near and far
Events in Washington and on Mars are dominating the news, so we have nothing better to write about than:
Show me the money--or else
The president's fund-raisers were hungry, so very, very hungry for cash, the latest Icky memos ejected by the White House show...
"The fund-raising needs for the
DNC will require a
very substantial commitment of time from the
President, the Vice President, the First Lady and Mrs. Gore," Harold
Ickes, a top ex-Clinton staffer, wrote in one telling document.
"They will either have to flip a lot of burgers, play
the lottery and pray to win, or invest in very risky ventures."
The daily fusillade of allegations and counter-allegations over White House fund-raising is wearing and tearing us out.
It seems the question of who knew what when and why they didn't do anything to stop it
will be with us from here to eternity--much the same way the O.J. case
went on and on...
Sure, we'll buy that...
on the premises
For the second day in a row, President Bill was pressed about his White House guests and their generous ways and for the second day in a row, the Bubster insisted nothing was amiss.
And, though aides saw his White
House coffees as fundraising opportunities, Clinton
insisted "there was no solicitation during the events,
although I did ask a couple of ladies up to the Kennedy
But was there a pricetag on your soul, Mr. President?
left nice tips
"...I wanted to ask some of my
friends who had helped me when I got elected President that I hadn't
been in touch with to come to the White House and spend the night
with me, but they wouldn't all fit in
our bed, so we had to open a few cots and when those ran
out a few of them even had to sleep on the floor...," Clinton told reporters.
Yes, Mr. President, but was it rented?
Maybe they had a craving for
Bob Woodward, who knows from gates, tells
Washington Post readers that the FBI is digging into the possibility the Chinese
Embassy in Washington was used to plan contributions
to the Democrats.
What were the Democrats ordering? Tell us.
Just when you thought it couldn't get worse in the case of Bill Clinton and his coffee-sipping habits, it does.
The revelation du jour: That the president-of-the-
United-States-of-America-so-help-me-God downed a brown liquid with addictive properties in the White House with Eric Wynn a stock promoter convicted of fraud that benefited an alleged member of the Bonanno organized crime club (Motto: "Yes we have no Bonannos"). Whew!
(This information comes courtesy of the Washington Post in a story co-bylined by Bob Woodward, so you know it must be important...)
And just a day before, the world learned another interesting name on Bill's Coffee-Time List: Roger Tamraz, a fugitive from Lebanon who CNN says had money ties to Libya.
Remembering that a convicted drug smuggler had also been allowed to attend a White House party, all this really, really doesn't look very good for the president.
Maybe, for efficiency's sake Clinton should just agree to meet with these types of folks at the nearest federal correctional facility. It would save time and the hassle of an FBI background check.
It would also be a chance for the prez to get a feel for the place...
At the White House these days, you don't have to spend much time waiting for the other shoe to drop.
So much footwear has fallen already, in fact, you may feel as if you've wandered into Imelda Marcos' closet.
Some of you may have lost count but the latest revelation is that Clinton's Democrats may have used a massive database containing the White House guest list to raise campaign dollars (because they really, really needed the money).
Hillary Clinton denied aides' contentions that she was the wizard behind the curtain on this one: "I would doubt that I was the person who ordered it, but you'd better ask Eleanor." (Conspiracy theorists who have always known Hill's the big string-puller at Casa Blanca must be rubbing their paws together in glee...)
According to press reports, big wigs who were behind in their contributions soon received tantalizing invites to rub elbows (and other body parts?) with the president or other special treats that presumably other lowly taxpayers could never hope to have.
The White House, of course, issued its standard denial. (Clarification, then acknowledgement are expected in the next 48 hours.)
Meanwhile in an unrelated but ironic development, the IRS computer system is so f...ouled up, Uncle Sam may be forced to take a $4 billion write-off on it.
Sounds like the taxman should wander over to the White House for help. Their computer system's working just dandy.
The smell of blood was in the air--so how else was he to react?
In holding his first second-term news conference, President Bill shouldn't have been surprised at the non-stop questions about the brewing Coffeegate scandal.
But still, William Jefferson Clinton (what Momma used to call him when he was a naughty lad), seemed put off by reporters' persistent queries:
Sir, how did you manage to raise so much campaign money without leaving home?
"I would say to the skeptics, the vast majority--indeed, a huge percentage, way, way over 90 percent...the vast majority of the money that was raised by both the Democrats and the Republicans was raised...in a perfectly lawful fashion, completely consistent with the requirements of the law.
"Which leaves 10 percent ill-gotten by good-for-nothing slimeballs who are bound to land me in jail soon..."
(And, by the way, don't you just love the way the big guy masterfully manages to throw the GOP in the same dirty bath water with the Dems?)
So, while the prez confessed that some of the White House coffee-for-cash events looked bad--really, really bad--he said his fireside chats with the rich and powerful are really, really good for the country. And besides, he said, the "system" made him do it.
"It's too much money, takes too much time to raise, raises too many questions," he cried. "So please, please, please stop sending me money. I've got enough already. And besides, I'm tired of writing all those receipts. Thank you."
The latest revelation has the prez and some of his top fund-raising aides sipping the black stuff with the nation's top bankers in May 1996. And even though some of the government's chief banking regulators were also in attendance, the White House says no influence was being peddled.
"We know what's inappropriate, and this was not inappropriate. In fact it was appropriate as hell," presidential spokesperson I.M. Flak said of the meetings. "Just because they were held in the middle of the night and people were seen leaving with large suitcases full of small, unmarked bills, doesn't mean any wrongs were being committed..."
We're inclined to believe Flak, just as we're inclined to believe we saw the Easter Bunny on the front lawn this morning.
However, we think this was a more realistic scenario: Clinton and company were just seeking some practical advice from America's bankers about where to put the mountains of donations that had come in courtesy of John Huang and other friends of Bill.
Bottom line: They must serve a helluva cupa Joe at Casa Blanca.
President Bill's famous (like Cary Grant's "Judy, Judy, Judy", did he ever really say it?) "I feel your pain" line took on more poignancy recently as the Bubster promised to reform campaign financing as he knows it.
Resting comfortably in the White House for a second and final term, Clinton sounded like he really meant it when he announced that he and fellow Democrats would no longer accept checks from Indonesians, other foreigners or crack merchants, regardless of how many zero$ were on the line.
And there would be no more big corporate "soft money" designed to skirt legal limits (just cold hard cash?).
So now that they've taken all the fun out of fund-raising, what's a poor pol to do to raise her or his dough?
Muse of the Day:
Why did President Bill let his friend
from Arkansas keep coming back to the White House?
Because money grows on Trie(s)...
Because money grows on Trie(s)...
Spot the pattern?
Class dismissed ...
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