Monday, July 5, 2004

Ohio pols not ready to read Clinton


Inside Washington

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WASHINGTON - Bill Clinton's My Life won't be part of the Cincinnati congressional delegation's life.

None of the Ohio or Kentucky members admitted to buying the $35 book or planning to read its 957 pages.

"I only read nonfiction. Based on the reviews I've read, President Clinton's book doesn't fit in that category," said Rep. Steve Chabot, a Westwood Republican who served as an impeachment manager.

Apparently Chabot didn't make much of an impression on Clinton either. He's not mentioned in the book.

Northern Warren County's Rep. Mike Turner, asked if he would read the book, responded: "Since the book weighs in at over 950 pages, it depends on what your definition of read is."

And Ohio Sen. George Voinovich's spokeswoman, Marcie Ridgway, simply asked: "You have got to be kidding, right?"

Rep. Rob Portman was the one member who said he might read it some day.

"I know it's going to be self-serving. But I'm interested in his perspective." The Terrace Park Republican, who like Clinton arrived in Washington in 1993, said the two generally got along - for a while.

"After I voted for his impeachment, he was not as nice to me."

My Life, by the numbers:

Pages: 950

Mentions of Cincinnati: 0.

Mentions of Ohio: 0 (from sloppy indexing. Ohio is mentioned in passing).

Mentions of Uruguay: 2.

Mentions of Kentucky: 5, mostly tobacco-related.

Mentions of any single member of the current nine-member delegation: 0.

Mentions of former Sen. John Glenn: 6, mostly about his 1998 trip to space:

Speaking of John Glenn: He has been added to Hotline's list of possible veeps. Maybe Kerry is planning to surprise Glenn on his 83rd birthday July 18.

Bad timing award: The very day Portman introduced a White House-backed bill aimed at helping released felons better return to normal lives - and get jobs - the state Republican Party denounced a voter registration group's hiring of ex-felons.

Portman, introducing his Second Chance Act: "Ex-offenders have difficulties in a lot of areas. One is jobs. ... We are all fighting this fight together."

Ohio GOP Chairman Bob Bennett, denouncing America Coming Together's possible use of ex-convicts to register voters: "Ohioans should be cautious about dealing with ACT employees until the organization can ensure the public's safety. A review of the group's Ohio employees appears to indicate a convicted murderer and a rapist on their payroll."

Please share: Portman last week sent out a press release trumpeting the fact he'd gotten $2 million for more studies of a riverfront park. The headline: "House Approves Portman-Requested Funding."

That surprised Chabot's office, since he requested that money, too.

An hour later, a new press released arrived. The new headline: "Chabot, Portman announce funding for Central Riverfront Park."

The money is in a House spending bill and still must make it through the Senate, a joint House-Senate conference - and several more press releases.

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E-mail cweiser@gannett.com or call (202) 906-8134.




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