- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2000

No margin of error

House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas has been having fun interacting with the readers of his Web site, www.Armey.org.

"It's been reported that Hollywood liberals Alec Baldwin and Robert Altman intend to leave the United States when George W. Bush is elected president," the Republican writes, posing the question: "Who in Hollywood would you most like to see buy a one-way ticket?"

An overwhelming 47 percent of the 1,017 people who responded said good riddance to Rosie O'Donnell.

Most extraordinary

Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, is part of a minority on Capitol Hill who pen their own speeches. He spent his childhood in his mother's school library, he says, mesmerized by crackling vinyl recordings of great speeches.

"Words didn't merely chart or record the unfolding drama of history," the senator notes, "they made history."

Who better then to help select the historic words for the national best seller he co-authors "In Our Own Words: Extraordinary Speeches of the American Century" with historian Andrew Carroll.

Taking a look at a few of the famous people included in the book, it's easy to recall their extraordinary sermons, eulogies, radio broadcasts, courtroom pleas, public tributes, commencement addresses and speeches Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, Douglas MacArthur, George S. Patton, Jackie Robinson, Duke Ellington, William Faulkner, Clarence Darrow, Lou Gehrig, Billy Graham, Vince Lombardi, Helen Keller, Will Rogers, Mark Twain, Orson Welles, J. Edgar Hoover, Joseph McCarthy, Richard M. Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Al Capone and William Jefferson Clinton.

As for the latter's most extraordinary moment, Mr. Torricelli selected two speeches the "original draft" of President Clinton's apology to the American people for his "improper relationship" with intern Monica Lewinsky (an address filled with remorse and apology), "and the speech he ultimately gave."

Mr. Clinton's first speech, the senator observes, was replaced by one less contrite and sterner in tone, for on second thought the president did not wish to appear weak in the eyes of the nation's adversaries.

Congressman's search

New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., 63, has three grown sons of his own, yet the Democrat is never without the picture of another boy in his pocket.

"I carry with me in my pocket at all times … a picture of a young boy, Valdrin Ferizaj, 8 years old, who tugged at my pants in a refugee camp where there were 35,000 refugees, which was only supposed to hold 10,000," says Mr. Pascrell, recalling a trip he made last year to Macedonia and Albania.

"He spoke to me in a language I could not understand," he says. "And someone translated, 'He is asking you, Mr. Congressman, where is his mother and father?'

"I have tried to find them since coming back," says the Democrat, "and I will continue."

Scott's car tips

Feeling guilty for not changing the oil in your car every 3,000 miles?

Don't, says one congressman, regardless of what one familiar advertising jingle recommends.

"I was just driving off from the gas pump, paid the [expensive] price for gasoline, and I said, 'What can we do for conservation?' " says Rep. Scott McInnis, Colorado Republican. " 'Is there something we can do immediately to help conserve the product that we are using?'

"You know what I did? I looked up in the left-hand side of the windshield of my car, and I see in my car that they recommend I change the oil for the vehicle I was driving every 3,000 miles.

"So I got in the glove compartment, I looked at my owner's manual, and sure enough, the people who built the car, the people who engineered the car, and the people who guarantee the car say look, for ultimate performance all you need to do is change your oil every 5,000 or 6,000 miles. It did not say every 3,000."

Show us the money

Speaking of oil, we had to laugh when Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, recalled the junket he took to a cold, barren land several hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle.

"You have to work to get there," he says. "You have to have some people who know what they are doing to get you there and show you around.

"We flew over that area. As far as the eye can see for an hour, there is nothing but snow and ice nothing. There are no trees. There are no animals. There are no mountains. There is nothing but snow and ice.

"You finally get to … a little Eskimo village, and the people say: 'When are you going to bring the oil exploration to our village?' "

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