- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2001

Let's make a deal

"Virtually the entire Hasidic village of New Square [in Rockland County, N.Y.] voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton for Senate after village leaders believed she had been persuaded to support clemency for four of their own," the New York Post reports.
"Mrs. Clinton insisted [Tuesday] she spoke to several New Square leaders about the issue in a meeting after the election but sources say other Jewish and political leaders spoke to her before the election and came away with the impression she supported their cause," reporters Gregg Birnbaum and Vincent Morris write.
"The four New Square men were convicted in 1999 of ripping off millions of dollars from the federal government for a phony Jewish school."
President Clinton announced the commutations Saturday.
"A key behind-the-scenes player in pushing clemency was Rockland County Democratic boss Paul Adler, who has since been indicted by the feds on related corruption charges and left his political post," the newspaper cited sources as saying.
Mrs. Clinton carried New Square 1,359 to 10, while two other Hasidic villages nearby went overwhelmingly for her opponent, Republican Rick Lazio.

A shocking abuse

"Bill Clinton's last-minute pardon of Marc Rich, the shadowy commodities trader who fled to Switzerland in 1983 to avoid American justice, was a shocking abuse of presidential power and a reminder of why George W. Bush's vow to restore integrity to the Oval Office resonates with millions of Americans who otherwise disagree with the new president's politics," the New York Times said yesterday in an editorial.
The newspaper added: "Mr. Clinton was fully aware that pardoning Mr. Rich, the ex-husband of Denise Rich, a prominent fund-raiser for the Clintons and the Democratic Party, would carry a distinct taint and invite irate protests from federal prosecutors like Mary Jo White in Manhattan. That is probably why he kept it a secret that he was considering a pardon, bypassing the normal process in which the Justice Department vets pardon applications and submits them to the president with a recommendation.
"Small wonder that Ms. White and other current and former law enforcement officials are said to be livid. Mr. Clinton's irresponsible use of his pardoning authority has undermined the pursuit of justice."

Madam President

Senators found themselves addressing President Clinton again yesterday. But this time it wasn't Bill, but Hillary.
As part of an agreement reached earlier this month among party leaders in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans are sharing the duty of presiding over the chamber when the Senate is in session.
The duty of presiding falls by constitutional law to Vice President Richard B. Cheney, who is officially the president of the Senate. But that responsibility is delegated and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, found herself at 2 p.m. yesterday sitting in the chair.
Mrs. Clinton said earlier that she was "very much looking forward" to the task, but when asked how it would feel to be addressed as "Madam President" when senators sought recognition, she simply smiled … broadly.

Moving left

Three Republican strategists see a silver lining in the all-out war on Attorney General-designee John Ashcroft by liberal groups.
"For eight years, Bill Clinton did his best to move the Democratic Party back to the center, but just three days after he left the White House, the Democratic Party has lurched to the left under pressure from ultraliberal interest groups on the Ashcroft nomination. This has given the Republican Party a huge opening that already bodes well for the GOP in the 2002 elections," Scott Reed, Bill Dal Col and Greg Mueller said yesterday in an e-mail memo to "Republican leaders and activists."
"Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle caved in [Tuesday] to liberal colleagues like Ted Kennedy and the left-wing groups that have been viciously attacking John Ashcroft. He has put off the vote on the Ashcroft nomination for another week, even though Senator Ashcroft stood tall in several days of hearings."

Investing in Jesse

"Jesse Jackson's sin may have lacked the sheer cruddiness of Bill Clinton's. He may have owned up to it manfully. But the reverend's greatest innovation will probably turn out to have been his pioneering use of drive-by penance," Wall Street Journal columnist Holman W. Jenkins Jr. writes.
"Having dropped out of public life on Thursday, he began dropping back in on Saturday. Nothing obliged this abbreviated timetable except this week's fourth annual meeting of his Wall Street Project, where he'll be entertaining the likes of AOL's Bob Pittman and Citigroup Chief Sandy Weill and dozens of other luminaries of the business elite. These folks have made a big investment in Mr. Jackson," the columnist said.
"A mere moral leader we might have been able to spare for a prolonged sabbatical in a cave or atop a pillar, like the hermits of old. But this would have been to seriously underestimate the economic consequences of Jesse Jackson. The public knows him as a civil rights agitator, preacher and presidential candidate. But the history books may remember him as the impresario of a great bazaar, offering Corporate America racial protection in exchange for financial opportunities for the black entrepreneurs and professionals who make up his personal network."

Collecting legal fees

Bill Clinton's deal with the independent counsel's office over the Monica Lewinsky case doesn't bar him from seeking taxpayer reimbursement for legal costs stemming from the Whitewater investigation, his attorney says.
As part of last week's agreement that ended independent counsel Robert W. Ray's investigation of Mr. Clinton, the ex-president agreed not to seek reimbursement for fees stemming from the Lewinsky probe.
But Clinton attorney David E. Kendall told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in yesterday's editions that the deal doesn't bar him from seeking legal fees incurred in other investigations by the independent counsel's office.
The federal law under which the independent counsel's office was established allows subjects of an investigation who aren't indicted to seek reimbursement for their legal fees.

Iowa poll

Democrats in Iowa favor former Vice President Al Gore to repeat as the party's presidential candidate in 2004, but Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is their second choice, according to a poll published yesterday.
The Des Moines Register published its Iowa Poll one year to the day after the 2000 Iowa precinct caucuses, which kicked off the election that ended in George W. Bush's inauguration last weekend.
The poll found that 39 percent of those surveyed favored Mr. Gore, who has not said if he would make another try for the presidency. He won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College vote to Mr. Bush in one of the closest contests in U.S. history.
The former first lady came in second at 12 percent, followed by Bill Bradley, the former senator from New Jersey who was Mr. Gore's main challenger in 2000, at about 3 percent. The next Iowa presidential precinct caucuses, traditionally one of the first tests of presidential-election years, will occur early in 2004.
The poll was based on interviews with 241 Democrats, all registered voters, who were contacted Jan 15-22. It had an error margin of plus or minus 6.3 points.


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