An overdue political issue

Kevin Cowherd

September 14, 1992|By Kevin Cowherd

Aday on the presidential campaign trail:

8 a.m. -- Addressing a breakfast meeting of the National Assn. of Librarians in Chicago, President Bush accuses Bill Clinton of holding a half-dozen overdue library books and of using an expired library card.

"I don't think the American people want a president who doesn't even return his library books on time!" Bush thunders as the crowd hisses.

8:45 -- Appearing on the "Today" show, Clinton apologizes for library books "oversight" and offers to pay his $3.70 fine for overdue books "right here and now."

The transaction falls through when neither Bryant Gumbel or co-host Katie Couric has change for a $5.

9:30 -- At a rally in lower Manhattan, Clinton charges the president with failing to halt the slide in public school education and taping the video "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" in direct violation of the FBI warning against duplication.

10:30 -- Speaking to Veterans of Foreign Wars in Los Angeles, Vice President Quayle vows to keep hammering at the "library books issue." He also accuses Clinton of drawing tiny mustaches in many of the books and signing borrower cards with obvious pseudonyms such as "Pete Moss" and "Mac Truck."

10:45 -- In its later editions, the New York Times reports that an uncle of Clinton's once intervened with the Little Rock, Ark., Public Library to keep Clinton from losing his library privileges.

10:50 -- The White House releases a lengthy computer print-out of the president's Blockbuster Video account, indicating that "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was never borrowed.

Spokesman Marlin Fitzwater adds that the president's taste leans more toward old Charlie Chan movies on cable.

11:00 -- At a campaign stop in Philadelphia, Clinton asks the audience if anyone besides him has noticed that the president chews his food with his mouth open.

11:30 -- Informed aboard Air Force One of Clinton's attack on his table manners, Bush tells reporters: "Don't cry for me, Argentina."

Noon -- The Clinton-Gore campaign headquarters releases a video of the president at a recent barbecue in Austin, Texas. While Bush talks to a campaign contributor, a partially chewed piece of pork can clearly be seen sailing from the president's mouth and landing on the startled man's cheek.

Oblivious to what has happened, the president then shovels another forkful of potato salad into his mouth, a piece of celery dribbling onto his chin. Bush aides can be seen wincing with embarrassment in the background.

12:30 p.m. -- Pounding the lectern at a luncheon for the Cleveland Knights of Columbus, Bush denounces the Democrat's "table manners video" as the "most vicious thing I've seen" and wonders aloud if Clinton was raised by wolves.

1:30 -- Speaking to National Tire Retailers convention in Atlanta, Clinton produces his birth certificate and angrily denies he was raised by wolves, saying he was brought up "in a loving family -- a loving human family" and attended church, school and Little League.

2:00 -- The Washington Post begins work on a story that says an uncle of Clinton's openly intervened to get the young Clinton into Little League.

The Post quotes an unidentified source as saying that, as a boy, Clinton " couldn't hit, couldn't field and threw like a girl."

4:00 -- After a 30-minute jog in Tallahassee, Fla., Clinton tells reporters that Bush secretly leaves the White House every morning to receive out-patient treatment for schizophrenia at a nearby mental hospital.

5:10 -- Touring a drug rehab clinic in St. Louis, Bush calls Clinton a "lying weasel" and offers to meet the Arkansas Democrat in the boxing ring to "settle this whole thing man-to-man."

7:00 -- At a chance meeting with the Bush entourage at a downtown St. Louis hotel, Hilary Clinton angrily tears off her headband and rolls up her sleeves and invites the president to forget the boxing ring and "step outside right now."

Bush responds by saying "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" and is quickly hustled away by Secret Service agents.

8:30 -- Speaking at a Future Farmers of America dinner in Kansas City, Bush accuses Clinton of being "a big fat tub of lard." "What's he tipping the scales at now -- 230, 240?" the president says. "Tell him to mix in a salad every once in a while."

7:30 -- After touring the southern Miami area hit by Hurricane Andrew, Clinton tells the crowd: "What kind of a president could watch Ferris Bueller movies in the midst of all this devastation?"

10:00 -- Appearing live on ABC's "20/20," Bush calls Clinton "a big tub of goo."

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