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"Quite frankly, my schedule is full"

So says Donna Brazile, former campaign manager for Al Gore and advertised headliner for tonight's fundraiser for Virginia Fields in Washington D.C.

Newsday reports that Ms. Brazile is backing out of the Fields fundraiser citing previous engagements.

Could it be that the Fields campaign never confirmed Ms. Brazile's attendance, or is she backing out at the last minute given the utter turmoil of the Fields campaign?

Charles I'm-for-the-stadium-except-when-I'm-against-it Rangel is expected to show. Imagine the strain on his face.

For the Newsday piece, click below.

Brazile's no-show in D.C. takes Fields by surprise
by Glenn Thrush
July 13, 2005

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Alexis Herman and Al Gore's 2000 campaign manager Donna Brazile are at the top of an invite to Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields' big-money Washington, D.C. fund-raiser tonight.

Brazile and five other women power brokers, the event's flier proclaims, "cordially invite you to join them."

But Brazile, a CNN analyst and political consultant, won't be joining Democratic mayoral candidate Fields, who was already reeling from a series of embarrassing setbacks and gaffes. Brazile cited a previous engagement and a desire to avoid a time-consuming local race.

"My name is listed, but I am not planning on attending. I have a conflict tomorrow night," she wrote in an e-mail to Newsday yesterday.

"I agreed last month to help out," she added. "This week, I received an e-mail and, quite frankly, my schedule is full. I just returned from the NAACP [convention in Milwaukee] and must get back to my work." Brazile will make a donation to Fields' campaign.

Word of Brazile's decision took Fields' staff by surprise. "We were under the impression she was coming," said campaign aide Kirsten Powers.

On Friday, Fields fired consultant Joe Mercurio in a nasty flap over the digital insertion of two Asian-Americans in a campaign flier.

That same day, Fields travelled to her native Birmingham, Ala., where she collected at least $25,000 in contributions and recalled how Birmingham police packed her and other protesters in "paddy wagons," during 1963 civil rights marches.

The snakebitten campaign issued an immediate apology for the phrase, which includes a 19th century slur against the Irish.

Tonight's $250- to $1,000-a-head fete, held at B.Smith's in Union Station, is sponsored by Fields' ally Rep. Charlie Rangel. The Harlem Democrat is expected to attend.