Sunday, April 18, 2004

Hot Corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers

What's her face, Clarke, er, Rice?

Respected former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey provided some comic relief as well as room for criticism last week during the Sept. 11 Commission hearings when it heard from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

A week earlier, former anti-terrorism czar Richard Clarke testified. He criticized the Bush administration for not paying enough attention to terror, and launched a book around the same time. Kerrey obviously had Clarke on the brain during the 10 minutes he had to question Rice.

He referred to Rice as "Dr. Clarke" on three separate occasions. It would have been interesting if Rice had responded by calling Bob "John" (as in Kerry). Instead, a poised Rice eventually interjected: "Sir, with all respect, I don't think I look like Dick Clarke." Yes, she's got way more hair.

For the record, Kerrey corrected himself and later lauded Rice in an op-ed piece in the New York Times. As political gaffes go, this could have been much worse.

They said it, too

• Former President Jimmy Carter at the 1980 Democratic National Convention introduced Hubert Horatio Humphrey as "Hubert Horatio Hornblower."

• In addition to his famous 1992 misspelling "potato," (he added an "e") former Vice President Dan Quayle once mangled the slogan of the United Negro College Fund, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." During a fundraiser in 1989, Quayle said: ". . . you take the United Negro college fund model that what a waste it is to lose one's mind or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."

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Hot Corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers
Let's Talk: Letters on the 9-11 commission