- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2000

Not so funny

What a difference a Democrat makes.

Two months ago, at a campaign rally at the water's edge in Everett, Wash., Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush to the delight of reporters blurted yet another gaffe.

The New York Times, in its Sunday, Aug. 13 edition, wrote:

" 'I wish I could turn to the soldiers on that ship,' Mr. Bush said, erroneously referring to the sailors on an aircraft carrier in the backdrop, 'and I wish they could hear me: stay in the military, there's a new commander in chief coming.' "

On CNN's "Crossfire," co-host Bill Press, the former chairman of the California Democratic Party, couldn't wait to rewind Mr. Bush's "soldier/sailor" blooper for viewer enjoyment.

Of course, nobody was laughing this week when President Clinton, in the company of Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and the Navy's top brass, gathered at Pier 12 in Norfolk to pay homage to the 17 "soldiers" who died aboard their ship, the USS Cole.

Pre-inaugural bash?

Our source in the bipartisan lobbying house of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld relays word that the Bush campaign has already requested official street closures in Austin, the Texas capital, for Nov. 8 one day after Election Day.

Word is a major celebration is being planned on the south side of the state Capitol building, hosted by Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush.

Gay character

Republican pundit Mary Matalin will address this evening's "unity celebration" honoring homosexual supporters of the Bush/ Cheney ticket.

Which means she won't have to travel far, as the homosexual event is being thrown at "West 24th," a new restaurant near Georgetown owned by Mrs. Matalin and her Democratic strategist husband, James Carville.

"George W. Bush is a uniter who respects everyone," says Mrs. Matalin. "He has asked gays and lesbians for their support and his message has been clear: George W. judges people one at a time on the basis of what is in their heart and character."

Among the evening's hosts are former Republican Rep. Susan Molinari and Jim Langdon, finance chairman of the Bush campaign.

Who wins?

We can't tell if these latest poll findings speak more highly of the vice president or the Texas governor.

AutoTrader.com, the No. 1 classified site for buying and selling used cars, asked thousands of Americans who they would rather buy a used car from, Al Gore or George W. Bush?

The tally: 58 percent would rather buy a used car from Al Gore, while 41 percent would prefer dealing with George W. Bush.

Then again, there's the old saying: Never buy a used car from a friend.

Real food

What do you feed hundreds of Marine Corps Marathon runners at the Iwo Jima Memorial this Sunday morning?

Not quiche.

"Exhausted and calorie-starved marathoners want meat and potatoes," says Capitol Catering President Sara McGregor, who's leaving her award-winning lemon parmesan artichoke bottoms, fresh figs with mascarpone and prosciutto rose, tenderloin topped with foie gras, and mushroom duxelles wrapped in puff pastry, in the kitchen.

Runners tackling the 26.2-mile course will instead pig out on 480 pounds of hamburger, 150 pounds of coleslaw, 2,600 bags of pretzels and potato chips, and 3,000 cookies and brownies.

Udder nonsense

Where were 50 foreign ambassadors and diplomats who climbed into buses in the driveway of the Rayburn House Office Building off to yesterday?

To milk cows, among other things.

Rep. Joseph R. Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican, is hosting the foreign delegation in his district surrounding Lancaster. Aim of the four-day trip: improve foreign understanding of the American way of life.

Which means the delegation from Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Moldova, Mongolia, Namibia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Portugal, Sri Lanka, South Africa, South Korea, Swaziland, Uzbekistan and Western Sahara will stay overnight with local families and tour local businesses, including dairy and mushroom farms.

Not a guy

Finally, regarding our item this week about Rep. Rick Lazio visiting the Kingston Rotary's Pumpkin Festival in Ulster County, N.Y., only to be "horrified" to come face-to-face with a guy wearing a Hillary Rodham Clinton mask, a certain woman writes:

"That guy that was in a Hillary mask … was a female, through and through. Although my name may throw some, my appearance surely DOES NOT. Toni."

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