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web posted August 14, 2000

ABC paid lawyer to smooth Monica Lewinsky

Although it did not pay Monica Lewinsky for its interview with Barbara Walters, ABC News acknowledged August 7 that a Washington lawyer was paid $25,000 to smooth the way for the talk that aired in March 1999.

The network hired Theodore Olson, described as a close friend of former prosecutor Kenneth Starr in an article in The New Yorker, to negotiate access to Lewinsky.

Lewinsky had been barred from talking to the media as part of her immunity agreement with Starr, and Olson was used to negotiate an exception to the deal, the magazine said.

A former ABC executive who helped arrange the payment defended it and said it was not unusual for the network to hire lawyers to help get information necessary for stories.

"We didn't pay her," said Richard Wald, an ABC News consultant who was senior vice president for editorial quality at the time of the arrangement. "We didn't pay her lawyer. We didn't pay anybody else but a lawyer who made it possible for us to go through with the interview."

Gore introduces Lieberman as the Democratic vice presidential candidate

Saying that Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut was "someone with the experience, the character and the judgment to become the president at a moment's notice," Vice President Al Gore officially announced August 8 that Lieberman will be his running mate at a rally in downtown Nashville

"With pride in his achievements, I am here to announce my running mate for vice president, Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut," Gore said as soon as he stepped up to the podium at the rally. "Together, we are going to take this ticket from Nashville today, to Los Angeles California next week, and then all the way to the White House in November."

"When I set out to choose a running mate," Gore added, "I wanted someone who could work with me as a partner, someone who shares my values and believes in the promise of America. I wanted someone who would fight right alongside me for the people and not the powerful."

"Joe Lieberman has the experience and the integrity, he has the courage and the commitment, and for all of his public life, Joe Lieberman has stood for working families," Gore said. "No one is better prepared to be vice president of the United States of America."

When he moved to the podium, Lieberman was quick to return to the compliment to Gore, telling the thickly attended campaign event that he believed Gore "is the best man to lead America into the new century."

"I am proud to stand by your side," Lieberman said to Gore. "I will use every ounce of the strength and capacity the good Lord has given me to make you the next great president of the United States."

"Leadership requires courage, it requires character," Lieberman then said, turning his attention toward the audience. "Al Gore has both."

Gore, Lieberman said, possesses the "most accomplished and successful record of leadership of any vice president in the history of this country."

And, the Connecticut senator added, Gore's choice of the first Orthodox Jew to be considered for the vice presidency of the United States represented "chutzpah," a bold step aimed at breaking down barriers akin to the Democratic nomination of John F. Kennedy -- a Roman Catholic -- for the presidency at the 1960 Democratic convention in Los Angeles.

"Al Gore, I thank you for making this miracle possible for me, and breaking down this barrier for the rest of America forever," Lieberman said.

Lieberman, 58, served as Connecticut's attorney general prior to defeating Republican Lowell Weicker to claim his seat in Congress' upper chamber. He is currently running for re-election to his Senate seat, and under Connecticut state law, could opt to keep his Senate campaign active while simultaneously running for the number two slot on the Democratic ticket.

Agents in Elian raid to be honored by INS

Federal agents who seized Elian Gonzalez from the home of his Miami relatives will be honored by Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner Doris Meissner at a special ceremony this week.

"We are having an awards ceremony for the people who participated in Operation Reunion -- and rightly so," said Maria Cardona, an INS spokeswoman in Washington. "They were people who did an extraordinary job under extraordinary circumstances."

About 130 agents took part in the April 22 pre-dawn raid that led to the reunion of the 6-year-old boy with his Cuban father. Many in the Cuban-American community denounced the raid, which included armed agents and shots of pepper spray.

Elian was rescued November 25 off the coast of Florida after surviving a boat sinking that killed his mother and 10 other Cubans. He became the subject of a seven-month custody dispute between his father in Cuba and his U.S. relatives, who fought unsuccessfully to the U.S. Supreme Court to block his repatriation. Elian returned to Cuba on June 28.

The INS ceremony will be held in Glynco, Georgia, on August 14-15.

Top Quebec Tory defecting to Canadian Alliance

The president of the federal Progressive Conservative party's Quebec wing has quit to work with the Canadian Alliance, taking several high ranking members with him.

Philippe Ardillez, a farmer and director of the Richmond-Arthabaska riding, had reportedly been in talks with the Canadian Alliance for several weeks.

A statement issued early August 9 announced Ardillez, along with Francis Hooper, the main organizer for the Tories in Montreal and western Quebec and Isabelle Deschamps, a vice-president of the provincial organization, had joined the Alliance.

An estimated 25 riding organization presidents or organizers have joined Ardillez in the defection, said a spokeswoman for Ardillez.

"Some leaders have organizations going with them and some do not," said Genevieve Breton.

There are 75 federal ridings in Quebec.

In a telephone interview, Ardillez said he thought the time was right to make the switch.

"When (Stockwell) Day was elected leader of the Canadian Alliance and asked (Tory Leader) Joe Clark to join I thought it was time," he said.

"If we really want to develop a real right wing and be an alternative to the Liberals I think this is the time. I trust Mr. Day."

Hooper was once the director of the party's youth wing, and worked in the Prime Minister's Office in the 1980s alongside Tom Long, failed candidate for the Alliance leadership. Most recently, he worked on the Montreal mayoral campaign of Jacques Duchesneau.

The move comes at a sensitive time for the Conservatives who have been battered by months of defections and who are trying to build momentum ahead of two federal byelections set for Sept. 11.

The day before and reacting to reports about possible defections from the Quebec wing of his party, Clark, who is hoping to cruise to victory in the Nova Scotia riding of Kings-Hants, dismissed the departures as unimportant.

"I wouldn't regard it as significant if one or two people made a move," Clark said.

But Dany Renaud, a vice-president of the party's Quebec regional office, said he was disappointed by Ardillez's decision to leave.

"To say things were going perfectly well would be lying, except that there's been a realization that we must work extra hard to keep our supporters," Renaud said.

Besides the 25 party executives that defected with Ardillez, Breton said as many as 19 more Tory organization leaders are expected to switch over to the Alliance in the near future.

Retiring Marine Corps general says today's military is too small

The retiring commander of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf said the military has been cut too much and would have trouble mounting another major operation on the scale of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

"I think it definitely would be harder," said Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni, in an interview on August 10 with CNN on the eve of his retirement from the military.

Zinni is the latest critical voice in the ongoing debate on military readiness, which became one focus of the Republican National Convention.

The four-star general said he believes the United States could still win a major war like the one fought to oust Iraq from Kuwait, but that it would be more difficult with today's smaller military.

And Zinni told CNN that while the United States could carry out its stated goal of being able to win two major wars at once, it could do so only with great risk and high casualties in the second conflict.

Zinni, as head of the U.S. Central Command, was in charge of Operation Desert Fox in December 1998, the four-day air campaign waged by the United States and Britain in an effort to force Iraqi compliance with U.N. weapons inspectors.

Zinni said the American military today is under-funded for the number of missions it's being asked to perform, everything from peacekeeping in the Balkans to containing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"I believe the military is too small for the current kinds of commitments we have," he said. "You either need to change the structure of the military and the size and the manning, or you need to change the strategy. I don't see the strategy changing significantly."

Zinni added, "We are the world's leader. We fill a void. There is no one out there that even comes close to filling the leadership role that we have, and some of the moral responsibilities that we have."

Specifically, Zinni argued the Army needs two more divisions, and all military branches need more money and personnel.

Zinni also says Persian Gulf commanders should have an aircraft carrier available 365 days a year. The Navy says it would have to go from 12 carriers to 15 to meet Zinni's standard.

Overall, Zinni's conclusions are backed up by the Pentagon's most recent report to Congress, which calls overall readiness "satisfactory," but cites deficiencies even among some of the military's "forward deployed, and first to fight forces."

But the Pentagon insists budget increases this year have stopped the readiness nose-dive.

"We have taken a lot of steps not only to arrest the decline in military spending, but in fact to reverse it," said Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon.

The Clinton administration has reduced the Army to just 10 divisions with 1.4 million people serving in the U.S. military. That compares to 18 Army divisions, and a total of 2.2 million people in the U.S. armed forces during the Gulf War.

Zinni said that number is too low.

"In the case of the Army, I would feel more comfortable with at least 12 divisions, maybe more," he said.

Clinton confesses again, absolves Gore

Making some of his most personal remarks on his affair with Monica Lewinsky, President Clinton said he had made a "terrible mistake" and asked voters not to punish Vice President Al Gore for that "humiliating" scandal.

"He doesn't get enough credit for what we did together that is good, and surely no fair-minded person would blame him for any mistake that I made," Clinton said of Gore in an appearance on August 10 before 4,500 ministers at a conference in suburban Chicago.

Clinton's lengthy confessional came during a nearly 90-minute question-and-answer session with Bill Hybels, his spiritual adviser and pastor of the Willow Creek Community Church.

The president's latest confession came just days before Gore, who is trying to distance himself from any voter distaste for the scandal, becomes the Democratic presidential nominee.

Gore's choice this week of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Connecticut, as running mate also is seen by many analysts as part of Gore's effort to put space between himself and Clinton.

Asked about the political impact of Clinton's confessional, Cliff May, communications director for the Republican National Committee, said he thought Clinton was confusing the issues on purpose.

"Clinton's personal foibles and failings have nothing to do with the fact that Al Gore went to a Buddhist temple to raise money and that his closest associates and fund-raisers were convicted of multiple felonies in regard to that event," May said.

Republican Party presidential nominee George W. Bush has treaded lightly on the Lewinsky matter. But the Texas governor gets applause when he promises during stump speeches to "restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office."

In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week, vice presidential nominee Dick Cheney took that a step further, saying: "Mr. Gore will try to separate himself from his leader's shadow. But somehow, we will never see one without thinking of the other."

Clinton has met regularly with Hybels since the public disclosure of his relationship with Lewinsky, a former White House intern.

"I finally realized that it'd never be all right unless I stood up there and said what I did and said it was wrong, and apologized for it," Clinton said.

He said the entire experience was cathartic and that he learned a great deal from it.

"I feel much more at peace than I used to," Clinton said. "As humiliating as it was ... this sort of purging process, if it doesn't destroy you, can bring you to a different place."

Buchanan seizes Reform prize...as does Hagelin

Pat BuchananAs the splintered Reform Party closed rival conventions on August 13, commentator Pat Buchanan and Iowa physicist John Hagelin both claimed the party's nomination for president and a legal battle loomed over a $12.5 million allotment of campaign funds.

In a move that could render the federal subsidy less crucial for him, Hagelin chose Internet multimillionaire Nat Goldhaber as his running mate.

Buchanan, whose own vice presidential pick is black conservative activist Ezola Foster, made little reference to the intraparty squabble as he accepted the nomination from his wing of the party.

Ezola Foster

He said only that all factions of the movement founded by Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot should "do battle together."

Instead, Buchanan took aim at both Republicans and Democrats, calling them "beltway parties ... that conspire to kill our beloved republic."

"We want our country back," Buchanan said the night before at the Reform Party convention held at the Long Beach Convention Center.

He told cheering supporters their votes can no longer be taken for granted by the Republican Party.

"For years, my friends, we have all heard that familiar taunt, 'Don't worry about them; they have nowhere else to go.' Well, guess what? We have somewhere else to go. At long last, we have a home of our own," Buchanan said.

"As for those homeless conservatives, who were locked up in the basement at the big Bush family reunion in Philadelphia, all I can say is, "Folks, come on over; there is plenty of room in Reform."

Buchanan also was critical of Clinton administration's trade policy with China, promising that if he is elected president, "we will not accept one-sided trade deals with Beijing, where we buy 40 percent of their exports and they buy 1 percent of ours."

"And I will tell them," he continued, " ... if you don't stop persecuting Christians, and if you don't stop threatening our friends on Taiwan, and if you don't stop pointing missiles at our country, you fellows have sold your last pair of chopsticks in any mall in the United States of America."

"Yes, we are politically incorrect here," he said.

Buchanan promised to cut taxes, eliminate the Internal Revenue Service and kick the United Nations out of the United States. "I will personally tell (U.N. Secretary General) Kofi Annan: Your U.N. lease has run out; you will be moving out of the United States, and if you are not gone by year's end, I will send you 10,000 Marines to help you pack your bags," he said.

"We will no longer squander the blood of our soldiers fighting other countries' wars or the wealth of our people paying other countries' bills," Buchanan said.

The dueling conventions and a looming battle for federal recognition as the rightful Reform Party nominee have further muddied the already unclear future of the largest third party in U.S. politics, formed by Perot after his 1992 bid for the presidency as an independent.

Whichever Reform Party wing the Federal Election Commission declares the legitimate heir to Perot's efforts will get $12.6 million in federal matching funds -- money Perot earned with an 8 percent showing in the 1996 presidential race.

Both sides say the dispute ultimately is likely to be resolved in court.

John Hagelin

A convention run by Hagelin supporters disqualified the results of the party's write-in primary on August 11, citing what it called vote fraud on Buchanan's part, and awarded its nomination to Hagelin.

The pro-Buchanan convention ignored the ballot altogether, allowing delegates to grant the nomination to the former television commentator and Republican White House aide.

Hagelin was brought into the dueling third party by leaders hoping to stop Buchanan as his supporters swept into several states. Though many of the state party officials worked closely with Perot, the Texas billionaire has taken no public position on the rupture between its pro-Hagelin and pro-Buchanan wings.

And Perot's 1996 running mate, Pat Choate, has endorsed Buchanan.

On August 12, Hagelin offered Goldhaber, founder of the Internet marketing service Cybergold, as his pick for vice president. Reform Party delegates ratified that choice with a 120-66 roll call vote over Lenora Fulani, a former Buchanan ally. Two other candidates received a handful of votes.

Goldhaber is a 1973 graduate of Maharishi University in Iowa, where Hagelin teaches physics. Hagelin is on leave from the university to mount his third bid for the White House: He has twice run as the Natural Law Party candidate and will remain under that banner while running as the Reform nominee.

The Natural Law Party's platform calls for "harnessing the body's natural healing mechanisms;" using meditation to reduce cardiovascular stress; promoting organic farming and using "the laws of nature governing learning and psychological, intellectual and emotional development" to improve education.

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