- The Washington Times - Friday, August 10, 2001

Gary is no Bill
Black lawmakers may have backed an erring President Clinton during his amorous dalliances with an intern, but are showing "little sympathy" for Rep. Gary A. Condit, California Democrat, whose political future has been endangered by his involvement with missing former intern Chandra Levy, according to the Hill newspaper.
"Monica Lewinsky was still a warm body," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, Mississippi Democrat. "She was still an everyday presence. Here you have a missing person, and that separates substantially the issues between the two."
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the newspaper observed, are "known for their sympathy for the underdog and for risking their lives for the rights of minorities, are not jumping at the chance to defend their Democratic colleague."
"There appears to be a criminal act involved, and it is such that many members would rather let the law do its responsibility. If there is no real crime by Mr. Condit, then you might see some support then," Mr. Thompson said.
Mr. Condit's hometown newspaper, in the meantime, has asked him to resign. The Ceres Courier accused him of lying and embarrassing the neighborhood. "Condit has badly damaged the trust his constituents have placed in him, " wrote the editor, Jeff Benziger.

All booked up
Little Rock, Ark., still ponders the complexities of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library.
"Relax," an Arkansas Democrat Gazette editorial advised readers yesterday.
"Don't worry about any tax money being used to pay off the land for the Clinton Library. It isn't happening. Little Rock's city attorney, Tom Carpenter, says so. The latest payment of $422,467 on that $16.5 million, 25-year bond issue came solely from fees charged the users of Little Rock's parks, golf courses and zoo. We the People didn't have to vote on it, and shouldn't have had to vote on it. Because no tax money was involved. Got that?
"Case closed and stop asking those nosy questions.
"Especially simple questions like these: Where would that $422,467 in fees have gone if it hadn't been used for the Clinton Library? To the Parks and Recreation Department? In that case, would the city's general fund, which depends on taxes, have to spend as much to maintain and improve the parks as it does? And if you replace the money used to pay off these bonds with money raised by taxes, which shell do you put it under?
"It doesn't take a fine legal mind to understand what's going on here. It just takes one to obscure it."

Dan is no Walter
Even traditional news stalwart Walter Cronkite thinks CBS anchorman Dan Rather "went overboard" ignoring the Chandra Levy-Gary Condit story for more than two months.
"I think it was an interesting experiment and understandable," Mr. Cronkite told NBC's "Today" show yesterday. "I suspect that what happened was that Dan got tired of this scandal coverage.
"I do think that he went overboard. He went too far. He could have covered it a little bit, just what was needed for the facts, just the facts, ma'am," said Mr. Cronkite, whom Mr. Rather replaced on CBS in 1981.
How much has Mr. Rather ignored the story?
According to one industry study, of 76 minutes that the three network evening newscasts gave to the Levy case recently, CBS has aired only a single, two-minute story, compared with 14 minutes on ABC and 60 minutes on NBC.

Clinton tale
Speaking of books and former President Bill Clinton, will his future memoirs deliver delicious dish?
"It says a lot about global celebrity culture that former President Bill Clinton got a richer contract for his prospective book — $10 million-plus — than Pope John Paul II got for his. Publishers evidently think the public will pay $1.5 million more to read the life story of a scamp than of a saint," notes Newsday.
"That may prove true — if Clinton tells all. But most presidents use their autobiographies to polish their legacies, not to dish dirt about themselves. It would be astonishing if the former president were to tell a drooling public everything it wants to know about his marriage and his affair with Monica Lewinsky."
An online poll from the Christian Science Monitor reveals, meanwhile, that 68 percent of the respondents won't read the Clinton book, no matter what's in it.

Barrel along
Those who plan to filibuster President Bush's energy bill if it allows oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will get some of the same, says Sen. Ted Stevens.
"I intend to go back and organize a group that will say, 'We will filibuster if a provision authorizing drilling is not in there, '" the Alaska Republican said yesterday. "Two sides can play this game."
Mr. Stevens was referring to Democratic Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts and Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, who plan to use parliamentary procedures to block the drilling for an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil in the northeast Alaska refuge.
Mr. Stevens, the ranking Republican on its Appropriations Committee, is not buying any of it.
"The North Slope is one of the most barren places I know of on the face of the earth," he said. "As a matter of fact, in the wintertime, it is the most barren place on the face of the earth."

Oval Office, part two
The Western White House is now in session.
The familiar presidential seal comes in a new prairie edition these days. That fierce eagle and his sharp talons are now emblazoned with the legend, "The Western White House — Crawford, Texas," debuting last night during President Bush's TV address on stem-cell research.
Workers hung the revamped banner on the blue curtains immediately behind the spokesman's podium in the gymnasium of the Crawford Elementary School, which has served as a media center during Mr. Bush's monthlong stay at his 1,600-acre Texas ranch.
The new logo did the trick, lending the gym "a certain air of formality, a working atmosphere," noted the Associated Press.

'Suddenly … stupid'
The private Election Center recently convened a bipartisan task force of 37 state and local election officials to review the 2000 presidential contest.
"We didn't suddenly become stupid in one election," said center director Doug Lewis yesterday. "And yet there is this tendency to believe that, because there were problems, we now need to have someone stand over us and guide us through this process."
The election administrators said voting technology was not to blame for the problems; inadequate laws and procedures for counting votes were at fault.
They recommended a limited role for the federal government to assist states in developing uniform standards, but called on the Justice Department to investigate allegations of civil rights violations during the election.
The panel did not support a suggestion, as did another report released recently by former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, that Election Day should be made a national holiday.
But it did ask the national media not to release any presidential-election results before 11 p.m. EST and suggested extending poll hours.

Viva Bush
The conservative Republican fund-raising group GOPAC announced a new plan yesterday for "the largest and most inclusive Hispanic voter-outreach and support program of its kind … designed to attract and financially support a new generation of Republican Hispanic candidates for state and local office."
A new training program called "Engaging Hispanic Voters," begins Aug. 18 in Los Angeles, to be followed with events in Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia and New York.

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