Magazine article Insight on the News

GOP Fund-Raising and the Princess of Wails

Magazine article Insight on the News

GOP Fund-Raising and the Princess of Wails

Article excerpt

What do they serve at a $50,000-a-plate dinner?" I was asked in February during the media hype over our National Empowerment Television, or NET, fund-raiser with Newt Gingrich. The answer was "about the same as they serve at a $50 a plate dinner," since the object is to raise money.

My explanation was insufficient for Rep. Patricia Schroeder, a Democrat from Colorado, who attacked NET on the House Floor as "24 hours of `Newt-speak.'" She was followed by many other House Democrats demanding an investigation of Gingrich's relationship with NET.

This, of course, brought a flood of media inquiries. Our producer Genevieve Wood immediately called Schroeder's office and invited her to appear on my nightly program Direct Line. Anyone who has watched NET knows she would not be the first liberal to appear on the show. But she declined. She wasn't interested in finding out what NET really is like. She wanted to make an issue against Gingrich.

You remember Patsy Schroeder. She's the woman who ran for president, saying it was time women were regarded as equals to men -- and then cried at her press conference announcing her withdrawal from the race. This is the same Schroeder who is railing about some members of Congress sleeping in their offices, while serious members of Congress are discussing things like term limits and the balanced-budget amendment. Gingrich was, of course, asked about all of this at his live press conference on Tuesday. He told the media that if NET were liberal and if he suddenly decided that we were a national treasure and wanted to raise taxes to provide a subsidy to keep us on the air, there would be cheers from the media and the Democrats. But because we are a private organization and he is raising money for us the way he does for the Salvation Army, the Atlanta Zoo and Habitat for Humanity, suddenly it is a big issue.

Meanwhile, Schroeder's attack was enough to bring out the crazies. …

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