Bill Stumps For...Bill?

The Constitution bars President Clinton from running for a third term, but recently he rolled out a few "campaign ads" anyway.
Those words belong in quotes because the "ads" the president played last week at the annual Radio & Television Correspondents dinner in Washington, D.C. were spoofs. All three "ads" - all voiced by Mr. Clinton - ostensibly touted Vice President Al Gore's bid for the White House. But the joke was how the "ads" were more about the president than Gore, who's running for the White House in his own right and has tried to distance himself from the downsides of Mr. Clinton's presidency.

In the first "ad" called "The Choice", the camera pans both the president and Gore, but then it zooms in on Mr. Clinton. Near the end of the "ad,",the image of George W. Bush, Gore's GOP rival, appears.

"The other candidate has never worked a day with Bill Clinton," says the president. "Bill Clinton hardly even knows the guy," continues Mr. Clinton about the Texas governor. "And when Bill Clinton first ran for president, he (Bush) voted against Bill Clinton," who beat Mr. Bush's father in 1992.

The second "ad" - titled "Best Decision" - mentions Mr. Clinton six times. At the end, the president says, "Al Gore? Too much like Clinton? Good for him. Good for us."

Finally, the third ad - labeled "Strong Partners" - has Mr. Clinton describing Gore as "America's greatest vice president." (On the day the House of Representatives impeached Mr. Clinton, Gore said - no joke - that his boss would go down in history as one of America's greatest presidents.) This last "ad" features the president's boyhood photo and the Clinton metaphors of "a bridge to the 21st century" and "a place called Hope."

And the tag line - or gag line - of this last "ad"? Referring to the two-term limit for presidents, Mr. Clinton says, "Al Gore - because there's a 22nd Amendment."

All three "ads" were produced by "Hope Productions". The writer, director, and producer was, you guessed it, "Bill Clinton". Maybe Mr. Clinton is ready for that post-presidential job with the Dreamworks movie studio or as the head of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Mr. Clinton's speech at the Correspondents dinner was the highlight of that event. As the President rose to speak, the theme song for the movie Titanic boomed over speakers - and Washington insiders in the audience knew immediately that ABC News was about to be roasted.

The White House and ABC have been feuding publicly since last week when Titanic star Leonardo DiCaprio met with Clinton for an upcoming Earth Day special.

Was the sit-down interview a spur-of-the-moment thing - as the network insists - or did it result from lengthy negotiations, as the White House contends? And just what role was DiCaprio performing for ABC News last Friday when he interviewed Clinton - journalist or viewer-drawin celeb?

The White House passed out "Free Leo" buttons at the dinner - and Clinton joked that ABC has been waffling.

"Don't you news people ever learn?" Clinton asked. "It isn't the mistake that kills you. It's the cover-up."

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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