- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2000

If walls could talk

Holding onto the White House in 2000 is obviously one of the Democratic National Committee's top priorities.

"That's why we commissioned these limited-edition 2000 commemorative note cards," the DNC says of the pretty White House note cards, yours for a contribution of $20 or more.

"It's so important to remind ourselves that if we are not active and vigilant today, a Republican could reside in this magnificent home next year."

Big production

Three months to go before the start of the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles and those attending who haven't booked a hotel room yet had better get dialing.

The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) tells us it has secured 18,000 rooms in 80 hotels throughout Los Angeles to house more than 35,000 of its guests who will be attending the Aug. 14-17 convention.

It is estimated that these 35,000 visitors, many of them members of the media, will pump more than $132 million into the Los Angeles economy. The City of Angels hasn't seen this large a campaign contribution since it last hosted the Democrats in 1960 and sent John F. Kennedy on his way to the White House.

Meanwhile, the DNCC didn't have to go far Hollywood to recruit two world-renowned producers to orchestrate the four days of festivities, tapping Gary Smith as executive producer. A partner in the Los Angeles-based Smith-Hemion production company (the firm has 24 Emmy Awards on its shelf), Mr. Smith recently won the Peabody Award for producing the widely-watched "Millennium" broadcast on ABC.

(Mr. Smith actually directed and produced the previous three Democratic conventions and both of President Clinton's inaugural galas here in Washington.)

At his side will be L.A.-based producer Ricky Kirshner, who has 15 years' experience with ABC and Radio City Music Hall, and who also had a hand in Mr. Clinton's inaugural galas.

Thomas Gorman, who managed and directed events for NATO's 50th-anniversary summit in Washington, the G-8 Summit in Lyon, France, the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Gore/ Chernomyrdin Commission meetings in Moscow and Washington, will be the convention's director of production.

Million Mom wake

Henceforth, congressional reporters who attend Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's regular news briefings first will have to listen to the South Dakota Democrat rattle off the names of the nation's gunshot victims before he'll take any other questions.

Here's how Mr. Daschle opened yesterday's briefing:

"James Allen, 27, Houston, Texas; Ladred A. Austin, 21, Chicago; Jeremiah Buchanan, 22, Houston, Texas; Carimo Ali Deremy, 23, Detroit; Rufus Denuel, 50, Charlotte …

"Those are the names that the U.S. Conference of Mayors have as victims of homicide last year, May 17th," the senator said after finally finishing the list. "As I noted yesterday, each day it is our intention from here on out to provide as accurate a list of people who have died children, adults on that day just one year ago."

Three stooges

Inside the Beltway fan Mike Bates, of Tinley Park, Ill., was one of several readers to find Bob Dole an "interesting selection" to address the Richard Nixon Alumni Group's annual dinner in Washington last evening.

After all, he points out, Mr. Dole has said: "One of my most often repeated quips was the one I made when former Presidents Carter, Ford and Nixon stood by each other at a White House event. 'There they are,' I said. 'See no evil, hear no evil, and … evil.' "

No logs required

In the "How Times Have Changed" category, Mr. Internet himself, Vice President Al Gore, was handed the privilege of hosting yesterday's first in a new series of the popular "fireside chats" created by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Instead of calling them "fireside" chats, though, www.Voter.com one of the leading political Web sites whose charter national advisers include the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee dubs them "firesite chats."

Look for Texas Gov. George W. Bush to sit by the "firesite" next. Actually, the GOP presidential candidate is no stranger to other Voter.com live chats, joined by House Republican Whip Tom DeLay and House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

Kicking butt

Which millionaire's butt would Americans most like to kick?

This unusual polling question was put to 500 Americans across the land, posed by DiMassimo Brand Advertising. Interestingly enough, only one of the Top 10 responses, listed here in order, makes a living in politics: Rick Rockwell, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Bill Gates, John Rocker, Donald Trump, Ron Perelman, all the Backstreet Boys, George W. Bush, George Steinbrenner and Jerry Della Femina.

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