Ex-Clinton Backer: Graham Can Work McCain Against Tort Reform

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A prominent trial lawyer who is endorsing Senator McCain’s campaign after backing Senator Clinton during the Democratic primary, John Coale, says opponents of tort reform should be able to “work things out” with the presumptive Republican nominee, despite his promises to champion the issue. Mr. Coale, who is close to President and Mrs. Clinton and traveled with them during the primary season, said the key to moderating Mr. McCain’s position on tort reform will be harnessing one of his best friends in Congress, Senator Graham of South Carolina. “Lindsey Graham, who is very close to John McCain has voted against tort reform for a long time,” Mr. Coale said in response to a question from The New York Sun. “As a trial lawyer, we consider Lindsey Graham one of us. He has influence with John McCain and one of the really good things about John McCain is he will listen.” Speaking at a news conference to showcase Democrats supporting the presumptive Republican nominee, Mr. Coale said he thought Mr. McCain could be pulled to the center on the issue, with Mr. Graham’s help.

“I think that we can work things out,” Mr. Coale said. “Tort reform is an issue that — it’s almost like guns. It’s either you’re over here or you’re over there. It’s never brought into the middle and really discussed, the need for some tort reform that doesn’t wipe the system out. I’m optimistic, especially with Graham around.” Mr. Coale was a key player in the $246 billion tobacco settlement negotiated in 1998.


Senator Biden assured older Jewish voters yesterday that the Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Obama will be strong on protecting Israel, which he said is less secure now than when President Bush took office. Mr. Biden, Mr. Obama’s vice presidential running mate, laid out his own history on Israeli issues for the audience of several hundred at a Broward County retirement community and emphatically said Mr. Obama stands right along side him on Israel. Mr. Biden said he has fought the sale of sophisticated weapons to Arab nations, has known every Israeli prime minister since Golda Meir, and has co-sponsored legislation to fight Palestinian Arab terrorism. “I am chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee,” Mr. Biden said. “I give you my word as a Biden — I would not have given up that job to be Barack Obama’s vice president if I didn’t in my gut and in my heart and in my head know that Barack Obama is exactly where I am on Israel. And he is.” Mr. Biden told the crowd to ignore the “scurrilous” things said about Mr. Obama on the Internet, including rumors that the Christian Obama is a Muslim. “To the extent you trust me and understand where my heart is, I promise you the stuff you’re getting on the Internet is simply not true,” he said. He also said the terrorist threat to Israel has increased, along with the threat from Iran as it tries to develop nuclear weapons. “By any objective fact, Israel is less secure today in the world than it was eight years ago,” Mr. Biden said. “I promise you … we will make it more secure.” Senator McCain’s campaign, citing Mr. Obama’s past comments about meeting with leaders of nations like Iran, said the Democrat “is not a credible voice when speaking to the long-time relationship between Israel and the United States.”


The Republican vice presidential pick, Sarah Palin, accepted at least $4,500 in campaign contributions in the same fund-raising scheme at the center of a public corruption scandal that led to the indictment of Senator Stevens. The contributions, made during Ms. Palin’s failed 2002 bid to become Alaska’s lieutenant governor, were not illegal for her to accept. But they show how Ms. Palin, a self-proclaimed reformer who has bucked Mr. Stevens and his allies, is nonetheless a product of a political system in Alaska now under the cloud of an ongoing FBI investigation. It’s the latest in a string of disclosures that have forced Senator McCain’s campaign to defend his choice and the thoroughness of the background check of Ms. Palin, 44, a little-known governor who is new to the national stage. Ms. Palin stunned delegates at the Republican convention Monday when she announced through the McCain campaign that her unmarried 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is five months pregnant.

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