- The Washington Times - Friday, June 30, 2000

Locating Hsia

To help refresh the memory of Vice President Al Gore and for Attorney General Janet Reno's reading pleasure we're pleased to publish selected excerpts from Mr. Gore's April 18 testimony before the Justice Department's Campaign Finance Task Force.

Mr. Gore was being questioned about the 1996 fund-raising event at the Buddhist temple in California, where $60,000 in illegal donations were funneled to the Democratic National Committee.

Without further ado, Mr. Gore's testimony:

Question: "What is your recollection of any conversation you had with Ms. Maria Hsia at the event?"

Mr. Gore: "I have none."

Question: "Do you recall being seated at her table?"

Mr. Gore: "No, I don't, but I would have been glad to see her and would have said, 'Hello, how are you?' But I don't have any specific recollection of it."

Question: "Do you have any knowledge that Maria Hsia had solicited illegal contributions in connection with that event?"

Mr. Gore: "No, of course not. No, I don't."

We went to the Republican National Committee for reaction yesterday, asking RNC chief Jim Nicholson how Mr. Gore could have sat at the same table as Ms. Hsia, yet not remember.

"I guess it depends what the meaning of the word 'table' is," replied Mr. Nicholson.

Admiral Reno

In the "Talk About Digressing" category, Attorney General Janet Reno was asked at a news conference Thursday about her "spectacular week," what with victories on Capitol Hill and in the courts, particularly the Elian Gonzalez matter.

"What happens now?" asked a reporter.

"But there is a lot more to do," noted Miss Reno, "and I want to focus on issues that are of concern to everybody. And at the same time, I want to go see the Tall Ships in New York Harbor."

Grounding Luntz

Now it's GOP pollster Frank Luntz declaring war on one U.S. airline for "trapping" him for five hours aboard not one, but two airplanes.

And he still never took off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The first hostage incident occurred on a recent flight scheduled to depart Washington for Indianapolis, where Mr. Luntz was to deliver a speech. According to the pollster, the U.S. Airways plane, its doors securely closed for takeoff, sat motionless at the gate for 90 minutes. Only then did the captain make an announcement that the flight was canceled.

Rushing back to the terminal, Mr. Luntz says he "literally" got on his knees, begging the same airline to rebook him on the next flight. Obviously feeling pity for the kneeling man, ticket agents were able to locate a seat for Mr. Luntz.

Wouldn't you know, the second flight he climbed aboard sat on the runway for more than three hours before the pilot finally gave up and returned to the gate.

Mr. Luntz complains he lost $6,500 in speaking fees and says the airline has yet to refund the cost of his tickets.

Lule on the move

Barely a month before the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Cliff May, communications director for the Republican National Committee, has announced three major promotions.

Bill Pascoe, a veteran Washington political strategist, pundit and commentary writer, becomes the RNC's new press secretary; Chris Paulitz moves up to chief of radio services; and last, but not least, Julie Lule becomes assistant press secretary.

"She assures us that, unlike Hillary Rodham Clinton, she does not see this job as merely a steppingstone on her way to the presidency," Mr. May stresses of Miss Lule.

Who is Hillary?

The Center for the Study of Popular Culture's fifth annual Restoration Weekend is rapidly approaching, set for the last weekend in July (the eve of the Republican convention) in Absecon, N.J.

Run by author David Horowitz, Restoration Weekend is considered the premier political event for conservative thinkers. This year the right-wing bunch will hold thoughtful panel discussions on pressing contemporary issues, ranging from our favorite "Who is Hillary?" to Uncle Sam's Microsoft verdict.

Plus, there's always a surprise or two at every Weekend. Sen. John McCain, for instance, used the '98 event to announce his 2000 presidential ambitions.

Confirmed speakers this year include House Majority Whip Tom DeLay and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, both Texas Republicans; Rep. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican; and Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity.

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