Mrs. Defense Secretary Disrupts Chinese Protocol

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • July 19, 2000

by Karen Feld

Bloomberg for Mayor? News tycoon Michael Bloomberg has registered all possible websites — everything from to and all in between — just in case he goes after the job in the Big Apple. Current Mayor and one-time Senate Candidate Rudy Guilano cannot run due to term restrictions.

Janet Langhart Cohen, “wife of” Defense Secretary Bill Cohen, wasn’t the most popular person on his China and Aussie entourage. Mrs. Cohen insisted on tagging along at the last minute which put the Chinese military on overload as to protocol. To make matters even worse, when she wasn’t ready at the appointed time, her husband was forced to leave her behind at the hotel so as not to offend his Chinese hosts. But then the Chinese, after all the changes in logistics to accommodate Mrs.Cohen, insisted that she be at the meeting. So the officials waited. .. . and waited. . .. until she made her tardy entrance.

George W. Bush is so confident that he’ll win the presidential race in November that his troops have already put out the word that former Transportation Secretary Andrew Card will be his Chief of Staff. Card is the General Co-Chairman of the GOP Convention; he was also Chief of Staff to then New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, the same Mr. Sununu, who later became Chief of Staff to ‘Dubya’s’ dad in The White House.

Insiders say ‘Dubya’ and his VP search chief former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney have pared down his list of potential runningmates… at least the names they are trial ballooning: Tennessee lawyer/actor/Senator Fred Thompson, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, and Governors George Pataki (NY), Frank Keating (OK) and Tom Ridge (PA). Gov. Bush insists that his runningmate’s position on abortion won’t affect his choice. Stay tuned.

On the flipside of the presidential coin, Democratic insiders say Al Gore is looking closely at House Democratic Leader Dick Gebhardt, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.

Does anyone really care about Pat Buchannan’s and Ralph Nader’s short list?

Here’s a first! Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, who’s a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, will be guest of honor at a bash hosted by GOP Chairman Jim Nicholson, Gov. Tom Ridge, and ten Republican Congressmen in Philadelphia. Never before has a union president been honored by Republicans during a political convention. But there’s a reason. Both parties are courting the union endorsement – all 1.5 million votes. Republicans are hopeful because Vice President Gore ruffled labor activists when he appointed former Commerce Secretary William Daley, who favors trade with China, to chair his campaign.

Union leaders aren’t the only ones playing both parties — musical acts do so as well, literally. As reported in this column, Earth, Wind & Fire rocked The White House last month at the State Dinner for the King of Morocco (at his personal request). At the upcoming GOP “Party” in Philadelphia, Earth, Wind & Fire will show their support for the other side of the aisle at a bash sponsored by the Republican leadership. Regardless of who occupies the Oval office next, this musical act knows how to do the political dance.

Some people just want to know what the dance is. Some party planners are miffed that the RNC (Republican National Committee) appears to be changing their rules in regard to the hundreds of official and unofficial parties that will take place in Philadelphia during the GOP Convention. The RNC put all the best party places on “hold” and they are reluctant to release space to event planners. There’s a lot of money to be made – and lost – as party planners grumble that rules are not being followed, original agreements haven’t been kept and contracts aren’t being honored. And the GOP thought they have it bad with their Congressmen backing out of term limit agreements. They better watch out for the wrath of scorned party planners.

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