COLUMNS

Open Season on Lame Duck First Couple

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • January 12, 2000

by Karen Feld

Bill Clinton’s mood is melancholy and his feelings mixed as he embarks on his final year as President. Only recently, he told a friend, “The White House is the most expensive prison in the world.”

And the First Lady is dodging darts from all sides. . . and it’s not just politics. Some artists are disappointed that their works may not be displayed at The White House for “eternity” as promised. Back in 1993, Mrs. Clinton’s staff solicited artwork from some of the top American artists for ‘permanent display’ in The White House, but now, she plans to turn the pieces over to the Clinton Library in Arkansas. The donated pieces were intended to become the first permanent White House Crafts Collection. At the time, Mrs. Clinton didn’t know that The White House has a policy that prohibits it from accepting works by living artists (except those who paint the portraits of Presidents and First Ladies). Faced with this dilemma, the First Family decided that the Clinton Library in Arkansas would be the perfect home for the valuable art. “Little Rock is just not The White House,” said one artisan who feels his work deserves a more prestigious home.

First, New York Senate candidate Hillary Clinton shunned David Letterman, and now she won’t appear on Gabe Pressman’s TV show in NYC. Insiders wonder if she’ll get away with it since Pressman is considered one of the top journalists by his peers, TV audiences and politicos. Now, an insider admits, that Mrs. Clinton would like to do The Late Show with David Letterman, but is trying to figure a way to save face since one of her campaign operatives had a terse telephone tête-à-tête — on-air — with the talk show host regarding a possible appearance by the First Lady.

Mrs. Clinton has called in her longtime friend, Arkansas interior designer Kaki Hockersmith, to help decorate her new digs in Chappaqua, N.Y. Hockersmith helped redecorate the Clinton’s personal quarters in both the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion and The White House, most recently, the President’s private dining room and the West sitting room, where the Clintons like to relax. Mrs. Clinton selected yellow — a personal favorite — as the color for that room. Don’t be surprised to see yellow prominently featured in her color scheme in Chappaqua as well.

Political satirist Mark Russell had a comment on Hillary’s move to Chappaqua: “She’s got two moving vans: one with furniture and one with soft money.”

Will President Clinton have to rely on presidential hopeful Donald Trump to help him get into the prestigious Winged Foot Golf Club near his new home in Chappaqua? The club, which has been the site of four U.S. Opens, has a 15-year waiting list and requires a password for admittance. “The Donald” knows the password, but he’s not telling. Instead he told the President not to worry, he’s building a new golf club a few minutes from his home where he would welcome the Clintons as members.

Former Democratic party Chairman Chuck Manatt, a golfer and tennis buff, is enjoying his new ambassadorial post in sunny Costa Rica. But if you’re a scuba diver or sunworshipper, and have a few bucks to contribute to the party, it might not be too late to land one of these “hardship” posts of your own. There are ambassadorial openings still available in Barbados and several other islands in the Eastern Carribean.

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