- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2000

Tough beat to follow

"It reinforced my conviction that I have had the privilege of working for many years with some of the greatest people in the world, even though they commit journalism on a daily basis."

Frank Aukofer, a familiar face on Capitol Hill who stepped down this week after 30 years as Washington bureau chief of the Milwaukee Journal

Cup law

Talk about congressional rules and regulations getting out of hand. Take a look at the notice one senator, who insists on anonymity, was required to post next to the water cooler in his Capitol Hill office this week:

"Water Cooler Paper Cup Policy:

"The Rules Committee has needed to implement a new paper cup policy and asked me to get this information out. Effective immediately, the paper cups used for water coolers must follow these guidelines:

"1) Cups must be purchased from the water company;

"2) Cups cannot be insulated;

"3) Cups should be of the smallest possible size, not to exceed 8 oz.

"Vouchers already in house will be approved as before, but from now on these guidelines will be used … ."

We spoke to the senator's press secretary, who said while her boss thinks the new guidelines and posting of same are ridiculous, he did so "to make certain we are in compliance."

Wipe your feet

When it comes to marketing first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, what will they dream up next?

A company registered as Diplomat Inc., apparently not linked to the Democratic National Committee, is peddling "Hillary Doormats." Constructed of durable polyester, the mat's artwork (Mrs. Clinton's smiling mug) resists rubbing and scraping.

Better yet, each doormat includes a choice of Hillaryisms:

• "I've always been a Yankee fan!"

• "I'm part Jewish."

• "It's all a vast right-wing conspiracy!"

• "Let them bake cookies!"

• "Billing records? What billing records?"

Sample doormats and Hillaryisms can be viewed over the Internet at www.hillarydoormat.com.

Mouse convention

Speaking of the Internet, Republican National Convention organizers expect their 2000 convention Web site to generate 20 million hits a day compared with approximately 3 million per day in 1996.

And for good reason. Visitors clicking into the site will actually feel like they're in Philadelphia, listening in on political conversations and visiting exhibits, among other mouse maneuvering.

"It's only fitting that in Philadelphia, where the first computer was developed at the University of Pennsylvania over 50 years ago, we are seizing on the emerging promise of 21st-century technology to help nominate the first president of the new millennium," notes RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson.

"At this time," he wryly adds, "we cannot verify if Al Gore, the self-proclaimed founder of the Internet, was in-state at the time."

Bubba for a day

Philadelphia lost out on its chance to become the nation's capital, but they're making up for it this summer by hosting the Republican National Convention.

The city is planning the first-ever "World's Fair of Politics," a festival open to the public featuring a mock Oval Office; walk-through Air Force One replica; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin re-enactors; a stage showing "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"; and the opportunity to deliver a keynote address just like President Clinton via TelePrompTer.

Crash course on Al

We're happy to report that Vivian Deuschl, the Washington-based worldwide media ambassador for the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, is back from Istanbul in one piece after the Mercedes-Benz in which she was a passenger was squashed by a drunken driver.

That means Ms. Deuschl is back working on events surrounding political conventions in both Philadelphia (Republican) and Los Angeles (Democrat), where the Ritz has several properties long-since booked to capacity.

For example, at Ritz properties in Marina del Rey and the Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, she's organized political trivia contests for hotel employees to help them better understand American politics (she gave a similar crash course in politics to the Chinese staff of the Ritz in Shanghai prior to President Clinton's visit).

The first question to the California staff: "What famous dance trend popularized in the '90s is Al Gore associated with?"

The answer: "The Macarena (or at least Al's version of it)."

Both California hotels, she says, will supply guests with "You Can Call Me Al" amenities.

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