- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 16, 2000

Bathroom break

In one interview with the FBI, Vice President Al Gore "said 23 times that he 'could not recall' details of a White House meeting at which his allocation of campaign fund-raising phone calls was discussed" in 1996, the New York Post says.
Those were the phone calls for which Mr. Gore later said there was "no controlling legal authority."
"But it's when Gore did offer an explanation to the FBI that things really got weird," the Post says. "According to an official summary, the vice president suggested he may have missed the key part of one fund-raising strategy session because well, because he'd had too much to drink," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"No, it's not what you think although being under the influence might be more believable. Wrote the FBI: 'The vice president also observed that he drank a lot of iced tea during meetings, which could have necessitated a restroom break. It was not uncommon for him, and for the president, to excuse themselves from meetings to use the restroom.' "

Blame global warming

"While President Clinton was answering questions from on-line viewers Monday, only seven individuals were in the chat room at one point," Internet columnist Matt Drudge reports.
Mr. Clinton gave his first on-line interview with a news organization Monday afternoon, as Wolf Blitzer and CNN joined the president in the Oval Office. CNN Viewers worldwide were encouraged to log on to CNN.com's Web site to question the president, but the turnout through most of the interview was embarrassingly light.
"It was not what we had hoped for," a CNN.com producer told the Drudge Report. "I suspect it is because of the [Georgia] tornadoes or something."

Church endorsement

The Internal Revenue Service should investigate a New York City church for violating federal tax law by endorsing Democratic candidate Al Gore for president, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The group, in a formal complaint filed with the IRS on Monday, charged that the Rev. Floyd Flake knowingly violated the Internal Revenue Code by inviting Mr. Gore to address his congregation and then endorsing the candidate during Sunday morning worship services at Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in New York City.
According to press accounts, Mr. Flake, referring to Mr. Gore, told his congregation, "I don't do endorsements from across the pulpit because I never know who's out there watching the types of laws that govern separation of church and state. But I will say to you this morning and you read it well: This should be the next president of the United States."

PAC backs Bush

The political action committee of the American Conservative Union has endorsed Texas Gov. George W. Bush for president.
"Our message is clear," committee Chairman David A. Keene said yesterday. "There is only one viable choice left for conservatives in this election one man who we believe will fight for the key aspects of our agenda, such as smaller government, tax relief, a strong national defense and the sanctity of human life. That man is George W. Bush."
Mr. Keene added: "Senator John McCain's New Hampshire victory has raised the stakes for conservatives across the country, because McCain is in the process of systematically rejecting the conservative agenda. In fact, many of the positions he has staked out in recent years and on the campaign trail should be considered for what they are outright assaults on the conservative Reagan agenda."

'The English Patient'

Texas Gov. George W. Bush's verbal miscues are becoming so regular that a network producer on his campaign bus has dubbed him "the English Patient."
The Republican presidential contender provides plenty of fodder, the Associated Press reports.
On Monday, Mr. Bush said, "There is madmen in the world, and there are terror," when talking about the need for a strong defense.
For parents bothered by the amount of profanity and violence on TV, he recommended a simple solution: "Put the 'off' button on."
Last week, Mr. Bush made a pitch for reforming health maintenance organizations by creating an independent panel that would try to resolve problems between patients and their insurers.
But instead of saying "arbitration," a slip of the tongue led him to describe it as an "arbitrary panel" before students at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
Mr. Bush also recalled his time as a Texas oil man and how the experience shaped his views in support of entrepreneurs. "I understand small business growth," he said. "I was one."

No alibis

The chairman of the Michigan Democratic Committee has urged the party faithful not to vote in the Republican presidential primary next Tuesday, the Conservative News Service (CNSNews.com) reports.
"It's a violation of our rules for someone to vote in the Republican primary and then vote in the Democratic caucus," said Mark Brewer.
The Democratic caucuses will be held on March 11.
Mr. Brewer warned party members who do vote in the Republican primary they could be challenged when they show up to vote at a caucus.
According to Mr. Brewer, Democrats would be playing into the hands of Michigan Gov. John Engler by voting Republican.
"It's interesting to see how John Engler's trying to find an alibi for why his candidate isn't going to do well. He's beginning to point fingers and say it's the Democrats' fault or it's somebody else's fault, if he, Bush, doesn't win."

McCain family slaves

Sen. John McCain's great-great-grandfather owned dozens of slaves on the family's plantation in the Mississippi Delta, the on-line journal Salon reported yesterday.
Mr. McCain previously contended that his ancestors in Carroll County, Miss., owned no slaves.
"I have ancestors who have fought for the Confederacy, none of whom owned slaves," Mr. McCain said Jan. 12, commenting on the Confederate flag that flies over the South Carolina Statehouse.
Citing documents obtained from courthouses, archives and museums in Mississippi, Suzi Parker and Jake Tapper reported in Salon yesterday that in 1860 William Alexander McCain the senator's ancestor had 52 slaves ranging in age from 6 months to 60 years on the family's 2,000-acre plantation, called "Teoc."
One of those slaves, Mary J. McCain, was the mother of famed blues guitarist "Mississippi" John Hurt, according to Salon.
His autobiography "Faith of My Fathers" repeatedly refers to the family's home in the Mississippi Delta as a "plantation," but Mr. McCain told Salon he never knew his ancestors owned slaves.
"I guess thinking about it … it shouldn't be a surprise," he told the Internet journal. "When you think about it, they owned a plantation, why didn't I think of that before? Obviously, I'm going to have to do a little more research."

Non-heroic actors

Now that the Clinton administration is phasing out the Reagan-era military-recruitment slogan "Be all you can be," Defense Secretary William S. Cohen looks to Hollywood celebrities for help, Investors Business Daily notes in an editorial.
Mr. Cohen hopes to sign up such stars as Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Robert DeNiro and Harrison Ford to appear in recruitment ads.
"Couldn't Clinton find real military heroes from Hollywood to appear in the ads? Actually, no. 'I don't think any exist, Hollywood film critic Michael Medved told IBD. 'It shows you what a distance we have come from Jimmy Stewart, with a heroic war record to using actors who have spectacularly undisciplined personal lives.' "

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