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National Perspective

Washington Insight

November 04, 1998|From The Times Washington Bureau

GIMMICKS R US: What a country we live in, a place where creative entrepreneurs can market a product and ridicule the president at the same time. Http://www.AllHerb.com, an Internet site that sells herbal remedies, has created the "Walk on the Wild Bill Side" program to, according to promoters, "help Republicans get in touch with the fun-loving, risk-taking Democratic Party animal inside us all." The real story of the Bill Clinton sex scandal, say the AllHerbies, "is not if we should impeach the president but whether a Republican can party like a true Democrat." To further this end, the Laurel, Md., enterprise is providing GOP visitors to its Web site with a free bottle of natural herbal aphrodisiacs--Damiana for women and Homey Goat Weed for men--and a condom.

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BET'S OFF: In workplaces all across the nation's capital Tuesday, the proletariat masses were ponying up a buck or two to enter the office election pool. But not at the Justice Department, home to countless attorneys, the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other upholders and enforcers of the law. When it comes to pools--election, basketball, football, World Series, whatever--department employees are told to save their money. "Of course we frown on election pools in the building. Gambling is against the law," huffed one official. "We don't have hall monitors," to ensure that the department is pool-free, he conceded. "But if [pools] got to the point where they interfered with work, you'd have enforcement."

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FOUND AT LAST: Milling around a huge tent at Vice President Al Gore's Halloween party Saturday were quite a number of folks--journalists and some White House staff--dressed in black, with frilly angel wings attached to their right shoulders. Their odd get-ups were explained by the buttons they wore, with the slogan "vast right-wing conspiracy." Remarkably, no one wore one of the season's favorite costumes: the black beret and blue dress of the Clinton scandal's leading lady, Monica S. Lewinsky.

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CAFFEINE DIPLOMACY: While hosting Colombian President Andres Pastrana at a White House dinner last week, President Clinton paid tribute to the magic potion that kept Arabs, Israelis and Americans awake at Wye Plantation in Maryland so they could negotiate their Mideast peace agreement. "After all these years," Clinton said, "the United States remains captivated by Colombia--by the power of Colombian art, the force of Colombian literature and, I might add, the strength of Colombian coffee. Indeed, if ever a prize is given to any of the people who negotiated the peace treaty at Wye, something will have to be given to Colombia, for without the coffee, it would not have occurred."

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VOTE HOG: American political campaigns are not paragons of truth, virtue and cleanliness. But there's mudslinging and then there's . . . pig-flinging. In Taiwan recently, opposition candidate Hsu I-sheng recently threw live piglets at aides to Gov. James Soong. In a self-described "rash act," Hsu, along with some of his supporters, grabbed the piglets and threw them across a parking lot at Soong and his contingent. It is not known if any of the piglets hit their targets. Hsu has apologized for his behavior--"to all the pigs of the world."

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OUCH: In a recent issue of Rolling Stone, comedian Norm Macdonald had this to say about the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal: "Dirty sex every day--it's got me reading the newspapers again."

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