Tripp's off the hook

Bush hits rewind on conservative speech as Gore -- in his glam new makeup --guns for Heston and loses labor.


Alicia Montgomery
May 25, 2000 9:45PM (UTC)

Linda Tripp, will not face a trial after all for recording Monica Lewinsky's phone calls about the intern's affair with President Clinton. The Associated Press reports that Maryland has dropped wire tapping charges against Tripp, who set off the impeachment saga by turning over the tapes to Ken Starr. The decision not to prosecute comes in the wake of a judge's ruling that would limit the testimony of Lewinsky, the state's would-be star witness. "As a result of the judge's ruling, we don't think we can go forward," said senior state prosecutor Mike McDonough.

Tale of the tape

George W. Bush wants to keep some of his tapes off the record as well. The Democratic National Committee charges that the Republican candidate is following in Nixon's footsteps by refusing to release recordings of his comments before the Council for National Policy, a secretive but influential conservative group. As reported by the New York Times, the Bush team specific ally requested that its candidate's remarks at the CNP's October meeting be kept private. "The Bush entourage said they preferred that the tape not go out, though I could not see any reason why they shouldn't," said Morton C. Blackwell, the council's executive director. Still, Blackwell dismissed the idea Bush said anything controversial, or even original, at the San Antonio gathering. "It was a standard speech, basically the same one. Basically everything he said, he's said before, and I've heard since."

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Gore goes glam

If the vice president looks more lifelike lately, thank Dinair and its spray-on makeup. People magazine originally reported about Gore's new Dinair fetish, but the Republican National Committee wanted to make sure the news no longer "eluded the elite media's political press corps," and has helpfully posted the item on its Web site. Company founder Dina Ousley tells Salon that Gore has joined Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Catherine Zeta-Jones as part of Dinair's glamorous clientele, but insists that the starlet power behind her foundation shouldn't compromise Gore's alpha male ambitions. "It's perfect makeup for the contemporary president or vice president," she says. Ultra-alpha Arnold Schwarzenegger uses it, too, as does Gore's boss, Bill Clinton. The new sprucing, however, doesn't exactly lay to rest Gore's reputation for being a stiff: Ousley says Dinair's loyal customers include mortuaries.

And you thought he was funny when he played Moses

The National Rifle Association's Charlton Heston made his reputation as a dramatic actor, but Al Gore finds the movie star's latest theatrics pure comedy. Reuters reports that the vice president snickered when he heard of Heston's pledge to defend gun rights to the death. During the NRA convention last week, Heston entreated the organization's members "to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away." He then made his intentions more explicit. "I want to say those fighting words, for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially you, Mr. Gore: From my cold, dead hands."

When the remarks were read to the vice president during an interview with National Public Radio, Gore suggested Heston was going off half-cocked. "I would not do what he accuses me of planning," he said. "I have no intentions of proposing ... policies that would disarm America or take guns away from law-abiding gun owners."

Labor not working for Gore

The United Auto Workers say the vice president's stand on China trade won't work for them, the Wall Street Journal reports, so Gore shouldn't expect their endorsement. In a statement released by the UAW, union president Stephen Yokich blasted Gore for political doublespeak, and accused him of failing to back labor in its struggle with multinational companies over permanent normal trading relations with China. "We are deeply disappointed that Vice President Gore has failed to speak out against these cynical attacks on the labor movement and our partners in this fight," Yokich said. As Bush and Gore have the same position on the issue, the UAW is looking to endorse a third-party candidate, perhaps the Green Party's Ralph Nader.

Constitution Party locks door on Keyes run

Even if Alan Keyes follows through on his threat to bolt from the GOP, the Constitution Party might not have a place for him. According to the Associated Press, the rabble-rousing Republican is waiting until the convention to see whether his present party softens its anti-abortion stance. If it does, Keyes promises to go and has mentioned the Constitution Party as a possible home. But officials from the organization say that they're not in the market for a presidential candidate. "Generally speaking we have a nominee for the No. 1 spot," said party spokesman Greg Moeller. But Howard Phillips, the Constitutional Party's presumptive candidate, remained more flexible about a Keyes run. "I have been in public affairs long enough to know that everything is fluid, so I would be prepared to discuss that," Phillips said. "But I am also prepared to continue running."

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Gift grinches snub Newt's nuptials

Newt Gingrich was a contribution magnet as speaker of the House, but his big donors seem to have disappeared, if his wedding Web site is any indication. Gingrich and former "House aide" Callista Bisek plan to marry Aug. 18, and their electronic Macy's registry shows plenty of pricey gifts remaining on their wish list, including all the linen, bath accessories and all but one plate of their wedding china. Most of the purchases have come in the flatware category, by far the cheapest.

Poll positions

Presidential race (previou s):

  • Bush 46 to Gore 41 (Zogby May 10-13)
  • Bush 47 to Gore 39 (CBS News/New York Times May 10-13).
  • Bus h 49 to Gore 44 (ABC News/Washington Post May 7-10).
  • Bush 51 to Gore 43 (Los Angeles Times May 4-7).
  • Bush 46 to Gore 45 (Pew Center May 2-6).
  • <a target="new" href="http://www.voter.com/voter/today/newsdetail/1,2282,1~68-4495-,00.html" Bush 48 to Gore 42 (Voter.com May 1-3).
  • Bush 46 to Gore 41 (NBC/Wall Street Journal April 29-May 1).
  • Bush 49 to Gore 44 (Gallup/CNN/USA Today April 28-30).

    Vice presidential preferences (previous):

    Preferences for Republican vice presidential candidate among Republican voters (NBC/Wall Street Journal April 29-May 1):

  • Colin Powell, 39 percent
  • Elizabeth Dole, 19 percent
  • John McCain, 18 percent
  • Fred Thompson, 6 percent
  • Christine Todd Whitman, 5 percent
  • John Kaisch, 4 percent
  • Tom Ridge, 3 percent
  • Other, 1 percent
  • Not sure, 5 percent

    Preferences for Democratic vice presidential candidate among all voters (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll March 22-23):

  • Bill Bradley, 27 percent
  • Dianne Feinstein, 10 percent
  • Bob Kerrey, 6 percent
  • Bob Graham, 5 percent
  • John Kerry, 4 percent
  • Bill Richardson, 4 percent
  • Evan Bayh, 3 percent
  • Other, 6 percent
  • Not sure, 35 percent

    On the trail

    Bush: Texas

    Gore: Tennessee

    Nader: Oregon

    Talking heads

    (all guests tentative and EST)

    C-Span's "Washington Journal"

    7 a.m. -- Open phones with morning newspaper articles and phone interview with Dana Milbank of the Washington Post

    8:15 a.m. -- Louis Caldera, secretary of the Army

    9 a.m. -- Open phones

    9:15 a.m. -- Thomas Freidman of the New York Times, author of "The Lexus and the Olive Tree"

    Watch "Washington Journal" on the Web.

    Sound off

    E-mail Trail Mix with your comments, suggestions and tips at alicia@salon.com.

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  • Alicia Montgomery

    Alicia Montgomery is an associate editor in Salon's Washington bureau.

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