- The Washington Times - Friday, January 26, 2001

Dodging a bullet

"We are just lucky that those seven escaped killer convicts from Texas didn't have time to hire Clinton's former counsel, Jack Quinn, the way Marc Rich did. Otherwise, Clinton might have pardoned them mid-flight," New York Post columnist Jack Newfield writes.

No TV, please

After Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, broke with his party to co-sponsor President Bush's tax-cut proposals Monday, he was besieged with offers to appear on this Sunday's top TV interview shows.
Mr. Miller immediately received requests from "Fox News Sunday," NBC's "Meet The Press," CBS's "Face The Nation," ABC's "This Week" and CNN's "Late Edition" programs any member of Congress would jump at in a nanosecond. But Mr. Miller turned them all down cold.
"He's declining all those shows. He did not want to do this and then go on every Sunday show," Joan Kirchner, his chief spokesman, told Donald Lambro of The Washington Times. "He's not doing this to get in front of the TV cameras but because it's the right thing to do."

Not a role model

"Anger over Bill Clinton's abuse of the pardoning process mounted [Wednesday], as well it should," the New York Times says.
"This page has criticized Mr. Clinton for his last-minute pardon of the fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich. But a broader look at Mr. Clinton's final pardon list makes clear that the outrage extends well beyond the undeserved leniency for Mr. Rich. We are particularly troubled by the numerous instances in which Mr. Clinton granted pardons or commutations without proper consultation with federal prosecutors, often to reward friends or political allies or gain future political advantage," the newspaper said in an editorial yesterday.
The newspaper added: "The president's power to grant pardons is absolute, and it is meant to correct injustices or perform a civic good. But the properly intense furor over Mr. Clinton's pardon of Mr. Rich led Sen. Tom Daschle, the Senate Democratic leader, to suggest that Congress might need to review the president's unilateral power to dispense pardons.
"That seems an unnecessary assault on a fundamental constitutional power. But such congressional concern should be a signal to future chief executives that in this matter, as in other aspects of presidential judgment, Mr. Clinton is not a role model to follow. President Bush can help restore trust in this important presidential responsibility by committing himself to abide by the traditional process of Justice Department review before a pardon is granted."

Daley rips Clinton

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley criticized some of Bill Clinton's actions during the waning hours of his presidency, saying Mr. Clinton tried to steal the spotlight on Inauguration Day.
"In the past, they shook hands, the [former] president went to a helicopter, and that was it," the Democratic mayor told the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday.
"This was different. He had a rally at the airport, a rally in New York and a rally at his home… .
"That's his style. He wanted two or three more parties.
"You have to respect the office… .
"That's President Bush's day. It isn't Clinton's day or Al Gore's day," Mr. Daley said.
Mr. Daley's brother, William, was Mr. Clinton's commerce secretary and then served last year as Mr. Gore's campaign manager.
The mayor also said he was disappointed with the last-minute deal in which Mr. Clinton admitted he made false statements under oath about Monica Lewinsky in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
"We got in this quandary for two years, and the Friday before [he leaves], he says, 'I did it,' and walks away. He left a lot of people disappointed," the mayor said.

Thanks in advance

Leaders of a Hasidic village who won a presidential pardon for four swindlers tried to get New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to intervene on the swindlers' behalf before turning to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York Post reports.
Mr. Giuliani was thought to have influence with the federal prosecutor in the case.
After Mr. Giuliani turned down their request and an offer to hold a "big event" for him when he was running against Mrs. Clinton for a U.S. Senate seat the Hasidic leaders endorsed Mrs. Clinton and eventually delivered 99 percent of the village's vote to her.
"On Aug. 7, Mrs. Clinton was accorded a hero's welcome in New Square, about 20 miles north of the city. The principal of a girls' school turned out 1,500 students to greet her and announced that a street would be named after the president," reporters David Seifman and Gregg Birnbaum write.
Two other Hasidic villages nearby voted overwhelmingly for Mrs. Clinton's Republican opponent, Rick Lazio.
President Clinton pardoned the four swindlers before vacating the presidency Saturday.

Amazing grace

The man who skipped security checkpoints at the Capitol to shake hands with President Bush during Saturday's inaugural festivities says God helped him elude the Secret Service.
"God kind of impressed upon me to go to Washington, D.C., that he would get me in the door … don't worry about the Secret Service," California evangelist Richard C. Weaver told the syndicated TV program "Inside Edition," in an exclusive interview to be broadcast today at noon on Washington's WJLA-TV, Channel 7.
"If God didn't close their eyes," Mr. Weaver said of the unusually heavy cordon of law enforcement protection at the inaugural luncheon event, "there's no way anybody can get in."
Mr. Weaver's headline-grabbing feat was all the more remarkable because security officials had made special preparations to stop him he had done the same thing at President Clinton's 1996 inauguration.
"I saw about 10 men that were rich-looking guys and I just … followed them through the metal detector," Mr. Weaver, who lacked proper clearance for the VIP-only area, told "Inside Edition."
"They just waved me right on," he said. "Nobody asked me for anything, and it was amazing because God is an awesome God, and if he wants someone to give a message to somebody, God just opens the door."

More from Florida

The Florida Times-Union, a Jacksonville newspaper, joined Mayor John Delaney yesterday in calling for an investigation of apparent voter fraud in the November election.
"Among the irregularities that have recently come to light: 499 votes were cast by people not legally registered, and 162 were illegally allowed to fill out registration cards immediately before voting. More ballots were cast than there were people on the voting logs in at least two precincts. At least 30 people voted more than once," the newspaper noted in an editorial.
"Early numbers indicate quite a few more Democrats than Republicans voted illegally," the newspaper said.

Ventura's complaint

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura will be the subject of a weekly comic strip starting Sunday in a newspaper he loves to hate the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
"In many ways, he's a natural comic strip character," said Ron Clark, editor of the newspaper's editorial pages, where "VenturaLand" will run. "We'll never run out of material."
Mr. Ventura responded to news of the strip by threatening to sue the newspaper, the Associated Press reports. But the governor's private attorney said that would happen only if "VenturaLand veers from commentary "into a commercial venture."


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