- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2000

Excitement after all

Finally, controversy at the Republican National Convention.
Tom Adkins, publisher of The Common Conservative, claims Newsweek's Eleanor Clift walked off the set of a live panel discussion with Pseudo Programs, the world's largest Internet TV network, after apparently hearing one too many conservative thoughts.
As vice presidential candidate Richard B. Cheney delivered his formal nomination speech on the floor below Wednesday night, the panel was asked: "What do you think of Dick Cheney?"
Mr. Adkins says after Ms.Clift finished reciting Mr. Cheney's age, lack of excitement and "the rest of the scripted DNC [Democratic National Committee] talking points," he replied: "Actually, I think Cheney is a brilliant choice. He brings competence and excellence, and that inspires national confidence."
He concluded by saying: "I think America is tired of the thrill-a-minute, 24-hour, non-stop porno show in the White House."
Which was about the time, he charges, Ms. Clift "took off her headphones and scurried for safety."
When the interview ended 30 minutes later, Mr. Adkins says a Pseudo producer pulled him aside to say Ms. Clift "walked out of here asking, 'Who the hell is that guy?' "
"I didn't storm off the set," Ms. Clift tells Inside the Beltway. "I'd been there for half-an-hour already. In fact, I remained a little longer and listened to Cheney."
Pseudo spokesman Sam Hollander tells us the network's guests are often "rotated in and out, and [Ms. Clift] stayed as long as expected."

Look, it's Ted!

Everybody is so anxious to meet political celebrities at the Republican National Convention that they're now seeing double.
Take Bob White, white-haired chief of staff to ex-California Gov. Pete Wilson, who so many people are mistaking for Arizona Sen. John McCain that Mr. White's going ahead and signing John McCain's autograph anyway so as not to disappoint.
Then there's Jim Martin, president of the senior citizens lobby "60 Plus Association," who way back in 1967 gave Texas Gov. George W. Bush his first political job. Mr. Martin bears a striking resemblance to media baron and billionaire philanthropist Ted Turner.
A few months ago, Mr. Martin was among the Republican elite invited to join Mr. Bush as he huddled with GOP members of Congress in Washington. When the attendees emerged, they were surrounded by the usual gaggle of reporters, one of whom — we're not making this up — wrote in another Washington newspaper:
"Media mogul Ted Turner also exited from the meeting sporting a 'compassionate conservative' button, and said the Bush message to the House GOP was 'excellent' and 'right on track.' "
Here in Philadelphia, Mr. Martin has had a lot of explaining to do. For instance, at one CNN convention party, two NBC staffers swore it was CNN founder Ted Turner — not Mr. Martin — cracking the jokes.
"When I go to Atlanta, I get the best seat in the house," Mr. Martin told us yesterday of Mr. Turner's home base. "The downside is everybody expects me to pick up the tab."

Love and money

No, you're not seeing double.
The happy mug in today's column truly is former Republican Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, caught in Philadelphia on the receiving end of an adoring smooch from Katuria Smith.
Obviously New York's political hunk has rebounded in style after blowing $24.2 million in 1998 only to lose his Senate seat to Democrat Charles E. Schumer, who spent a mere $16.7 million.
The D'Amato-Schumer contest actually was the second most expensive Senate race in U.S. history, behind 1994's California beauty pageant — $43.3 million — between incumbent Sen. Diane Feinstein and Arianna … er, Michael Huffington.
The Huffingtons (since divorced) spent $29.4 million in their failed bid for Capitol Hill, while Mrs. Feinstein spent only $13.9 million.
Far from over, we should point out, is the hotly contested Hillary Rodham Clinton/Rick Lazio Senate contest in New York, for which millions of dollars is pouring in from all over the United States.

Four day party

We've heard it asked a dozen times by a dozen reporters covering this kinder, gentler GOP convention: Where are the conservatives?

Who better to provide the answer than David A. Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

"Where are the conservatives, why aren't they grousing?" Mr. Keene says is the question he hears most.

Well, he explains, Republicans are more united this 2000 election cycle than they've been for many years, and delegates "are more conservative than the last convention and the convention before that.

"That's why they're not out grousing, they're out celebrating."

Try L.A.

"Pineapple Upside Down Clown."

— How one woman protester identifies herself at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, which might explain why countless protests in the city were never taken seriously.

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