John McCaslin

We suggested several years ago that Johnny Carson may have catapulted Bill Clinton into the Oval Office.

Who will ever forget the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, when Clinton droned on and on - for 32 minutes - amidst jeers from delegates more interested in hearing from their presidential nominee, Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis.?

Carson, who followed politics more closely than most in Hollywood, was amused by Clinton's long-winded speech. So, when the host of "The Tonight Show" invited the relatively unknown Arkansas governor onto his show a short time later, he drew laughter by plopping down an egg timer. The rest is history - eight years' worth.

Meanwhile,CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday offered his own personal recollection of Carson, who might have boosted the news correspondent's popularity, as well.

"During the first Gulf War back in 1991, I was CNN's Pentagon correspondent," Blitzer recalled. "I was then relatively new to TV news, had a funny name - still do - and had a beard. Still have that, as well.

"As such, I quickly became good punch-line material for Johnny Carson's nightly monologue," he continued. "After the war, he invited me on the show, a night I will always remember."

EXPENSIVE BUCKS

Who would have thought that President Bush's home state of Texas would be in the forefront of endangering the fine tradition of hunting in the United States?

A bill has been introduced in the Texas House by Rep. Toby Goodman, a Republican from the urban setting of Arlington - about as far away from Crawford as you can get - that would amend the state's animal-cruelty code to make it a crime to "commit serious bodily injury to an animal" - any animal, wild or otherwise.

"The vague definition will have huge ramifications for sportsmen," says Tony Celebrezze, field director of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance. "Any act of injury or death to an animal, even hunting ... will be construed as animal cruelty."

All of which would open up the potential of hunters fighting for their innocence in court, he says - to the tune of thousands of dollars.

Existing law, Celebrezze adds, "sufficiently" defines abuse and cruelty toward animals, while exempting hunting, fishing and trapping as common wildlife-management practices.

WORTH RECALLING

We see that the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is equating one of our previous columns on questionable federal money transactions to the current flap over the Education Department paying big bucks to conservative commentator Armstrong Williams to hype the No Child Left Behind Act.


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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