Jewish World Review June 2, 2003 / 2 Sivan, 5763

Lloyd Grove

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Consumer Reports

Bob Dole's plan for fighting unemployment | WASHINGTON Bob Dole and Bill Clinton -- whose much-hyped debates on "60 Minutes" haven't generated much buzz or boosted ratings -- might not be renewed by CBS after their 10-segment contract ends next month. This week it was Dole's turn to pick the topic, and he wrote a fabulous script. But just before the scheduled Thursday taping, the Clinton camp sent word that the script was unacceptable, and CBS quickly killed Sunday's segment. So today we proudly present Dole's never-to-be-broadcast masterpiece:

"Mr. President, tonight I'd like to talk about the danger of unemployment . . . for me and you! CBS is considering pulling the plug. And, I'll tell ya, no matter how big the Bush tax cut, I need the work. With your legal bills, I know you can use the cash, too.

"Every week, hearing how everything was just swell when you left office, the critics say the show's dull. I admit debating the V-Chip makes me long for a good old Senate filibuster.

"Look, this is a crisis. I know, before when you had a crisis, you just bombed Saddam Hussein or let Newt Gingrich get near a reporter. But they're both retired. What are we going to do? How about this: Use the next 45 seconds to do something totally new. Admit you made even one mistake in office. If you have time left over, just plug Hillary's book."

As for why his boss balked, Clinton spokesman Jim Kennedy explained: "It's a funny script, but with only two shows left in our CBS commitment, the president wanted to focus on the future of the country, not the future of this segment."


Vice President Cheney's office mobilized to DefCon 1 after New York Post gossip Cindy Adams claimed this week that the veep had told subordinates: "The way to lick this recession is to get all those deadbeats out of the soup kitchens."

A Cheney press staffer fielded breathless calls from a swarm of print and broadcast journalists as she frantically attempted to reach Adams and New York Post Editor Col Allan -- repeating over and over that Cheney had never ever uttered such a thing. In due course Adams answered her phone and breezily explained to the Cheney aide that the quote was a joke.

As in: Ha, ha.

"I don't see anything funny in this at all," said the staffer, who asked us not to name her.

The redoubtable Adams published a clarification on Friday, and told us: "Do people in Washington have no sense of humor at all? I've gotten quite a few annoying calls from the Cheney office. All I can say is that young lady must have a poker up her pantyhose."


-- Gee, thanks, Professor Perle! Foreign policy hard-liner Richard Perle surely thought he was paying President Bush a compliment when he gave Vanity Fair writer Sam Tanenhaus this assessment of the president: "The first time I met Bush 43, I knew he was different. Two things became clear. One, he didn't know very much. The other was he had the confidence to ask questions that revealed he didn't know very much. Most people are reluctant to say when they don't know something, a word or a term they haven't heard before. Not him. You'd raise a point, and he'd say, 'I didn't realize that. Can you explain that?' He was eager to learn."

-- The Washington Post's Richard Leiby fears that the Department of Homeland Security is planning to destroy the copper tray he received as a gift from a retired police lieutenant in Baghdad. When Leiby landed recently at Dulles International Airport, he was unable to persuade a small army from the department's U.S. Customs Service, which detained him for two hours under armed guard and interrogated him three times, to let him keep the decorative object. Now Leiby has received an ominous letter from the Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures division acknowledging the seizure of his property -- "an estimated domestic value of $3.00" -- and warning that he has 30 days in which to reverse the majestic machinery of the U.S. government. "If you fail to do so," the letter advises, "administrative forfeiture proceedings will commence." That means, presumably, that the ultimate penalty will be carried out. A disconsolate Leiby said: "I would consider the destruction of this tray a war crime."

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05/29/03: Newt's new novel
05/27/03: Hitchens & Blumenthal, together again; He still believes in a man called Hope
05/09/03: Close, but no cigar; Romeo & Juliet with a happy ending?; Geraldo to help Heebs?
05/05/03: So Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw walk into a coffee bar . . .; hotel hell; more

© 2003, Creators Syndicate