Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., speaks about life in the U.S. Senate and prospects that she might run for president, and some of Clinton's critics chip in with a few kind words about the former first lady, in the new issue of More magazine. Clinton said -- as she has said many times already -- that she will not run for president in 2004 and that she has no plans to run in 2008. But conservatives laid on some praise for Clinton's political skills. The Washington Times' Tony Blankley, former top adviser to House Speaker New Gingrich, said: "There are certain people who don't seem substantial enough to be president. That is not an issue with her." Conservative activist Grover Norquist called Clinton a "credible candidate." Outgoing Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., told the magazine Clinton is okay by him: "She rolled up her sleeves and worked very hard," said Smith. "I like her. She did a remarkable job of melding in." And Tripp Baird -- in charge of Senate relations for the conservative Heritage Foundation -- said he was surprised at how hard Clinton works: "She's seen as the kind of person who stays to clean up. That's not what you expect of a first lady. After all, she was used to sitting on Air Force One and being catered to." Regardless of any fence-mending Clinton may be doing with Washington insiders, public acceptance is another matter. More magazine cited an October 2002 poll by the Marist Institute for Public Opinions, indicating that 69 percent of Americans thought she should not run for president.
JACKO OFF THE HOOK
German authorities have decided not to prosecute Michael Jackson for dangling his infant son over the balcony railing from his fourth floor hotel room earlier this week. A spokesman for Berlin police said there will be no prosecution because there was no crime. Authorities in California -- where Jackson and his three children live -- told the New York Daily News the entertainer would face no charges there either. "Because it happened in Germany, it's up to the local authorities to investigate," said John Gordon, spokesman for California's Department of Social Services. Jackson issued a press release apologizing for gangling his baby over the rail and conceding it was a "terrible mistake." Jackson didn't touch the controversy Thursday night in Berlin when former tennis star Boris Becker presented him with the Bambi Award for Pop Artist of the Millennium. "Berlin, ich liebe dich" -- "Berlin, I love you" -- was all Jackson said, but it was enough to get him a standing ovation.
BUT HE WANTED ED BRADLEY
Billy Crystal is featured in a segment on "60 Minutes" this Sunday, and gossip columnist Liz Smith got a preview of the piece. According to Smith, Crystal told Mike Wallace he will definitely be back as host of the Oscars -- but not at the next Oscars. Steve Martin has already been announced as host of the upcoming 75th Academy Awards. Smith reports that Wallace examines an uncharacteristic quality that Crystal possesses -- as a comic who is neither bitter nor angry and has been married to his high school sweetheart for over 30 years. Crystal ends the interview kidding Wallace that he had wanted "60 Minutes" correspondent Ed Bradley to do the piece. "I really wanted Ed to do it," said Crystal. "They said, 'No, it's gonna be Mike.'"
SEINFELD'S HOUSING PROBLEM
According to a report in the New York Post, East Hampton officials are making it tough on Jerry Seinfeld, who wants to upgrade the $32 million property he bought from Billy Joel. The paper said the "paper-pushers" at the buildings department are holding up Seinfeld's project because he doesn't have proper permits. Seinfeld -- who bought the property from Joel in 2000 -- started by replacing some rotten wood, said the Post. But a building inspector told the East Hampton Star that only 15 percent of the original house remains. The Star quoted the inspector as saying that Seinfeld needs permits "up the ying-yang." The Post said a spokesman for Seinfeld insisted all the construction at Seinfeld's domain is perfectly legal.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 465
Here's a bittersweet question; those whose memories don't go back far enough to answer it should ask a parent or older friend: "What were you doing when you heard that President John F. Kennedy had been shot?" Put JFK in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 460 (BOOKS)
Last week we asked you to estimate the number of books you would read by the time this year is over ... your total for 2002. From a random dip into the e-mail inbox, here are the results:
The greatest number was 45, sent in by Toby, who is, in his words, "constantly reading." Several noted that they have never read a book all the way through, except in school. KarlaQueen in Milwaukee says that she has renewed her interest in reading because of the efforts of Oprah's book club. Cindy Mx, a librarian, says that the recent re-interest in "The Lord of the Rings" and the "Harry Potter" books are bringing in new readers. NEXT: Spending too much money at your ISP? GBA