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Gore's Gridiron Success

Can a comedy routine for D.C.'s elite repair Gore's image?

gore

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 17) -- After his awkward, "no controlling legal authority" news conference, Vice President Al Gore must have been dreading the annual Gridiron Club dinner. Its only purpose is to lampoon Washington's elite, and Gore provided enough raw material to keep the entire club busy beforehand.

But in subbing for his injured boss on Saturday night, Gore provided plenty of laughs, enough that his speech was generally regarded as the evening's biggest hit.

"My counsel advised me there's no controlling legal interest that says I have to do this," Gore said, who then went on to lampoon the Democratic fund-raising controversy.

For example:

  • Democrats have had to return so many questionable political contributions, Gore said, that they're going to require donors to send along stamped, self-addressed envelopes in the future.
  • Of his March 3 news conference, Gore said: "I'm proud of that news conference, and as a matter of policy I promise never to do it again." That's what he said about his White House fund-raising calls, too.
  • Democrats will model future fund-raising letters after those of American Family Publishers spokesman Ed McMahon, telling prospective contributors, "You may already be an ambassador."
  • Gore said Democrats have upped their ethical standards and are challenging the GOP to do the same. "Up yours," he said.

President Bill Clinton appeared via videotape, as he recovers from his torn tendon. "Obviously, I'm in no condition to do a standup routine," Clinton said. "I feel my pain."

Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), whose Governmental Affairs Committee is probing Democratic fund-raising, drew a laugh when he told the crowd that Clinton is always "one step ahead of me," but "I never dreamed he'd cut himself off at the knees."

Officially, the dinner is off the record, and high-powered journalists who complain mightily about access during the week see no contradiction in keeping the working press out. But the evening's best and worst routines always leak out afterward.


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