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Smart Talk Dec. 16


Hollywood givers Republican pundits seldom reach higher levels of outrage than when they’re railing against Hollywood liberals’ involvement in politics. They’re talking about people like Barbra Streisand and the other celebrities who came to Little Rock for the dedication of the Clinton library. In his Dec. 13 column in The Nation, Eric Alterman points out that movie stars are in fact the most unselfish of big political contributors: “Paul Begala [TV commentator and former Bill Clinton aide] recalls that during all his time in the White House, meeting with hundreds if not thousands of political contributors, ‘Ninety-nine point five percent of them were asking me for something designed to put money in their own pockets. Hollywood people were the only big givers who never asked for anything but that we try to make America a better country as they saw it.’ Indeed, billionaire entertainment mogul David Geffen raised in the neighborhood of $20 million for the President and his party during the Clinton years, perhaps as much as anyone in the United States. He threw large fundraisers at his house and small, billionaire-only dinner parties, where he would provide entree to Clinton for various entertainment moguls and then hit them up for contributions. According to biographer Tom King, two such dinners totaling just twenty-four guests raised a total of $2 million. But instead of seeking special favors from the President, they actually lobbied him not to give them any. There was one night at Geffen’s Malibu beach house, one knowledgeable source informs me, when Geffen brought nine or ten of these guys together and told the President not to cut the capital gains tax. ‘We’ve already got enough. We don’t need this, too.’ Clinton gave it to them anyway.” Camo for Dick “If he’d have come down here in a Z-71, dressed in camo like everyone else, and had a few guys with him, no one would’ve ever known who he was because no one would’ve recognized him.” – Quote in Stuttgart Daily Leader on Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent duck hunting trip to Stuttgart. Security measures associated with Air Force Two’s landing at Stuttgart and motorcades across town had caused some grumbling. PS – The state Game and Fish Commission reports, in response to a question, that Cheney obtained a nonresident hunting permit and duck stamp. This is your AG campaign. This is your AG campaign on drugs. Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Herzfeld is appearing in anti-methamphetamine television advertisements that can be seen by viewers far outside his jurisdiction. Public money is thus providing exposure that could be helpful in a 2006 race for attorney general. Herzfeld confirmed that he hired Kirby Williams Communications to develop a media campaign that not only includes paid and public service advertising on KARK-TV and Comcast cable channels, but also radio, print, and billboard ads. The program’s total costs are almost $34,000 – about $2,000 from his office’s drug control fund, $31,000 from the U.S. Justice Department, and $1,000 from the state Health Department. “We are extremely proud of our Stop Meth program,” Herzfeld said in a statement. “Obviously, there will always be naysayers who attempt to tear down any new approach, but I will not be deterred from doing everything in my power to fight this epidemic which is destroying so many lives and families in Arkansas.”

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