- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2000

It takes a village

Long the champion of overseas travel, President Clinton toted along enough people on his recent Russian tour to cast a Broadway musical.
Yesterday, the White House released the official list of his traveling entourage, which topped out at 50 persons.
The assortment included 11 "assistants," four "deputy assistants," a dozen "special assistants" and seven "directors," among other titled folks. Penny Price was also along for the ride. She is "protocol gifts officer."
Lest we forget, Mr. Clinton has made 47 trips to 63 countries during his White House tenure, spending 226 days abroad.

The lie-brary?

The fair city of Little Rock is on a library watch. Inquiring minds wonder if Mr. Clinton will uproot his $150 million presidential library now that an Arkansas Supreme Court panel recommended his disbarment.
Observers note a few buildings at the library site in downtown Little Rock have suddenly disappeared, knocked down and swept free of telltale remains.
"What's going on?" asked the Arkansas Democrat Gazette yesterday. "All this progress is curious since there's been talk lately about the president's maybe picking up the library and going home. (Would that be New York now?) And there was the city's argument in court that the land's just for a park anyway an awfully expensive park. After all, there's no written contract for the library to go there, the city's attorney pointed out, despite the president's assurance that this is where his library will go.
"Contrast that skeptical view with this assurance from the local contractor for the president's library, William Clark: 'I'm sure his word is good, aren't you?' That comment is still a solid contender for quote of the year."

The basic tenant

Tracy Mayberry may sue Vice President Al Gore for renting her a smelly Tennessee apartment. But Mr. Gore won't be hungry when he gets served with the papers.
Mrs. Mayberry noted yesterday that if he fixes up the property, she'll make him a nice meal, Southern-style.
"I'd make fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cornbread and I'd even bake him a peach cobbler," Mrs. Mayberry said.
Some think Mr. Gore doesn't deserve such culinary delights.
"If he can't take care of one house, what makes him think he can take care of the U.S.?" asked New York's WABC radio talk-show host Sean Hannity yesterday.

Fond Ford memories

In town yesterday to present journalism awards at the National Press Club, former President Gerald R. Ford told the lunchtime crowd that he feels for Vice President Al Gore.
"Having been called charismatically challenged myself, I have a lot of sympathy," Mr. Ford said.
Ever the modest voice of reason, Mr. Ford discounted the "splendid misery" of media attention on the White House.
"Perhaps I never aspired to the splendid, so I never considered the misery," he said, then recalled the halycon days when "soft money" did not involve stupefying amounts.
"During my campaign, I spent $40,000," Mr. Ford noted. "And I wasted half of that."

And the numbers

And how much soft money do the parties raise these days?
According to new figures released yesterday by the Federal Election Commission, it accounts for $77 million of the $104 million Democratic Party committees received during the 15 months ending March 31.
Some $86 million of the $179 million raised by the GOP in the same time was "soft."
That's over a 90 percent increase over amounts raised by both parties when compared to four years ago.

Buffing up Ralph

Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader is getting chummy with a Hollywood-style image consultant, perhaps to convert his public persona from bland to brute.
Bill Hillsman is the offbeat advertising whiz who met with Warren Beatty when the star toyed with a presidential run. He also created Jesse Ventura's winning campaign for Minnesota governor back in 1998, using an "action figure" theme.
Most political consultants don't understand the dynamics of the media, he said, and its effect on voters.
And these voters, Mr. Hillsman said, want personal connections with a candidate before they will take any speechifying.
"Sometimes, the first thing you have to do with those candidates is get them up to zero on the truth meter and sort of build up from there," Mr. Hillsman added.
It may result in "Ralph 'The Body' Nader," Salon, the on-line journal, noted yesterday.

Claudia, Part 2

Her name was once bandied about as America's first female president. She was long a darling at the Clinton White House.
Now, just 72 hours days after retiring as the Army's highest-ranking female officer, Lt. Gen. Claudia Jean Kennedy has signed on with Hollywood's oldest talent agency, set to write a book about her 31 years in the military.
It had to happen.
The retired lieutenant general became a headliner after accusing another general of make untoward advances to her right in the E Ring of the Pentagon.
Gen. Kennedy's accusation against Maj. Gen. Larry G. Smith was substantiated by Army investigators last week.
Agents think this must make her a good writer, too.
"She is no nonsense and she is brave a rare combination," said her new editor, Maureen Egan.
Will a movie be far behind? The William Morris folks aren't elaborating.

The big guns

The rolling hills around Harpers Ferry, W.Va., may get a big bang for a big buck.
Democratic Sen. Robert C. Byrd has just about closed the deal on a $25 million Treasury Department firearms-training center on 30 acres of federal land just outside the historic town.
Mr. Byrd initially asked for 327 acres for the center, which tickled local business owners, but angered preservationists who feared the development would overshadow the spot where Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson captured more than 12,500 Union troops back in 1862.
The lawmaker, a 41-year Senate veteran, inserted language into an agriculture-spending bill providing the money to build the center and transferring the 327 acres to the Treasury Department from the Fish and Wildlife Service.
As a tentative compromise, the Treasury Department would receive only about 30 acres. The remainder would be used "for preservation" and be controlled by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.
Preservationists gave the deal a positive nod yesterday, but want more details.
"Mr. Byrd all along has been interested in preserving the historic portions of the property," noted the senator's spokeswoman, Ann Adler.

Patrick vs. Leonard

Reform Party candidate Patrick J. Buchanan is mighty irked that he doesn't register on The Washington Post's radar screen, most recently in regard to efforts in California to "derail" his campaign.
The New York Times and The Washington Times offered coverage of the Buchanan forces who "rolled back and routed the threat," Mr. Buchanan wrote to Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie in a letter yesterday.
"The Post, which had trumpeted the threat, ignored our triumph. Not one word," he continued, then accused The Post of "conflict of interest" since the paper controls significant polls and campaign coverage.
"To sum up: You have the power to fix the election of 2000," Mr. Buchanan wrote. "Our fate is in the hands of our Big Media adversaries. You are standing on our windpipe."

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