Chatterbox Goes Right!

Chatterbox Goes Right!

Chatterbox Goes Right!

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
March 23 1998 6:28 PM

Chatterbox Goes Right!

Deborah Mathis of Gannett caused a stir in Republican circles with her report last Wednesday that presidential aspirant Sen. John Ashcroft of Missouri had all but locked up the oh-so-coveted political consulting services of former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed. Mathis notes that "Every chance he gets, it seems, Reed praises and promotes" Ashcroft. She adds: "If and when John Ashcroft decides to make his presidential ambitions official ... Reed will disappear from the market." Wrong! says Chatterbox, in its best John McLaughlin voice. Think about it for a moment. Who benefits if Ashcroft gets in the race and splits the social conservative primary vote with Steve Forbes? Answer: Forbes' biggest potential rival, and Reed's other potential client, Texas governor George W. Bush, Jr., that's who. An Ashcroft entry might also kill the candidacy of Beltway conservative Gary Bauer, thereby freeing up the allegiances of the followers of Bauer's ally, radio moralist Dr. James Dobson. ... Reed is with Bush all the way. Trust Chatterbox on this one. ...

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Dept. of Faux-Groveling: Chatterbox (3/19) shouldn't have been as nasty as it was about John Broder's front page New York Times story last Thursday on Kathleen Willey's detractor, Julie Steele. Chatterbox should have been nastier! Not only did Broder forget to mention Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff's contention that Steele had changed her story at least two times, but Broder also forgot to mention that--as Isikoff had reported a week and a half earlier--Steele had taken $7,000 from the National Enquirer after shifting to an anti-Willey posture. ... Not that Steele is lying. Not that she isn't. But given the volume of detail the Times provided on Kathleen Willey's past, including her attempts to sell her story, you'd think Broder would at least mention the main questions surrounding Steele ... Now it turns out, as Newsweek reports this week, that Steele also met with an editor for the tabloid Star, who claims Steele was asking $20,000. ...

Time vs. Isikoff, cont.: As predicted in Chatterbox for 2/23, Time magazine is heavily wedded to Steele's credibility. Newsweek is wedded (slightly less heavily) to Willey's. Time readers still don't know about the Steele-Isikoff dispute, or Steele's tabloid dealings, though they know all about Willey's aborted tab and book deals. ... Time also somewhat sleazily ends its anti-Willey piece by noting that a grant of immunity "may help protect [Willey] from prosecution in connection with any financial or tax improrieties," without ever saying what those improprieties might be. ...

No, Jim, We Think This One Might be a Dealbreaker:

"People have tried to suggest they are former friends, but when the dust settles I think they'll be okay."

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--Jim Moody, lawyer for Linda Tripp, referring to the friendship between his client and Monica Lewinsky, whom Tripp secretly taped and exposed to a potential perjury prosecution.