- The Washington Times - Monday, April 3, 2000

April madness

Who among the political, sports and entertainment circuit isn't showing up for tonight's grand opening celebration of the ESPN Zone in downtown Washington to watch Michigan State battle Florida for the NCAA basketball championship?

Get a load of just a few names on the RSVP list: House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, House Minority Leader Richard A Gephardt, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala, Hollywood actor Michael J. Fox, Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes, basketball standouts Juwan Howard, Rod Strickland and Keith Van Horn, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, Washington Redskins coach Norv Turner, current and past Redskins stars Darrell Green, Desmond Howard, Art Monk, Charles Mann and Monte Coleman.

Autograph seekers, though, will have to ply their trade outside in the rain, it appears as the ESPN Zone opening at 555 12th Street NW is invitation only.

The schedule: Net cutting 6:45, gala, 7 p.m., tip-off, 9:18.

Another conspiracy

Bill de Blasio, Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign manager, says he has it on good authority that New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is raising millions of dollars "by employing a secret direct-mail fund-raising campaign filled with lies and distortions about Hillary."

For the first quarter just ending, Mr. Blasio says the secretive "ultraconservative fund-raising apparatus" has netted Mrs. Clinton's opponent $7 million over the last three months alone.

Beyond New York

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani isn't hiding that his fund-raising machine, secret or not, generated $7 million this election quarter. In fact, the GOP mayor openly brags that he's raised twice what former New York Republican Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato and his Democratic opponent, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, together raised in the first quarter of 1998.

What's different about the two campaigns?

The Clinton-Giuliani contest is attracting attention and money from outside New York. For instance, since March 1999, the Giuliani camp says its candidate has received more than $19 million in contributions from across the nation.

Average check: $70.

Hillary's spooks

The supersecret National Security Agency is getting too political for one employee named Jack.

The agency publishes a glossy monthly newsletter for distribution to employees worldwide, and the theme of the March issue is Women's History Month. It's cover features likenesses of 11 notable women, from Mother Teresa to Maya Angelou.

But also on the cover is Hillary Rodham Clinton and, with her likeness, the phrase, "Now Imagine the Future."

Jack imagined and didn't like what he saw. But back to reality, he believes the inclusion of Mrs. Clinton with the campaignlike phrase gives Uncle Sam's publication a political feel if not an outright endorsement of her Senate campaign in New York.

"It would appear to be in violation of existing federal law," he adds.

So Jack typed a letter to the newsletter's internal publisher, who is a woman, and she sent a "snotty" letter back.

She told him that if the same issue was published 16 years earlier, Nancy Reagan would have been on the cover. Then, using Jack's own line of logic, she said the appearance of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana could be construed as an endorsement of Roman Catholicism and monarchism.

Gender gaps

Gender gaps abound in this year's presidential campaign beyond the much-discussed tendency of women to support Democratic candidates and men to support Republicans.

In fact, women more than men find politics "disgusting," and believe "most politicians are not worthy of respect."

One difference may be that women and men are not equally involved with the current campaign pitting Al Gore against George W. Bush, among others. On average, men were more likely during the preceding day to have thought about the campaign (37 percent to 32 percent), to have talked about it (24 percent to 20 percent), or to have read or heard about it in the news (37 percent to 32 percent).

The stats were culled from 26 Harvard University Shorenstein Center Polls conducted since mid-November.

Bus to cyberspace

A group of congressmen will head into the cyberspace corridor this afternoon by bus.

House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts Jr., Oklahoma Republican, is leading the group of lawmakers to the high-tech Dulles Corridor of Northern Virginia to meet with computer industry giants on "cyber-security."

America Online, Global Integrity and Electronic Warfare Associates will all host the congressmen.

Last month, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert named Mr. Watts chairman of the House Republican Cyber-Security Team, to promote on-line safety in light of the sharp rise in computer hacking.

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