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Carville blasts Republicans

August 29, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - James Carville, with his distinctive head and waving arms, brought his defense of President Clinton against independent counsel Kenneth Starr to Jefferson County Thursday night.

"They've spent $50 million to get after this man because they couldn't beat him politically and they still have nothing," Carville raged.

The most famous political consultant in America spoke Thursday at the Jefferson County Democrats' summer banquet held at Avanti Ristorante in Charles Town.

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Carville, who managed the campaign that got Clinton elected in 1992, blasted the Whitewater investigation prosecution team and the Republican committees.

"I'm going to run Mr. Starr out of town before it's over," Carville said, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd of more than 300 area Democrats.

"They say it's obstruction of justice. How can you attack Ken Starr? I say watch me. I'll do it every day," Carville said.

Carville also focused on the accomplishments of Clinton and the Democratic party.

"If we don't tell people what we did, then we'll have people like Newt Gingrich writing history for us," Carville said.

Carville said that since Clinton was elected, the budget deficit has dropped from more than $200 billion to $34 billion.

He said the national unemployment rate has gone down from 7.1 percent to 4.7 percent. Since the passage of the Clinton crime bill in 1993, crime has gone down by 20 percent, he said.

"They say `Clinton can't take credit for that.' But if crime had gone up 20 percent, then who do you think they'd blame?" Carville said.

Carville also said that Republicans from Gingrich to Rush Limbaugh had predicted "doom and gloom" for the economy when the minimum wage was increased. But he said that the number of jobs has gone up and the economy is stronger than ever.

The Republicans also had predicted economic disaster caused by the Family Medical Leave Act which allows parents to take time off to care for sick children, Carville said.

"We hear that doomsday garbage all the time," Carville said.

"We were right. They were wrong. Period," Carville said.

Some Republicans want to end Social Security and Medicare, he said.

Carville said that it was the Democrats who came up with Social Security and Medicare in 1965 and since then the elderly poverty rate has dropped from 28.5 percent to 10.5 percent.

"That's the ultimate act of public morality," he said. "I don't need Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell or Jesse Helms telling me about morality."

Carville appeared in Jefferson County after months of persuasion by Jefferson County Democratic Association president Kay Bresee. Bresee was named Democrat of the Year for her work with the association.

"They just aggravated me to death," Carville said with a laugh at a press conference before the speech. "They're really good Democrats out here.

"I think the best thing I can do tonight is to show these people they're supported and what they do is important," Carville said. "Even people who work hard need to hear they're doing a good job."

The association presented awards to local law enforcement officers for the first time. Jefferson County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jesse Jones was honored for his overall police work, Ranson Police Lt. Rob Roberts was honored for community service and West Virginia State Police Troopers Dave Peel, Dave Forman and Dean Olack were honored for valor.

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