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National Perspective

Washington Insight

November 25, 1998|From The Times Washington Bureau

MR. RESULTS: Got a problem? Call Abe--Hirschfeld, that is--the eccentric New York parking lot magnate. The man who offered a cool $1 million to help settle Paula Corbin Jones' sexual harassment case against President Clinton wants to point out that since he made his (ultimately rejected) offer, not only was a settlement reached but the stock market has rebounded, Middle East peace negotiations have continued and "impeachment tensions" have been ratcheted down a notch. Yes, he's taking credit for all that--and he got to keep the $1 mil! Hirschfeld, who years ago congratulated himself for the Camp David peace accords, notes in a press release that he has "a reputation for going to the heart of the matter and getting results."

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PEOPLE WHO LOVE WINNING: Speaking of credit, Barbra Streisand also wants her fair share. According to Streisand spokesman Dick Guttman, the Democratic singer's political win-loss record is "pretty good." She contributed money to 35 candidates, and 28 of them won, for a record of 80%, Guttman told "The Hotline," a daily compendium of political news. Streisand also endorsed 190 candidates on her Web site; all but 35 were victorious.

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AN ELITE GROUP: Following the time-honored tradition of hiring former pro athletes as sports commentators, the tabloid TV show "Hard Copy" brought in Gennifer Flowers, a former Clinton paramour and taper, to react to the Linda Tripp-Monica S. Lewinsky tapes. "I thought Linda Tripp gave Monica Lewinsky a lot of good advice from what I heard," said Flowers, who later said she could "almost see someone like Monica needing to go to Europe for a while."

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THE BONO BLOW: Rep. Mary Bono's (R-Palm Springs) recent interview with TV Guide, in which she divulged her late husband's dependence on painkillers, provided more than its share of political drama. In the middle of the interview, Bono received a phone call from House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), struggling to survive his party's post-election blame game. TV Guide quoted Bono as telling Gingrich: "What I have to say to you is the hardest thing I've ever had to say to anybody except to my kids. I suggest that it is time for you to search your soul . . . and I'm sorry I can't give you a yes." Bono then reminded Gingrich that he once told her that "sometimes we have to sacrifice one for the good of the party." "You're a good student," Gingrich replied. "You listened well." Hours later, Gingrich announced he would step down.

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MARATHON MAN: Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), the leader of the Senate's 45 Democrats, has become the latest senator to complete a marathon. Stalled budget negotiations kept Daschle, 50, from making his planned run back home in South Dakota in October, so he just kept on training for another race. His time in the Philadelphia run on Sunday: a respectable if less-than-speedy 5 hours and 17 minutes.

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SLUMMING: Aware that Washington journalists are in full-scandal mode these days, the Cato Institute recently distributed a press release on Social Security reform written in scandal-speak. "The Social Security trust fund is being drained by demographic realities," said Julia Williams, spokeswoman for the think tank. "Someone retiring in 2005 may be OK, but not someone retiring in 2040. For example Ken Starr will come close to breaking even, but poor Monica Lewinsky will receive very little of the 12.4% of her income she will pay annually."

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