Second and Third Generation Politics

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • March 15, 2000

by Karen Feld

Kids of politicos sell on the campaign trail . . . First Daughter Chelsea Clinton will likely prove to be Mom’s best asset in New York this summer. But she’s bonding with both parents and taking advantage of the final year of White House perks. Currently on Spring break from Stanford University, she’ll accompany the President to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan later this week. This is her second trip to South Asia, the first being India and Pakistan with her Mom five years ago. Al Gore’s daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff, is calling the shots for her Dad’s campaign for the big house from her home base in New York City. But Vice President Gore’s other daughter, Sarah, felt left out when neither of her parents showed up for Junior Parents Weekend at Harvard. On the GOP front, its reverse generations, as first generation George and Barbara Bush continue to campaign for son, George “W,” in his attempt to re-capture the Rose Garden for his family and party.

Speaking of President Clinton’s trip to India, even careful schedulers sometimes make a faux pas. He arrives Sunday on the beginning of Holi, a Hindu holiday. The two day celebration is one where inhibitions are cast aside. If the President were to partake it includes singing, dancing and imbibing a beverage made from hemp leaves which is said to provide a bit of a buzz. Hillary is remaining in New York to campaign, courting the Irish vote by marching in the famed St. Patrick’s Day Parade. But this is also a faux pas for her – a small but vocal group of liberals and Democrats boycott the parade due to its exclusion of a gay and lesbian marching contingent – and she’ll have to do a mea culpa to repair any damage from these likely supporters.

Politicians of both parties, were upstaged by Romanian tennis star Ilie Nastase last weekend. He and Romanian Ambassador Mircea Geoana challenged Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and White House Economic Adviser Gene Sperling to a match. Nastase let the Washington power elite win but Sperling ended up in the hospital with a torn calf muscle in the process. Nastase had quite a weekend in D.C. – he also attended a benefit for the Washington Opera where Placido Domingo performed his magic – the two competed for the limelight at the gala dinner following the performance. Tennis fans and buffs vying for Nastase’s attention included HHS Secretary Donna Shalala. But the politically correct Romanian tennis champ downplayed his scene-stealing presence and quipped diplomatically: “I figured that Romania would be coming to the IMF before long.” Of course he was referring to a loan they’d be seeking from the International Monetary Fund.

They weren’t the only ones on the court last weekend. Washington celebs – Reps. Norman Dicks and Ken Bentsen, former Sen. Dan Coates, former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, former Navy Sec. John Dalton – and pros – Gardnar Mulloy and Fred McNair – turned out to hit the ball for the 15th Cystic Fibrosis Celebrity Tennis Challenge. Former Sen. Bob Packwood watched from courtside and gave new meaning to the word “slam” after visiting the buffet.

It’s still more than a month away, but the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, D.C.’s version of Hollywood glitz, is already sold out and the race is on to see which news outlet can land the hottest celeb or scandalmonger at their table while host Jay Leno and President Bill Clinton roast all and one another. In year’s past the “get” has run the gamut – from Sharon Stone to Paula Jones. One thing that will be sadly missed is the presence of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy from the George magazine table.

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