The Quayle bashing begins

The Quayle bashing begins

Dan Quayle could not shake the jokes after announcing his bid for the presidency. As Jill Lawrence of USA Today noted, "Late-night comics have been in overdrive since Quayle announced his plans to run" on the Jan. 21 edition of CNN's Larry King Live. (1/26) Politically Incorrect host Bill Maher: "If you like Clinton, you will love Quayle. Because he doesn't know what 'is' means either." (ABC, 1/21)

Daily Show host Jon Stewart: "Dan says this campaign will be different than 1988, explaining, 'Being No. 1 is a lot different than being No. 2,' causing tears of joy from his campaign arithmetic tutor." (Comedy Central, 1/21)

While nearly all late-night comedians managed one or two Quayle cracks, Jay Leno of NBC's Tonight Show devoted an opening monologue to the topic, as an estimated 9 million viewers watched. Leno on Quayle:

--"He called it a grass-roots campaign. Anybody rooting for him--obviously on grass. Actually, Quayle has written a book on it. It's called Campaigning for Dummies."

--"Let me tell you something, he's got a pretty good chance, too. He said not only has he not committed adultery, he can't even spell it."

--"There are some kinks that have to be worked out. In order for him to run for President, he has to leave the family newspaper business, which puts the family in a bind because they only have until Monday now to get somebody else to deliver the papers on his route."

--"I'll tell you who's really nervous about Quayle: Lamar Alexander. You know, he thought he had last place in the primaries sealed up. No, sir . . . it's going to be neck and neck."

--"According to his publicist, Dan Quayle has been in a think tank. . . . OK, he's been in the shallow end."

--"You know, [Colin] Powell once said . . . , 'Politics requires a calling that I do not yet hear.' Now here's my question, if a man like Colin Powell can't hear it, how the hell did Dan Quayle hear it?" (1/22)

Bill Bradley as Huck Finn

Former Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., could be Vice President Al Gore's only serious opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, so the news media dutifully paid some attention to his first trip to New Hampshire since the announcement of his bid.

Bradley's Jan. 25 visit began in Keene, N.H., at the front door of a bagel shop, where he "greeted a steady stream of people" as the Grateful Dead played on a stereo. Bradley: "I won't be flying in and out. I'll be staying for several days at a time, getting to know New Hampshire and listening to people." (The [Hackensack, N.J.] Record, 1/26)

The Associated Press reported that he "kept to intimate settings where his soft-spoken charm and star appeal warmed audiences." (1/26)

The (Manchester, N.H.) Union Leader reported that Bradley considers himself the better choice as a nominee against the Republicans because he can "attract more independent voters." (1/26)

The (Nashua, N.H.) Telegraph noted Bradley's efforts to contrast his upbringing with Gore's. During a radio interview, Bradley "traced a life story that differs from Gore," one of growing up "in a very small town on the banks of the Mississippi River in Missouri." Bradley said Gore spent most of his early days "in Washington." (1/26)

Incoming New Hampshire Democratic Chairman Kathy Sullivan: "It's true the Vice President has the overwhelming support of the people who have been hard-core party activists in every election. But if you take it out a couple of circles further, to people who are committed Democrats but not activists, there's an opening there." (The Washington Post, 1/26)

The low-key Bradley even managed an "electric moment," according to Deborah Orin of the New York Post. A girl "fighting to escape drugs burst into tears" when Bradley asked her what she fears most. Bradley hugged her: "It's OK. . . . Thank you for your courage in sharing that." (1/26)

Although Bradley "drew no real crowds, he nevertheless seemed comfortable with his candidacy and appeared to enjoy himself," wrote B. Drummond Ayres Jr. of The New York Times. (1/26)

Bradley said "he will return to New Hampshire early and often" in the coming months. (The Washington Times, 1/26)

Senate Sideshows

The Senate impeachment trial produced a bit of drama, but some of the sideshows outside the chamber got plenty of news-media attention.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Sen. Harry M. Reid, D-Nev., "took a break" from trial proceedings on Jan. 21 "to play host at a juice-and-bagel reception" in his Senate office for comedian Whoopi Goldberg, who was in town to watch the trial. Reid spokeswoman Jenny Backus said Reid "knows Goldberg through people in Vegas." (1/25)

The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer reported that Sen. Jesse A. Helms, R-N.C., and the Clinton White House "have often clashed, but last week they nearly collided, literally."

Helms, "who gets around in a motorized wheelchair, was wheeling quickly around outside the Senate chambers where the impeachment trial was taking place, when he narrowly avoided crashing into" White House attorney Charles F.C. Ruff, "who was in a hand-powered wheelchair." Helms "is using the wheelchair while he recovers from two knee-replacement operations," and Ruff "has used a wheelchair since the 1960s, when he contracted a polio-type virus while teaching in" Liberia. "Both men thought their near-mishap was pretty funny. It is not known whether either Helms or Ruff was wearing a seat belt." (1/24)

Look Who Showed Up

Paula Jones "crashed" President Clinton's Arkansas "homecoming" on Jan. 24, "joining the audience while the President addressed a community hit hard last week by tornadoes."

Jones "listened to Clinton's remarks to the community, but the two did not meet." Jones "quickly left the site after Clinton's speech, as he began to shake hands with those gathered to see him." Clinton "did not appear to notice" Jones. Clinton "did not answer reporters' questions about Jones' presence and appeared to be surprised that she had been there." Jones "acknowledged to reporters that it was somewhat awkward, but said, 'I want to see what they're doing to help."' (Reuters, 1/25) Chris Black of CNN reported that Jones "lives in a town nearby and said she happened to be in town when the tornadoes hit, so she came over to see the President. I guess she's grateful for that $850,000 check." (WorldView, 1/24)

More Ink for the Hammer

House Majority Whip Tom D. DeLay, R-Texas, almost slipped out of the news during the Senate impeachment trial, but the Republican credited with driving the House impeachment vote gets a profile in the current issue of George magazine.

In the piece, Timothy Noah wrote that DeLay's bid for influence on Capitol Hill extends to seeking "control over who gets certain jobs in Washington's private sector." This fall, when the Electronic Industries Alliance picked former Democratic Rep. Dave McCurdy of Oklahoma "to be its president, DeLay had his staff phone board members to try and stop it. DeLay says he was baffled" that the EIA "would consider hiring a Democrat." (2/99 issue)

Smoking Out Goldberg

Despite Lucianne Goldberg's status as a national celebrity in the Clinton sex scandal, she could not get a smoking seat at Elaine's, one of Manhattan's swankiest restaurants.

The New York Post reported that after they were informed that the smoking section was full, Goldberg and Internet gossip Matt Drudge asked a waiter to move a diner from the smoking section. When told she would have to sit in nonsmoking, Goldberg said, "I would never do that. I don't want to eat there that badly. I think Elaine's food is awful. Matt wanted to come." The pair left to eat and smoke at a nearby steak house with plenty of smoking seats. (1/25)


"I would like to share this with every single Senator who votes to dismiss the case tomorrow."--actress Camryn Manheim of ABC's The Practice, accepting a Golden Globe award for her role as a defense attorney (NBC, 1/25)

"Political mistresses have been going in and out of that hotel undetected for a hundred years. She could have used the basement elevator, but Monica wants the attention." --Lucianne Goldberg on Monica Lewinsky's celebrated arrival on Jan. 23 at Washington's Mayflower Hotel (New York Post, 1/25)

"Clinton's critics cringe at the thought of the world's most famous philanderer shaking hands today with the world's most famous religious leader." --Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on President Clinton's Jan. 26 meeting with the pope (1/26)

"For you, Mr. President, it's above my pay grade." --The Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot on what the pope should say to Clinton if the President asks for redemption (McLaughlin Special Report, MSNBC, 1/25)

"They'll get more work done in a private session than they would if they did [it] in public."--The Washington Post's Sally Quinn on the Senate going into closed session to debate the impeachment case (Larry King Live, CNN, 1/25)

"The Democrats are saying, well, maybe it would be OK to just drag this out forever." --ABC's Cokie Roberts on the political toll of impeachment on the GOP (Good Morning America, ABC, 1/26)