- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Before you go …

We're told President Clinton, before leaving office, will receive a request to pardon one-time junk-bond king Michael Milken, who for now is banned for life from Wall Street.

"There's a letter-writing campaign seeking support for a presidential pardon, which will be presented soon to the president in hopes that Milken will be pardoned," a source tells Inside the Beltway.

Asked who is orchestrating the petition for a pardon, the source identifies Richard Sandler, Mr. Milken's longtime friend and attorney.

Mr. Milken, 54, served two years in prison and paid more than $1 billion in fines after pleading guilty in 1990 to involvement in a vast insider-trading scandal. He was on probation until recently.

It was while he was on probation that the notorious Wall Street financier was forced to pay another $47 million in fines after the Securities and Exchange Commission found he violated terms of his 1991 agreement banning him from conducting major business deals.

A recent victim of prostate cancer, Mr. Milken since has ventured into the child care and education arena, operating Knowledge Universe and Discovery Centers of America, along with other companies.

He and his now-defunct firm, Drexel Burnham Lambert, were major contributors to Democratic candidates. Former Rep. Tony Coelho, you'll recall, who earlier was general chairman of Al Gore's current presidential campaign, resigned in disgrace from the House in 1989 after misstating the nature of his purchase of a $100,000 Drexel junk bond.

Wood and brains

American Greetings, the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of greeting cards, is getting Americans into the election spirit with 12 designs spoofing Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

One shows Mr. Bush struggling to answer the $100 question on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" When host Regis Philbin asks the Republican who is buried in Grant's tomb, the presidential hopeful scratches his head in puzzlement and asks Regis for a "lifeline."

The company says it took great care to balance the humor between both candidates, which is seen in another card picturing Vice President Al Gore lugging a Christmas tree while trying to explain the difference between himself and the tree.

Wood and oil

Dennis Roche, owner of Roche Salons at Washington Harbour and the Sports Club LA, is known for his inventive look at fashion.

Besides sponsoring the now-infamous "Malibu Hillary" Alternative Fashion Show, he's the guy the stars turn to when deciding what to wear to the Inaugural balls and Academy Awards.

But this is the election season, and Mr. Roche thought he'd try his hand at presidential polling. Over his Internet newsletter, "Diary of a Hairdresser" (circulation 4,500), he reminds clients that in this media-driven society of ours, fashion is every bit as important as issues, and candidates are often selected solely on appearance. If that's the case, who will be our next president?

More than 350 of his clients responded.

"Al definitely uses the most hairspray and has the wooden Indian look down pat," writes David.

"George Bush," says Carly. "I love the fact that his hair would actually move if the wind blew. I believe that his relaxed appearance gives him a sexy edge."

"They are both funny-looking but Gore definitely has a better head of hair," adds Matthew. "Bush has one of those typical 'Washington white guy' bad haircuts."

Judy, a theater-arts resource teacher, writes in her critique: "If all the world's a stage, I need a more elaborate set!"

And finally, Alana says: "I feel sorry for Bush in those dreadful suits. If he wins the election, it is our responsibility, as citizens of this great nation, to declare an NFE (National Fashion Emergency) and get that man a makeover.

"We Americans are already perceived as gauche in certain countries, and we can't afford to further that misperception by having our top man gallivanting around the world looking like a rumpled snake-oil salesman."

Pied Piper

Nancy Pincombe of Reston, Va., just returned with her husband, Ron, from Disney World's Epcot Center in Florida, where they attracted a great deal of attention.

"I can honestly tell you that 200 to 300 people came up to us, so many that we finally stopped counting," says Mrs. Pincombe.

"The reaction was nothing like we expected. It was overwhelming. Often people would follow us, walking two feet behind my husband and snapping photographs. People were applauding, giving us high-fives. It was incredible!"

Everybody you encountered reacted this way?

"Only one guy came up to us and asked us if we were better off now than we were eight years ago," she says.

Mr. Pincombe, in case you hadn't guessed, was wearing a T-shirt: "The Top 10 Reasons Not to Vote for Al Gore."

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