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TIME On Politics

Notebook: A Good Poke In The Eye?

TIME This Week

Verbatim

"I'd rather have a hot poker in my eye than an airport named after him." -- RANDY SCHWITZ, of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, on plans to rename Washington's National Airport after Ronald Reagan

"Look, I won! I'm back!" -- BOB DOLE, a neighbor of Monica Lewinsky's at the Watergate Apartments, upon seeing the huge press stakeout

"We have as yet experienced only the peripheral winds of the Asian crisis." -- ALAN GREENSPAN, Federal Reserve Chairman, at his appearance before the Senate Budget Committee

"The sum of all known reverence I add up in you whoever you are/ The President is there in the White House for you, it is not you who are here for him..." -- WALT WHITMAN, from Leaves of Grass, a book of poetry reportedly given to Monica Lewinsky by President Clinton

The Scoop: Capitol Hill

Playing Musical Chairs With the Seats of Power

(TIME, February 9) -- It's one thing to seat speaker NEWT GINGRICH at the back of Air Force One, but it's quite another for the President to come to his House and steal his good seats. That's what Republicans are claiming happened last week at the State of the Union when White House aides nabbed the front seats on the G.O.P. side of the aisle. A number of Republican Senators and Congressmen were forced to stand for the 72-min. speech. Some went back to their offices. The White House denies that it packed the seats to assist the President's image. Republicans vow they'll get to the bottom of it all. "It was a serious breach of protocol," said a Republican leadership aide.

--By John Dickerson/Washington

Politics: Pork and the Fast Track

When MATTHEW MARTINEZ (D., Calif.), an affable ex-Marine who represents a swath of suburban Los Angeles, attended the White House luncheon for Mexican President ERNESTO ZEDILLO last November, he had something that President Clinton wanted: a potential vote for the fast-track trade bill. And Clinton had something Martinez wanted: power to approve the $1.4 billion Long Beach freeway extension, blocked by environmentalists and historic preservationists for two decades. When a Clinton lobbyist approached him, Martinez was ready: "Why should I vote for fast track when it's like pulling teeth to get anything from [the President]?" Martinez recalls saying. Within days, Martinez got a late-night call from Clinton, and, later, a call from Transportation Secretary RODNEY SLATER, telling him that the project would move forward. Martinez claims "there was never a deal," but a week after he came out in favor of the now dormant fast-track bill, the Federal Highway Administration green-lighted the 4.5-mile project. At $311 million a mile, the freeway would slice through historic areas of South Pasadena and the largely Latino community of El Sereno, displacing 1,000 homes. Moreover, just as the highway suddenly acquired Clinton's backing, the Administration was pulling the plug on Los Angeles' subway funding.

--By Margot Hornblower/Los Angeles

The Internet: Should the Government Read Your Cybermail?

A few years ago, ED GILLESPIE was busy orchestrating the Republican takeover of Congress as the G.O.P.'s top spinmeister. Now the man behind the Contract with America is shifting to high tech as he battles a new foe: a plan to ban software capable of encoding messages so securely that police can't crack them. A law proposed by the FBI would mandate an electronic peephole in all encryption programs so that government agents can read your files. The FBI claims this is necessary to protect against criminals. But Silicon Valley chiefs see this as a threat, and are equipping Gillespie with a multimillion-dollar lobbying and media budget. Joining him to woo Democrats is lobbyist JACK QUINN, former counsel to Bill Clinton and ex-chief of staff to Al Gore.

--By Declan McCullagh/Washington

Flashback

Hillary Clinton went on the offensive in responding to allegations of her husband's affair. Past First Ladies put their own spin on their spouses' alleged dalliances.

Florence Harding: "[Nan Britton] was always doing everything on earth that she could do to attract Warren's attention. [Her] overdevelopment tended to attract men on the streets and, together with her unusually short dresses, she attracted attention, of course, and in not a very nice way."

Eleanor Roosevelt: "He might have been happier with a wife who was completely uncritical. That I was never able to be, and he had to find it in other people. Nevertheless, I think I sometimes acted as a spur, even though the spurring was not always wanted or welcome. I was one of those who served his purposes."

Lady Bird Johnson: "You have to understand, my husband loved people. All people. And half the people in the world are women. You don't think I could have kept my husband away from half the people?" And "if all these ladies had some good points I didn't have, I hope I had the good sense to learn a little bit from it."

Sources: Sex Lives of the U.S. Presidents; Presidential Sex

In TIME This Week

Cover Date: February 9, 1998

The Trouble With Monica
Inside Starr And His Operation
"THIS IS A BATTLE." -Hillary Clinton
The Keeper Of Secrets Is In Starr's Sights
The Week Feminists Got Laryngitis
Just Keep 'Em Laughing
First Lady In Chief
More Froggy Than The French
Persectued or Paranoid?
Indecent Exposure
The Netly News: All Monica All The Time
Notebook: A Good Poke In The Eye?
Al's Turn For Good News?
With A Friend Like This...
Laws That Run Amok
What's Sex Got To Do With It?
Eager Minds, Big Ear
As Washington Burns...





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