- The Washington Times - Friday, December 17, 1999

A Lockhart moment

Southern Baptists were a topic at the White House press briefing Thursday.A reporter noted that though India is issuing a special Christmas stamp this year, “Southern Baptists are still issuing a warning against Hindus,” as well as Jews and Muslims.”I think the president’s made very clear his view … on religious tolerance and how one of the greatest challenges going into the next century is dealing with intolerance, dealing with ethnic and religious hatred and coming to grips with the long-held resentments between religions,” spokesman Joe Lockhart observed.”So I think he’s been very clear in his opposition to whatever organization, including the Southern Baptists, that perpetuate ancient religious hatred,” he concluded.

Wrong Huang

Though the McCain-Bradley “summit meeting” drew heavy-duty media coverage, the congressional testimony of John Huang point man of the Democratic fund-raising scandal got a C-SPAN camera and little else.
Why, the Wall Street Journal wants to know?
“The people who violated existing campaign laws in 1996 have largely gotten away with it. Mr. Huang won a sweetheart plea agreement with the Justice Department that resulted in no jail time and involved him only pleading guilty to making $7,500 in illegal campaign contributions that were unrelated to the 1996 election.
” As it now stands the law has no teeth,’ remarked Democratic Sen. Joseph. I. Lieberman. Why else would two of those most prominent figures from the 1996 scandal John Huang and Charlie Trie be allowed to plea to charges that resulted in no jail time?’ “
Why else, the Journal asks?
“We can answer that in two words Janet Reno. And beyond that, her boss, Bill Clinton. This administration’s first instinct, so often, has not been do the right thing as a matter of responsibility to the commonweal but an instinct to do the wrong thing, or nothing. And then, when the irresponsibility is impossible to ignore, as with the 1996 fund raising, to bog down the investigations of responsible agencies or officials.”

Starr gazing

Former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr shared a few thoughts in the January Esquire magazine.
Recalling the presidential impeachment, Mr. Starr noted, “The president, through his lawyers, fashioned a constitutional rule and made it up out of whole cloth. There was no such thing, ever, as the idea of immunity of the president from a civil suit in his individual capacity.”
Mr. Starr is currently writing a book on the Supreme Court.

Hillary, Rosie, cookies

Hillary Rodham Clinton returned to her roots as a national political figure Thursday. She talked about cookies.
Mrs. Clinton taped a segment on Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show Thursday, but said they talked about baked goods, not politics.
“I brought some of the cookies that we’re passing out at the White House gingerbread cookies in the shape of all different kinds of Christmas decorations,” said Mrs. Clinton as she left the taping studio, adding that the pair did not discuss politics.
The segment will air Dec. 23.
During the 1992 presidential race, Mrs. Clinton defended her career as a lawyer rather than being Arkansas’ full-time first lady by saying: “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies.”
Miss O’Donnell has had the first lady on her show three times already and in October emceed a $1 million fund-raiser. Last week, Miss O’Donnell criticized Mrs. Clinton’s likely Republican opponent, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, for his policies on the homeless, saying he was “out of control.”
City Councilman Thomas Ognibene later called Miss O’Donnell “a shill” for the first lady.

Gore-y tales

Many wonder whether Vice President Al Gore’s recent release of his medical records was a gibe at former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, who had irregular heart rhythms last weekend.
Mr. Gore is, according to records, in fine fettle. But his timing of their release may not play well.
“What Gore does is he comes out and says, My heart is better than [Bradley’s] heart. I have the best heart there is. In fact, I invented the heart,’ ” Time’s Margaret Carlson told CNN.
“It’s too much,” she added.

Gore-y Part 2

The weather is not the only thing chilly up in New Hampshire. Al Gore and Bill Bradley debate there tonight.
But the rancor between them is nothing personal, the Gore camp says. Really.
“The health care dialogue has let voters evaluate the candidates and the merits of their plans,” spokesman Chris LeHane said.
Mr. Bradley is “a nice guy and a good person. But we challenge him on ideas, and the polls suggest that Gore is doing better because he is pushing issues. The philosopher-king mode worked for a while but now I think people want a warrior someone who will fight for them.”
Look for the debate on ABC’s “Nightline” Friday.

First wives club

Political spouses are fascinating? Ladies Home Journal thinks so. The magazine has named Laura Bush, Cindy McCain, Ernestine Bradley and Tipper Gore among America’s “Most Fascinating Women of ‘99.”
These potential first ladies even get their own TV salute on CBS on Jan. 3. They are, the magazine notes, among “the most noteworthy and accomplished women of the year.”
Mrs. Bush and her mother-in-law, former first lady Barbara Bush, incidentally, will appear together on ABC’s “This Week With Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts” this Sunday, complete with a tour of the Texas governor’s mansion.

In poor taste

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is famous for flavors, among other things. Some time ago, the company got an $850,000 federal research grant to explore selling ice cream in Russia.
They tangled with House Majority Whip Tom Delay over it.
They founded a group that advocates cuts in the defense budget, and continue to distribute left-leaning politics on line.
Citizens for the Integrity of Science recently determined that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream contains unsafe levels of dioxin “almost 200 times greater” than EPA recommendations.
Wait, there’s more.
Thursday, the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, accusing Ben & Jerry’s of misleading advertising.
“Ben & Jerry’s highlights its new packaging as being manufactured by dioxin-free methods, and claims that there is no safe level of exposure to dioxin. But the company doesn’t tell consumers that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream itself has dioxin,” stated the institutes lawyer Sam Kazman. “Since most Ben & Jerry’s customers buy these products for the ice cream rather than for the package, this is a serious omission in their advertising.”

Another first lady

A Quinnipiac College poll released Thursday showed New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani ahead of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the senatorial matchup 46 percent of those surveyed favor the mayor, 42 percent the first lady.
But feelings have surfaced.
When asked what they liked most about Mrs. Clinton, 14 percent cited her intelligence, 7 percent her personality and style, and 6 percent her strength and conviction.
When asked what they did not like about her, 16 percent felt she was a “carpetbagger” who did not know New York, 10 percent said she lacked honesty and integrity and 4 percent said she was too indecisive.
The Village Voice also chimed in, describing Mrs. Clinton as “the nipped-and-tucked, professedly progressive pretender.”

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