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Having Advised Senators, Clinton Turns to House

Former President to Offer Democratic Caucus Ideas on Strategy, Message and Vision at Annual Retreat

For the second year in a row, former President Bill Clinton will headline the House Democrats’ annual retreat, where he will help the party chart a course for winning back the majority, Democratic Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) said Wednesday.

Menendez said Clinton, arguably the party’s most prominent face three years after leaving office, will serve as keynote speaker the first night of the issues conference, to be held Feb. 5-7 at the Homestead Resort in Virginia.

Menendez said the former two-term president is expected to speak about “what his vision is and how House Democrats can achieve victory on issues, message and strategy.” The Caucus chairman added that Clinton was the logical and best choice because he has the right ideas and a message that “invigorates our colleagues.”

House Democrats wanted the former president to speak to them for the second time in as many years because he is “a master strategist and master communicator,” Menendez said.

He noted that Clinton is the “biggest name” speaker committed to attending the annual event.

Congressional Democrats, in the minority in both chambers, appear to be turning to the former president more and more lately. Clinton met with Democratic Senators this week to help them plot their political strategy for 2004 as well.

Senators and House Members also are turning to Clinton to help raise money for the current election cycle. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Matsui (Calif.) said the former president helped with a successful direct-mail fundraiser in the fall and Democrats will likely ask him to help with a similar effort this year.

“He indicated that he would be happy to help in any way he could,” Matsui said.

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