- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2001

Deadly wit

Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, Maryland Democrat, drew audible gasps and groans Tuesday night with a comment he made at a reception for businesswomen at the Capitol.

Mr. Sarbanes told the group that he sometimes teases his colleague, Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, that she is the first woman elected to the Senate "in her own right."

"In other words, not on the body of her dead husband," Mr. Sarbanes said.

Not in attendance was freshman Sen. Jean Carnahan, Missouri Democrat, appointed to the seat after her husband, Mel, won his election posthumously.

King of Beers

Two of the Rev. Jesse Jackson's sons Yusef and Jonathan refuse to divulge the number of minorities working at their Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship on the north side of Chicago.

This is ironic, because their father once launched a national boycott against Anheuser-Busch, demanding that blacks get more distributorships. That was in the early '80s, before his sons somehow obtained the exclusive distributorship that covers 62 square miles.

The Chicago Sun-Times broke the story over the weekend, and Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass tried to follow up on it, but spokesmen for Anheuser-Busch were tight-lipped.

"I could just imagine a business in the 1960s or 1970s refusing to disclose minority-hiring numbers when Jesse Jackson demanded them," said Mr. Kass, who likes to refer to Mr. Jackson as the "King of Beers."

"The King of Beers would have screamed bloody murder and held boycotts and marches and issued bad rhymes," the columnist said.

Torricelli's troubles

A major political contributor to Sen. Robert G. Torricelli's 1996 Senate campaign claims the New Jersey Democrat knew about some illegal donations and encouraged them, the New York Times reported yesterday.

Commodities broker David Chang, 57, admitted in June that he funneled $53,700 in illegal contributions to the 1996 campaign, when Mr. Torricelli was a congressman representing Bergen County.

The contention that Mr. Torricelli knew about the illegal donations came during Mr. Chang's debriefings, the Times said, citing people familiar with the investigation.

Mr. Torricelli has said he was unaware of any wrongdoing in the campaign, and his attorneys have said they were told by Justice officials that he is not a target of the federal investigation of his $12 million campaign.

But the newspaper, citing lawyers and others familiar with the case, said the Justice Department's inquiry has widened and is now focused in large part on Mr. Torricelli.

Investigators with the department's Campaign Financing Task Force want to know whether Mr. Torricelli and several former campaign aides had a role in the improper donations or if they conspired to evade laws related to the use of campaign and public funds.

They also want to know if Mr. Torricelli or his associates tried to dissuade Mr. Chang from cooperating with prosecutors, according to the Times.

Go ahead and say it

"In a front-page story [yesterday], Washington Post reporter John Harris describes a meeting between Bill Clinton and Al Gore a few days after Gore conceded the election to George W. Bush. The Democrats should have put it on pay-per-view," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru write at www.nationalreview.com.

"By Harris's account, it was a sort of Democratic celebrity death match: 'For more than an hour, in what sources close to both men described as uncommonly blunt language, Gore forcefully told Clinton that his sex scandal and low personal approval ratings were a major impediment to his presidential campaign. Clinton, according to people close to him, was initially taken aback, but responded with equal force that it was Gore's failure to run on the administration's record that hobbled his ambitions.'

"The story lacks a single on-the-record source; it does, however, include sources who dispute Harris's characterization of the meeting. What's strange about the article, however, is the way it dances around the subject of who really won the election," the writers said.

"Harris never says Bush beat Gore, or Gore lost to Bush. Instead, he writes that Gore 'conceded,' that he 'did not capture the White House,' that his ambitions were 'hobbled.' He says the men debated 'why Gore is not president today.' The headline, too, avoids the touchy question of winning and losing: 'Clinton and Gore Clashed Over Blame for Election.'

"Clinton already has said he thinks Gore won the election, and Gore no doubt believes that himself. But must The Washington Post, too, refuse to say that George W. Bush won, and that Al Gore lost?" the writers asked.

Hillary forms PAC

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has set up a federal political action committee to aid fellow Democrats in their push to take back Congress, a top adviser said yesterday.

HILLPAC will allow New York's junior senator to contribute to other federal candidates, pay for her political travel across the country and boost her stature with party leaders. The PAC can accept contributions of up to $5,000 from individuals, five times the limit for regular federal campaign committees.

Clinton adviser Harold Ickes said yesterday the leadership PAC was intended to raise money for Democratic candidates as the party looks to gain majorities in the House and Senate.

Mr. Ickes, who will serve as the PAC's chairman, dismissed speculation it might be evidence of Mrs. Clinton's possible interest in a presidential bid, the Associated Press reports.

Several presidential candidates, including Dan Quayle, Lamar Alexander and Al Gore, had set up leadership PACs before they sought the White House. Mr. Alexander, for example, used his PAC to pay for issue ads in Iowa and New Hampshire before he entered the race.

Mrs. Clinton has said repeatedly that she will not seek the presidency in 2004.

Miami mayor charged

Miami Mayor Joe Carollo was arrested yesterday and accused of hitting his wife in the head with a teapot.

Maria Ledon Carollo suffered a golf ball-size lump and bruise on the side of her head, according to police.

Mr. Carollo was charged with battery, the Associated Press reports.

The incident came three months after Maria Carollo announced that she was seeking a divorce from her husband of 15 years. In court papers, she said that there was "no hope for a meaningful reconciliation."

Police arrived at the couple's home after getting a 911 call from one of the couple's daughters. The mayor refused to give a statement to police. Lt. Bill Schwartz said Mr. Carollo threw a terra cotta teapot at his wife.

Bill who?

"Hillary Rodham Clinton's new Senate Web site omits any mention of one very important figure in her life: Bill," the New York Post reports.

"The site, which includes press releases and tourist information, features four photos: a glamour shot of Hillary; a shot of her with fellow New York Sen. Charles Schumer; one from her brief stint as Senate president; and a final one of her being sworn in," reporter Vincent Morris wrote.

"Not only are there no photos or mentions of Bill Clinton, the site omits references to Chelsea Clinton and any of the work Hillary did during her eight years as first lady.

"By contrast, the Web site of Sen. Olympia Snowe, Maine Republican, includes a photo of her husband, while Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat, posted a photo of her son and daughter."

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