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Style Showcase Leaking Havoc

WASHINGTON LEAK IN REVIEW

By Tony Kornheiser

Sunday, February 15, 1998; Page F01

The problem, my fellow Americans, is leakage.

Not gifts. Not late-night phone calls. Not the sign in the Oval Office that says: "Keep your hands off the interns. That's my job."

Leaks. President Clinton is extremely concerned about the impropriety of grand jury leaks.

If I were Mr. Clinton, I might be more concerned about where I left my my pants.

And this is really going to frost him. Everybody's leaking to me.

Linda Tripp. William Ginsburg. Picabo Street. Kenneth Starr. Ringo Starr. Ashley Raines. Laura Ashley. Paul Begala. Betty Currie. The other Spice Girls, too.

I'm the King of Leaks.

On my office door is a sign that reads: "I'll Be Back Soon. I'm Taking a Leak."

Just yesterday one of the president's lawyers called and told me, "That's not Paula Corbin Jones's real nose."

I thought: "Her real nose was worse than that? Who's her plastic surgeon, Picasso?"

Why do so many people leak to you, Tony?

Because I'm an incredibly influential journalist. And because the record shows that I will believe almost anything. I'll even believe that President Clinton never so much as noticed the heaving bosom of Monica "The Harmonica" Lewinsky.

Well . . .

The latest revelation, from retired Secret Service agent Lewis Fox, is that Lewinsky spent 40 minutes alone with Clinton in the Oval Office, where she was "dropping off papers" for the president.

That's a lot of time to spend dropping off papers.

What papers, the Sunday Post, Times, Globe, Tribune, Chronicle, the Unabomber manifesto and the Magna Carta?

In response, all the president's men started talking about the number of doors to the Oval Office. There are four. Since Fox could have stood guard at only one door, the administration claim is that as Monica dropped off the papers, other people could have entered through other doors.

Door No. 3, Monty. I pick Door No. 3.

Some people are aghast that Starr hauled Monica's mother before the grand jury to rat on her daughter. But what a star turn for the stage-struck Marcia Lewis. Now she can insist on playing herself in the film version.

She's a tour de force. She sucks all the air out of the room. Her voice shakes. Her lips quiver. ("Collagen injections. Am I not gorgeous?") She is so overcome they call in a nurse to attend to her. ("Oy, I've got such a migraine. Please, somebody be a doll and bring me some water. What's this? Tap water? You don't have Evian?") She's so distraught she can't testify the next day, she has to rest. What a nightmare!

Ginsburg the lawyer delivers the lowest blow, saying Marcia "looked like hell . . . 10 years older and drained." I figured her next step was to show up bandaged like a mummy, asking to testify from the ER at Sibley Memorial Hospital with a poodle on her lap.

Like everybody else in Washington, I'm waiting to be subpoenaed. My friend Nancy was.

"You gotta tell me: What did they ask you?"

"They asked me, woman to woman, if I really thought Monica's mother was 49."

Now I'm ready to testify. I have my "talking points" ready.

Monica's mom faxed them to me.

She told me: "When they ask you about Kathleen Willey, say with confidence that you were the one who saw her come out of the Oval Office. And that her clothes weren't undone at all. And, more important, that they weren't nearly as figure-flattering or expensive as the designer clothing that Monica wears, and Monica is much prettier, and what is all the fuss about? I mean, who do you have to sleep with to get a decent job in this town?"

I'm particularly eager to hear from Monica herself. To tell you the truth -- hey, there's a catchy phrase, huh? -- I'm tired of all the bit players around her, especially her publicity-hound lawyer. Did you notice how when he took this case he was William? And now, as he gets chummier with the media, he's "Bill." In just three weeks this guy has become a part of America's Sunday morning routine: bagels, coffee and Ginsburg. He's calling Wolf Blitzer "Wolfie." I could swear I heard him refer to Cokie Roberts as "The Cokester." He flew Monica back to Washington on Thursday so he could get over his jet lag in time to look alert on "Meet the Press." Next thing you know he'll be subbing for the Gadget Guru on "Weekend Today."

Gee, Tony, why are you so mad at Bill?

Because he promised that Monica would testify if compelled. He said, "She is not going to jail like Susan McDougal." Darn. Remember how hot Susan was in her leather miniskirt and leg irons? You know what the prison guards call those leg irons? "Stride-rites." I really want to see Monica in Stride-rites. I love that steamy, pouty "Chicks in Cages" look.

In conclusion, I know I join with all Americans in expressing confidence in Hillary Rodham Clinton's prediction that all this "will slowly dissipate."

And so, eventually, will the smell on the carpet where Buddy had an accident.

"I just wish everyone would take a deep breath," Mrs. Clinton said.

Just remember, like Bill, don't inhale.

Excerpted from the forthcoming runaway bestseller "Bad Stuff About Monica's Mom." All rights reserved by Tony Kornheiser and Lucianne Goldberg.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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