- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Adultery hunt
The attorney representing Rep. Gary A. Condit, the California Democrat linked by friendship to a Washington intern who disappeared on April 30, says The Washington Post is conducting a libelous "full-scale 'get Condit' campaign."
In an angry four-page letter to Post Publisher Donald Graham and Executive Editor Leonard Downie, obtained yesterday by Inside the Beltway, attorney Joseph W. Cotchett refers to the Post's "adultery hunt," which he says is "stooping to a new journalistic low."
He cites specific interviews Post reporters have conducted, both in Washington and California surrounding the missing intern, Chandra Ann Levy, in which a "personal bias" against the congressman was obvious from the beginning, and "we consider this to be libelous."
One of the Post's stories quoted sources as saying Miss Levy had spent the night at the congressman's Washington apartment, suggesting the two were linked romantically.
"Clearly, the Post is out to smear Congressman Condit, not shedding light on a missing-person case," Mr. Cotchett informs the two editors.
Metropolitan Police in Washington have stated repeatedly that Mr. Condit is not a suspect in the case.

Francisco Luntz
The hottest pollster just got cooler.
In a city known for its smart suits, message guru Frank Luntz has made a career out of dressing down. And while "Luntz Language" is fashionable inside the power corridors of Washington, the wardrobe of its creator was decidedly un-cool.
Perhaps no more.
At several recent Capitol Hill presentations, the normally casual Mr. Luntz was seen sporting a wardrobe of Armani, Zegna and Boss. When chided by House GOP Whip Tom DeLay to explain his new-found taste in designer clothing, Mr. Luntz responded: "It's amazing what you can buy when your clients actually pay."
Turns out the Washington-based Mr. Luntz was the well-hidden political consultant who guided Italian billionaire businessman Silvio Berlusconi — Italy's richest man with an estimated $14 billion fortune — to his smashing electoral triumph last month as Italy's new prime minister.
(One Hill insider spreads rumor that Mr. Berlusconi actually handed his credit card to Mr. Luntz, telling him to buy some new clothes.)
Rejuvenated in his new designer threads, Mr. Luntz went on to score another major coup in this month's British elections, when his closely watched voter surveys forecast the exact margin of Tony Blair's victory.
Mr. Luntz will need the fancy clothing for his latest Hollywood gig: political consultant to NBC's hit TV show "The West Wing."

Offbeat bunch
A Vermont brewery is adding "Jeezum Jim" to its beer brands, named after the state's Republican-turned-independent Sen. James M. Jeffords.
"It's kind of a polite swear word," reacts Mr. Jeffords, who says a local columnist gave him the nickname years ago (actually, the word is a variation of Jesus' name, taken in vain).
"Jeezum is a farmer cuss word," says Alan Newman, co-founder of Magic Hat Brewing Co. "This beer is for everyone who follows their convictions."
"A celebration of conviction, courage and the difference one man can make," boasts the bright orange, white and blue label on the bottle.

Suds season
Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, a former home-brewer (he's actually posted his beer recipe over his official congressional Web site) will join Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant head brewer Mark Loveland for this evening's ceremonial tapping of Hefeweizen, a beer once reserved for Bavarian royalty.
The ale is obviously more democratic today, served to Washington's peasants and elite alike at 900 F Street NW.

Cheney, et al.
Regarding our lengthy item this week on the "worth" of U.S. vice presidents, Steve Hoffman of Mesa Communications Group noticed our quotes all came from vice presidents of 50 years ago or more.
"Although the office languished in humorous obscurity for almost 175 years, the role of vice president has certainly changed in the last 30 years," Mr. Hoffman notes. "Ronald Reagan may have been the first modern president to really try to execute policy and foster American interests with the use of the vice president, George Bush Sr. Bush was by far more experienced in foreign affairs … and Reagan used him in policy matters quite often in that historical setting.
"Bill Clinton used Al Gore a lot, and there was a slight co-presidency, especially in Bill Clinton's first term. Heck, if not Gore, then Hillary Clinton made an interesting co-president."
Today, he concludes, "there is little doubt that President George W. Bush received a lot of help from Dick Cheney. Whether that is good or bad is an opinion, but certainly it is obvious that the office of vice president has grown in influence and power since the early 1980s.

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