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Washington Insight

November 17, 1994|The Times Washington Bureau

TUNING OUT RUSH: Memo to Rush Limbaugh: Bill Clinton isn't listening. In a recent interview, Clinton said he doesn't tune into his ebulliently conservative nemesis. "I have no problems with his views," the President said. "It's the attack nature of his communication. Instead of a conversation and a dialogue, it's all bomb-throwing. It's very entertaining, but it contributes to this sort of blockage people have . . . where we can't hear people who disagree with us." On the other hand, the President said he tries to keep up with the work of critics he considers thoughtful, like former Cabinet secretaries Jack Kemp and William J. Bennett. "When they wrote the piece they wrote on (California's) Proposition 187," Clinton said, "I couldn't have said it any better myself."

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BOOTING BOB: Republican leaders in Congress are relishing the opportunity to replace Robert Reischauer, director of the Congressional Budget Office, when they take control in January. Republicans view Reischauer as an overly partisan Democrat who issued budget reports critical of their favorite tax plans. They note that Reischauer is close to Alice Rivlin, director of the Office of Management and Budget and author of a recent memo that Republicans claimed during the fall campaign showed that President Clinton planned to slash Social Security and raise taxes. Even Reischauer's controversial decision to issue a report critical of the Clinton health care plan earlier this year didn't win much Republican support. "Even a blind pig stumbles into the truth once in a while," grumbled the likely new House majority leader, Rep. Dick Armey (R-Tex.).

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STRAIGHT MAN: Despite the drubbing the Democrats took at the polls, Vice President Al Gore said at a news conference Wednesday that he feels "so much better than last week" but only because he is out of the leg cast he has worn since tearing his Achilles' tendon in August. But then he stiffened his body, his face went blank and the political performer who has been teased for his wooden campaign style deadpanned: "They tell me I'll have to wear the old full-body cast for several more years." Surrounded by Republicans, perhaps body armor would be a better choice.

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RELUCTANT REPUBLICAN: Don't expect Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld to join the Republicans who are tripping over each other on their way to the 1996 presidential starting line. Weld, a fiscally conservative but socially moderate former U.S. attorney, is frequently mentioned as a prospective candidate. But one of his chief Boston backers said Weld has been reluctant to make any moves in that direction. He doesn't want to divert his attention until Massachusetts has completed its economic recovery, or subject his wife and five children to the intensive media attention involved in a presidential campaign. "A group of us want to really launch things for '96, and he is saying: 'Please, please, stay out,' " the backer said.

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FRANKLY, MY DEAR: Paula Corbin Jones, whose sexual harassment suit against President Clinton is pending, was photographed in Los Angeles for Vanity Fair magazine, says Davis Factor, co-owner of SmashBox Studios, where the pictures were taken Monday. Among the outfits she donned for the session was a green 19th-Century hoop skirt that, when viewed in combination with her ringlet-style hairdo, gave her more than a chance resemblance to Scarlett O'Hara, according to one observer. Well, fiddledeedee.

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