The Notebook: Campaign Watch
The Scoop: Friends in Need
It May Be Summit Time, But Tokyo Is Chilly
(TIME, September 28) -- Given that Japan's economy is sinking further into recession each day and the world's top economists are clamoring for a rescue, and given that American officials, after long criticizing the Japanese government's inaction, have lately been trying to be conciliatory and quietly helpful, you might have thought that last weekend's bank-rescue agreement between Prime Minister KEIZO OBUCHI and the opposition would immediately encourage better relations with Washington. Wrong. Ever since an unproductive meeting between Treasury Secretary ROBERT RUBIN and Japanese Finance Minister KIICHI MIYAZAWA in San Francisco on Sept. 5, Miyazawa's office has dodged attempts to set further discussions with U.S. officials. And last Friday, on the eve of Obuchi's summit with BILL CLINTON, his chief Cabinet secretary abruptly canceled a meeting with U.S. Ambassador THOMAS FOLEY in Tokyo. The cancellation may have been partly in response to what Tokyo sees as a rather flaccid American response to North Korea's launch of a missile over Japan two weeks ago. For their part, U.S. officials fear that Japan's stonewalling may be a reflection of real disarray in the Obuchi government. If the trend continues, then Japan cannot expect Washington's spirit of camaraderie to last for long.
--By Frank Gibney Jr./Tokyo
CAMPAIGN NOTES FROM FAR AND WIDE
Dead Woman Running : Jacquelyn Ledgerwood, a Democratic candidate for Senate in Oklahoma, died before the primary. Even dead, she was a popular lady, taking 25% of the vote and forcing a runoff against air conditioner repairman Don E. Carroll. But Carroll may not prove the most fiery challenger. "I do have to work some," complains Carroll. "I have to eat; you know how that is. The mortgage is still due. I have to pay insurance." Republican incumbent Don Nickles can keep cool.
Crossfire Curse: Why did Geraldine Ferraro , who entered the New York Democratic Senate primary with a 25-point lead, suffer a 25-point loss to Representative Chuck Schumer? Maybe it's the Crossfire curse. Evidence: two-time presidential contender Pat Buchanan also lost his races dismally, taking 22% of the vote. Stay where you are, John Sununu.
My Three Sons: On TV it was Mike, Robbie and Chip. In the Minnesota gubernatorial race it was Mike, Teddy and Skip--as in Mike Freeman, son of former Governor Orville; Ted Mondale, son of former Vice President Walter; and Skip Humphrey , son of former Vice President Hubert. Skip won. He'll face Republican Norm Coleman and Reform candidate Jesse ("the Body") Ventura.
Gimme A Hand: Tip O'Neill famously said that all politics is local. Proving that point, Somerville mayor Michael Capuano  won the Democratic primary for O'Neill's old House seat (once also held by J.F.K.), swaying voters with aggressive campaigning. That tactic was better than that of his closest competition, former Boston mayor and Vatican ambassador Ray Flynn, who showed pictures of himself with the Pope and Mother Teresa.
So Long, Sisterhood: Representative Linda Smith  won the Washington State Republican Senate primary, and will face Democratic incumbent Patty Murray, making theirs the only Senate race with female opponents. The mud is expected to fly over women's rights. Smith says she is antifeminist: "I'm a traditional woman. I'm not mad at anyone."
PARDON ME, BUT...
We've heard a lot of excuses this past month, but how good have they been? We grade some.
BILL CLINTON: "This matter is between me...my wife and our daughter... It's nobody's business but ours."
Remark: As if!
HENRY HYDE: "The statute of limitations has long since passed on my youthful indiscretions."
Remark: Hank--you were in your 40s!
HELEN CHENOWETH: "I made a mistake; I acknowledged that mistake ... I asked forgiveness. And I have moved on."
Remark: But her ex-lover's wife hasn't forgiven her.
WILLIAM KRISTOL: "Republicans have old-fashioned extramarital affairs with other adults. Those really are moral lapses that are private and more easily forgiven and very different from taking advantage of a young person who works for you when you're President."
Remark: Even in sin, Republicans try to be more family-value
JAMES CARVILLE: "To paraphrase Dante, the hot-blooded shall be judged very differently from the coldhearted."
Remark: James, have you met the Republicans on the Judiciary
NOT ASA AGAIN!
Name: Asa Hutchinson
WARNING! A moment from the Starr report: "When I was hiding out in your office... I noticed you had the new Sarah McLachlan CD [Surfacing]," wrote Monica Lewinsky to the President. "Whenever I listen to song #5 I think of you." The tune, Do What You Have to Do, has this lyric : "I'm shaken/ by the violence of existing/ for only you./ I know I can't be with you./ I do what I have to do."
HOT, HOT, HOT! Ken Starr should have cut a licensing deal for his report. One of Washington's new power eateries, McCormick & Schmick's, says cigar sales at its bar are up 110% since the report appeared. A tourist paid $250 to take home 25 Macanudos as capital souvenirs. Meanwhile, sales of Oy Vey! The Things They Say, a book Lewinsky gave Clinton, have quadrupled.
"You know, if it happened to you or me, what the President is
going through, we'd probably have jumped in the Potomac a long
"If I were, I would be looking up from a pool of blood and
hearing [my wife asking], 'How do I reload this thing?'"
"If things don't work out, he can take center square on my new
"All things considered, actually, it wasn't too bad."
Sources: Panetta, ABC's Nightline; Armey, Washington Post; Goldberg, USA Today; Clinton, Liz Smith
Winners & Losers
America's 10 Most Embarrassing Political Videos
As the video of Bill Clinton's grand-jury testimony is absorbed by the public, Americans will have to ask themselves an important question. No, not whether he should remain in office but, rather, Is the tape embarrassing enough to dislodge one of these blush-inducing groaners from the Top 10?
1 - BUSTED (1990) - Washington Mayor Marian Barry smokes crack cocaine
2 - SICK, SICK, SICK (1992) - President George Bush vomits at a Japanese state dinner
3 - CASH AND CARRY (1979) - Abscam probers catch Rep. Richard Kelly lining his pockets
4 - TANKED (1988) - Governor Michael Dukakis turns into a military mite
5 - YOU'RE NO J.F.K. (1988) - Dan Quayle receives the all-time put-down from Lloyd Bentsen
6 - HEY, SAILOR! (1980) - Carter calls Hubert Humphrey, Hubert Horatio Hornblower
7 - WAS IST LOS? (1985) - Reagan visits Bitburg cemetery, where SS troops are buried
8 - FLOP SWEAT (1960) - Nixon turns pale and pasty debating J.F.K.
9 - SECRETS AND LIES (1996) - Monica Lewinsky gives Bill a big hug on the rope line
10 - FUMBLE! (1975) - Athletic Jerry Ford trips, creates a career for Chevy Chase
Lou and Gennifer: A Tale of Two Gigs
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. There was a man with a big history playing at a state dinner at the White House; there was a woman with big hair playing at the Electronic Retailers Association Annual Awards Ceremony at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Both Lou Reed and Gennifer Flowers had a chance to make a statement with their playlists last week. But in a 35-minute set for Vaclav Havel, Reed avoided songs that could have been misconstrued. He performed Sweet Jane and Dirty Blvd. but omitted Walk on the Wild Side and Betrayed. The only song whose title may have given the White House pause was Why Do You Talk? But Flowers, singing during a segue in the awards show, was not subtle. "She made an off-color remark before she started singing," says Elissa Myers, ERA's president and CEO. "I couldn't even hear her after that." Flowers, who wants a singing career, sang just two songs: Who's Got the Last Laugh Now and Why Haven't I Heard from You?
60 SECOND SYMPOSIUM
Is it tragedy, comedy or both? We asked our panel of distinguished authors to compare someone from the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal to a character from literature:
DIANE WOOD MIDDLEBROOK, author of Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton: Ovid's Metamorphoses portrays gods as politicians. When the philandering Jove puts on a bull suit so he can seduce Europa, a nubile rustic princess, the poem is mocking the Emperor Augustus. "Amorousness is incompatible with Majesty," Ovid notes.
HAROLD BLOOM, author of Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human: Kenneth Starr combines the meddling propensities of the eternal busybody, Polonius, with the relentless monomania of the pyromaniac Iago. The judge contrives to appear more like Polonius, but his essence is pure Iago: he lives to ruin Clinton, as Iago's diabolic drive was to bring down Othello.
JANE SMILEY, author of The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton: The Scarlet Letter asks whether the public exposure of private passion heals or harms those who are exposed and those who do the exposing. Hester Prynne, exposed early, is matured by her ordeal. Roger Chillingworth, vengeful and cold, is rendered inhuman. Clinton reminds me of Hester.
By Tamala M. Edwards, Tam M. Gray, Daniel S. Levy, Belinda Luscombe, Michele L. Orecklin, Alain L. Sanders, David E. Thigpen
MORE TIME STORIES:
Cover Date: September 28, 1998
Going Public With Prayer
Clinton and Congress: A Bad Marriage
The Monica Effect: A Democrat Shuns Clinton
Is There A Way Out?
Is The Top Democratic Gun Ready For War?
"We Fight Like Cats & Dogs"
Clinton's Pyrrhic Victory
The Notebook: Campaign Watch
The "It Could Be Me" Factor
Requiem for an Arsonist