- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2000

Leaving on a jet plane

Hillary Rodham Clinton's air travel has come under fire again, this time from a congressman who said the first lady took a jet he had reserved for a Latin American fact-finding trip.
Rep. Cass Ballenger, North Carolina Republican, said Mrs. Clinton used a 14-seat Air Force Gulfstream jet to fly last week from Washington to campaign appearances in New York City and Buffalo.
Mr. Ballenger's bipartisan delegation, which had reserved the jet in December, was forced to use two smaller Air Force planes to fly to Latin America, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars in extra costs, he said yesterday.
"It tees me off that here we were on legitimate United States business important to the country … and yet she gets the plane for her own political purposes," Mr. Ballenger said. "It doesn't seem fair to me."
Howard Wolfson, spokesman for Mrs. Clinton's New York Senate campaign, said Mr. Ballenger's information was wrong, but he could not elaborate because he is restricted from discussing issues affecting the first lady's security. On the advice of the Secret Service, Mrs. Clinton's campaign uses government jets.
Mr. Ballenger's delegation traveled to flood-ravaged Venezuela to discuss disaster aid, and to Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala to talk about drug interdiction efforts, the Associated Press reports.

A 'classic' leftist

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani took expected Senate rival Hillary Rodham Clinton to task yesterday, accusing her of embracing "old-fashioned, classical left-wing thinking" as she prepares to run for office for the first time.The mayor said his approach was "a more progressive way of looking at things" that has "made government, particularly in New York City, much more accountable.""I think all throughout this campaign you're going to see a big philosophical difference," the mayor said during an interview with Albany's WROW-AM radio.Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign trumpeted a published report that Mr. Giuliani is appealing to fans of conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh for money, a new tidbit about the mayor's use of conservative-oriented mailing lists to help finance his campaign.According to a statement from Mrs. Clinton's campaign team, Mr. Giuliani "is raising millions of dollars with hate-filled appeals to a nationwide network of far-right donors." It was not clear whether the furious statement from the Clinton campaign was referring to the 20 million listeners to Mr. Limbaugh's program, or to Mr. Giuliani's assertion that Mrs. Clinton is a leftist, or both.

Bradley's message

Bill Bradley is about to announce detailed campaign plans for March, underscoring his commitment to fight deep into the primary season regardless of the outcome of next week's New Hampshire vote.
While Mr. Bradley has noted pointedly that he will have the money to compete post-New Hampshire, announcing such a campaign schedule in the heat of the New Hampshire race serves notice to Democratic rival Al Gore that Mr. Bradley won't be easily forced from the race.
The schedule details are to be announced this week, the Associated Press reports.
Gore backers still hope to quickly end the nomination fight without wasting any more scarce campaign dollars than necessary. They use every blow to Mr. Bradley's campaign to renew the argument he should drop out.
Mr. Bradley has just as firmly resisted that pressure, serving rhetorical notice he's in the race for the long haul.
"He's a tough opponent, and I know I'll be seeing a lot of him in the coming weeks," Mr. Bradley said after getting beaten by Mr. Gore in Iowa. The move by his campaign to put in place a spring campaign structure adds meat to those words.

Man accosts Bush

As Gov. George W. Bush arrived in New Hampshire before dawn Tuesday, an altercation led his state security detail to whisk a man quickly across an airplane hangar and throw him up against a wall, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The man identified by a companion and by a Bush spokesman as Alex Papali of Boston had been handing out humorous political brochures moments before the incident in Manchester. "Billionaires for Bush, because inequality is not growing fast enough," the flier said.

Mr. Bush was shaking voters' hands at a rope line when the man stepped forward.

"From my perspective, the fellow walked up at the very end of the rally and grabbed a hold of my hand that I put out to shake, and he wouldn't let go. He kept clinging on there, grabbing harder and harder," Mr. Bush said.

"I couldn't shake loose. I finally muscled up and jerked loose."

Mr. Bush said that after he got his hand loose, the man started gesturing at his face. Bush spokesman Mindy Tucker said the man was poking his finger at Mr. Bush's face and cursing.

"It was a very threatening gesture. The agents responded properly and got him out of there," Mr. Bush said.

The Bush spokeswoman said the man was detained at the Wiggins Aviation hangar until he could be formally identified and then was released.

Gore office invaded

Eight protesters opposed to an oil company's plans to drill in South America were removed from Vice President Al Gore's Manchester, N.H., campaign headquarters by police yesterday.
The protesters from Amazon Watch and other groups wanted Mr. Gore to pressure Occidental Petroleum to stop drilling for oil on lands of the U'wa people in Colombia, the Associated Press reports.
"There are eight people inside, and they're refusing to leave until they get a meeting with Al Gore [about] his connection with Occidental and the ongoing genocide against the U'wa people," Steve Kretzmann of Amazon Watch said as the first two protesters were taken out by police.
The other six followed shortly. Police said all eight would be charged with criminal trespass and some would be charged with resisting arrest for linking their arms or refusing to get up.
Mr. Gore's late father was a vice president of an Occidental subsidiary, and the group contends the vice president owns Occidental stock.

The lighter side

As President Clinton polished his State of the Union address yesterday, White House press secretary Joe Lockhart let his lighter side show, starting by sharing his podium with a teddy bear.
"The bear is here from West Lafayette, Indiana, from Burnett Elementary School," said Mr. Lockhart, normally the straightest of spokesmen, by way of an introduction at the start of his daily briefing.
"I guess they send it around to famous places, and for some reason it came to me via George Tenet's office at the CIA. So I just wanted to give it a little more visibility. It may be coming to your office soon."
This would not pass for sophisticated wit anywhere, but in sober-sided official Washington, it raised a chuckle. And there were more, Reuters news agency reports.
Asked whether Mr. Clinton's State of the Union speech tonight would be his longest, Mr. Lockhart wryly tried to dampen hopes for brevity.
"It is so long … it'll only be measured in hours rather than minutes… . If we're less than two hours, it'll be a great speech," Mr. Lockhart said. Last year's speech ran 77 minutes.

Reinventing what?

Vice President Al Gore has made much of his role in "reinventing government," but an Education Department employee from another part of the country was frustrated to find that even the agency's "telecommuters" who work at home apparently had been sidelined by the snow yesterday.

Clinton's judges

President Clinton said yesterday he believed history will judge his time in office by accentuating the positive and putting the Monica Lewinsky scandal into "proper perspective."

In an interview on "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer," Mr. Clinton said he regretted that "I wasn't straight with the American people" about "that woman."

He said he had no regrets for attacks on special counsel Kenneth W. Starr because Mr. Starr was "completely overboard."

His insistence that his legal defense was in essence defending the Constitution and the presidency has not changed.

"I feel that more strongly today," he said.

Mr. Clinton said his achievements will be remembered more than the Lewinsky scandal.

"People who do serious histories of this administration will be amazed at the amount of energy and effort that went into the wide variety of areas that we worked in," he said.

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