A Golden Boy's guide to the Bush-Kerry contest
From Dork to Prez
Al Gore might have his own cable channel, but Bill Clinton will soon influence a new TV show. We learn that a bestselling author and a former Clinton aide have sold Warner Brothers a show that tracks Clinton's story. "You don't have to look hard to see some of President Clinton's influence," said Steve Cohen, cowriter with author Brad Meltzer. Cohen, a former White House press aide, tells us that Jack and Bobby debuts this fall on WB. It's about two teenage boys "from a town called Hart" in Missouri, their zany, pot-smoking mom, and how Bobby goes from dork to president. "Think West Wing meets the Wonder Years, " says Cohen. The plot: President Bobby McCallister faces crises 40 years from now, and we see how his childhood influences his decisions. The forces behind the show are Tommy Schlamme of The West Wing and Greg Berlanti of WB's Everwood.
Wes Clark, the former presidential candidate thought to be angling for Sen. John Kerry 's running-mate job, has surprised everyone by endorsing New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who's in charge of the Democratic Convention. But party insiders say it's a tactical move. Clark doesn't think Richardson's truly in the running, they explain. He's being nice in hopes of getting the New Mexico guv's support.
Rules of War
The Pentagon is eager to have the press chronicle the hunt for Osama bin Laden, but only if they follow this rule: No pictures of bearded Special Forces. It's got nothing to do with security, though. It's just that the brass get red faced when Green Berets go native, trying to fit into Afghan society, where facial hair is a sign of masculinity.
Inside the Mosque
Muslim activists have long suspected that the FBI is plugging snitches into their American mosques to track militants, but we're only now learning the truth. "It's not wide, but it's deep in places," says a top agent. One tipster, he adds, is so good that the FBI won't bring the informant's cases to court because it would blow his cover.
The Google Terrrorist
It was the lead item on the government's daily threat matrix one day last April. Don Emilio Fulci described by an FBI tipster as a reclusive but evil millionaire, had formed a terrorist group that was planning chemical attacks against London and Washington, D.C. That day even FBI director Robert Mueller was briefed on the Fulci matter. But as the day went on without incident, a White House staffer had a brainstorm: He Googled Fulci. His findings: Fulci is the crime boss in the popular video game Headhunter. "Stand down," came the order from embarrassed national security types.
He has already collected 630 tons of documents, photos, and museum objects from the Clinton White House, but David Alsobrook, just named director of the Clinton Presidential Library, is hunting down more stuff. Alsobrook tells us he's seeking Clinton boyhood and family items and hopes to get the papers of all cabinet members. But please don't ask him about the Blue Dress. That's somebody else's property. Alsobrook has come a long way in his career as a National Archives exec. "When I was a kid," joshes the former director of the George H.W. Bush library, "I didn't even know what a presidential library was."
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With Suzi Parker, Mark Mazzetti, David E. Kaplan and Gordon Witkin