- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Gore dollars at work

"Harry Truman's old saying has never been more true: If you want to live like a Republican, you should vote for the Democrats."

So President Clinton urged delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles last week.

(Actually, history books will record that Mr. Clinton's most memorable line was quoting Los Angeles police detective Sgt. Joe Friday, who used to say, "Just the facts, ma'am." Anyway, back to Mr. Truman's obvious envy of the Republicans' lifestyle).

The day after the convention, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas was on a flight back to Washington and couldn't help but notice Vice President Gore's campaign chairman, William M. Daley, sitting comfortably alongside Republicans, no doubt in first class.

"Here the Democrats have this saying that if you want to live like a Republican then vote Democratic, and William Daley, the Gore campaign chief, is obviously putting this into practice," Mr. Thomas tells this column.

"So I went up to him and said, 'Mr. Daley, your working people are in the back of the plane.'

"And Mr. Daley smiled at me and said, 'Yes, I know.'

"I guess that's why he's a Democrat," Mr. Thomas concludes, "so he can live like a Republican and fly first class."

Diet conspiracy

What is it about Diet Coke and the Clinton administration?

First, everybody but the president of Pepsi weighed in on Bill Clinton's blatant television commercial for Diet Coke during his Monica Lewinsky grand jury testimony, taking gulps the way he did between lies (one suggested Mr. Clinton drank from a can instead of a glass to play up to the audience of soccer moms, the largest consumers of low-calorie beverages).

More recently, former Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry was asked to compare Al Gore and one-time Democratic opponent Bill Bradley and replied: "It's kind of like trying to choose between Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi."

OK.

Yesterday, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman wrapped up their four-day, 400-mile riverboat tour down the Mississippi River to Hannibal, Mo., boyhood home of Mark Twain.

Surrounded by the free spirits of Tom Sawyer, Aunt Polly, Injun Joe and Muff Potter, Mr. Gore told folks along the muddy banks that he won't go along with a huge tax cut for the wealthy at the expense of everybody else.

Under the Republican plan, Mr. Gore warned, middle-class families would get one dime for every dollar that goes to the wealthiest 1 percent, middle-class families would get one dime. And lower-income families would get one penny.

To better help Americans understand what this means, Mr. Gore said the average family would only get enough money to buy one extra Diet Coke a day.

Al's joker

Both the New Republic and National Journal have observed the pranks of Gore campaign press secretary Chris Lehane, 33, who the latter notes has "left bananas and phone books in some colleagues' bags, while harassing others with 3 a.m. wake-up calls."

Mailbag

"I'm not sure who Penn & Teller are," a reader writes of the resemblance between vice-presidential hopeful Joe Lieberman and Teller of the comedy/ magic duo, "but I think that Joe looks like Ray Walston (the original alien in the 1960s TV sitcom, 'My Favorite Martian')."

"Actually," says John Schwalenberg, vice president for Institutional Equity Trading at Dain Rauscher Wessels in Dallas, "Lieberman has the looks and mannerisms (slow, deliberate delivery) of Max Wright, the actor who played the father in the TV show 'ALF.' "

As for the vice president's 17-year-old son, future race car driver Albert Gore III, being arrested for speeding and reckless driving (clocked at doing nearly 100 mph through North Carolina), Dan Johanningmeier of St. Louis, observes: "Perhaps he thought he could drive at 97 mph because there was 'no controlling legal authority.' "

(Vice President Gore used the phrase "no controlling legal authority" to justify himself after accepting campaign contributions in 1996 from Buddhist monks and nuns).

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