COLUMNS

Wanted: Decorated Young War Veteran

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • January 08, 1999

by Karen Feld

Wanted: Decorated Young War Veteran, to Sit Next to the First Lady

As Bill Clinton prepares for his State of the Union Address to Congress on Jan. 19, the Pentagon is searching for a decorated war veteran to sit in the gallery with the first lady that evening. His bio and photo must pass muster, meaning he must be a young soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine just back from Baghdad. In previous years Mrs. Clinton’s seatmates have included a welfare mom and a drug czar.

At $50,000 a pop, Newt Gingrich, the outgoing House Speaker, is already signed up to make a couple of dozen speeches in 1999. He also hopes to land a teaching job and plans to operate the Friends of Newt Gingrich PAC and Gingrich Enterprises, a lobbying firm. Mr. Gingrich will be the first modern Speaker to lobby the government. His predecessors felt it was not ethical to do so. After all, this could start a precedent where the door would be open for the House Speaker to grant favors to members of Congress and when the Speaker retires, use that leverage to get legislation from those same members. Life after Congress contains other perks for Mr. Gingrich, who gets an office paid for by taxpayers in his home district in Georgia, complete with staff of three for five years. With his history of combining political activities with congressional duties in his office, it will be a challenge to physically separate Gingrich Enterprises from the former Speaker’s office.

Just when we thought we’d heard it all, the town is abuzz with rumors Bill Clinton fathered a son with a black prostitute in Arkansas 13 years ago. DNA (a la Monica’s blue dress) may come back to haunt him. Bobbie Ann Williams has sold her story to a tabloid that is conducting DNA tests to reveal whether this is yet another skeleton in Mr. Clinton’s closet or a hoax. Not a new scenario to those familiar with the not so fictional novel Primary Colors. Could the president be imitating his hero, Thomas Jefferson, who fathered several children with one of his young slaves? The White House only hopes this story will go away, but is not chancing denials. Perhaps Hillary Clinton hasn’t read the allegations about Danny Williams, her husband’s alleged “love child.” After all, she claims not to have read the Starr report. But once again, the First Lady will likely heed the call to play the role she performs so well– rescuing her reckless husband.

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