- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Vacancy
No, the Enron chairman was not a repeat overnight guest at the Clinton White House, although that's what incorrectly appeared in a list of Enron-Clinton connections circulated by one political observer and reprinted in this column.
Enron's higher-ups certainly rested their feet on numerous occasions in the Clinton White House, although that's not to say they ever stuck around to watch a movie or spend the night.
In 1995 and into 1996, for instance, President Clinton suggested a series of energy-related meetings that ultimately lasted more than nine months between Enron officials and his former chief of staff, Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty, who remained in the White House as a key adviser to the president.
Even as recently as last year, Enron representatives met six times with Vice President Richard B. Cheney or his aides, mainly to discuss the nation's energy policy, according to the vice president's office.
As for actual overnight visitors, there have been, over the centuries, more White House sleepovers than you might have ever imagined. However, our current commander in chief is nowhere near the slumber-party-kind-of-guy his predecessor was.
During the first term of the Clinton administration, in fact, there were 938 Lincoln (and other) Bedroom visitors, according to the White House register. And in one 13-month period between July 1999 and August of 2000, an astounding 404 Clinton guests spent the night at either the White House or Camp David 98 of the sleepyheads being big contributors to Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign.

How ugly is it?
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell appeared on Capitol Hill yesterday to lay out his department's fiscal 2003 budget estimates some of the money earmarked for sprucing up, if not entirely rebuilding, U.S. embassies around the world.
Since the topic of embassy beautification came up, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, figured there was no better time to get something off of his chest.
"You compare that with the horrible, ugly, disgraceful eyesore of our embassy in London, for example, something that makes about as much sense as putting a garbage truck in the middle of a Rolls-Royce parking lot. Very good people work there, of course, but it's just a pretty ugly building."

Laws of the land
What inspires U.S. senators and congressmen, guides them as they preach to the masses on issues near and dear to their hearts?
Look no further than their breast pockets.
Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, is never without a copy of the Constitution, tucked away in his vest pocket for those occasions when he lectures his Senate audiences on American history and law. He's often seen retrieving the Constitution for added effect.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole similarly carried in his pocket a copy of the 10th Amendment, serving to remind the Kansas Republican that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People."
Still, not all lawmakers have the law of the land so close at hand.
Which is why the Cato Institute in recent days began distributing to members of Congress pocket-size copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. And they're not stopping at Capitol Hill.
Copies of the little brown book are also being handed to state legislators, political leaders from other countries and more than 2 million Americans.
"Every American knows that the Constitution is the fundamental law of the United States, but too few of us know what it actually contains," explains Cato's Joan Aylor Kirby. "The Constitution is the document in which the American people delegated some of their powers to the federal government, enumerated those powers mostly in Article 1, Section 8 and thereby limited the powers of the new federal government.
"The law of the Constitution is illuminated by the philosophy set forth in the Declaration of Independence, so the two documents are properly read together."
It's worth noting that the nonpartisan Cato Institute is named for Cato's Letters, libertarian pamphlets that helped lay the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution.
And no, that was not the Constitution or Declaration that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used to pull from his pocket during his relentless debate with the Democrats. That was the GOP's "Contract With America," a copy of which is hard to come by these days.


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