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Clinton to give Hagan a boost at fund-raiser

COLUMBUS - The “Man from Hope” has agreed to offer some to the fund-raising efforts of Tim Hagan, Ohio's Democratic candidate for governor.

Former President Bill Clinton, who carried Ohio in 1992 and 1996 and watched Vice President Al Gore lose it to Republican George W. Bush in 2000, is scheduled to host a fund-raiser Sept. 13 in Cleveland for Mr. Hagan's campaign.

“What makes me feel good about this is the [Democratic National Committee] obviously thinks this is in play,” said Mr. Hagan, a former Cuyahoga County commissioner. “I think what drives this is 2004. Gore picked up and left in 2000, and the Democrats lost by [four] percentage points.”

Mr. Clinton also will raise dollars next month for the Democratic candidates for governor in Michigan and Illinois, respectively state Attorney General Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Rep. Rod Blagojevich.

Mr. Clinton's scheduled stopover in Cleveland would come nearly four months after President George W. Bush traveled to Columbus and raised $2 million for Gov. Bob Taft's re-election campaign.

Campaign finance reports filed Aug. 5 showed Mr. Taft's campaign with a $8.02 million balance - compared to Mr. Hagan's $375,060 in campaign dollars available.

Details of where Mr. Clinton will speak in Cleveland and how much the tickets will cost were not available yesterday. Mr. Hagan said he hopes the former Arkansas governor will net $50,000 to $100,000 for his campaign.

But John Green, a political science professor at the University of Akron, said he would not be surprised if Mr. Clinton raised $500,000 or perhaps more for Mr. Hagan's campaign.

“He's still a very fascinating person; so those party loyalists - even those who have doubts about the Hagan campaign - would show up with their money to help,” he said.

Mr. Clinton was scheduled to speak Oct. 8, 2000, in Columbus at an Ohio Democratic Party event but cancelled as the White House political director said President Clinton was busy because of escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians. At a recent Hagan fund-raiser, Mr. Gore's running mate, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, criticized the Gore campaign's decision to drop out of Ohio a month before election day.

Mr. Hagan said he has known Mr. Clinton since 1980, when they appeared on a CBS morning talk show to discuss President Jimmy Carter's loss to Republican Ronald Reagan.

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