LOS ANGELES, June 25 -- 'facist'President Clinton on Saturday ridiculed the platform approved by Texas Republicans, saying it could "replace every other fascist tract in your library."
Clinton pointed out that GOP presidential George W. Bush had not endorsed his state party's platform nor had he attended the state party convention June 15-17 in Houston, where it was approved. But he also said Gov. Bush "didn't repudiate it."
Clinton made the comments at a gathering of Democratic Party state chairs here. Earlier in the day, at a fundraiser for California Sen. Diane Feinstein, Clinton used the same line, though at that event he said the Texas GOP document could replace every "reactionary tract" in a library.
In the second version of the comment, Clinton described it as a quote of an old friend in Texas.
The president went on to say that he meant his comment "in a good-natured way," and added, "I don't believe we have to have a negative campaign."
Clinton's comments came at the end of a West Coast fundraising swing. He repeatedly emphasized that the two parties could distinguish themselves from each other without demonizing each other.
The president raised more than $4 million for various Democratic candidates and organizations over four days.
Wednesday night, Clinton visited an Irish- American Democrats gathering at a hotel across the street from the White House, then sped to a private fundraising dinner in for Hillary Clinton's New York Senate race that lasted until nearly midnight.
Early Thursday the president was aboard Air Force One for his western swing, visiting two Democratic National Committee events in Phoenix before winging to two evening events in San Diego. On Friday, after a "presidential" event at an Olympic training facility outside San Diego, Clinton flew to Los Angles, where he spoke at six fundraisers in two days.
The events ranged from small, lavishly catered dinners for donors giving as much as $25,000 each to raucous party tent events with several hundred "low-dollar" donors, giving $150 each. The richest event of the weekend was a breakfast Saturday hosted by Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan - a Republican - that raised $1.5 million for the Democratic convention.
Democratic fundraising efforts for the convention, which will be held in Los Angles in August, have come up short, and the city council on Friday approved a $4 million subsidy from the city's coffers.
All told, the weekend events raised between $4 million and $5 million. Apart from the convention money, Democratic National Committee Chairman Ed Rendell, the former mayor of Philadelphia, said most of the money the president helped raise will go to support a DNC television advertising campaign in 15 "battleground" states. The ads, Rendell said, lay out the key issues the Democrats will focus on throughout the campaign season, and emphasize the difference between Republicans and Democrats.
Clinton's standard stump speech at the string of events covered three themes:
The president argues that despite the strong economy and a generally positive mood in the country, the 2000 elections are critical because they will determine "what we do with this moment of unprecedented prosperity." In nearly every speech Clinton said that people frequently make serious personal or professional mistakes when things are going well, because they forget the need to focus their attention on maintaining prosperity.
Clinton also said there are significant differences between Democrats and Republicans on a range of issues, including gun control, environmental protection and the parties approaches to providing seniors with insurance coverage for prescription drugs. "The things I want you to remember about this election are these: It's real important. There are profound differences between our candidates. And number three, only the Democrats want you to know what those differences are," Clinton told the Irish Democrats.
Clinton generally devoted the last portion of his talk to extolling the virtues of Vice President Al Gore - and Hillary Clinton, and other Democratic candidates -- and reminding the audience of Gore's role in the Clinton administration. Clinton and Rendell said Gore has been the most involved and "impactful" vice president in history, and that he therefore has earned credit for many of the achievements of the past eight years.
The president's speeches generally avoided harsh criticisms of Republicans. He said on several occasions that he was upset about negative campaigns in which a candidate tries to make the opponent out to be "one notch above a car thief."