Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE

Washington Insight

September 10, 1997|From The Times Washington Bureau

COUP HUMOR: The bruises are still sore among House Republicans implicated in July's failed attempt to unseat Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) as speaker. But at least House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), who admitted he had talked to dissidents and other GOP leaders about possible succession scenarios, can now joke about it. At his weekly press conference, Armey was bantering about sports with reporters and commented that he'd never been much interested in soccer. One wag in the crowd offered a barbed response, "Yeah, it's a team sport." After the hoots and howls died down, Armey quipped that he had always assumed that House Democrats routinely send a staff member to listen in on his briefings, "but I didn't know the speaker did."

*

FIRST WIGS: After a three-week vacation on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., President Clinton had finally reached the let-your-hair-down stage of relaxation. Only in this case--a darkened nightclub where the president was having a private party Friday night with the news media and local citizens--it was more of a let-your-hair-up kind of thing. A retro rock band, featuring Carly Simon's tonally challenged but eye-catching daughter as lead singer, was on stage. After mingling with the crowd, Clinton got on stage, greeted his pals Carly and her daughter, Sally, and then made some remarks to the crowd. As Clinton talked, a band member approached him from behind and placed a huge fake afro wig, with a floppy hat attached, onto the head of the leader of the free world. A surprised Clinton removed the head gear to inspect it--and then put it back on. He then joked that the wig and shiny '70s disco clothes would be the White House dress and hair code. Since the event was off the record (until the Washington Post spilled the beans), no photos have been published of Clinton be-wigged. But there were many personal cameras in the room. So those who are critical of the president for playing the sax in public might not want to look too closely if photos crop up of some clownish-looking guy in a funny hat.

*

DIPLOMATIC BACK DOOR: If you think former Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld has had a tough time getting the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to consider his ambassadorial nomination, spare a thought for Wyche Fowler. He's been waiting so long, some committee members had forgotten him. It was in August of 1996 that the former Georgia senator was nominated by Clinton to be America's representative in Saudi Arabia. More than a year later, he's still waiting for a confirmation hearing. Fowler's plight was finally discovered when Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) ran into him working out in the Senate gym last week, greeting him with a light "Hello, Mr. Ambassador"--to which Fowler deadpanned, "I'd like to be." As a rare "recess appointment"--a nomination made during a congressional recess--Fowler was not required to get immediate Senate confirmation and instead traveled directly to Riyadh with the title of "acting ambassador," which he still carries. "To be perfectly honest, we just forgot about [the hearing]," admitted Biden. "He's out there, we talk with him, he talks to us. It all felt like the real thing." Before the day was out, the committee was scheduling Fowler's hearing, now on the agenda for Sept. 18.

*

DON'T GO THERE: Just who comes up with the vice president's schedule? Last week, as Al Gore was being criticized by a Senate panel for his appearance at a Buddhist temple fund-raiser and targeted by the Justice Department for fund-raising phone calls, his handlers sent him to an elementary school in Shady Side, Md.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|