Mending Fences for Public Appearances is the Way

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • March 19, 1999

by Karen Feld

Mending Fences for Public Appearances is the Way of Washington and Hollywood

One obscure Congressman, Greg Ganske (R-Iowa) spent $22,000 (US) to air TV commercials pleading for “political healing” in the post-impeachment era. Rep. Ganske has strived for healing throughout much of his life-he was a medical doctor before his election to Congress. But some of his Republican colleagues – particularly House Managers in the impeachment trial– are awaiting with trepidation Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt’s commemorative congressional issue, a pictorial, due out April 6. Although Mr. Flynt, the voice of the first amendment, says he wants to end personal destruction in politics, some politicos, very much aware of the human cost of delving into personal lives of public figures, fear Mr. Flynt is going about it in the wrong way. Mr. Flynt may be reacting to the media who are eagerly awaiting his much ballyhooed report. But we’re relieved to know from Flynt insiders that the porn publisher had no contact with White House operatives.

After chilly relations between the First Couple, things appear more normal, at least in terms of public appearances. The Clintons attended church together on Sunday and hosted a St. Patrick’s Day bash under tent on the White House lawn. Barbara Walters, still basking in the glory of her coveted interview with Monica, introduced Hillary Rodham Clinton at the National First Ladies’ Library gala this week. Mrs. Clinton tossed Ms. Walters a frosty kiss after her introduction. Later the two sat without speaking on the stage -separated by an empty chair– while actresses and Clinton friends, Mary Steenburgen and Jane Alexander, re-enacted conversations of First Ladies throughout history. Much of the monologue was timeless- even Mrs. Clinton concurred: “I identify with a few of the things they said.” Mending fences at least for public appearances is the way of Washington and Hollywood. Ms. Walters brought Sen. John Warner (R-Va), her constant companion, who voted to impeach President Clinton, to the dinner. And now Ms. Walters scores another coup-a pre-Academy Award interview with Sen. Warner’s ex-wife, the First Lady of Hollywood, Elizabeth Taylor. Speaking of First Ladies, one hopeful, Tipper Gore, is on the move. She went to Bosnia to raise her profile for the 2000 election.

President Clinton’s secretary, Betty Currie, must be pleased that her friends are supporting her legal defense fund. The presidential confidant, who earns $60,000(US) annually, incurred $100,000(US) in legal fees during independant counsel Ken Starr’s investigation of her boss.

While the U.S. economy is doing so well, the inside word is that Deputy Secretary of Treasury Larry Summers will be tapped to replace Sec. Robert Rubin. Mr. Summers, 44, is known to be a brainy economist who has been improving his people skills. He achieved huge influence with the Mexican bailout, and has a close relationship with Vice President Al Gore.

Jesse Ventura won’t have competition from veteran performer Harry Belafonte. Mr. Belafonte, in Washington to perform at a Washington Hospital Center benefit, described a hazardous acting moment while attempting his own stunt — filming a wrestling scene with the much younger Andy Garcia. Having slipped a disk, he sat on the stage “in complete agony” as he talked about rescuing children from violence in Bosnia and Zaire. No doubt Mr. Belafonte can empathize with Hillary Clinton’s ailing back.

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