Hardships ahead for businesses, pair says

John O'Brien Oct. 25, 2007, 6:57am

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two political experts told attendees of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce function that businesses may soon face more challenges.

Al From, the founder and CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council, said Democrats have a good shot at teaming a Democratic president with a Congressional majority in 2008 and businesses will need to be able to adapt.

Ken Mehlman, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee and President George Bush's campaign manager in 2004, said increased media coverage can result in more criticism directed at businesses.

The two discussed these issues as part of the Institute for Legal Reform's eighth-annual Legal Reform Summit.

"You gotta be behind business-Democrats," said From, a former deputy inflation advisor to President Jimmy Carter. "You have to understand about our party that there are votes that are toughter to get than others."

From admitted Democrats generally receive a fair amount of campaign contributions from trial lawyers, but added that former trial lawyer John Edwards will probably not receive the party's Presidential nomination.

Instead, he foresees a group of Democrats who are just left of center.

"There may be more Democrats in this town 15 months from now than there are today," From said.

Mehlman preached the importance of crisis management, especially the drawing of a plan before something catastrophic happens. He specifically praised Johnson & Johnson for its ability to handle any negative press.

It's the addition of more press that can lead to negative coverage. What used to be the job of well-funded news outlets can now be performed by "anybody with the ability to build a website," Mehlman said.

As for a possible Democratic stranglehold on Capitol Hill, he offered this advice:

"Get to know these officials before you need them."

The Madison County Record is owned by the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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