COLUMNS

“While Hillary is Away, Bill Goes to Doggie Bags”

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • February 23, 2000

by Karen Feld

President Clinton proved his loyalty to bulldog Jim Carville the other evening when he dropped by his pal’s book party at the Palm. He couldn’t eat because food tasters hadn’t advanced the outing, but he took a New York Strip Steak back to “his” House. Other First Friends who believe in “Stickin” — golf buddy Terry McAuliffe, media consultant Mandy Grunwald, pollster Stan Greenberg, and Gore adviser Bob Shrum, who says he’s feeling a lot more confidant about his “advisee” in recent days.

Clinton wasn’t the only one getting his red meat fix the other evening – a handful of House Members took on the “Great Celebrity Steak-Out” challenge at Morton’s of Chicago. Illinois Reps Phil Crane, Jerry Weller and Ray LaHood couldn’t tell the difference between a porterhouse and a filet mignon, but their colleague John Shimkus won the contest, all for the benefit of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. It’s not about steak, but let’s hope those polls make the distinction between candidates when pulling the voting lever.

With political primaries underway, those inside the Beltway are already speculating on Cabinet possibilities:

Sen. Bob Kerry (Neb.) and Sen. Paul Wellstone (Minn.) could end up heading up the Departments of Defense and Labor respectively in a Democratic administration. If frontrunner Al Gore captures the prize, he will be in line to reward Rep. Norm Dicks (Wash.) with an appointment, possibly Defense; and Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend would likely fill a “woman’s” slot. Also on the short list for Supreme Court appointments is former Democratic Senator George Mitchell.

If the GOP wrests control of The White House from the Dems, George W. Bush will have a slew of supporters to remember: Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Colo.) could continue his informal role as a public lands adviser and become Interior Secretary. Megabuck Bush fundraiser Rep. Jennifer Dunn (Wash.) could take her financial skills to the Department of Commerce. Sen. Paul Coverdell’s (Ga.) passion for education reform might take him to the top of the class — Education Secretary. Former ball player, Rep. J.C. Watts (Okla.), might get his “wish” to leave the House, where he’s the sole black Republican, but end up leading the Housing and Urban Development Department. And Rep. Tillie Fowler’s (Fla.) unwavering support for keeping the naval ports in her home district might land her a job as Secretary of the Navy.

GOP Senator and Vietnam veteran Chuck Hagel (Neb.)would be a natural at either State or Defense if John McCain has his way. Then there’s McCain’s friend from the other side of the aisle, Democratic Senator and “reformer” Russ Feingold (Minn.), who could be the object of McCain’s desire in his new proposed post of “reform czar.”

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) may have been an opponent to both Bush and McCain for most of 1999 and early 2000, but he could fill the Attorney General slot or a Supreme Court appointment when a vacancy occurs. Rep. John Kasich (Ohio) may end up heading the Office of Management and Budget if his choice, Bush, is successful on the road to The White House. And some are buzzing in New York that Big Apple Mayor Rudy Giuliani will forgo his “unannounced” bid for the Senate in hopes of a U.S. Attorney General appointment from “W” if Bush wins the New York primary. Insiders say that Rudy is running; but he feels a formal announcement will jinx his bid.

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