Outreach effort set

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) was expected today to announce the creation of a public-affairs team that will coordinate communications strategy for district offices.

Building on a strategy used during the Medicare prescription-drug debate, the conference is planning to conduct more communications campaigns in the 109th Congress, tailoring its message to individual districts.

The team, made up of Republican members, will be divided into eight subgroups that will each deal with different legislative issues, from retirement security to the war on terrorism.

The team will conduct polling and focus groups to hone its message strategy on particular issues and coordinate outreach in individual member offices.

Patrick O’Connor


Gore doubts climate bill will move this year

Former Vice President Al Gore yesterday praised the legislative efforts of Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) to cut greenhouse gases but expressed doubt that any bill related to climate change would pass this year.

“I think the conventional wisdom is that [greenhouse legislation] cannot pass this year,” Gore said in a teleconference with reporters. He added that he would be doing what he could — short of running for office — to generate momentum for climate-change legislation.

Asked whether he would consider getting back into a leadership role, Gore responded frankly: “I have no intention of being a candidate. I want to focus on the subject itself.”

Gore will deliver a speech in Los Angeles today to discuss the significance of the Kyoto protocol, an international agreement to control greenhouse gases, which officially goes into effect today. Gore will also announce the launching of a national campaign to encourage automobile executives to drop lawsuits against the state of California.

California passed legislation in September requiring a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2016, a move that automobile manufactures say is illegal.

Gore also attacked the Bush administration yesterday. “It is a stunning display of moral cowardice,” said Gore, referring to the administration’s stance on climate change, “when a real crisis confronts them, they pretend it doesn’t exist.”

The White House did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Kari Lundgren