Washington Rules

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Aug. 12 1997 7:44 AM

Washington Rules

Everybody leads with President Clinton's historic use of the line-item veto. "Washington rules have changed for good," is the Clinton line quoted all around. Other staples in the coverage by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today include: the amount of money saved by the veto--about $600 million--doesn't make a dent in the budget deficit, there was much internal administration debate about whether to use the veto, and its use yesterday is almost sure to end up in a Supreme Court case.

USAT and the NYT report that Newt Gingrich said through a spokeswoman that Clinton's action was "petty politics" even though he has been a longtime promoter of the line-item veto.

The WP runs a second front-page line-item story suggesting that the excitement over Clinton's action is probably premature: "Clinton's use of his new veto powers simply means the old game will now require a bit more skill." The line-item law limits the veto to tax measures benefiting fewer than 100 individuals, and the paper notes, it shouldn't be hard to make sure special deals favor say, 101. On the spending side, the trick will be to group the contested provision together with one the president favors within a single line item. The availability of this gambit is also noted by USAT.

The NYT lead editorial takes a strong stand against the LIV, calling it a "benighted" idea.

The "Work Week" column in the Wall Street Journal reports that boy-wonder entrepreneurs have run into an unanticipated problem: being under 25 means they have to pay exorbitant surcharges to rent cars for business travel, or take the bus even. The solution: their companies set up corporate rental car accounts for them.

The NYT brings word that nearly 12 years after Palestinian terrorists killed a disabled passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, by pushing the wheelchair bound man off the hijacked cruise ship, the Achille Lauro, the Palestinian Liberation Organization has settled for an undisclosed sum a lawsuit brought by the Klinghoffer family. Both sides described the resolution as "amicable," which the Times says is "strange." What is just as strange is that the Times states that the PLO was represented in the case by Ramsey Clark, but doesn't mention that he is a former U.S. Attorney General. Obviously, the guys with the burnooses and bazookas have watched car and drug manufacturers in action: the PLO says the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.

One courtroom door closes, another opens. The WP reports that White House aide Sidney Blumenthal plans to sue Internet gossip columnist Matt Drudge over statements Drudge made about him in a recent emailed column. Sunday's "Drudge Report" repeated unattributed allegations that Blumenthal "has a spousal abuse past that has been effectively covered up." Drudge retracted the story last night. But Blumenthal's attorney tells the Post he will take "'appropriate action' unless Drudge disclose[s] the names of his sources by today."

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