COLUMNS

Have No Fear, Underdog Gore is Here

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • November 03, 1999

by Karen Feld

Vice President Al Gore let the spirit of the presidential race influence his choice of Halloween costume this year – he dressed as the cartoon superhero Underdog, with wife, Tipper, dressed as Polly Purebred, the crimefighter’s best gal. The Veep’s Halloween antics have become a Washington custom, and if his dreams for The White House come true, it might rival traditions like the White House Easter Egg Roll.

President Clinton really is a regular sort of guy and an almost perfect host – although he did catch a few minutes of shut eye while entertaining guests for a preview of “Music of the Heart,” in his private screening room. But he redeemed himself when he left to go to the john and brought back popcorn for his guests, which included Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein and the film’s co-star Gloria Estefan.

The Clintons are preparing for Y2K. Soon power lunchers in the White House Mess will have an au courant ambiance appropriate to 2000. The menu will no longer list individual prices but it’s still one of the best deals in town and includes power table-hopping. No coffee listed but an “espresso” and “cappuccino” is only $1.25. Now you just have to snag that A-list invitation.

Organizers of a Don Imus roast on Capitol Hill offered President Clinton an opportunity to get even – and for a good cause, Spina Bifida – with the outrageous talker but the President declined using Hillary’s birthday as an alibi. However, there were a host of other Congressional “comedians” ready to give the “I-Man” a taste of his own medicine (he ruffled a lot of political feathers when he entertained at the White House Radio & TV Correspondents dinner a few years back). Four Senators took on Imus the other evening – Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), and presidential hopeful John McCain (R-Ariz.). Senator Kerry offered some of the best lines of the evening, including “We’re sorry that Pat Buchanan isn’t here tonight. You know how he hates parties.”

Senator-turned-lobbyist Bob Packwood showed this week that he can take a ribbing at his own expense. The former Oregon senator, who resigned in 1995 rather than face censure and possible expulsion over allegations of sexual misconduct, laughed with the crowd when his recent bride and former top aide Elaine Franklin won a Victoria’s Secret lingerie gift certificate, a raffle prize at a political fundraiser for an Oregon Congressional candidate. Packwood should have no problem helping his wife select a few choice items.

Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz must have made a strong impression on Hillary Clinton when she shot her for the Vogue cover last year. The President and First Lady dropped by her star-studded opening of “Women” at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Leibovitz went with Mrs. Clinton to Africa and calls her “a great listener” and “easy to work with.” “The strength of the work is the variety. Women are still battling stereotypes,” says Leibovitz. In addition to Mrs. Clinton, Annie has this to say about some of the 70 compelling photographs included in the show – Barbara Bush: “She shows the emotional wear and tear of her husband¹s career on her face. The lines are badges of courage.” Model Jerry Hall nursing her child: “It’s not warm; a great model takes responsibility for her side of the picture; there’s all different kinds of motherhood.”

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