- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Hillary for a Cal?

Who would have ever pictured Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on a Topps trading card?

"Enduring Freedom Picture Cards" is Topps' new high-gloss 90-card set, containing biographical information on civilian and military leaders entrusted to guide Americans through the war against terrorism.

"Kids need to understand that the president and his team will keep them safe and that evil-doers will be punished," Topps tells us. "Our cards deliver the details in a medium with which they are familiar and comfortable."

Biographical information on Mrs. Clinton's card, pictured here after she huddled with President Bush in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, reads: "Clinton, wife of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, was elected to the Senate in 2000."

Ironically, this columnist had Mrs. Clinton's trading card in my pocket when I held open the door for the former first lady as she left the Dirksen Senate Office Building yesterday. Unfortunately, she appeared too preoccupied to autograph her card, which no doubt would make it even more valuable in a trade.

Thurmond's 99 candles

Few live long enough to blow out 99 birthday candles, but to blow them out in the midst of a busy work schedule is practically unheard of.

"He's here in the office working. It's business as usual," Sen. Strom Thurmond's press secretary, Rebecca Fleming, told us in advance of the South Carolina Republican's 99th birthday today.

"We're having a private staff lunch in the Russell Senate Building, and we will have a birthday cake," she says of today's celebration. And since most cakes aren't large enough to hold 99 candles, Ms. Fleming adds, "we bought the No. 9 candles."

The oldest person ever to serve in the Senate, Mr. Thurmond has remained surprisingly robust given his age, although he's been hospitalized several times of late for apparent dehydration. Earlier this fall, he collapsed on the Senate floor, but within seconds he was back being his usual self inquiring what all the fuss was about.

Mr. Thurmond, whose grandfather fought for the South in the Civil War, was born on Dec. 5, 1902, in Edgefield, S.C. He ran for president in 1948 as the Dixiecrat nominee, facing Harry S. Truman and Thomas Dewey.

Ironically, the longer that former Vice President Al Gore contested the 2000 presidential election, the better chance Mr. Thurmond had of finally serving in the Oval Office if only for a few weeks. Given a prolonged stalemate, the first in line to become acting president would have been House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, who said he didn't want the temporary job. Second in line would be the Senate president pro tempore, and that would have been Mr. Thurmond.

Trunks of smallpox

Although it was never proven in a court of law, there was no doubt in the mind of Union Army Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt that the Confederate government had committed biological warfare against the United States.

So writes former Pentagon official John W. Hinds, a published Civil War author whose current work in progress is "Let Our People Go! The History of Parole, Exchange and Imprisonment in the American Civil War, 1861-1865."

"The delivery and selling of trunks full of smallpox-contaminated clothing in Washington, D.C., was only one effort in a major Canadian-based Confederate government-sponsored 'irregular warfare' project," reveals Mr. Hinds.

Clement C. Clay, an Alabama born, prewar U. S. senator and Jefferson Davis confidant, was the leader of several terrorist projects, which included projected assassination attempts on President Abraham Lincoln, Secretary of State William Seward and Vice President Andrew Johnson; the burning of New York City; attacks on Buffalo and Detroit and Saint Albans, Vt., and a biological-warfare attack on the nation's capital.

The smallpox-contaminated clothing that was delivered to the nation's capital would not have generated newspaper headlines, Mr. Hinds observes, for smallpox was not then an uncommon disease. Smallpox was the fourth-largest killer of Union troops in the Civil War.

"The Union Army doctors had available a crude form of antitoxin for the virus that, if applied in time, could prevent the disease," says the author. "But often the troops who were vaccinated with the so-called 'cow pox' serum though the treatment might be worse than the disease.

"Some of the less-fortunate soldiers watched in eye-widening disbelief as their vaccinations blossomed into enormous running sores that took weeks to heal and left silver-dollar and larger-size scars that they carried to their graves."

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