Heard on the Hill
by Ed Henry
February 07, 2002
Hillary's Homer. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) turned in a bravado performance at the Washington Press Club Foundation's 58th Annual Congressional Dinner.
Clinton went heavy on the self-deprecating humor and mixed in plenty of "I don't understand your byzantine mores in Congress" cracks, which seemed reminiscent of then freshman Rep. Sonny Bono's (R-Calif.) own hysterical routine nearly a decade ago.
The celebrity Senator appears to be perfecting a leisurely cadence she used in comparing some of the scandals that plagued the Clinton administration with Vice President Cheney's tussle with the General Accounting Office.
"The White House says it can locate no records," she said. "They can't find them anywhere. I would just helpfully suggest that they try the upstairs closet."
Clinton also slammed ex-Enron CEO Kenneth Lay. "I was so stunned that Mr. Lay had woken up on Monday morning and decided the Congress was out to get him," she deadpanned. "If that had been the understanding for eight years, I wouldn't have gone anywhere."
She then shot a gaze at a pair of old nemesises, Texas GOP Reps. Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, recalling her reaction upon learning she would be on the dais with them.
"Is this C-SPAN or the 'Fear Factor?'" she said of the event broadcast live on the cable network. "You know, I've already competed on 'Survivor.' I really don't need to go through one of these gauntlets again."
Clinton then turned to Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and tweaked President Bush's penchant for giving out nicknames.
"Foley Man," she said. "That's clever."
Returning to the topic of Bush and Lay, Clinton said to Foley, "It's a heck of a lot better than to be called Marky Boy. If he called you Marky Boy, that would mean that he really didn't know you at all."
She also took aim at a certain cable network, saying that when she first heard Bush's comment about the "axis of evil" she "thought it was the prime-time lineup of the Fox News Channel."
Clinton lampooned Attorney General John Ashcroft's decision to spend more than $8,000 to cover statues of naked women in the Justice Department building. "I thought Missouri was the Show-Me State," she said.
Feigning jealousy over all of the GOP attacks on Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.), Clinton added, "Tom did this and Tom did that. What does a girl have to do to earn some old-fashioned condemnation.
"I'm going to be left with no choice," she added. "Have you heard of my health care plan?"
The ex-first lady couldn't resist making light of the attacks on her health plan, such as the claim that accountants would wind up making medical decisions instead of doctors.
"Thank God that didn't happen," she cracked.
She wrapped up by noting that early in her Senate tenure, media questions focused on pardon controversies and her hair style. Now, she said, she gets queries about serious subjects, such as rebuilding New York and "Chelsea's hair."
"From my perspective, I call that progress," Clinton said.