All Clinton All The Time For Kerry

Hospitalization for heart surgery didn't stop former President Bill Clinton from doling out political advice to John Kerry.

And that's not all.

A gaggle of former Clinton political operatives are signing on with Kerry's faltering campaign.

Mr. Clinton had a 90-minute telephone conversation with the Democratic presidential candidate Sunday, the night prior to his undergoing successful heart bypass surgery in New York.

The New York Times reported that Mr. Clinton urged Kerry to move away from a discussion of Vietnam to focus on domestic issues, specifically the economy and health care.

Separately, the Washington Post reported Mr. Clinton advised Kerry to sharpen his attacks on President Bush's record.

In a related development, a swarm of former Clinton political operatives are signing on with the Kerry campaign.

The Times said three well-known former Clinton aides, James Carville, Paul Begala and Stanley Greenberg, would take a more active role in the Kerry campaign.

Three prominent Clinton operatives are already on board: former spokesman Joe Lockhart, former White House aide Joel Johnson and Doug Sosnik, a former Clinton political director.

Kerry aides insist the influx of Clintonistas doesn't represent a staff shake-up or a change in course. Nevertheless, many top Democrat's have been sharply critical of Kerry's campaign, saying the candidate's recent dip in the polls can be attributed at least in part to a lack of aggressiveness and a fixation with Vietnam.

Paul Belaga told the Times that Mr. Bush had succeeded in turning the race into a referendum on Kerry's record, rather than on the record of the incumbent.

"It was an enormous shift," Begala told the newspaper. "And it required the cooperation of the candidate. And you know what? The Kerry campaign is no longer cooperating. Sorry, Karl."

"Karl" was a reference to Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser.