- The Washington Times - Friday, September 8, 2000

Reno roll

Before traveling to Massachusetts yesterday to highlight key crime-reduction strategies, Attorney General Janet Reno revealed that she went home to Miami over Labor Day "and I practiced my Eskimo rolls in warm water."

"Your Eskimo rolls?" asked a reporter.

"Yes," she said.

"You were baking?" the reporter wondered.

"Noooo, I was flipping over in the kayak," said Miss Reno, actually an avid kayaker who's been spotted upside down in the Potomac River on more than one occasion.

"I didn't do all that well," she said of her holiday rolling, "but I'm almost about to make it."

Long test drive

Having long hair and riding a motorcycle certainly hasn't made being a senator any easier for Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado Republican.

But truth be told, Mr. Campbell, 66, who is often ridiculed for wearing black jeans and motorcycle boots below his sport coat and tie, isn't the only "easy rider" on Capitol Hill.

Democratic Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and John Kerry of Massachusetts both own motorcycles, the latter a BMW he refurbished himself.

"Senator Kerry has been into motorcycles for years he got his first bike in high school," confirms spokesman David Wade, who relays one important motorcycle lesson Mr. Kerry learned early in life.

"He was selling one of his first bikes after college, just before Vietnam, through a want ad in the newspaper, and this guy came by to look at it, took a test drive, and drove off with it. It was never seen again.

"Which is probably where at age 18 John Kerry started getting his 'tough on crime' credentials," guesses Mr. Wade.

On weekends during the summer, he adds, Mr. Kerry has what he calls "unscheduled drive time: gets rid of his cell phone, gets rid of his beeper, and rides his motorcycle through the hills of western Massachusetts" greeting constituents.

Golden years

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, just sat down for a Senate Finance Committee markup of a pension reform and coal-miner retirement benefit bill yesterday when he hastily excused himself.

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Democrat, told the committee that Mr. Rockefeller had whispered an apology on his departure, explaining he had to return to the Senate because he forgot to vote on the amendment up for consideration.

"There is nothing more annoying than when you go to the floor to vote and then forget to do so," observed a sympathetic Sen. William V. Roth Jr., Delaware Republican, the committee chairman.

For the record, Mr. Roth is 79, and Mr. Rockefeller is 63.

Heavy mailbag

A good deal of reader feedback this week, beginning with Mike Fisher of Sacramento, Calif., who read where Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner is frustrated over the flurry of "bias" complaints filed by her employees.

We observed that Mrs. Browner is trying to soothe tensions by writing in a memo that since the start of the Clinton administration, "African-American representation in GS-13, 14, and 15 positions has increased by 94 percent."

Asks Mr. Fisher: "Does this mean there were six African Americans in those pay grades when she took over and now there are 11? I'm always wary when people put out percentages instead of actual numbers."

On the New York House race between incumbent Democratic Rep. Michael P. Forbes and fireworks magnate Felix J. Grucci, Martha Glisson writes:

"My husband used to work for another fireworks family the Zambellis and from my personal experience as a semiskilled assistant (mortar carrier and fuse unroller) I can tell you this: being a pyrotechnist requires tremendous organizational skills, meticulous attention to detail, what I believe they now call 'multitasking' leadership ability under stress and time constraints, and nerves of steel. And you can't lie to a couple of hundred pounds of potassium chlorate. I can't think of any better qualifications for Congress."

Fishermen from the Potomac River to the Pacific rim added their own tales to our "Fish Philosophy" Republican philosophy: Teach a man to fish and you've fed him forever; Democratic philosophy: Give a man a fish and you have his vote forever but none as honestly as Larry Stein:

"The rest of the adage reads like this: Teach a man to fish, and he'll spend all his time in a boat drinking beer."

And finally, the majority of this week's mail dealt with New York Times political reporter Adam Clymer being served a dose of his own foul medicine by Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush.

Opines Don Kanipe: "Adam Clymer is an example of what you get when you drag a $100 bill through the New York Times."

• John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or by e-mail at mccasl@twtmail.com.

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