- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The new Hillary

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who as a Republican congressman was impeachment manager of former President Bill Clinton’s trial, says surprisingly enough he’s formed a “nontraditional” alliance with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat.

“She has been great to work with,” said Mr. Graham. “She’s reached across the aisle. She has helped me write the bill about the Guard and reserves. She’s looking for a way to change her image. She’s looking for a way to show people throughout the country she can deal with somebody like Lindsey Graham.

“And my goal up here is to do some good,” he added. “So we’ve formed some alliances that would be nontraditional but have been very beneficial.”

Mr. Graham’s comments came while a guest of “After Hours With Cal Thomas,” on the Fox News Channel. Mr. Thomas had observed that Harry Truman said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog,” and asked the senator: “Is it possible to make real friends up here, even across party lines? Do you have many?”

His response was “the most realistic and honest answer I’ve gotten from a politician in ages,” Mr. Thomas tells this column.

“I have some friends, but if you think this is a friendship in the normal sense, then you have made a mistake,” Mr. Graham said. “I’ve got some good friends that I go to movies with, that I play golf with, that I travel with, that I’ll engage like normal people would engage in terms of friendship.

“But if you have a problem up here, people are going to look after their political career. It is a family only in the sense of political alliances. I enjoy my colleagues. I respect them and I admire them. But I understand the business I’m in. This is a business. This is a serious business. And if you mistake casual relationships for deep friendships, you’ve made a mistake. It’s a little better than the dog analogy, but it’s a serious business.”

As for Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, the Republican senator admitted: “I had a view of him that he stopped everything, biggest destructionist in the world. He has that streak in him, he’s a political leader, but he’s a great guy to do business with.”

Enough said

“He started two wars, invaded two neighbors and tried to assassinate an American president.”

— House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, saying former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein posed a grave and gathering threat to U.S. national security, “period,” and critics who now undermine the legitimacy of Operation Iraqi Freedom with slanderous attacks against President Bush and the international intelligence community undermine security at the same time.

Meet a dog

He’s been vice president of sales for the Washington Redskins, ditto for the MCI Center, and a professional sports consultant.

Then Dan Cohen went to a local “dog happy hour” and was “floored by the way people were connecting through their pets.”

“They probably would not otherwise be talking were it not for this warm and caring intermediary — which is the dog,” he says.

At about the same time, a friend turned Mr. Cohen on to the concept of online dating.

“I was the classic cynic. I’ve been in D.C. a long time, have lots of friends,” he says. But he went ahead and paid a site a visit and was amazed to read the bios of so many interesting professionals.

“Then I read that if I wish to contact these people I have to pay. I actually joined,” he says. “I was fascinated as a business person how they got me to be a customer. These two things — dog happy hour and online dating happened in close proximity.”

Soon, he began researching the pet industry and online dating.

“There is a $30 billion per year pet industry in this country. And online dating is one of the Internet’s largest revenue makers — $500 million annually, projected to be $700 million by 2007. So, I’ve combined the two ideas.”

Mr. Cohen this week launched the nationwide Animal Attraction: Connecting People Through Pets (www.animalattraction.com), which he hopes will become a profitable business venture.

The online site’s inaugural party takes place Saturday, Valentine’s Day, at Buffalo Billiards, 1330 19th St. NW, benefiting the Washington Humane Society. Already, 46 dogs and more than 100 people, several from Capitol Hill, have RSVPed for the event at www.animalattraction.com/valentinesparty.

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

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