- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 15, 2000

Help wanted

You might have read where Republican vice-presidential candidate Richard B. Cheney has been granted a $20 million retirement package from Dallas-based Halliburton Co., approved by the oil company's board on the same day Texas Gov. George W. Bush tapped the former defense secretary as his running mate.
Not too shabby, considering Mr. Cheney was paid only $1.3 million in salary last year as Halliburton's chairman and chief executive.
That said, we couldn't help but do a double take while driving north through the town of Bakersfield, Calif., yesterday, where a gigantic billboard advertises: "Halliburton: Come Ride With A Leader."
It also provides the job-line phone number, should any prospective CEOs be passing by on their way to the Democratic National Convention.
Come to think of it, Bubba …

Blame Dan

The TV ratings aren't out yet following yesterday's opening of the Democratic National Convention, featuring the headline act of Bill and Hillary Clinton. But if the Republican convention is any indication, the television audience was smaller than in 1996.
Still, don't blame American viewers for tuning out of the election-year process of nominating a party's ticket. Point your fingers instead at Dan Rather & Co.
While the Republican audience two weeks ago was smaller than that which watched the convention four years ago, more than 50 million American adults did manage to watch at least a part of Philadelphia convention on an average night.
The latest Shorenstein Center national poll, however, suggests the viewing audience would have been higher if the three largest broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC had not reduced their coverage this year.
It's estimated that 53 percent of the convention audience on the typical night consisted of viewers who "just came across" the convention while flipping through the TV channels. As a result, because of the reduced hours of network coverage, such viewers were fewer in number.
Says former CBS and NBC newsman Marvin Kalb, co-director of the Vanishing Voter Project and executive director of the Shorenstein Center's Washington office: "Imagine how many more would have been watching and learning if the networks had not cut back so drastically on their coverage."
After all, as Mr. Kalb points out, one-fourth of American homes don't have cable.

Version 8.0

While the ultimate theme of this week's Democratic convention in Los Angeles awaits airing, the Republicans are eager to provide a prediction.
"The next four days will be Al Gore's reinvention convention, featuring the unveiling of the mother of all reinventions Al Gore Version 8.0. This latest version of Al Gore keeps its distance from Bill Clinton, takes credit for the good economy, and ignores the record of squandered opportunities of the past eight years," writes the Republican National Committee in a statement.
Wouldn't you know, Karenna Gore Schiff, Mr. Gore's eldest daughter and chairwoman of "GoreNet," one of her dad's campaign's youth-outreach efforts, participated yesterday in a virtual press conference to unveil "algore.com," the vice president's latest Web site.

Carnivore Clinton

As Attorney General Janet Reno prepares to provide "total access" to a university for an independent analysis of the FBI's controversial "Carnivore" e-mail surveillance system, questions surrounding the software program remain to be answered on Capitol Hill.
Paul Taylor, a spokesman for the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, tells this column that several bills introduced after his committee's hearings on Carnivore, which allows the FBI to scan a person's e-mail messages to obtain addresses, will come up for consideration after Congress reconvenes next month.
In the meantime, Inside the Beltway reader Bill Broderick offers this suggestion: "Why not urge the FBI to use the Carnivore program to locate the missing e-mails from the Clinton administration's database?"

Chomicki in 2000

Word is just in that presidential hopeful Paul Chomicki, who lags far behind the other candidates even Pat Buchanan has moved his campaign headquarters from Long Island, N.Y., to California.
He says he made the decision to move after campaigning all across Los Angeles.
"This move made sense, since I had extra space at my new apartment," explains Mr. Chomicki.
He adds: "The cross-section of people in L.A. is amazing. It has given me a better feel for this country's diverse people. Until now, I was unaware of America's large population of … Marilyn Monroe impersonators."

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