- The Washington Times - Friday, March 23, 2001

'Sweet and strong'

Linda R. Tripp spoke to a group of House Republicans yesterday at a breakfast meeting at the Capitol and impressed them as "tender, gentle, sweet and strong," according to one person who attended.

Mrs. Tripp, the former Pentagon official who blew the whistle on President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, told the Republicans she had not sought the spotlight and had been disappointed with Mr. Clinton because "he was my president, too."

Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia, chairman of the House Republicans' "theme team" that deals with the media, invited Mrs. Tripp because "she has a story to tell." The group also has heard from celebrities such as Al Franken, Bill Maher and Dick Morris.

"The Washington establishment does not like anybody who stands up and takes somebody on," Mr. Kingston said. "She's a single mother of two and does not have a job because of a brave step that she took."

Mrs. Tripp answered many questions, including one about the infamous blue dress (she said Monica at first showed it off as a kind of trophy).

"We were not trying to re-hash impeachment," Mr. Kingston said. "We found her to be a sincere woman without an agenda."

Night and day

"By day, the Senate approved a campaign finance overhaul proposal that would assist congressional candidates who face challenges from self-financed millionaires," the New York Times noted in a new story.

"By night, Senate Democrats repaired to the palatial Embassy Row home of a millionaire senator, John Edwards of North Carolina, to raise money for Maria Cantwell, who used $10.3 million of her Internet fortune to win her Senate seat from Washington state in November," reporter Philip Shenon wrote in yesterday's editions of the newspaper.

"The long black sedans snaked up and down 30th Street on Tuesday night to drop off guests willing to help Sen. Cantwell pay off a $4.2 million campaign debt that became even more worrisome after the collapse of her high-tech stock portfolio. 'Please make checks payable to Cantwell 2000 Debt,' the invitation said. '$1,000 maximum donation.'

"The timing was hard to ignore. In a week in which the Senate had begun its debate on overhauling the campaign finance system a system, lawmakers complain, that forces them into a never-ending hunt for cash a group of senators had left Capitol Hill and gone straight to a big-money fund-raiser."

Behind schedule

"In an emerging problem for the Bush team, the administration is falling behind schedule in officially nominating officials in key agencies," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Moreover, the slow flow of nominations, which White House officials attribute to delays caused by the postelection recount in Florida, has left the administration understaffed in some agencies and underprepared to tackle some complex issues such as Mr. Bush's planned energy bill and his new initiative to use faith-based organizations to perform some social services," reporters Jim VandeHei and Laurie McGinley write.

Paul Light, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, has been keeping a tally. According to his count, the administration has to fill 483 positions requiring Senate confirmation. As of Wednesday, just 22 of those positions were filled with confirmed nominees. The appointment of an additional 72 officials had been announced, and 12 more had been officially nominated. However, the administration did name eight more appointees Wednesday.

Problem child

The only child of New York gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall was arrested on charges she wrote nearly $100,000 worth of bad checks to cover personal expenses she had charged to her business credit card.

Marcella McCall, 37, a manager at the telephone company Verizon, turned herself in to police Wednesday evening.

The elder McCall, the state controller since 1993, is running for the 2002 Democratic nomination against former federal Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo. The winner is expected to face Republican Gov. George Pataki.

Mr. McCall said his daughter "is an adult, and obviously she's going to have to accept the consequences for her actions."

"On the other hand, we'll be with her," he said yesterday. "We'll give her whatever support she needs … to deal with the underlying causes of such difficult and such unhealthy behavior." He declined to elaborate, the Associated Press reports.

Patrick Kennedy sued

An airport security guard has sued Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Rhode Island Democrat, charging that he roughed her up during an argument about his oversized luggage.

Since the incident at Los Angeles International Airport a year ago, Della Patton has had chronic inflammation of her shoulder joint and been unable to work, said her attorney, George L. Mallory Jr.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses the congressman of assault and battery and seeks unspecified damages, the Associated Press reports.

The city attorney's office declined to file criminal charges against Mr. Kennedy, 33, but ordered an informal hearing in which Mr. Kennedy apologized in person to Miss Patton.

Mr. Kennedy, the son of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, plans to refer the case to his insurance company, said Tony Marcella, his chief of staff.

Moyers angers group

A trade group of chemical producers accused Bill Moyers of "journalistic malpractice" yesterday for failing to interview its representatives before completing a documentary on the industry.

Mr. Moyers said he treated the industry fairly and was resisting attempts to discredit his work before it is shown, the Associated Press reports.

The growing storm concerns "Trade Secrets," a 90-minute investigation of the chemical industry that premieres on PBS stations Monday. The documentary outlines the industry's reported attempts to hide the dangers of its chemicals from employees and the public.

The American Chemistry Council has set up its own Web site to rebut the show and has complained about Mr. Moyers to Pat Mitchell, president of the Public Broadcasting System.

Mr. Moyers said his findings are based primarily on chemical-industry documents uncovered as part of a lawsuit filed by the widow of a former chemical worker from Louisiana who died of brain cancer at age 46.

Mr. Moyers invited chemical-industry representatives to take part in a 30-minute discussion, along with health and environmental experts, that will air immediately after the documentary. It will be taped on Monday about two hours after the industry representatives are allowed to view the program for the first time.

Free trader

The Bush administration is going on the public relations warpath when it comes to trade.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has hired Josette Shiner to fill the new slot of associate trade representative for policy and communications. A former managing editor at The Washington Times who later worked at Empower America, she will help implement Mr. Zoellick's plans to broaden support for free trade in the Congress and the public at large.

Popular guests

"The Kennedys may disagree with Bush politically, but they sure are popular guests at the Bush White House," the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes.

"Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, her husband and their three kids were there [Wednesday] night for a reception with Catholic community leaders," Miss Orin said.

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