- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Clinton tapes

Dozens of taped conversations between President Bill Clinton and historian Taylor Branch will be edited into a book, tentatively titled “Wrestling History: The Bill Clinton Tapes,” to be published in 2008, Simon & Schuster announced yesterday.

Mr. Clinton has “full knowledge” the book is being written, but “will have no editorial input or approval,” Simon & Schuster said. The conversations will range from Middle East peace negotiations to the Balkan war to, yes, Monica Lewinsky.

“Oh, sure, he talked about it, not at length, but I think we had a conversation on the night the whole Monica Lewinsky thing broke,” Mr. Branch, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for “Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63,” told the Associated Press. “Obviously, it’s there, but it is not going to dominate this. There is a lot more talk about Boris Yeltsin and the leaders of China than about Monica Lewinsky.”

Mr. Branch, a longtime friend who met periodically with the president throughout his two terms, says Mr. Clinton also discussed his marriage, the 2000 election between Al Gore and George W. Bush, his pardon of financier Marc Rich and a great deal about a foreign foe who had yet to capture headlines: Osama bin Laden.

The book is scheduled to come out in late 2008. Simon & Schuster spokeswoman Victoria Meyer said the publisher didn’t know whether it would be released before or after Election Day, a potentially major difference should Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton be the Democratic candidate for president.

Benefit of doubt

Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani, former New York mayor, said yesterday that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales should get “the benefit of the doubt” in the uproar over the firings of federal prosecutors, the Associated Press reports.

“The president has addressed it,” said Mr. Giuliani, a former U.S. attorney. “The attorney general’s an honorable man. He’s a decent man. He should be given a chance to explain and everybody should sort of give him the benefit of the doubt and allow him to explain.”

‘Gotcha’ moment

“It’s not easy being green. Just ask former Vice President Al Gore,” the Fox News Channel’s Terry Keenan writes at www.foxnews.com.

“While the newly anointed Oscar winner has made what Katie Couric called a ‘triumphant return’ to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Gore was tripped up by a simple question from Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe. Late into the hearing, Inhofe showed Gore a clip from his film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ The clip challenged the audience with this question: ‘Are you ready to change the way you live?’

“Simple enough. But Inhofe took this question a step further, by placing it right at the foot of the former vice president. Correctly noting that Gore is adored by hundreds of thousands for his green message, Inhofe asked the Tennessee Democrat if he’d be willing to pledge to ‘consume no more energy for use in your residence than the average American household by one year from today?’

“It was a ‘gotcha’ moment, and one that was not widely reported in the mainstream media. Mr. Gore refused to take the pledge, adding that, ‘We live a carbon-neutral life.’ Get ready to hear a lot about carbon-neutral living in the days and months ahead. It’s the new euphemism for Escalade-driving environmentalists who ‘purchase’ carbon credits to assuage any guilt about their private jets and 20,000-square-foot summer homes.”

Award winner

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation announced yesterday that one of four 2007 Bradley Prizes to honor outstanding achievement will be awarded to James Q. Wilson. He is the Ronald Reagan professor of public policy at Pepperdine University and previously served as the Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard University and the Collins Professor of Management and Public Policy at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Mr. Wilson will be presented the award during a ceremony at the Kennedy Center May 3. Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John R. Bolton, Harvard professor Martin S. Feldstein and scholars Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom will also be honored. Each award carries a stipend of $250,000.

“The Bradley Foundation is honoring James Q. Wilson for his pioneering contributions to social science,” said Michael W. Grebe, president and chief executive officer of the Bradley Foundation. “His scholarship in the area of crime prevention influenced numerous governmental strategies for combating social problems.”

Another Hunter

Duncan D. Hunter, son of California Republican and presidential candidate Rep. Duncan Hunter, says he will run for his father’s seat when the congressman steps down next year.

Mr. Hunter, a 14-term congressman who formally declared his candidacy for president in January, said last year that he had no intention to seek re-election in 2008. But this week Duncan D. Hunter, 30, said he intends to run in the San Diego-area district.

“I’m running on my own credentials,” the younger Mr. Hunter said.

The congressman, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, is a conservative and an outspoken foe of illegal immigration.

Helping Romney

A Christian Coalition of America officer who ran a successful campaign to ban homosexual “marriage” in South Carolina said yesterday that he is endorsing Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential bid and will work for the campaign.

Drew McKissick, the national coalition’s secretary and board member, will be a paid “South Carolina grassroots adviser” for the campaign, Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said yesterday.

Mr. McKissick, who also is co-chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party’s rules committee, said his endorsement of the former Massachusetts governor has nothing to do with his own role with the Christian Coalition.

“I started to go through this process a year ago,” Mr. McKissick said of the endorsement. “It became obvious to me who was likely be the consensus conservative choice.”

Outta sync

From dumped by Britney to dissed by his native-state legislature, Justin Timberlake is no longer lovin’ it.

Tennessee state Sen. Ophelia Ford had introduced a resolution to honor Mr. Timberlake “for his highly successful music career and for his meritorious service to the state of Tennessee.” But Republican Sen. Raymond Finney removed it from a list of resolutions expected to get unanimous support, the Associated Press reports.

“It’s not something I want my name on,” Mr. Finney said.

Republican senators took issue with calling attention to Mr. Timberlake’s latest album, “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” and to song titles like “SexyBack.” Mr. Timberlake was also involved in singer Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.

c Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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