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Washington Insight

October 07, 1998|From The Times Washington Bureau

"I DO," AGAIN: Addressing an esteemed luncheon audience that included former Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger, leading German political analyst and BMW business executive Horst Teltschik revealed a little bit about his country's newly elected Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The difference between Schroeder and President Clinton, Teltschik told his guests, was that Schroeder married his girlfriends. The new German leader, due to meet Clinton at the White House later this week, is currently married to his fourth wife.

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WAG THE BILL: Maybe they thought he was a crackpot; perhaps they thought his offer was a joke. Having gotten no response from Paula Corbin Jones' lawyers or the president's, Abe Hirschfeld plans to go even more public with his offer to settle Jones' sexual harassment complaint with a $1 million payment. Hirschfeld, a New York real estate developer, is considering holding a press conference to wave his $1 million check to prove he really means business. Still undecided is where he would stage his offer on Thursday. Stairs of the federal courthouse are one possibility, but only if independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's grand jury is in session.

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SHOW ME THE MONEY II: It's come to this. The public airing of Clinton's dalliance with former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky has created open season on the sexual misdeeds of other public officials. Three Republican Congress members--Dan Burton of Indiana, Helen Chenoweth of Idaho and Henry J. Hyde of Illinois--recently confessed to their own "youthful indiscretions," as Hyde described a five-year affair he had with a married woman while in his late '30s and early '40s. Now, Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine, is offering up to $1 million in cash to those who can document an adulterous relationship with a member of Congress or other "high-ranking government official." Flynt spent $85,000 to publicize his offer with a full-page ad in Sunday's editions of the Washington Post.

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PRINCE WHO? Gene Sperling, who heads the National Economic Council at the White House, was discussing with reporters Clinton's Monday evening visit with finance ministers and central bank governors from emerging markets and the leading industrial democracies. It would be held at the Washington hotel formerly known as the Ritz-Carlton. But the hotel is in the process of shifting ownership and now is known as the Sheraton Luxury Collection Hotel. Unable to resist, Sperling presented the time of the meeting, and the location of the hotel "formerly known as Prince." He won a round of chuckles from all in the White House press briefing room--all but Lawrence Summers, the deputy Treasury secretary, standing at his side. Summers stared blankly, not a flicker of amusement crossing his visage.

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A DAY'S WORK: By midafternoon last Friday, half of the reporters, lawyers and media wags in the nation's capital were busy ruining their eyesight trying to read the teensy-tiny type on the last 4,610 pages of evidence from Starr's sex-and-lies investigation. Area drug stores had a run on magnifying glasses, and copying machines were in duplication-magnification overdrive. The three volumes of documents, weighing in at almost 11 pounds total, were a hot commodity. One Washington reporter who thought she had escaped the Monica madness for a late shuttle to New York, was amused to see two other passengers walk onto the plane carrying their Starr sets. They were providing special delivery service to media outlets in the Big Apple.

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