Whose "top five" pastimes are...


January 06, 1994|By THEO LIPPMAN JR.

PRESIDENT CLINTON, whose "top five" pastimes are, officially, golf, running, the card game hearts, reading and bowling, went duck hunting last week.

Why? To make the point that you can be pro-hunting and pro-gun control both. It was a staged event, a "photo op," a perfect example of how presidents can send a message to the public by clever activity.

What interested me about the president's activities that day was not the hunting message but the eating message. Here is what he had to eat at breakfast at the Eastern Shore farm where he hunted: "Eggs, scrapple, bacon and ham." Lots of each, according to his hostess.

Later that day, after the hunt, the president flew home, where he ate "a Champ pizza with the works, a pepperoni and cheese salad, cheesecake and cannoli" according to news accounts from Arkansas.

Now, I have added up the fat, cholesterol and sodium in this list and found that the president consumed 17 times the recommended daily allowance. This does not include the scrapple, which nutritionists have not yet been able to analyze, the density of fat and sodium being so great. (And now that the superconducting supercollider has been canceled, science will probably never be able to solve this mystery.)

Why did Clinton eat this way? Why did he publicize it? I think Hillary and David Gergen made him do it. If enough people start to eat like the president, the number of premature heart attacks, premature strokes and other ailments associated with overweight and clogged arteries will rise to the point that the present health system will collapse, and even lean and hungry-looking Republicans like Bob Dole will demand socialized medicine.

* * *

I don't know much about hunting and fishing and outdoors stuff like that. I do know a good outdoors story when I hear one. Here is one Oliver North uses to end almost all of his campaign speeches as he runs for the Senate in Virginia:

It seems he has a neighbor named Sam "who's a great man of action, not a lot of words. He's also a great fisherman. Unfortunately when Sam fishes in the Shenandoah River, he doesn't use a fly rod. Sam uses dynamite.

"Sam was out fishing a few weeks ago. He'd just thrown out the first cast. What we call a DuPont spinner. There was a large explosion, and Sam was out there scooping up the stunned fish with his net, when along came the county game warden. He knew exactly what had happened, stopped his car, ran up and grabbed Sam by the shoulders and said, 'Sam, this is the last time! There can't be anymore fishing with dynamite!'

"Sam didn't waste a lot of words. He simply bent down, picked up another stick of dynamite and put it in the game warden's hand -- and lit it. And finally Sam spoke. He said, 'Son, are you gonna fish, or are you gonna talk?' "

Come to think of it, that's not an outdoors story. It's a political one.

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