, then watched Democrats agonize over integrating their convention delegations. When blacks started registering en masse as Democrats, Barbour helped build a new conservative-; y-and mostly white--Republican Party in Mississippi. In all of this, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was pivotal, for it gave blacks the vote in the Old "Cotton" South. Without that law-but for very different reasons -- neither man would have a party to call his own.These days Fowler and Barbour are chairmen of their national parties. Last week, they again were puzzling urgently over racial math. In a...
  • The Gop's Private War

    BOB DOLE LIKES TO PAGE people in airports. It's a leadership thing. The first call last week went to anti-abortion leader Gary Bauer, in Orlando on a Disney World family vacation. The message from Dole: he had scheduled a quick-strike vote against Dr. Henry Foster's surgeon-general nomination. Would Bauer's 250,000-member Family Research Council make another round of phone calls? Two days later the pager sounded at Washington's National Airport for House Budget chairman John Kasich, on his way home to Columbus, Ohio. The message: get back to the Capitol, fast. Dole had cajoled Sen. Pete Domenici, an old friend, into accepting a balanced-budget plan that included huge tax cuts. And there was time to announce the new deal on network news.With skill and showmanship, Dole moved against abortion--Foster's nomination was killed- and in favor of tax cuts. The GOP's Senate leader and presidential front runner thus did the bidding and won the respect of the two factions that now dominate the...
  • What Does Powell Think?

    Colin Powell lives a life that seems beyond the gravitational pull of race. He owns a sprawling home in a white Washington suburb, loves tinkering with old Volvos and enjoys the image of a leader whose skills have nothing to do with skin color. All of which makes him a crucial --and as yet unsummoned--witness in the ongoing trial of affirmative action.Powell hasn't spoken out often on racial issues, or on much else outside the military chain of command. But as he edges toward a civilian role--and a national tour to promote his autobiography-he's dropping hints. It turns out that if Powell is a Republican, he is a rare one: a supporter of affirmative action. He accepts its predicate that racism still corrodes America. And unlike possible COP presidential rivals, from Bob Dole to Pete Wilson, Powell believes government has a role, however limited, in giving minorities special consideration.Powell's preachments tend to be color-blind paeans to hard work, discipline and family. But in a...
  • President Newt?

    1996: Leave it to the speaker to invent a new way to run go to New Hampshire, declare an absence of ambition and confess a touch of midlife crisis. Hmmm, what should he do now?It's past midnight, and the beefy man in room 112 of the Best Western Motel in Keene, N.H., says he has a problem. He will turn 52 this week. He's powerful, famous and soon to be wealthy. And yet, he says, he isn't sure what to do with the rest of his life. He has shed hi s coat, tie and shoes, and props his stockinged feet on a coffee table as he munches grapes and muses about his future. "I've participated in great events," says Newt Gingrich, citing the GOP takeover of the House, the "Contract With America," a raft of bills passed in a few weeks. "I'm aware that I don't need to be president."Really? Then what is he doing in New Hampshire, trailed by a horde of media, conducting a heavily advanced four-day royal progress through the First Primary state? "I really believe in teaching," he declares as he...
  • And Now, 'The Spiro Strategy'

    How appropriate: Spiro T. Agnew is back. At a Capitol ceremony last week, he watched the unveiling of his marble bust. No one from the Clinton White House showed up. They didn't need to. They had already found a way to honor Richard Nixon's former vice president: by adopting the nasty, divisive re-election strategy Agnew and his boss perfected. It worked for Nixon-Agnew in 1972. Will it work for Clinton-Gore in 1996?With no balanced-budget plan of his own, and a legislative agenda consisting mostly of veto threats and an antiterrorism bill, Bill Clinton's early re-election game plan is now, as Nixon used to say, "perfectly clear." Aide George Stephanopoulos blandly calls it "definitional work . . . cultivating the ground, getting the field ready." But this isn't sowing seeds; it's laying mines. And the goals are reminiscent of Nixon-Agnew a generation ago: demonize foes, link them to "extremists," attack with piranha-sharp sound bites, portray your administration as the last citadel...
  • 'We're Not Running Now.'

    Apologies weren't in order at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Arizona. Instead, some 20,000 NRA members jammed the Phoenix Civic Center last week for a display of make-my-day toughness. The hardware was suitably exotic: Red Army sniper rifles, Warsaw Pact binoculars, night-vision goggles, Heckler & Koch "semiautos." The world view was apocalyptic. "We are heading toward a dictatorial type of government," said Dennis Kayer, a Phoenix video producer who packs a Clock pistol on trips to the supermarket. Speeches from the podium were unrepentant. "We've never run from a fight before," said first vice president Marion Hammer, "and we're not running now." ...
  • Riding The Wave

    A master at harnessing Californians' fears, Gov. Pete Wilson is running for president. Can this man of the 1950s convince an anxious country that he's the one to make America safe again? ...