Inside the Beltway

Article excerpt

FUELING THE PARANOIA

President Clinton will be interested to learn that Inside the Beltway spotted former U.S. Attorney Joseph E. diGenova and his lawyer wife, Victoria Toensing, participating in a morning roundtable discussion with Republican members of Congress yesterday in a U.S. Capitol conference room just down the hallway from House Speaker Newt Gingrich's office.

The "official" purpose of the discussion, we were told, was for the couple to share insights on the 105th Congress and the legislative and judicial battles ahead. Suffice it to say, however, there was considerable interest among members about concerns that the couple's private lives were being investigated by the White House in retaliation for their criticism of Mr. Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.

Mr. Clinton's paranoia can only be heightened by the fact that invitations to the diGenova-Toensing discussion were addressed: "Dear Republican Conspirator."

ISSUE OF CHARACTER

Jacqueline Halbig, a Washington lobbyist, was an organizer of yesterday's "Character Does Count" rally by a group of women who actually believe that the American people deserve leaders of honesty, faithfulness and integrity - who respect, rather than dishonor and undermine, marriage and the family.

Was she ever surprised, though, that on the required Department of Interior rally permit the National Park Service identified the group as "Character Does Not Count."

O'BASTARDS BASH

We're not sure how President Clinton is celebrating St. Patrick's Day, but might we suggest the annual "O'Bastards" party.

Since 1986, a limited number of green invitations have been distributed by party hosts - a dozen regular guys, who cover all costs - to a select list of A) close friends and B) as many attractive "lasses" as possible.

"My biased, personal view is that this occasion has contributed a good deal to the Washington area's social fabric," one host, Joseph S. Casper, tells Inside the Beltway. "At the 1995 edition, I met my future wife [the former Ellen Terry, who works for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.]. We began dating that evening, attended 7 a.m. Mass the next day, and were married last July."

MONICA 101

Here's a list of names and definitions to help readers prepare for Inside the Beltway's first official quiz on the White House sex scandal. Study hard! A second quiz follows next month.

* Walt Whitman - American poet (1819-1892) who wrote "Leaves of Grass," a collection of poems considered one of the world's major literary works.

* Hillary Rodham Clinton, Monica Lewinsky - two women presented with copies of "Leaves of Grass" after "dates" with Bill Clinton. …