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No Chapped Hands — or First Lady

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • December 25, 1998

by Karen Feld

No Chapped Hands — or First Lady — for the President at Christmas Parties

The Clintons served 12,000 shrimp in the White House this holiday season, which despite the impeachment crisis has been transformed into a winter wonderland. They treated the press at a party earlier this week to gingerbread men and heavily spiked egg nog — some of the 285 gallons dished up at the nine White House Christmas parties paid for by the Democratic National Committee. Geraldo Rivera and Cindy Adams came from New York for the coveted party and were disappointed that President Bill Clinton traded the traditional one-on-one receiving line and posing for individual photos for a short welcome from a podium. Privately, Mr. Clinton put out the word that his hands got chapped from all that grasping last season. Hilary Clinton was a “no show” at not only the press party, but one for supporters as well. There was no public explanation but both the president and his aides offered differing excuses related to a pulled muscle in her back. The mood was subdued, while a buzz about strategy for censure v. a full-blown Senate trial prevailed. The president has a dilemma. He is adamant about not admitting that he lied under oath, yet that admission is the key ingredient of any proposed deal to censure rather than remove him from office.

America’s First Family is spending Christmas at the White House this year. Overnight guests this season include Bill Clinton’s stepfather, Dick Kelly, and childhood pal and family ophthalmologist Danny Thomason, brother of TV producer Harry Thomason.

Meanwhile, politicians wonder which of their colleagues will be the next “outted” in a sex scandal. Insiders think that Speaker-designate Bob Livingston, who abruptly resigned, had more than his honor at stake. Perhaps a liaison with a lobbyist? Even the perception of sex for votes is taboo.

Republican House Speaker-in-waiting Dennis Hastert, known as “coach” to his colleagues, a nickname that stuck from his days as a former college wrestling coach, has emerged from virtual obscurity and is expected to favour a more domestic than international agenda.

The Clintons plan to attend the 18th annual Renaissance Weekend this week in Hilton Head, S.C. That’s where policy wonks romp on the beach and conduct seminars. No word yet whether the Clintons will participate in one titled: “Character: What is it? Does it Count? Has Its Meaning Changed?”

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