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LAUGH LINES

Punch Lines

June 21, 1998

Drip: The grand jury judge in the Clinton-scandal investigation has told lawyers for Kenneth Starr and President Clinton that there are to be no more leaks to the press. "That information was, of course, immediately leaked to the press." (Gary Easley)

Pen: Rumors are that George Michael is writing his autobiography. "An early reviewer has called it 'a touching self-portrait.' " (Steve Voldseth)

No!: Japan's coaches instituted a sex ban on their soccer team at the World Cup. It didn't work and they lost to Argentina, 1-0. "You can bet that will be the last time the coaches tell the team not to score." (Johnny Robish)

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Shaggy Saddam:

This inside story is from Argus Hamilton.

President Clinton visits Iraq for talks with Saddam Hussein on weapons inspections. As Clinton sits down, he sees three buttons on Saddam's armrest. He asks, "Why are those buttons on your chair?"

"You'll see," says Saddam with a smirk.

Ten minutes into the talks, Saddam pushes the first button and whack!--a boxing glove hits Clinton in the face. Saddam laughs himself silly, and Clinton forces himself to stay calm to keep the talks going. A half-hour later, Saddam pushes another button, the glove pops out and punches Clinton in the stomach. Saddam falls out of his chair laughing, while Clinton hides his anger.

Saddam eventually pushes the last button and Clinton is hit in the groin. He gets up and says angrily, "Let's continue these talks next week at the White House."

Saddam arrives in the Oval Office and sees three buttons on Clinton's armrest. He doesn't ask about them. After a half-hour of quarrelsome discussion, Clinton pushes the first button. Saddam ducks, but nothing happens. Clinton laughs really hard. Ten minutes later, Clinton pushes the second button. Saddam jumps up to avoid the expected blow. But again, nothing happens, although Clinton is laughing hysterically.

Saddam is puzzled but continues negotiating until Clinton pushes the final button and rolls on the carpet in spasms of laughter. Saddam is very angry.

"I've had enough of this," he shouts. "I'm going back to Baghdad!"

Through tears of laughter, Clinton asks, "Baghdad? What Baghdad?"

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SEND US A LINE: Got a joke? Send it to Laugh Lines by fax, (213) 237-0732, or mail, Life & Style, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053.

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