Inside the Beltway
McCaslin, John, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
REAL PRESS SCRUTINY
Not long ago, this column ventured into an area that few columns dare explore - the call of nature and the response of President Clinton during a round of golf at the Army Navy Country Club.
We concluded from Mr. Clinton's dash into the woods that it should come as no surprise that some presidents really do do the things that a lot of golfers do.
However, Mr. Clinton has now been caught relieving himself on camera, skipping not once, but twice, into the thicket surrounding the fourth and seventh holes of the NSW Golf Club near Sydney, Australia, while playing with golf great Greg Norman.
"Bill Clinton, leader of the wee world," blared the Aussie headlines the next morning. "They don't call him Bill `Zipper Problem' Clinton for nothing."
An accompanying photograph in one newspaper showed the president emerging from the bushes while adjusting his zipper, its caption reading: "Relaxed and comfortable . . . Bill Clinton on the course yesterday."
The story added: "For almost 15 minutes, the Prez drove his Secret Service agents wild as he insisted on . . . shaking the hands of the noisy crowd of more than 1,000 well-wishers."
Last year, when World War II hero Bob Dole was a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point wanted to invite him to a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Europe.
The academy superintendent even prepared a letter inviting Mr. Dole to not only speak, but to lead a parade, in his honor, of 4,000 cadets. Mr. Dole, who received advance word of the invitation, began drafting remarks, focusing mostly on his wartime experiences.
As required, West Point's invitation was sent to the Pentagon for approval by the secretary of defense. It was denied.
Kenneth Bacon, the Pentagon spokesman - not Defense Secretary William J. Perry - took credit for the rejection. It was against regulations for the news media to accompany presidential candidates on military bases, he explained.
Mr. Dole could visit West Point, but only alone.
At the invitation of Mr. Perry, Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Chi Haotian - the architect of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 - arrives today for a 10-day visit in the United States.
While here, Gen. Chi will tour several major U.S. military bases, including the Navy base at Norfolk, Fort Hood in Texas and the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii.
Asked this week if the Pentagon had any reservations about rolling out the red carpet for someone who had unleashed tanks and troops against unarmed civilians, Mr. …