- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2000

Gridlock on the air

Normally, Oliver North and Paul Begala go face to face in their confrontations on MSNBC's "Equal Time." But Tuesday, snow-induced traffic snarls prevented Mr. Begala from reaching the network's Washington studios, so the former Clinton aide called the show from his car on his cellular phone.
Mr. North introduced Mr. Begala: "Earlier this afternoon, when it started to snow here in our nation's capital, the government announced a liberal leave policy. Paul, is that why you're not with us here tonight?"
Mr. Begala retorted: "I am somewhere between Virginia and Washington, D.C. It's the biggest snow job since the 'Contract With America.' "
When Mr. North asked how long Mr. Begala had been in his car, he answered: "I have been in my car for 2 hours and 58 minutes. I've gone 11.7 miles."
And Mr. North responded: "Eleven miles in several hours? Call Al Gore; he wants to take care of gridlock in America."

Double standard

Bill Bradley denounces Al Gore for introducing murderer and rapist Willie Horton into the 1988 presidential contest, but suggests it would have been OK if Mr. Gore had focused on a white murderer.
"What an outrageous double standard!" writes New York Post columnist Eric Fettmann.
"Only if Willie Horton had been white, Bradley is saying, would the [Massachusetts prison] furlough issue have been legitimate. Black criminal behavior, in other words, can't be publicly discussed even if there's no racial context to the discussion."

Double standard II

If a leading Republican showed up to pay obeisance to former Klansman David Duke, the leading lights of America's television news desks would react with shock and indignation and rightfully so. But when Hillary Rodham Clinton pays her respects to Al Sharpton one of the nation's most virulent racists the reaction is strangely muted. And Mrs. Clinton is not the only one. Presidential candidate Bill Bradley also has paid his "respects." Can Vice President Al Gore be far behind?

That lonely voice

President Clinton telephones former aides to relieve his loneliness, the New York Times reports.
"After-hours, the president dials up aides gone by. The conversations can stretch into the early hours of the morning, the recipients of his calls say, wandering from assessments of a presidential campaign he is not part of to accounts of his peacemaker duties in the Middle East to musings about how a retiree in his 50s might usefully fill his days after Jan. 20, 2001," reporters David E. Sanger and Marc Lacey write.
One old friend of the president's told the reporters: "When you hear that lonely voice, you know it's time to sit up and turn on the light, because this is going to take a while."
Said the reporters: "As Mr. Clinton heads into the eighth and final year of his presidency, he is a blur of motion but he is also very alone.
"His only child is away at college. His wife has moved out to start a career of her own. His vice president is on the road seeking to become his successor. Left behind, at least, is Buddy the Labrador, who now spends all night with the president when Hillary Rodham Clinton is away modern-day testimony to Harry S. Truman's observation a half-century ago that the only true friend in Washington is a dog."

Melancholy man

President Clinton, facing his final year at the White House, said yesterday he wished he didn't have to sleep so he could savor every last moment of his presidency.
Mr. Clinton has mused for months about his dwindling days as president, alluding to melancholy songs like Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" as he gets ready for his eighth and last year in office, which starts today.
In speech after speech, and especially late at night, the president seems to be trying to come to grips with the fact that his days as the most powerful man in the country are numbered and there is nothing he can do about it, Reuters reports.
"I just want to milk every last moment of every day," Mr. Clinton told reporters in the Oval Office yesterday.
"I wish that God would give me the capacity to function for a year without sleep. That would make me very happy," he said. "But I think it is highly unlikely, therefore I will keep trying to get some."

Hillary-Rudy funds

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani raised $12 million in 1999 for his U.S. Senate campaign committee, his campaign spokesmen announced yesterday.
His likely opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton, raised $8 million in the second half of 1999.
More than 90,000 individuals from New York's 62 counties contributed to the Friends of Giuliani exploratory committee, campaign manager Bruce Teitelbaum said.
More details will be released Jan. 31, when the committee files its biannual report with the Federal Election Commission.
"The campaign exceeded its initial fund-raising projections for 1999 by 41 percent despite the fact that our fund-raising director was not in place until March of 1999," the committee's treasurer, John Gross, said in a statement.
Spokesmen for the campaign declined to disclose details on Mr. Giuliani's federal political action committee, Solutions America, or his state-based committee, Giuliani for New York, until they file their FEC reports.
Mrs. Clinton's campaign manager, Bill de Blasio, gave no numbers on her two joint committees with the Democratic Party.
"We are very proud of the work we've done, especially considering that this did not become a full-fledged committee until October," he said in a statement.

Hodges: Move the flag

South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges said yesterday that the Confederate battle flag should be removed from the Statehouse dome.
It was the governor's most forthright statement yet on the issue and came two days after nearly 50,000 people rallied on the Statehouse lawn, urging the legislature to bring the flag down.
In his State of the State address, Mr. Hodges said it was time to resolve a matter that led the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to boycott South Carolina and even spilled into the presidential race.
"We must move the flag from the dome to a place of historical significance on the Statehouse grounds," said Mr. Hodges, a Democrat, in a prepared copy of his speech. "The debate over the Confederate flag has claimed too much of our time and energy."
Mr. Hodges did not offer a specific plan for what to do with the flag, and he waited until the end of the 4,700-word speech to make the request. Only the state General Assembly can remove the flag.
Mr. Hodges also said South Carolina should officially recognize the Martin Luther King holiday.
The memorial day is currently an optional holiday for state employees, who also can pick several Confederate holidays or a day of their choice.

Bush's contributors

In raising $41 million in two campaigns for governor, George W. Bush depended on just 207 donors for nearly $1 out of every $4 collected, the Associated Press reports, citing a new study of the Republican's 1994 and 1998 races.
Those 207 largely business-oriented donors gave at least $25,000 apiece, accounting for $10 million, or about 24 percent, of the total. Another 513 donors gave between $10,000 and $25,000, adding $6.7 million more.
"It's a lot of money from a very small handful of folks," said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, a nonprofit research group that studies campaign finance issues and is releasing the study today.

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