Friends Don't Let War Get in the Way of Fund-Raising. (News Alert!)

Article excerpt

Undeterred by criticism, President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore appear reluctant to forego campaign fund-raising while the Balkan conflict rages. Since NATO air strikes began, the pair have attended more than 10 fund-raisers -- the equivalent of one every 72 hours.

They also don't seem to be put off by having to mn gauntlets of protesters when they show up at fund-raising events. The president was heckled as he arrived at a $50,000-a-plate dinner at the home of former party finance chairman Alan Solomont in Boston in mid-April. And he also drew a crowd of demonstrators at a fund-miser in Dearborn, Mich., where $500,000 was raised for congressional Democrats.

When the air war began, Clinton initially stopped all fund-raising activity, but party leaders urged him as the Yugoslav conflict was prolonged to keep filling the coffers. The vice president didn't let up for even a day and has traveled the country on Gore 2000 business since the bombing began.

Contrast this situation with President George Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle during the six weeks of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. They participated in only one political fund-raiser during the entire Persian Gulf War -- and that event was only a 45-minute reception for Arizona's Republican gubernatorial candidate, Fife Symington. …