- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Audible snickers

Hollywood turned out in force last week for a tribute to Barbra Streisand, New York Post gossip columnist Liz Smith reports.

"The one sour note? Clips of Streisand serenading the Clintons. There were audible snickers during this bit," the columnist said.

Defining 'anathema'

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening apparently sees himself as a spokesman for black people everywhere.

"I think if I see one more picture of [President Bush] reaching down and patting little black kids on the head I'm going to go absolutely crazy, because the policies he is proposing are anathema to African-Americans," USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham quotes the Democratic governor as saying "over a bowl of gumbo at B. Smith's, a trendy Washington restaurant."

Among policies that the columnist suggested are "anathema" to blacks and white liberals such as Mr. Glendening: Tax cuts, Social Security and Medicare reform, and a missile-defense shield.

Help for his friends

While he was still president, Bill Clinton telephoned the chief executive of CBS seeking to help two old friends in a million-dollar billing dispute, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Citing people in the entertainment industry familiar with the matter, the newspaper said Mr. Clinton was seeking to help TV producers Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason.

It was several months before the flurry of requests for presidential pardons from Mr. Clinton, some of which have erupted into a scandal enveloping the former president and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, now a U.S. senator from New York.

The Thomasons and their company, Mozark Productions, were involved in a squabble with CBS over payment for an aborted comedy series when Mr. Clinton called CBS' chief executive, Leslie Moonves, according to two accounts, the paper said.

Soon thereafter, CBS, a unit of Viacom Inc., resolved the dispute by paying Mozark around $1 million, according to the report.

A CBS spokesman, Chris Ender, declined to comment, the paper said, and the Thomasons did not return several phone calls to their offices and to a lawyer.

Whitman disagrees

Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman on Monday took issue with President Bush's decision to reinstate a ban on U.S. funding for lobbying for abortion overseas.

But Mrs. Whitman said she respected Mr. Bush's stance on most other issues and the two had agreed to disagree on abortion, Reuters reports.

President Reagan in 1984 imposed the Mexico City policy, which says that groups that perform, subsidize or seek to legalize abortion overseas cannot receive U.S. funds.

Bill Clinton scrapped it when he became president in 1993, and Mr. Bush revived it last month as his first foreign-policy act upon just two days after taking office.

"I was sorry he did that and I obviously don't agree with that," Mrs. Whitman told CNN's "Crossfire." "But you know something? Nobody agrees with somebody else 100 percent."

She added: "You know, we disagree on that issue. He knows it, I know it. We go forward from there."

New accusation

A businessman who claims New Jersey Sen. Robert G. Torricelli encouraged illegal fund raising is now being accused of asking employees to help funnel donations to Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

A woman claims her former boss a New Jersey businessman who has admitted making illegal donations to Mr. Torricelli's 1996 campaign urged her and other employees to make illegal donations to Mr. Dole's campaign.

Atsuko Downes said David Chang asked her in 1995 to donate $1,000 to Mr. Dole's campaign and promised to reimburse her. It is illegal to reimburse another person for a political contribution.

"I didn't make much money. I didn't want to write the check," Miss Downes told the newspaper. "But he said he was going to give it back right away. He gave it to me the next day, I think."

Chang's attorney, Brad Simon, said he could not comment on the claim because of the ongoing investigation into Mr. Torricelli's campaign.

Kerrey mulls run

Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey, a one-time presidential candidate and now head of New School University, said yesterday he would not rule out another run for the White House.

"Saying never is not a good idea," he said at a meeting of the New York Press Club. "It's a possibility. I think, though, what has to happen is, I've really got to want to be president, and that hasn't happened yet."

Mr. Kerrey, a Democrat, left the Senate to become president of the New School, a job he officially began last week. He ran for president against Bill Clinton in 1992.

Asked if Mr. Clinton's pardons were wrong, Mr. Kerrey answered, "Yeah." Referring to the Marc Rich pardon, he added: "This is a guy who fled prosecution."

Mr. Kerrey was also asked to elaborate on reports that while dining with Mr. Clinton last month in Manhattan, the former president divulged a list of his least-favorite staffers and appointees George Stephanopoulos, Janet Reno, Louis J. Freeh and Robert B. Reich.

But Mr. Kerrey, who said he's been surprised by how much coverage he's received in the New York media in recent weeks, wouldn't say any more about what he and Mr. Clinton discussed, the Associated Press reports.

"I could," he said. "I don't choose to."

Sorry, Jethro

Lately, Rush Limbaugh's radio show has featured a parody that skewers the Clinton family as "The Capitol Hillbillies," complete with bluegrass banjo accompaniment. That outrages columnist Debbie Schlussel, who calls the comparison an insult to hillbillies.

"With all due respect to Rush Limbaugh, it would be a huge insult to Jed Clampett, Jethro Bodine, Ellie Mae, Granny, and the millions of hard-working Americans they represented to compare them to the Clintons," Miss Schlussel writes on World Net Daily (www.worldnetdaily.com).

"They may have lacked diplomas from Yale, but the Clampetts … were decent, honest, hard-working country folk, who had to deal with the phoniness and snobbery of the Clintonesque Beverly Hills set… .

"You'd never see Jed or Jethro with Monica Lewinsky. And, unlike Hillary, Granny and Ellie Mae had no problem staying home and baking cookies… .

"To paraphrase Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, I knew Jethro Bodine. I watched him on TV. Hugh, Roger, and Bill, you're no Jethro."

Merely unethical

Forty-six percent of New York voters believe Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton did something unethical but not illegal in connection with pardons handed out by her husband at the end of his presidency, according to a statewide poll released yesterday.

Fifteen percent believe the former first lady did something illegal, according to the poll by Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion. Thirty-nine percent said she had done nothing wrong.

The telephone poll of 514 registered voters was conducted on Monday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Fifty-eight percent said they didn't believe her claim last week that she didn't know until well after the fact that her brother, lawyer Hugh Rodham, had received almost $400,000 to help win two presidential pardons. Thirty percent said they believed her.

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