In TIME This Week:
Notebook: Political Turkey
"This is not over."
"Goddammit, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get
More campaign fund raising: It's leaking, it's leaking
(TIME, December 1) -- Nobody will be surprised if Attorney General JANET RENO decides against naming an independent counsel to probe telephone fund raising by President CLINTON and Vice President AL GORE. The 1883 statute against soliciting funds on federal property has never been tested in a telephone-solicitation case, and Justice pros don't want to start now. But Justice insiders are astonished at the number of leaks that have sprung, far ahead of the Dec. 2 decision deadline, disclosing that Reno's staff and the FBI want to shut down the case. Some officials suspect that the leaks are trial balloons aimed at pressing the Attorney General to go along with staff recommendations. Also, the leaks may be meant to defuse the political outcry sure to come from G.O.P. critics: Can anyone really object to a shutdown if Justice career staff and the FBI are a united front? "Looks like there's some heavy-duty softening going on," says a ranking Justice official. In fact, sources say, FBI Director LOUIS FREEH still believes that an independent counsel should take over the whole campaign-funding probe, if only to answer all questions that may remain.
--By Elaine Shannon/Washington
Campaign fund raising II: A plot for plots
The making of a grave concern
When the Army Times published a report six months ago on the increased number of waivers granted to otherwise ineligible people to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, the story sank like a stone. Perhaps that's because it didn't have a p.r. campaign behind it like the one orchestrated last week by Insight magazine, owned by the conservative Washington Times newspaper.
While the earlier story did not suggest that the waivers were payoffs to President Clinton's political contributors, the Insight piece declared right up front that they "apparently" were. It offered no names and no proof. But that didn't seem to matter. Insight faxed the story to talk-radio shows nationwide and dozens of Rush wannabes. Insight's press release encouraged the talk-show hosts to call Representative TERRY EVERETT, an Alabama Republican who has been looking into the matter for months without reaching any conclusion. Smelling blood, JIM NICHOLSON, ex-Army Ranger and the chairman of the Republican National Committee, blasted away. "This action goes way beyond selling sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom, coffee parties in the Map Room, or Air Force One joyrides," Nicholson said.
According to Army Secretary Togo West, Clinton has personally granted waivers for four deceased people: a Supreme Court Justice; the wife of another Justice; an Army veteran who was killed while working as a federal drug agent in Peru; and a Marine Corps vet killed in the line of duty as a police officer. West himself granted 58 waivers, 42 of them to relatives of already buried veterans. After the Army released the names, Everett counseled caution. "I urge everyone," he said, "to avoid hasty conclusions."
--By Melissa August and Mark Thompson/Washington
The making of the Presidnet's turkey, 1997
Each Thanksgiving the National Turkey Federation presents a turkey to the President. The tale behind this year's bird: MAY: Some 2,000 turkey poults hatch at the Tar Heel Turkey Hatchery in Raeford, N.C.
SEPTEMBER: At 16 weeks, 10 candidates are selected--all toms (or males), because they're bigger. Criteria: size, feathers, posture, temperament. The last is not insignificant: the 1984 turkey flapped its wings in President Reagan's face.
OCTOBER: At 22 weeks, another primary. Four birds make it.
NOVEMBER 20: The National Thanksgiving Turkey is chosen. And so is a runner-up--to serve by waiting (just like Al Gore), in case anything happens to No. 1.
NOVEMBER 25: The National Turkey and the runner-up are flown to the capital and whisked to the Hotel Washington, left, where all Top Turkeys have stayed for the past 30 years. They spend the night next to the rooftop summer kitchen. Great view of the White House.
NOVEMBER 26: The big day. The National Thanksgiving Turkey is escorted to the Rose Garden for the presidential ceremony and the ritual dinner pardon.
EPILOGUE: The two turkeys are taken to their retirement shed at a model farm in a Virginia park, to share quarters and two meals a day and keep company with last year's birds (the only ex-Top Toms still living)
--By Alain L. Sanders
Last Action President
On a movie set, there are two tricks to keeping the crew happy: hot food and visits from former heads of state. So BRUCE WILLIS -- action hero and hard-core Republican -- brought GEORGE BUSH to show-and-tell while shooting his upcoming film Armageddon near Houston. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer said the crew was impressed. Not that Bruce needed a status boost, of course. "I think Bruce has a cool factor," says Bruckheimer, "that goes beyond the fact our ex-President showed up."
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