- The Washington Times - Monday, November 5, 2001

It is a long way, perhaps, from the lofty dais of the White House. As former President Bill Clinton seeks his legacy in a post-September 11 world, he continues to attract persistent tales and motley media coverage, and often is cast in a curious variety of public roles.
Statesman, cheerleader, campaigner and now thespian? Mr. Clinton may not be a lawyer, but according to one report, he may play one on TV. The recently disbarred former president reputedly will portray a litigating kingpin on CBS' popular Las Vegas-based crime drama, "CSI," which stands for "Crime Scene Investigation," incidentally.
The mind reels. But then, consider the source.
The item was reported Friday by the National Enquirer, along with the news that Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner makes prospective girlfriends compete with one another in "Survivor" style competitions. Manhattan shock disc jockey Howard Stern spent considerable time with the idea of Mr. Clinton as actor, conducting an on-air poll with his celebrity guests and listeners.
CBS is baffled by the CSI-Clinton connection.
"No, no, no. President Clinton is not going to be on 'CSI.' It would be cool if he would, but he's not," said a spokeswoman in Los Angeles. "I just don't know how this stuff starts."
It could be that pesky old Hollywood connection again. Mr. Clinton has long been associated with glittering stars, movie mavens and media moguls of many persuasions. In the protracted debate over his retirement plans, some insiders insisted Mr. Clinton would become a partner at the production giant Dreamworks, or even become a movie critic.
But wait. Mr. Clinton has already appeared as an actor on CBS.
Back in 1996, he played himself in "A Child's Wish," a movie of the week about a terminally ill child and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Needless to say, Hollywood writers found inspiration in the president on several occasions during his administration, most notably in such films as "Primary Colors" and "Wag the Dog."
Alas, though, the rumor of Mr. Clinton's possible appearance on "CSI" is in gossipmonger parlance already out there. Commentary rages within several discussion groups on the Internet.
"Does 'CSI' stand for 'Clinton Still Idolized?'" asked one online contributor. "Clinton: the president who became an actor," observed another, while a third commented that the former president "was a wannabe rock star, movie star and general celebrity who might find himself on 'Hollywood Squares.'"
But on to the truth, of sorts, as the rumors roil.
Mr. Clinton believes he is a better warrior than President Bush. Former Beatle Paul McCartney's fiancee Heather Mills said so after calling for the war to end in Afghanistan so it must be true. The story was reported by the New York Post and Ananova, a British-based news service.
After delivering a speech to a group that opposes land mines last week, Miss Mills advised reporters that she had indeed spoken to Mr. Clinton about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
"I said to Clinton, 'Do you wish you were president now?' And he said, 'I feel I would be better trained for it, more prepared.' It must be very frustrating for him," Miss Mills said. "I did not like Bush before this happened, but now I find him very human."
Amidst all this hearsay, Mr. Clinton himself has been very visible lately.
Last Tuesday, he was in Belgium, advising academes at the University of Ghent about the war on terrorism.
"Not everyone who's angry is angry at the civilized world and wants to destroy it," Mr. Clinton said. "A lot are angry because they can't be a part of it. We need to reduce the pool of potential terrorists by increasing the number of potential partners in the 21st century world."
Thursday, he appeared on the stage of Harlem's Apollo Theater and told the audience of residents and local politicians that New York is a "do, do, do" city, up against the "don't, don't don't" of terrorist threats.
He did find time to lunch with Democratic New York mayoral hopeful Mark Green at Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too up on East 110th Street.
"It doesn't get any better than when the man who held the toughest job in America thinks that I can hold the second-toughest job in America," Mr. Green said.
Republican candidate Michael Bloomberg was less impressed.
"Mr. Clinton was the president of the United States, not a mayor or a governor of the city of New York," Mr. Bloomberg observed.

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