- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2000

Pack my pj's, Hillary

"I can imagine that Clinton and Ted Kennedy are probably a sure bet to attend this event but will Al Gore and Tipper attend?" asks one high-level Republican who, under no circumstances, would allow us to quote him by name.

He's referring to a Playboy Mansion bash being thrown by Democratic National Committee national co-chairwoman Rep. Loretta Sanchez of California and her friend, Playboy heiress Christy Hefner, coinciding with the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

The event promises to draw the most people to the mansion since Playboy founder Hugh Hefner hosted a Viagra party recently.

Supporting role

On NBC's "West Wing," the fictional president (Martin Sheen) decides that he is going to buck tradition and personally pick nominees to fill two vacant Federal Election Commission seats. The president wants somebody who is strongly pro-campaign finance reform.

The White House staff does some research and comes back with two names, one being: "Patricia Calhoun, director of the Roe Institute for Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation."

Just in case life imitates art, Angela Antonelli, the "real life" director of the Heritage Foundation's Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, is waiting patiently by her phone.

No star power

Al Gore and George W. Bush have problems, or so concludes the most recent Harris Interactive Election 2000 survey.

Names voters would most like to see as the two candidates' vice-presidential running mates are unlikely to be chosen or else don't want the job.

"Instead, it appears that Gore and Bush will probably choose running mates such as [Pennsylvania Gov.] Tom Ridge or [Indiana Sen.] Evan Bayh, who are relatively unknown to the public," Harris says in its summary, adding such candidates rarely provide a major boost to a ticket.

The survey, conducted among 13,224 registered voters selected at random, finds retired Gen. Colin Powell (24 percent) as the favorite running mate for Mr. Bush, except Mr. Powell isn't interested in playing White House second fiddle.

He's followed by former GOP presidential candidates Sen. John McCain (17 percent) and Elizabeth Dole (16 percent) as the best choice.

Similarly, former Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley (20 percent) is seen as the favorite for the Gore ticket, followed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (13 percent), Mr. Bayh (less than 5 percent) and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson (less than 5 percent).

Promises, promises

The District of Columbia has tried everything in its power to improve the condition of its public school system. Now, in a personal appeal to D.C. voters heading to the polls yesterday to pick the Democratic Party candidate for president, Vice President Al Gore tells residents that with him in charge they can "expect revolutionary improvements" in the city's public schools.

Tilted planet

Kendra Okonski, a "20-something libertarian/ conservative type," is co-founder of a new Web site called "Earth and the Unbalanced."

"We envision it as a young people's response to Al Gore's scary environmental politics," says Miss Okonski, referring to the vice president's polemical tome "Earth in the Balance."

"In the 'about' section of the Web site, you can read our 'Environmental Declaration of a Generation.' We'd like to be a clearinghouse for free-market environmental information that refutes what Gore says," she says.

"Also, we would like to show everyone how Gore's claims will not only hurt the economy but will disadvantage the members of society who most need what free markets offer them."

The site's domain name www.earthinthebalance.org coincides with the re-release of "Earth in the Balance."

Cigar butts

The Cigar Society's Cigar of the Month Club has reprinted a wire story, datelined Selma, N.C., in which Lew Rothman, president of the J.R. Cigar Co., fingers anti-tobacco crusader Rep. Henry A. Waxman as a "closet smoker."

The story claims Mr. Waxman orders by mail once every month a box of cigars, always "ten-dollar-a-box factory seconds, the real stinkeroos. And he never pays on time."

The story gets even better, like the night Mr. Waxman phoned Mr. Rothman's home at 11 o'clock waking LaVonda, Mr. Rothman's wife, and his kids asking whether his unpaid balance of $600 could be a campaign contribution.

Sounding too good to be true, we phoned Mr. Rothman yesterday. He acknowledged his wife is named LaVonda, but denied everything else. He immediately phoned Chris Calef of the Cigar Society, who assumed the article was true. It originally appeared in Issue #184 of Pipes Digest.

Mr. Rothman, it turns out, wasn't too sore yesterday. After all, he told this column: "I do think Waxman is a little nerd."

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