Bill Clinton Works on His Rep

The latest footnotes to the war on terror:

The New York Times reports that Former President Bill Clinton held a meeting this week in his Harlem office. The aim: to ask former supporters and aides, including former cabinet secretaries, to go forth and burnish his image. Mr. Clinton wants his friends to tout his accomplishments and respond to critics who blame him for failing to put Usama bin Laden out of business. New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Former Vice President Al Gore did not attend the meeting.

The president and publisher of the Sacramento Bee newspaper had an unpopular message for a commencement address at California State University last Saturday. Heaphy tried to warn against excesses in the government's responses to terrorism, at least, as she saw them. Students hooted and booed when she urged them to safeguard their rights to free speech against unlawful detainment. When Heaphy wondered aloud what would happen if racial profiling became routine, the crowd cheered. She was unable to finish, even though the school's president stepped to the mike and urged the audience to be nice. In a written statement, Heaphy said: "Free speech in America involves saying what you believe. Nothing that happened Saturday changes my mind about the importance of raising these issues or continuing to support those values and to call for vigilance in the defense of liberty."

It seems every White House visitor gets scrutinized these days, no matter how famous. A secret service agent asked NBC weatherman Al Roker to show a photo ID at the entrance to Wednesday night's Christmas party. Roker told the agent, "We're from the Today Show and we're here for the party. The agent replied, "We're from the secret service, and we're here to check you out."

Many Muslims are upset that CNN aired a news segment produced by MTV, in which a reporter flashed sexy, midriff-bearing photos of Jennifer Lopez to kids in Afghanistan. The kid's reaction: Jay-Lo was "very beautiful, but would never be allowed to show so much skin in Afghanistan." The head of the Islamic Society of North America said he was surprised that CNN "would not be sensitive to Muslim issues." A CNN spokesman said the purpose was to gauge Afghan kids' knowledge of American pop stars, and that no disrespect was intended.