- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 28, 2000

Having a ball

It wasn't too long after President Clinton made his inaugural waltz into the Oval Office that protest vigils began outside, orchestrated by members of the Washington chapter of the Free Republic.

Everyday folks moms and dads mostly agitated about everything from Whitewater to a certain White House intern.

Now, after so many years of standing outside in the cold, the Free Republic chapter has earned the privilege of hosting its own inaugural ball next month.

Wouldn't you know they've dubbed it the "Free Republic Inaugural Ball and Count the White House Silverware Party."

Adult feature

For those who haven't had their fill of presidential humor over the last eight years, grab a bowl of popcorn and click on the boob tube.

This New Year's weekend, Brian Lamb of C-SPAN fame will recap eight years of the Clinton administration by televising 11 separate speeches by President Clinton at the annual White House Correspondents and Radio & Television Correspondents Washington Gala Dinners.

And yes, the series will include the accompanying famous speech by radio personality Don Imus that made national headlines in 1996 remarks the White House pleaded with C-SPAN not to rebroadcast.

Mr. Imus, who had supported Mr. Clinton in 1992, only to back Bob Dole four years later, had the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton clenching their teeth by bringing up the president's womanizing and legal troubles.

At one point, he wondered out loud what member of the Clinton family would become the first to be placed in a police lineup. He went on to suggest two campaign bumper stickers: "Clinton-Gore Please Raise Your Right Hand" and "Clinton-Gore 4 More or 5 To 10."

The grilling got worse or better, depending how you looked at it.

Mr. Imus later said of Mr. Clinton's reaction: "I can't even describe his face. If he'd had a gun, he'd a shot me. I was talking to him like I was sitting next to him on a bar stool."

Organizers of the dinner immediately apologized, in writing, to the president. As for White House reaction, Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry appealed to C-SPAN not to rebroadcast the event.

"I didn't know whether young children ought to be subjected to it, courtesy of C-SPAN," he said. Little did Mr. McCurry know all that Mr. Clinton himself would be subjecting children to two years later.

The series will air Saturday from noon to 8:15 p.m. In addition to the president's remarks, each gala features a nationally known comedian or humorist, besides Mr. Imus: Al Franken, Jon Stewart, Ray Romano, Jay Leno, Garrison Keillor, Darrell Hammond, Conan O'Brien and Elayne Boosler.

Bill paying

Pardon him, pardon her, pardon you,

Pardon everyone Bill ever knew.

No need to be frugal:

Pardon Hubbell, McDougal.

Pardon Gore, pardon Hillary too!

F.R. Duplantier

Longing for Newt

The "What's New" section of Rep. Barney Frank's congressional Web site (www.house.gov/frank) inadvertently provides a bit of humor as we prepare to venture into the 107th Congress.

Beneath "What's New," the Massachusetts Democrat has mistakenly pasted the congressional seal for the "105th Congress."

Dial 411

Nationally known political pollster Frank Luntz of the Luntz Research Cos. is losing his senior vice president, Chris Ingram, who is creating his own firm 411 Communications.

Mr. Ingram, who among other Capitol Hill duties once ran the Washington press office of former Sen. Paul Coverdell of Georgia, says his new company will provide polling, communications and public relations assistance for corporate and political interests.

Moonlighting

A little elf reveals the man hiding behind a Santa Claus beard at a recent Christmas pageant in Middleburg was none other than Brit Hume, Washington anchor for Fox News.

Hey Dan

David "Neon" Hagen, a reader from Silver Spring, has heard rumors that President-elect George W. Bush, a former owner of the Texas Rangers (formerly the Washington Senators), will use his contacts to bring a professional baseball team back to the nation's capital.

"The way the Redskins played this year," Mr. Hagen observes, "he should try to bring a professional football team to Washington."

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