- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I do

We’ve picked up Nigel Hamilton’s (“JFK: Restless Youth”) new 785-page comprehensive biography, “Bill Clinton: An American Journey — Great Expectations,” the first of a two-volume series that reconstructs the former president’s background and career with some much-welcomed psychological insight.

Mr. Clinton, the author explains, is the quintessential baby boomer: blessed with a near-genius IQ, yet beset by character flaws that made his presidency a veritable soap opera of high ideals, distressing incompetence, model financial stewardship, and domestic misbehavior.

The Clinton White House, as a result, fed the public an almost daily diet of scandal and misfortune.



“Poor Stephanopoulos, a Republican turned idealistic Democrat,” Mr. Hamilton says of top Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos, “a warrior who in his heart of hearts would have been better suited to the right-wing Republican crusade. …

“At the time, however, he ‘kept my anger inside to avoid demoralizing the interns and volunteers.’”

If you purchase this thick, eye-opening volume, keep it on the top shelf away from the children (not that Mr. Clinton hasn’t already taught kids enough in the kinky category), for Mr. Hamilton tells all unlike Hillary Rodham Clinton’s current “tell-all.”

As for the New York senator putting up with her husband’s shenanigans for so many years, the author explains that her marriage to Mr. Clinton was arranged from the start as a “political, not social, event,” in which she agreed to tolerate his extramarital “relations.”

“It wasn’t an ideal setup from the point of view of a proud woman, but it was frank, and it was pioneering, not only in Arkansas, but in modern, compassionate America,” Mr. Hamilton writes. “She would not expect Bill to be sexually faithful in their partnership, but she would expect him to observe reasonable discretion — to avoid rubbing her face in his sinful escapades.”

An agreement, in other words?

“On the basis of her understanding with Bill,” the author says, “she was eventually convinced — or convinced herself — that they could make it to the very top, in the fashion of the French, as America’s first modern ‘power couple.’

“She therefore said yes.”

Real K Street

Gloria Dittus launched her Washington career in 1978 — answering telephones for Sen. Donald Stewart, Alabama Democrat.

Today, Dittus Communications, of which she presides as president and chief executive officer, ranks as one of the nation’s leading public-affairs shops, right up there alongside Washington powerhouses Fleishman-Hillard, Hill & Knowlton, Ketchum, Powell Tate, Ogilvy and Edelman.

One difference is when you dial Dittus, Gloria might pick up the phone.

“You know, I’m still answering phones,” she said yesterday with a laugh. “I didn’t come into this business with any big name; I didn’t come out of the White House. It’s kind of like the tortoise and the hare. We succeeded because we kept our heads down, kept putting one foot in front of the other. And today we’re the 16th largest independent agency in the country.”

The Washington firm’s revenues through August, in fact, are up more than 34 percent over last year, when revenues were up 17 percent over 2001.

This evening, Dittus Communications celebrates its 10th anniversary by hosting a signature social event. Rep. Billy Tauzin, Louisiana Republican, will serve as master of ceremonies, while entertainment will be provided by the Fox News Channel’s Tony Snow and his garage-style band Beats Workin’.

Semper Fi

Tomorrow is groundbreaking for the National Museum of the Marine Corps, the first museum dedicated to telling the stories of the U.S. Marines.

We’re told that every element of the museum — from its symbolic design to interactive exhibits — is designed to provide visitors with a fantastic experience. Thus, the museum’s slogan: “Expect to Live It.”

For example, one exhibit will be a room designed and acclimatized to simulate the conditions Marines experienced during the Korean War. Another will feature an obstacle course similar to those used at boot camp.

The museum will be located at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia, just south of Washington along Interstate 95. Attending tomorrow’s 11 a.m. groundbreaking will be Marine Commandant Gen. Michael W. Hagee.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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