Bulgarian Toast “Leaves” Bad Aftertaste for President Clinton

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • November 24, 1999

by Karen Feld

Last week this columnist reported that First Friend Terry McAuliffe called the President “one expensive best friend;” this week former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr is learning it can also be expensive to be the President’s worst enemy. Starr’s pre-Whitewater/Monicagate employer, Kirkland & Ellis, says he would have to take a 60 percent pay cut (which still leaves him $800,000 annually) plus give up the lucrative talk circuit to return to the fold. However, a prohibition on any book deals — the holy grail of scandal-plagued Washington, DC — is unknown.

Few of Al Gore’s advisers have the clout of “Daddy’s little girl,” and the influence of his eldest child is causing some resentment among his aides. Karenna Gore Schiff, 26, a law student and mother of the Vice President’s first and only grandchild, commands the Veep’s respect when it comes to her political instincts. She’s been a key figure in his distancing himself from the Clintons — which needless to say, doesn’t please The White House — and in moving the GORE2000 campaign headquarters out of the Washington Beltway and back to the heartland, Nashville. Furthermore, it was Karenna who suggested that he go back to the town meeting formats on the campaign trail. She’s also a friend and defender of feminist writer and controversial Gore adviser Naomi Wolf.

Pat Buchanan has merited a special report from the Anti-Defamation League — one of the leading organizations fighting Anti-Semitism — for his views on American Jews, Israel, Hitler and the Holocaust; but perhaps it will diffuse the buzz in Jewish circles that the presidential candidate for the Reform Party nomination has hired Neil Bernstein, who happens to be Jewish, as his press spokesperson. . . And a Buchanan not-so-war-story: a bad leg was enough to keep him out of the military. Fortunately the leg recovered and by Reagan days, he was running regularly in Washington marathons.

It’s unlikely that House Speaker Dennis Hastert will be a trendsetter with his fondness for bagpipe music. To celebrate the resolution of the budget battle in Congress, he called in the shrill-toned musical instruments to serenade the occasion. That even makes President Clinton’s sax sound good!

But even President and Mrs. Clinton may have wished for bagpipes when Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov quoted a passage from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” in his toast at a State Dinner in Sofia earlier this week. That’s the infamous book that The President gave to Monica.

Speaking of Monicagate, one of the bit players during the scandalous period, Kathleen Willey — she accused President Clinton of groping her in the White House — married a longtime friend last weekend and took his name. She’s now Mrs. Bill Schwicker.

Hillary Clinton may be running for a New York Senate seat but she won’t be welcoming the New Year at Times Square. Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali, Robert De Niro, and Kathleen Battle are among the “creators and inventors” who have accepted the Clintons’ Millennium Dinner invitation at The White House.

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