UPI's Capital Comment for Jan. 14, 2002

By United Press International  |  Jan. 14, 2002 at 4:05 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- News notes, political rumors and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.

Barney, Spot in the clear -- Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer cleared first dogs Spot and Barney of any wrongdoing in the incident involving the president's pretzel/fainting spell over the weekend. In the gaggle on Air Force One, a reporter asked Fleischer if "the dogs are in the clear then?"

FLEISCHER: Dogs are innocent.

Q But they looked at him funny.

FLEISCHER: That's what he said. He did not report that the dogs rushed over to lick him. I don't know if that's an indication that the dogs were giving the president a demarche.

Q Barney is a little slow, I think.

FLEISCHER: Barney is too small to get up there to lick.

Q Thanks, Ari.


Lindsey not creditor -- Enron Corp. is saying that a "clerical error" is responsible for the inclusion of White House economic adviser Larry Lindsey on the list of creditors in the company's bankruptcy filing. According to the New York Daily News, Enron spokesman Mark Palmer said the last time Lindsey was paid for service on a company advisory board was in December 2000 and that he is not owed any additional money.

Hail, hail, the gang's all here -- The Center for Responsive Politics, a liberal organization that supports increased restrictions on campaign fundraising, reports that 71 U.S. Senators and 188 members of the U.S. House received campaign contributions from Enron or from Enron executives between 1989 and 1991. Recipients of Enron-backed largess include Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.; Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss.; House Speaker Denny Hastert, R-Ill.; House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo.; House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas; and House Democrat Caucus Chairman Martin Frost, D-Texas.

Safe and sound at home -- Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge meets Tuesday with Minnetonka, Minn., Mayor Karen Anderson, the newly elected president of the National League of Cities, to discuss how local governments can better work with the federal government to meet cities' new public-safety responsibilities.

"We need a fair share for America's front lines in our cities and towns," Anderson said in a statement. "In 2002, city duties go far beyond plowing the snow, filling potholes, and providing safe drinking water: We now play a key role in national defense." The National League of Cities represent 18,000 cities and towns across America.

Code red - stat! -- The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons wants state legislatures to reject proposed model legislation that gives what it calls "sweeping new authority" to public health officials and governors in the event of a public health emergency.

According to AAPS, the legislation gives governors the power to rule by decree in such emergencies, bypassing state legislatures and courts and permitting government employees "to ration drugs and other items, including firearms and private property."

The legislation, the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, is being promulgated by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Terrorism 101 -- The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank based in McLean, Va., hosts a briefing on terrorism on Wednesday at the National Press Club. "Terrorism: Review of 2001 and Outlook for 2002" will address the Sept. 11 attacks, the subsequent war in Afghanistan, the attack on the Indian Parliament, the anthrax threat and the outlook for the future. Participants include Prof. Yonah Alexander of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Dan Gouri of the Lexington Institute, and Prof. Edgar Brenner, co-director of the Inter-University Center for Legal Studies at the International Law Institute.

Personnel notes -- Former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell has signed on with Edwards Broadcasting as vice president for corporate communications and legal affairs. In his new post, Campbell will lobby the U.S. Congress for changes that will increase the number of minority-owned broadcasting outlets ... Former Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, defeated in his November bid to become the state's governor, becomes president and chief executive officer of Prison Fellowship Ministries on Feb. 1. Former Nixon White House aide Charles Colson, who embraced Christian service during his prison term following the Watergate scandal, founded the group, which counsels inmates about life skills and shares the Christian gospel with them ... Anne Wright, corporate practice director for PR powerhouse Hill and Knowlton, has jumped to the firm of Cohn & Wolfe as executive vice president in its New York corporate/technology group.

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