The Source's Exciting Linda Tripp Makeover Symposium
Deeply concerned that Linda Tripp has been getting bad public relations advice, we consulted some of our favorite PR professionals to see if they could offer any help. Their insights:
Enid Doggett: "Short of stepping out in front of a speeding bus, I would tell her to get out of Washington, get out of the spotlight--a name change might be in order-- and get a nice teaching job at a junior high school someplace in the Midwest. She has a lot of expertise in surveillance, so she might make a good assistant principal."
Howard Rubenstein: "She should hire a great lawyer and a terrific mouthpiece to keep her out of jail. I don't think she will get much sympathy, but the public can be forgiving if you say you're sorry for what you did. And after it's all over, she can make a lot of money."
Craig Shirley: "I don't see how her image can get any worse, honestly. If she came to me and said 'Help me,' I'd tell her I don't think you can cutesy-pie this thing. I don't think a stunt or series of stunts would work. She'd have to use the John D. Rockefeller strategy and take the long view. It took Rockefeller, who was the most hated man in America at the turn of the century, 20 years of giving away money and handing out dimes to change his image--and Linda Tripp doesn't have those resources."
Linda Roth: "I think she's about due for a No Excuses jeans ad. If she wants to engender public sympathy, maybe she can haul a carload of toys over to the Salvation Army, notwithstanding that some of them might be from Radio Shack."
Alma Viator: "First, she should develop a sense of humor. Second, she needs a credible spokesperson. Number three, she should get a contract with the Diet Center, since Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig are already taken. And even if she's still hated, at least she will have something to show for it."
Where Are You, Laura Kay Fleming?
Hywel Glyn Jones, a sweet but eccentric economist from the U.K., has issued an all-points bulletin for Laura Kay Fleming, with whom he says he had a brief romance one Oxford summer in the early 1980s. "If I could find her, I'd like to invite her to this party I'm putting together for sometime between Christmas and New Year's," the 51-year-old Welshman told us yesterday from his home near Oxford. "It's basically a gathering of friends from the past, sitting around on the floor, drinking champagne together."
He added that his old friend and floor-mate from Trinity College, Cambridge, Prince Charles, also may be attending.
Fleming "is probably married by now, but if she's not, I think there would be a high chance of the romance rekindling, to be honest," Jones said, offering to pay Fleming's air fare and even her hypothetical husband's. What a guy! Suckers for a sentimental story, we immediately promised to try to find her after he phoned The Post asking for help.
"I met Kay on a railroad train going from Oxford to London," Jones said. "She was 19 and from Oklahoma. She was just here for a week doing one of those English courses while she was a student at Duke. She was sitting opposite me and we just got into conversation. She was extremely attractive and easy to talk to." Jones said they pursued a friendship long-distance for three years after she left England. He visited her at Duke University and then at Columbia, where she studied for her doctorate in English. They last saw each other a decade ago in New York. Columbia's alumni office told him the last address on file was in the Washington area. "Of course, it was a long time ago. I'm more ugly and decrepit than I was when we first met."
THIS JUST IN . . .
* Former self-avowed right-wing "hit man" David Brock, profiling new Atlantic Monthly Editor Michael Kelly in Boston Magazine, writes that Kelly's Washington publicist, Marina Ein, attempted to have him "thrown off the story." Ein admits calling Brock's editor Craig Unger to raise concerns, "but I didn't try to get him removed. In my wildest dreams, I wouldn't have that kind of editorial clout." Unger supports Brock's account. Kelly, anyhow, ended up cooperating with Brock.
* Poor President Clinton. First he got a bloodshot eye while trying to apply some eye drops, then he came down with the flu, and yesterday he strained his back--bending over to pick up a paper, White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart told us.
* Our Post colleague David Maraniss, author of the best-selling Vince Lombardi biography "When Pride Still Mattered," is about to get unprecedented free advertising. ABC--the network broadcasting the Super Bowl on Jan. 30, when 125 million viewers will tune in--will feature Maraniss and his book in a segment on Lombardi during the pregame show. Maraniss, a Wisconsin native who grew up rooting for Green Bay, told us: "I'd still be happier if the Packers were playing."
Got a hot tip or a nagging question? Dish with Lloyd Grove today at 11 a.m. EDT at http://washingtonpost.com/ liveonline.