- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2000

Democratic Hunt

That was Wall Street Journal columnist and CNN "Capital Gang" pundit Al Hunt providing a heavy dose of political counseling to chief Clinton fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe, as the two huddled at a dinette table on a recent train to New York.
"Hunt was clearly strategizing," says our source, who was seated at the adjacent table. "His discussion was aimed at what Gore and the Democrats need to do to win in November.
"I remember four issues as areas where Hunt thinks [Republican presidential candidate George W.] Bush is weak: the environment, campaign finance, abortion and gun control," says the gentleman, who like Messrs. Hunt and McAuliffe, has offices in both New York and Washington.
"It was incredible," says the gentleman. "Hunt was acting as if it was no big deal for a journalist to be discussing strategy with a [known political operative], giving his opinion and disclosing where his politics stand. I was outraged."
Mr. Clinton's key money man over the years, Mr. McAuliffe has since turned his attention to getting first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton elected to a seat in the U.S. Senate, serving as her chief Washington fund-raiser.
He made headlines several months ago by offering to provide the Clintons with the $1.35 million they needed to secure the loan for their new house in Chappaqua, N.Y. In addition, he's been among the biggest personal contributors to the Clintons' legal-defense fund.
We'll always remember Mr. McAuliffe for masterminding the strategy of Mr. Clinton enticing big-dollar contributors by offering them sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom. Or was that Mr. Hunt's idea?

Body politic

You never know what you'll hear when Minnesota Gov. Jesse "the Body" Ventura shows up on CNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews.
Take the other night, when Mr. Matthews suggested that Mr. Ventura's wife, Terry (if nobody else in the masses), is actually stimulated by Vice President Al Gore.
"Wait a minute, Matthews," protested the governor, a former professional wrestler. "First of all, when you're married to 'the Body,' do you think for a moment Al Gore could stimulate my wife?"

Clinton smog

The National Center for Public Policy Research was in attendance when the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released its agenda, including a document prepared by Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, listing in a humorous vein Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner's major failures.
For example, as President Clinton happily takes credit for a strong economy and reminded in his most recent State of the Union address that it's possible to grow the economy without harming the environment Mrs. Browner is busy filing lawsuits for Clean Air Act permit violations.
In fact, Mr. Inhofe observed, the EPA found that 95 percent of the companies it investigated violated their permits.

Space invaders

Just tapped by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert to lead the House Republican "Cyber-Security Team," Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts Jr., Oklahoma Republican, already has an audience with the computer-software giant Microsoft.
In Seattle today, several of Microsoft's top officials will meet with Mr. Watts, including Howard Schmidt, the firm's top network security official and a former FBI cyber-crime investigator.
Mr. Watts' team was empaneled to promote awareness in Congress and the nation on how to protect computers from hackers. Mr. Watts is co-sponsor of a measure introduced in Congress last week to declare cyber-terrorism an emerging threat to U.S. national security.

Don't worry, be happy

"It's important to remember that while [oil] prices are higher now than they have been for some time, our overall economy is still the strongest it has ever been."
President Clinton, reassuring the nation in his weekly radio address on Saturday.

Fill 'er up

Our recent observations about the rising cost of gasoline got reader James R. Giusti thinking it could be a whole lot worse.
"So, you think a gallon of gasoline is expensive, huh?" he says.
"Lipton Ice Tea, 16 oz. for $1.19 $9.52 per gallon.
"Gatorade, 20 oz. for $1.59 $10.17 per gallon… .
"Vicks Nyquil, 6 oz. for $8.35 $178.13 per gallon.
"Pepto Bismol, 4 oz. for $3.85 $123.20 per gallon… .
"Scope, 1.5 oz. [trial size] for $0.99 $84.48 per gallon.
"And this is the real kicker:
"Evian water, 9 oz. for $1.49 $21.19 per gallon."

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