- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 22, 2000

No thong involved

No one yet seems to have identified the woman seen on the front page of The Washington Times yesterday who gave President Clinton a birthday surprise by peeling off her T-shirt after Mr. Clinton signed it during a visit to upstate New York.
Celebrating his 54th birthday with the first lady and daughter Chelsea, Mr. Clinton was greeting people after stopping for ice cream on Main Street in Lake Placid, N.Y. Many admirers, male and female, asked him to autograph their T-shirts his custom on such occasions.
The woman described as young and attractive in various press accounts pulled out the shirt for him to sign it. As soon as he did, the woman "whooped in jubilation, turned to face friends and lifted the shirt over her head," USA Today reports.
The woman was wearing a brassiere beneath the shirt. Mr. Clinton quickly turned away.
The shirtless woman "was immediately surrounded by law enforcement officials, who handcuffed her and questioned her until Mr. Clinton had left the area," the New York Times reports.
White House spokesman Jake Siewert compared the flasher to a U.S. women's soccer player who similarly displayed her bra after scoring a goal in the 1999 World Cup finals. Mr. Siewert said the woman "did a Brandi Chastain."

Confederate campaign

The Baltimore Sun says the "key" to Texas Gov. George W. Bush's advantage Nov. 7 is a Republican "electoral lock on the South and West."
But Vice President Al Gore's team isn't conceding Dixie to Mr. Bush. The Gore campaign "contends that the 'Republican South' no longer exists," according to the Columbia (S.C.) State, "and that the vice president intends to fight a two-front war in the Midwest and South."
Gore spokesman Chris Lehane told the newspaper the South "was really hard hit in the last administration, and people in the South aren't going to want to go back."
Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation," Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, said Mr. Gore and his running mate, Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, are "going to do very well in the South, because what Al Gore and Joe Lieberman represent are men of integrity, men of character, great family men, great husbands, great fathers. I think that will do very, very well in the South. And they're focused on the issues that matter to folks in the South."

Big speech, big deal

President Clinton's big speech at last week's Democratic National Convention was a hit with some people. Not Andrew Sullivan.
"The pundits loved it; the TV cameras captured weeping women gazing toward the podium; the networks stuck with the old charlatan for an additional half-hour of programming time, stymied once again by a man who still thinks the world needs to wait for him," Mr. Sullivan writes in the latest issue of the New Republic.
" 'We will miss him' was the almost universal response. I won't. Surely Al Gore won't," Mr. Sullivan writes, noting that in his speech, Mr. Clinton praised his vice president with "two focus-group buzzwords: Gore was 'a strong leader,' and he cared about 'ordinary Americans.' What a plug… . Bill Clinton as a character reference?"
Even worse than that, says Mr. Sullivan: "Before his speech, we had to endure several prime-time minutes of Hillary Rodham Clinton's oratory. If you ever needed proof of her mediocrity, you had only to absorb the most important speech of her career. It amounted to a claim that she cares about children, which I do not doubt, but which is not exactly a sentiment on the farther reaches of political daring."

Primaries today

Wyoming, Alaska and Oklahoma states hold primaries today, with Oklahoma Democrats hoping to recapture an open House seat in a district where Republicans are outnumbered, the Associated Press reports.
In Oklahoma, three Democrats and seven Republicans are seeking their parties' nominations for a seat left open by Republican Rep. Tom Coburn, who kept a campaign promise to retire after three terms. Democrats, who outnumber Republicans 5-2 in the district, held the seat until Mr. Coburn's victory in 1994.
The Democratic candidates include state Rep. Bill Settle and James "Jim Bob" Wilson. The Republicans include Mr. Coburn's chosen successor, car dealer Andy Ewing, and Mark Detro, who faces drug and assault-and-battery charges.
In Wyoming, Sen. Craig Thomas, a first-term Republican, faces no primary opposition. The two Democrats seeking the nomination to challenge him in the fall had not raised the $5,000 required to trigger federal disclosures.
Three-term Wyoming Rep. Barbara Cubin faces two fellow Republican challengers who raised less than $5,000 each.
Republican Rep. Don Young, Alaska's lone House member, also has no challengers for his party's nomination. Three Democrats are seeking their party's nomination to challenge Mr. Young.

'Carefully orchestrated'

Richard Cudahy, former chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, was named to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals by President Carter in 1979.
Judge Cudahy has confessed to tipping an Associated Press reporter last week that independent counsel Robert Ray, a registered Democrat, was impaneling a grand jury to hear evidence in President Clinton's sex-and-perjury scandal.
So when, wonder the folks at the Media Research Center, is CBS News anchorman Dan Rather going to apologize for falsely suggesting the leak was a Republican plot?
"You don't have to be a cynic to note that this has all the earmarks of a carefully orchestrated, politically motivated leak," Mr. Rather wrote in a CBS.com commentary Thursday, when news of the indictment broke on the eve of Vice President Al Gore's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
"The Republican-backed Robert Ray is sponsored by a three-judge panel… . This panel features two federal judges backed by the [North Carolina Sen.] Jesse Helms wing of the Republican Party," Mr. Rather wrote.
On the CBS "Evening News" Thursday, Mr. Rather repeated for millions of viewers that the leak about the "Republican-backed special prosecutor" was "carefully orchestrated," while his colleague Gloria Borger quoted a "top Gore adviser" as saying the leak was part of a "grand Republican strategy."

Big money

Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush raised seven times more money than Vice President Al Gore in July, according to monthly filings with the Federal Elections Commission.
Reuters news agency reports that while Mr. Gore raised $771,000 from individuals, Mr. Bush reported receipts of $5.4 million, including contributions from political action committees, the FEC filings released Sunday showed.
The Texas governor was free to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, while the vice president was bound by spending limits he accepted in return for $15.3 million in federal matching funds. Since March 1999, Mr. Bush has raised a record-setting $95 million.
With both party conventions over, the candidates can no longer accept campaign contributions but will now receive a $67.56 million federal subsidy.

VIP? Not

Arriving at the Los Angeles airport last week with his family, Rep. Martin T. Meehan, Massachusetts Democrat, was looking for a ride to his hotel.
In town for the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Meehan "was relieved to see 'DNC courtesy vehicles' zooming around the terminal," reports Amy Keeler in Roll Call.
"But much to Meehan's surprise, none of the Democratic National Committee automobiles stopped to pick him up. The cars, it seems, were reserved for donors, not lawmakers."

Robert Stacy McCain can be reached at 202/636-3249 or by e-mail at mccain@twtmail.com.

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