Magazine article Insight on the News

Clark's Character Reference; Sizing Up the Presidential Candidates

Magazine article Insight on the News

Clark's Character Reference; Sizing Up the Presidential Candidates

Article excerpt

Byline: INSIGHT

Clark's Character Reference; Sizing Up the Presidential Candidates

Insiders are congratulating Insight contributing writer Sheila R. Cherry upon her election as president of the National Press Club.

* After falling behind Al Sharpton in the polls, what can be keeping John Kerry in the Democratic presidential race? Speculation among insiders is that his popularity in Massachusetts has fallen so low that he needs to negotiate for strutting space at the 2004 nominating convention in Boston.

* Here's Tina Brown's assessment of the Democratic presidential pack: "Lieberman, he of the censorious smile and Jungle Book voice. Kerry, the talking tree with '70s hair. Edwards, hopelessly puppyish at 50. Clark, cyborg hero of places no one can spell. Dean, ... a pisher with no past and no neck, poised to lead his party to angry defeat." And Gephardt? Brown says, "the nation wants swords, not plowshares Top Gun, not It's a Wonderful Life."

* Former Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson asks: "Why do we need to prove Saddam had weapons of mass destruction? We've already found the bodies!"

* The holiday party in Sen. Edward Kennedy's office produced some bad taste, reports insider Betsy Rothstein, "but it was the food." Kennedy did not dress up this year as Barney the purple dinosaur as in the past.

* Does former secretary of state Madeleine Albright really think she can get by with claiming she was joking when she joined her fellow Democrats in endorsing the febrile conspiracy theory that President Bush captured Osama bin Laden long ago and is hiding him to announce the capture as an October surprise just before the election? As everyone who has covered Foggy Bottom knows, Mrs. Albright does not joke. On purpose.

* So, with the population of the U.S. at 290,809,777, the fastest-growing states are, in order: Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Texas and Idaho.

* In testimony at the war crimes trial in The Hague, the issue of Gen. Wesley Clark's character was raised and the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Hugh Shelton, was quoted as saying he fired Clark as NATO commander because of "integrity and character issues." Asked about this, Clark claimed he was booted by Shelton for trying to prevent genocide, which the court was left to believe Shelton favors.

* To assure the war-crimes court of his good character, Gen. Clark adapted the strategy proposed for the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz and submitted testimonials. Incredibly, one of them was from . …

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