- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Tale of the tapes

Talk about a tale of political intrigue and missed opportunity.

Inside the Beltway has learned that several never-before-aired television campaign commercials produced by Victory 2000, the arm of the Republican National Committee that supports GOP candidates from George W. Bush on down, were sent to Sacramento Saturday afternoon via Federal Express.

The videotapes were to be shown for the first time Monday morning, released at an 11 a.m. press conference called by state Sen. Jim Brulte, Mr. Bush's campaign co-chairman for California.

But by 10:10 a.m., the package still hadn't arrived, and GOP aide Justin Matheson became worried.

He called the shipper's tracking number, and was shocked to discover that only seconds earlier the package had mistakenly been delivered to the Democratic Party headquarters, exactly two blocks away.

Mr. Matheson leaped from his desk, bolting as fast as his legs could carry him right through the front door of the "enemy" camp. He came to a screeching halt at the first desk he encountered, where to his amazement beneath the curious gaze of a secretary rested the Republican package.

"Ma'am," he immediately told the woman, "I apologize, but that package was delivered to the wrong address."

"Oh, OK, here you go," replied the secretary, obviously unaware that the package she held in her hands held the opposition's ads.

"Thank you very much," said Mr. Matheson, who turned and made a beeline for the door.

"If that's what it takes to outwit California Democrats," RNC Deputy Press Secretary Mark Pfeifle told this column in Washington yesterday. "By November, the state's coveted electoral votes will be in the Republican column."

Next to the lipstick

Let's get this straight: President Clinton couldn't "recall" being alone with Monica Lewinsky in the West Wing of the White House.

Yet 26 years ago, he recalls, Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't utter an anti-Semitic slur against his congressional campaign manager, Paul Fray.

Mrs. Clinton couldn't locate her missing Rose Law Firm billing records in the White House family quarters, until such time as they mysteriously reappeared next to an ironing board.

Yet this week, Mrs. Clinton easily retrieved a handwritten letter, dated July 1, 1997, in which Mr. Fray asks the first lady for forgiveness (for what we don't know).

"No one is questioning why the Fray letter was so quick to surface, when at the same time the Clintons couldn't find subpoenaed files and thousands of e-mails," Elaine Crispen, Nancy Reagan's former press secretary, told this column yesterday.

"But a letter to sort of defend herself was, I guess, tucked away in her purse."

Lettuce entertain you

Wearing nothing but strategically placed lettuce leaves, a pair of vegetarian Playboy centerfolds are sure to raise eyebrows as they greet congressmen during PETA's meat-free hot dog party today (high noon, guys) outside the Rayburn House Office Building.

Meanwhile, in the congressional courtyard, the American Meat Institute will be holding its annual hot dog lunch, which attracts members of Congress, their staffs, and usually features a retired baseball player or two.

But outside, PETA for once is offering, well, a feast: Playboy playmates Julie McCullough and Kari Kennell, serving vegetarian "Not Dogs" to promote what they call a healthy and humane diet (Independence Avenue entrance, boys).

"Playboy is helping us put the 'T & A' in PETA," Dan Mathews, PETA's director of campaigns, tells Inside the Beltway. "We're expecting quite a crowd, but we can dish it out as well as take it. We'll be loaded down with veggie dogs and expect to sign on plenty of new supporters."

Invitations mailed to members of Congress explain: "You would probably lose your lunch if you knew what actually went into a wiener. A meat hot dog contains every imaginable part of abused animals, including pig stomach, snout, intestines, spleens, and, yes, even lips."

The letter says the three biggest killers of people in the United States heart disease, cancer and stroke have been conclusively linked to meat consumption.

PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, advocates vegetarianism to help prevent these diseases, as well as to help end cruelty to animals.

Back to school

Former education secretary and past presidential candidate Lamar Alexander is the new co-founder and chairman of the board of Simplexis.com, a San Francisco-based company that supplies school districts with supplies and equipment.

Simplexis matches school districts with vendors via the Internet, cutting out costly paperwork, according to Mr. Alexander. The company just completed a successful pilot run in the Glendale, Calif., school district.

He estimates Simplexis can cut procurement costs for school districts by $10 billion by 2005, channeling the savings "back to the classroom, where the money is most needed."

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