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TIME On Politics

Notebook:
Beltway Bungles

Verbatim

"I don't think this will evaporate, but I anticipate it will slowly dissipate over time, reaching to insubstantiality."
Hillary Clinton, speaking to reporters about the Monica Lewinsky brouhaha

Lani's revenge

TIME magazine

(TIME, February 23) -- As others gained access to the Oval Office, Lani Guinier, former Assistant Attorney General nominee and old law-school pal of Bill Clinton's, lost hers. Now the woman dubbed "the quota queen" by Republicans lashes out at the Clintons in her upcoming book, Lift Every Voice. Guinier writes, "I have not had any communication with President Clinton or the First Lady, although I did get identical, machine-signed White House Christmas cards in December 1993, December 1994, December 1995 and December 1996."

Beltway Feuds: Newt and Bill Make Up?

During a break in the official program at the House Republican retreat last week in Williamsburg, Va., NEWT GINGRICH sidled up to BILL PAXON and asked if they could have a chat. That raised eyebrows: relations between the two have been ice-cold since last summer, when the New York Congressman lost his leadership job after taking part in a failed coup attempt against the Speaker. Despite the bad blood, Gingrich quietly pressed Paxon for his support when the Speaker runs for re-election in December.

Back me for Speaker once more, Gingrich has been telling Republicans, and I may step down to run for President next year. He has remarked how large and enthusiastic his fund-raising audiences have been. If he seeks the presidency, he almost certainly will not complete his term as Speaker, which is why there is a ferocious race to become his heir apparent. It is also why Paxon, who agreed to support the Speaker, refused when Gingrich urged him to back the re-election of the entire leadership. As Gingrich knows, disgruntled House Republicans are urging Paxon to take on Newt's top deputy, majority leader Dick Armey. That way, if Gingrich steps down, Paxon would be in position to replace him. Any doubts Gingrich had about how he's really regarded in the Paxon household were erased later in the week when the New York Post excerpted a book written by Paxon's wife, former G.O.P. Congresswoman turned CBS anchor Susan Molinari. It described Gingrich as self-obsessed, suffering delusions of grandeur and prone to tears of self-pity.

--By James Carney/Washington

Moscow: Hiding the Booze From Boris

Russian officials were delighted that President Boris Yeltsin got through last week's visit to Rome without any of the major gaffes that have become commonplace on his overseas sorties. His hosts were less impressed. Once known for his grasp of complex briefs in high-level negotiations, Yeltsin seemed confused during his meetings, officials said, and reportedly had difficulty telling Italy's Prime Minister, ROMANO PRODI, from the country's President, OSCAR LUIGI SCALFARO. Though he seemed just a little stiff during his very limited public appearances, officials say that in private he walked with difficulty and seemed in danger of losing his balance whenever he had to turn right or left. The unusual measures reportedly taken by his security detail before he arrived in Rome suggested that his handlers are worried about the recurrence of his drinking problem. Before Yeltsin settled into his suite, officials say, his security men went through the place and removed all alcohol.

--By Paul Quinn-Judge/Moscow

Annals of creative biography

Rampant resumania -- Don't politicians love to talk! Take Senators. And their resumes in the Congressional Directory--printed at taxpayers' expense. On average, it takes 14 lines of fine print for each of the 100 to list family, educational pedigrees, military valor, career coups and "distinguished" awards (Republicans tend to need 15 lines, Democrats only 13). Who's the Senate's run-off-at-the-mouth winner? None other than its filibuster champion, Strom Thurmond, at--count 'em--79 lines. The Top 10 boasters:

SENATOR (seniority rank) Directory Lines
Strom Thurmond: R, South Carolina (1)
Ernest Hollings: D, South Carolina (5)
Dianne Feinstein: D, California (30)
Dan Coats: R, Indiana (26)
Chuck Hagel: R, Nebraska (39)
Byron Dorgan: D, North Dakota (31)
William Frist: R, Tennessee (36)
Orrin Hatch: R, Utah (13)
79
33
29
28
28
25
25
25
Most Terse:
Robert Byrd: D, West Virginia (2)
Lauch Faircloth: R, North Carolina (32)
5
5
In TIME This Week

Cover Date: February 23, 1998

How The Attack On Iraq Is Planned
Turning Up The Heat
Washington Diary: Should A Mom Rat On Her Daughter?
Could Clinton Still Settle With Jones?
The Man Who Would Be Judge
Notebook: Beltway Bungles





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