- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2000

Gore invention

"Is that a reviewable or recountable decision?"

Question posed yesterday to White House Press Secretary Jake Siewert, after announcing to the ire of reporters that President Clinton's meeting with congressional leaders in the Oval Office last evening was closed to the press.

Lichfield, Al?

"Our priest in the Episcopal Church I attend told us that the patron saint of disputed elections is St. Chad and that he did not understand why no one had picked this up," writes Inside the Beltway reader Birnie Harper, a resident and business operator in President Clinton's home state of Arkansas.

Actually, Birnie, inform the Episcopal priest that he's reading the wrong newspaper. We've resurrected St. Chad more than once here at The Washington Times.

To gladly repeat, St. Chad of Lichfield, England, set an example in the 7th century over a disputed office, not too unlike our contested Oval Office today. Except Chad bowed out humbly in favor of another cleric to avoid division in the church after some bishops objected to his election and installation as archbishop of York.

Here's the kicker: The archbishop of Canterbury was so impressed with Chad's humility he named him bishop of Lichfield.

Pushing the vote

A Washington resident returned home from New York to find D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton on his answering machine, urging her constituent to volunteer at the "Gore Lieberman Recount Office."

"This is Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton," begins the taped message from the District's nonvoting delegate in the House, explaining that she was fighting on behalf of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman to make every vote count in Florida.

"As District residents, we appreciate more than most how important a vote is," says Mrs. Norton, who's made her mark struggling for D.C. voting rights in Congress (impossible, it should be pointed out, without a constitutional amendment).

Mrs. Norton asks the gentleman to support the Gore-Lieberman ticket by marching outside the U.S. Supreme Court, or else "please participate in daily vigils outside the vice president's residence … ."

"Volunteers are also needed at the Gore-Lieberman Recount Office," she adds, or "a financial contribution will go a long way to defray the legal costs to support a full count."

Waaaaaatts up?

This year's award for best one-liners at Washington's winter Gridiron Dinner goes to Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., Oklahoma Republican. A few of our favorites:

• "It's a pleasure to spend an evening with some of America's most disciplined, competent and responsible journalists and also those of you from television news."

• "Growing up in Eufaula, Oklahoma, I was far removed from surroundings like this. But tonight emphasizes what I love about America a country where anyone, regardless of race, color or creed, has the opportunity to stand up before important people and make a fool of himself. I just hope I don't fall flat on my Adam Clymer."

• "It's only because of fate that I'm up here tonight. Most members of the Gridiron wanted Pat Buchanan to speak, but they voted for me by mistake."

• "The trouble with Pat is that when he says he favors a do-over, you don't know if he's talking about the election or World War II."

• "We were hoping Senator-elect Hillary Clinton would be here tonight, but she's busy campaigning in New Hampshire."

Leif it is

Norwegians, with the help of Walter Mondale, successfully illuminated their towering Christmas tree in Union Station on Capitol Hill this past weekend. It was in writing about the annual Norwegian-American tradition that we recognized the accurate spelling of "Leif Eiriksson."

"Tsk, Tsk," writes Washingtonian Robert W. Erikson, Leif's cousin of sorts. "Inside the Beltway has wandered outside the law to imagine any American belatedly accepting as accurate the spelling of 'Leif Erikson' to be other than that as settled by Congress under joint resolution (Public Law 88-566) approved on September 2, 1964.

"As affirmed by Lyndon B. Johnson's initial Presidential Proclamation of 'Leif Erikson Day' that followed …

"As later reaffirmed by the 'Leif Erikson' U.S. Commemorative Stamp authorized and issued …

"As most recently reaffirmed by the 'Leif Erikson Day' Presidential Proclamation 2000-10-06 issued this October 6, 2000 … on Leif Erikson Day 2000.

"The now-settled contest for extra or different letters in the United States officially recognized spelling of Leif Erikson was fairly fought and fully lost, your implied call for a current recount notwithstanding," concludes Mr. Eiriksson … er, Erikson.

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