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National Perspective

Washington Insight

November 11, 1998|From The Times Washington Bureau

TIME WARP? When the FBI celebrates its 90th anniversary next week at Washington's Constitution Hall, the featured speaker will be a president of the United States--George Bush. Could this be a slap against the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Bureau officials contend that the choice is logical, given Bush's pre-White House experience as director of the CIA. And, the FBI notes, Bush is, after all, an honorary special agent (a badge conferred on most former presidents). Bureau officials could have pointed out--but didn't--that President Clinton will be out of the country next week and couldn't have done the honors anyway. Also unmentioned: the fact that Clinton is currently under scrutiny by FBI agents on the Justice Department task force investigating Democratic campaign finance abuses and is a continuing focus of agents assigned to independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.

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AND THEY'RE OFF: Newly reelected Texas Gov. George W. Bush drew rave reviews last week after capturing 47% of the Latino vote--about double the 24% he received four years earlier. But the morning after, a potential rival for the GOP's presidential nomination in 2000, Arizona's Sen. John McCain, moved quickly to trump Bush on that score. His office sent a "blast fax" all over town pointing out that in his reelection victory, McCain won 55% of the Latino vote--as well as 40% of the Democratic vote and 65% of the women's vote. "I look forward to leading the fight to implement our conservative action plan for America," said McCain.

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NO HIGH ROAD HERE: Just because one of the nastiest election campaigns in New York history is over, don't think for a minute that the name-calling is. Supporters of Democratic Rep. Charles E. Schumer, who defeated Republican Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato, are celebrating by making light of D'Amato's biggest misstep on the campaign trail. Their T-shirts say, "Who's the putzhead now, schmuck?"

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CRASH COURSE: Just in the nick of time, alpha books has published "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Impeachment of the President." Chock-full of helpful information, including a timeline, the cast of characters, excerpts from the Starr Report, tips for armchair pundits and some basic civics lessons, it also includes chapters called "Liar, Liar Pants on Fire," "The Report on Starr," "Sex in the White House" and "Stand by Your Man."

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MUST-SEE TV: For the one or two people in the world who haven't heard enough about Monica S. Lewinsky or presidential sex, an opportunity of sorts: The A&E Network is airing two "investigative reports" next week. The first, "When I Knew Monica" will feature interviews with such key figures as Robin Wyshack, "a neighbor of the Lewinsky family who babysat Monica," Jack Trapper, "a Washington journalist who dated Monica" (once!), and the ever-talkative ex-lawyer, William H. Ginsburg. The second program, "All the Presidents' Women," will include a no-doubt exclusive interview with George Harding, the grand-nephew of former presidential philanderer Warren G. Harding. The younger Harding is, according to the A&E press release, "the first family member to speak about Harding's affairs." Also featured will be a "recently discovered old school book" that belonged to Harding love-interest Nan Britton, who was only 13 years old when she met her president and "has Harding's name written all over it." Remember to program your VCR!

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