- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2000

Night watchman

When Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, California Republican, left San Diego two days ago, the temperature was a balmy 75 degrees. When he arrived in Washington, the wind-chill factor was below zero and the snow was flying.
But the weather, he says, isn't what will be keeping several congressmen he knows from being on hand in the U.S. Capitol tonight, when President Clinton delivers his annual State of the Union address to Congress.
"Not all my colleagues will be there," Mr. Cunningham tells Inside the Beltway in an interview. "They're not even going to listen to him. [The president's remarks] will be too political."
Instead of a state of the nation, the congressman predicts Mr. Clinton will "try to beef up" Vice President Al Gore during his address, and "give him a bump."
Apart from that, he expects the Clinton routine: promises of new entitlements, a balanced budget, and paying off the debt.
"Voodoo economics," Mr. Cunningham says. "Smoke and mirrors."
Which isn't to say the Republican lawmaker won't show up for tonight's address.
"It's my house," he says, "and when I let somebody in my house who I don't trust, I'm going to be there to guard my house."

Biting her bullets

Inside the Beltway has learned that it took nearly a year for Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright's department which is responsible for delivering U.S. assistance overseas to supply .50-caliber ammunition to Colombian authorities.
However, that's not the only problem. The ammo, we're told by reliable sources, was outdated 1952, to be exact and useless except for training.
Another setback, obviously, for Washington's bureaucrats, who hurriedly ordered more ammo "and prayed no one would notice," says one of our contacts.
Still, there's much more to the story.
While Mrs. Albright was doing the tango in the posh Colombian resort town of Cartagena two weeks ago, wouldn't you know the newly ordered 50,000 rounds of ammo showed up on the doorstep of the State Department in Washington, instead of Bogota, where it's been needed to fight the drug cartels.

Toxic Texas

Look for Vice President Al "Earth in the Balance" Gore to start criticizing GOP presidential opponent George W. Bush's environmental record as governor of Texas, which the Environmental Protection Agency says leads the nation in certain types of pollution.
"Texas is No. 1 in pollution since 1995," claims the Democratic National Committee, which on behalf of Gore 2000 is distributing an April 1999 EPA "Toxic Release Inventory Report."
It states that Texas leads all 50 states with an annual emission of 108 million pounds of air pollution, 20 million pounds of water pollution, 21 million pounds of soil pollution, and 89 million pounds of underground pollution.

Forgiving Nixon

Bumper sticker observed in the parking lot of the Dominican Retreat House in McLean:
"NIXON 2000: He's not as stiff as Al Gore."

Laszlo leaps

Jennifer Laszlo, Washington's well-known Democratic strategist who's worked on behalf of President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore not to mention the presidents and prime ministers of Russia, the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland tells Inside the Beltway she's getting hitched.
The president of Laszlo & Associates, who made an unsuccessful run for Congress from North Carolina in 1994 and was recognized as a "Point of Light" by President Bush for her community service, will wed Victor Mizrahi Feb. 13 in Jerusalem.
Mr. Mizrahi is chief scientist for Ciena Corp., a leading expert in optical technologies for telecommunications systems. He holds 35 patents on optical technologies, and continues to invent. He has co-authored more than 60 scientific publications in various fields of modern optics.
Miss Laszlo says the wedding will take place at the world renowned King David Hotel, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. Rabbi Mordechi Gafni, who hosts an Israeli television show on Jewish issues, will officiate at the ceremony.

Real Al Gore

Republicans.Org is conducting a Democratic presidential poll: "Please select who you would like to be as the losing Democratic candidate. Please select one:
"Al Gore
"The Real Al Gore
"The Family Al Gore
"The Liberal Al Gore
"The Great Guy Al Gore
"The Clintons' Shadow Al Gore
"The Treehugger Al Gore
"Other Al Gore."

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