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Who's Who.

Ari Fleischer, who was Elizabeth Dole's spokesperson until her campaign folded, has joined George W. Bush's team. He follows David Beckwith, who briefly served as Bush's spokesperson but was shown the exit after tangling with Communications Director Karen Hughes who, along with Karl Rove and Joe Allbaugh, makes up the Big Three of W.'s staff.

If Hillary Clinton decides to bail out of the New York Senate race, there could be a Kennedy family fight over who replaces her as the Democratic candidate. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his sister Kerry's husband, Andrew Cuomo, are among the possible successors.

Former Congressman Tim Penny, much admired by Capitol Hill moderates during his tenure in the House, is said to be leaning toward running against Sen. Rod Grams in Minnesota.

A friend of ours has a brother who was in Skull and Bones at Yale. This is the secret society George W. Bush belonged to. The brother recently got this note from the Skull and Bones command center: "In view of the political happenings in the barbarian world, I feel compelled to remind all of the tradition of privacy and confidentiality essential to the well being of our Order and strongly urge stout resistance to the seductions and blandishments of the Fourth Estate." Translated we think this adds up to: "Don't tattle on W."

The word on Lincoln Chafee, who has succeeded his father, John Chafee as senator from Rhode Island, is that "he's a chip off the old block." This comes from Darrell West, a professor of political science at Brown, who tells The Hill's Robert Schlesinger: "He votes like his dad, socially moderate, fiscally conservative, and a strong environmentalist." Sen. Slade Gorton, chairman of the Republican Committee on Committees, has already indicated that Chafee will get a a subcommittee chairmanship on the Environmental and Public Works Committee.

For environmentalists, that's the good news from the Senate. The bad news is that the Environment and Public Works Committee will be chaired by either Sen. Robert C. Smith, the New Hampshire Republican who recently left the party because it wasn't conservative enough, and then returned when thoughts of committee chairmanships began to dance in his head, or by Sen. James M. Inhofe who is considered even less friendly by environmentalists. According to Adam Clymer of The New York Times, The League of Conservation Voters, which rated John Chafee as correct in 70 percent of his votes, gave Smith a score of 36 percent. Inhofe got only seven percent.

How bureaucratic is the CIA? Director George W. Tenet recently gave a hint when in a speech to his fellow spooks he complained: "It's unacceptable that it takes an average of eight months to bring on a new hire. And it's outrageous that when you're laid low with the flu, you've got to get a written letter from your doctor if you're gone three days or more."

We're happy to report that Tenet has been able to get some changes made. The doctor's letter requirement "went out the window almost immediately," CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield tells The Washington Post's Vernon Loeb. And the hiring time has gone down from eight months to six. That still seems a trifle long, doesn't it? Wouldn't the best applicants be snapped up by other employers in that time?

Speaking of the New Frontier, guess which president John McCain was most effusive about in an Exeter, New Hampshire town meeting reported by The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz. It was John Kennedy. McCain also spoke warmly about Harry Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt before getting around to a few kind words about fellow Republicans Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt.

Hillary Clinton has been accused of currying favor with Jewish voters by supporting an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But in a recent speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition, Sen. Orrin Hatch did her one better, when he said that if elected president he will support a "united and indivisible Jerusalem as the capital of Utah." After the laughter died down, Hatch explained the slip showed that "We in Utah feel very deeply about Israel."

Our pal, Al Kamen, got his hands on the itinerary for a congressional trip to South Africa. If you've wondered why these trips are often referred to as junkets, consider this schedule for one led by Congressman Richard C. Pombo and including six other Republican stalwarts such as Helen Chenoweth-Hage of Idaho and dames V. Hansen of Utah. (We're surprised he didn't go to Israel instead.) The first stop is in Kamen's words, "the magnificent Kruger National Park," arriving at the lodge in time for a night "game drive." At 11 a.m. there's time for "shopping." Noon to 4 p.m.: "Lunch and Rest." 4 p.m.: Game drive. 6:30 p.m.: Reception and dinner. Then comes Victoria Falls with a 3:45 p.m. arrival just in time for "walking tour/boat ride? Another "game drive" comes the next day followed by a "working dinner" Then it's off to the "lovely Mowana Lodge in Kasane," and then the trip back home in time for everyone to recover from the exertion of that "working dinner."

How good are those TV pundits at predicting the political future? Brill's Content recently tracked their predictions over a six-month period and found that the winner was The Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt. Tied for second were Eleanor Cliff and Tony Blankley, followed by Mark Shields, Robert Novak, and Margaret Carlson. Guess who was the worst? John McLaughlin.
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Title Annotation:politicians
Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Jan 1, 2000
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