The scandal over foreign campaign money escalated. The pivotal figure, Democratic fund-raiser John Huang, finally showed up for a deposition and denied he had used Commerce Department trade missions to hunt for campaign money. Secret Service logs showed that Huang had visited the White House approximately 80 times in the past 15 months. The press swarmed over allegations that a former White House aide and the chief American liaison to the Taiwanese government had pressured Taiwanese businessmen and politicians to donate to Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Attorney General Janet Reno, prodded by congressional Republicans, said her department was considering whether to name an independent counsel. The DNC tried to use a legal loophole to withhold its financial disclosure report; campaign watchdogs declared the stunt so politically stupid it was beneath outrage; the DNC soon coughed up the report. Editorialists blasted Clinton's stonewalling, protested that he was getting away with it, and proved themselves right by endorsing him anyway. William Safire suggested that Huang might be a communist Chinese agent.
| Halloween suddenly seemed like a bigger deal. The New York Times reported that it has passed Mother's Day and Easter, and is now second only to Christmas, as a generator of commercial revenue. Adults increasingly dress in costumes Oct. 31, as well as children. As trick or treating on the streets becomes, or is perceived as, more hazardous, corporations (such as Microsoft) invite employees to bring their children trick or treating through the office corridors. "Experts" quoted by the Times said Halloween has become a way of dealing with fear of crime and/or death, as well as another occasion for yuppies to indulge their kids. Meanwhile, the Detroit tradition of celebrating Halloween with mass arson was avoided for the second straight year.|
| The Justice Department finally cleared Richard Jewell in the Olympic Park bombing. Jewell wept with his mother at a press conference while his attorneys announced plans to sue NBC and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for libel. The early line was that he'll lose. Surprisingly, Jewell's exoneration got almost as much attention as had his original implication. Absent an alternative culprit, the search for a villain turned on the FBI itself: Attorney General Janet Reno ordered the Bureau to investigate whether its agents had violated Jewell's civil rights by trying to trick him into waiving his right to an attorney. The media, newly ashamed at having coaxed the FBI to leak Jewell's name, blamed the FBI for promiscuously obliging them. "The press will badger officials constantly for information about a spectacular crime," chided the Washington Post, "but it is the responsibility of law enforcement personnel ... to keep preliminary information to themselves."|
| Bob Dole seized on new Commerce Department numbers to predict an imminent recession. The growth rate fell to 2.2 percent in the third quarter, down from 4.7 percent in the second quarter; growth in consumer spending hit its lowest point in five years; wages and benefits slowed; and home construction fell 5.8 percent. Others spun the numbers optimistically: Slower growth and continued low inflation mean the Fed will not raise short-term interest rates. The Clinton administration noted that the private sector is still growing faster than in the "so-called go-go '80s." Chief economic adviser Laura D'Andrea Tyson observed that the last time Republicans predicted a recession was in 1993, after the passage of Clinton's budget plan.|
| Reports of Boris Yeltsin's imminent death were dismissed as greatly exaggerated. Based on updates from Yeltsin's Russian doctors, American heart-surgery guru Michael DeBakey announced that Yeltsin's health had "improved greatly," enabling him to undergo heart-bypass surgery next week, earlier than expected. The news forced the press to reverse its morbid spin on Yeltsin's cancellation of next week's meetings. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times said the cancellation "intensified concern that the 65-year-old leader is too frail to rule." On Thursday, the Times called the cancellation "the first sign that [Yeltsin's] problems may have been overcome."|
| The uproar over Holocaust profiteering continued. Switzerland accused the American press of misrepresenting Swiss banks' relationship with Nazi Germany and their use of the unclaimed assets of Holocaust victims. The chairman of the House Banking Committee said he would hold hearings. There will also be hearings in the Senate. The Paris City Council launched an investigation into city-owned lots and apartments that were confiscated from death-camp victims. On the bright side, Austria finally gave Austrian Jews a stockpile of art stolen by the Nazis; an auction of the art generated millions of dollars for Holocaust survivors. Commentators, citing Freud, congratulated the Austrians for breaking through their denial and facing up to their complicity and neglect.|
| Wired Ventures, parent of Wired magazine and the Hotwired Web site, aborted its initial public offering for the second time this year. The retreat brought derision. "The fanzine of the digital revolution now faces the ultimate humiliation," proclaimed the New York Times. Wired's first IPO attempt valued the company at $450 million; the second dropped it to $270 million. Analysts, citing the company's huge current losses, said even $120 million was optimistic. Reports played up an internal company memo that found its way onto the Internet, possibly violating the SEC's rule against pre-IPO self-promotion. The Wall Street Journal piled on with an unflattering profile of Wired founder Louis Rossetto Jr., portraying him as an authoritarian masquerading as an anti-authoritarian. But the episode was also held to reflect growing skepticism--or at least a welcome sobriety--about the Internet in general.|
| Republicans turned up the heat on illegal immigration. Bob Dole told Californians that the Clinton administration was "rushing [foreigners] through the immigration process ... to get them ready for Election Day" and that "maybe 10 percent are criminals." The Los Angeles Times found evidence that some criminals had indeed been naturalized improperly, but the Immigration and Naturalization Service issued a report estimating that the number was infinitesimal. Liberal columnists and editorialists accused Dole of race-baiting. Meanwhile, a House subcommittee scoured FBI files on 50,000 newly naturalized Americans, refusing an FBI request to keep the records confidential.|
| Hollywood dropped Jane Austen for Henry James. Among the movies scheduled to be released soon: The Portrait of a Lady (with Nicole Kidman), Washington Square (with Jennifer Jason Leigh), and The Wings of the Dove (with Helena Bonham-Carter). Merchant-Ivory plans another (unnamed) James film, PBS is preparing a rendition of The Americans, and a French version of a short story, "The Pupil," may arrive in the United States. Meanwhile, a new biography of James speculates that he had an affair with Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (New York Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani said the author, Sheldon Novick, doesn't have the goods.)|
| The National Basketball Association opened its 1996-1997 season. Superstar center Shaquille O'Neal has forsaken the small-market Orlando Magic to join the big-market Los Angeles Lakers. Critics branded O'Neal a payroll-eating, Hollywood-worshipping, championship-choking, free-throw-bricking, no-ring egotist who cares more about marketing shoes and starring in movies than playing for his team. Everyone agreed he would turn the Lakers into a title contender anyway. The Houston Rockets added Charles Barkley to their roster of aging superstars, guaranteeing themselves more TV coverage, if not a third championship. The New York Knicks were deemed the most improved team.|
LATE's review), the return of The X-Files, a Halloween marathon of The Simpsons, and above all, the World Series, which doubled the network's previous rating. Reviewers couldn't decide whether to applaud the Series for elevating Fox or to blame Fox for dragging down the Series. "Fox Loads the Bases, Hits Grand Slam," said one Los Angeles Times headline. "World Series' TV Ratings Third Lowest in History," said another.
| For the first time, Fox won the weekly Nielsen ratings war among TV networks. Analysts credited the much-hyped debut of Millennium (see S|
| Miscellany: Gennifer Flowers was scheduled to get married Nov. 2 to the former brother-in-law of former Clinton aide/convicted fraud artist Webster Hubbell. Disgraced skater Tonya Harding saved the life of an 81-year-old woman by administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in an Oregon bar. Philander Rodman, the father of basketball star Dennis Rodman, told a TV show he has two wives and 27 kids. The head of a test-prep company was charged with a scam in which fake students allegedly previewed standardized tests in the Eastern time zone and phoned the answers westward, where they were encoded on No. 2 pencils and carried into the exam. A doctors' group announced that military service academies serve the most unhealthy college food in the nation.|
Photograph of Richard Jewell by John Kuntz/Reuters; photograph of Boris Yeltsin and Michael DeBakey by Dima Sokolov/Reuters; photograph of Henry James from Corbis-Bettmann Archive