Hitting my stride on fourth and long

April 24, 1995|By KEVIN COWHERD

If sports cliches were used in other walks of life:

Foreign Affairs: President Clinton today said Secretary of State Warren Christopher stepped up big-time during recent talks between the United States and North Korea aimed at preventing North Korea from re-starting its nuclear reactor.

"He just took over the room," the president said. "The guy was a monster! You could look in his eyes and see how much he wanted this."

Christopher said he has always approached his work one negotiation at a time.

"Let me tell you something: Warren Christopher is not about personal glory, OK?" said Christopher. "That's not the way Warren Christopher thinks. Warren Christopher is here to help the president, to do whatever it takes."

"Warren Christopher just wants to contribute."

North Korean delegation chief Kim Jong U said of Christopher: "You gotta go all the way back to the days of Dag Hammarskjold and the Suez crisis of '56 to see negotiating like that. "The guy was just in a zone. My hat's off to him."

Entertainment: Passed over for an Academy Award for her role in Little Women," Winona Ryder has reportedly lost 15 pounds and is training hard in the Arizona desert for another shot at the Oscar for best actress.

"I don't want to take anything away from Jessica Lange -- she was awesome in 'Blue Sky,' " Ryder said. "But I just didn't execute. I didn't make the plays. Now I'm hungrier than ever."

Ryder's training regimen has her rising at dawn to run 5 miles, followed by two hours of weight training. But the painful memories of that disappointing night at the Shrine Auditorium are always with her.

"Again, I don't want to make any excuses," Ryder said. "But I had a lot of things on my mind during 'Little Women' including a drinking problem, a substance abuse problem, a gambling problem, a kleptomania problem, a painful divorce, two maids who up and left on me and my dog running away. But all that's behind me now. Now I'm focused on one thing: an Oscar. And I'll hurt anyone who gets in my way. Anyone! Uma Thurman, Susan Sarandon, Jodie Foster, Miranda Richardson -- I don't care who it is. They're going down!"

Business: General Motors reported record first quarter earnings yesterday, despite three months during which CEO Jack Smith said: "Our backs were against the wall.

"Everyone wrote us off this year, but the people on this team never lost faith," said Smith. "This is the greatest bunch of guys. They're always joking, keeping everyone loose.

"Like when O'Brien left the lug nuts off those 2,500 Chevy Luminas at one of our Michigan facilities, I was like: 'Will you get outta here?!' "

Smith said that while he was heartened by GM's fast start, "I try not to get too high when things are going well, or too low when they're not."

"This is nice," he continued, "but we still gotta go out there and bust our tails. Because this company isn't gonna be satisfied with winning the first quarter.

"We're going for the whole enchilada. There's no tomorrow. It's do or die. If we lose, we go home. Is any of this making sense to you?"

Politics: Vowing to have another monster session for the Republicans, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich reported to Congress two weeks early claiming to be "in the best shape of my career.

"I feel good," said Gingrich, who limbered up by picking up a pen and slashing $1.2 billion from a proposed children's disability program. "My arm feels good. I'm seeing the bills real well now."

Gingrich said he spent the off-session working on the fundamentals: bickering, grandstanding, one-upsmanship. He said the Republicans plan to win it all again this spring and "three-peat" in the fall with a combination of proven veterans and fresh young talent.

"When you get to this level, 90 percent of the game is intimidation," he said. "With Bob Dole, Dick Armey, Bob Dornan and some of the others, we've got people who can really drive the legislation.

"If we put it all together this session, watch out!"

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