The Opening of the Clinton Library

Before we get to the "Memo," the best analysis of the Iraq situation that I've seen appears on "The New York Times" op-ed page today, Thomas Friedman's column. --You might want to check it out.

The opening of the Clinton library is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."

Huge dog and pony show today in Little Rock, Arkansas, as presidents and dignitaries mingled, celebrating the completion of the $165 million exhibit. Everybody had a swell time and smiles ruled the rain. But behind the scenes, there is controversy. What else is new with the Clintons?

First of all, the impeachment display is billed as "the politics of persecution." The theme here is that a bunch of right-wing fanatics tried to topple Clinton with little justification. Since his library is a private enterprise, that kind of propaganda can stand, but it really diminishes the project. What Mr. Clinton should have done was to give his point of view and Kenneth Starr's take, and then let the visitors decide.

But far more important is the unresolved problem of the Marc Rich (search) pardon. For years, "Talking Points" has been telling you that President Clinton pardoned the biggest tax cheat in the history of the country in return for huge donations for the library. Denise Rich (search) and her friend Beth Desoretz (search) apparently raised close to $2 million for the library.

Mrs. Rich actually visited President Clinton 20 times in the White House. But when the House Government Reform Committee (search), which investigated the Rich pardon, hauled the ladies to testify, they both took the Fifth Amendment, refusing to talk because they might incriminate themselves.

Incriminate themselves in what? That's the big question that only we and "The Washington Post" asked today.

Now Attorney General John Ashcroft is supposed to investigate this whole deal. Apparently, that did not happen. We, the people, deserve an explanation, don't we?

Now I have nothing against Bill Clinton. I don't dislike him. And I think he did a decent job as president. The economy was good. He succeeded in the Balkans and Northern Ireland. Welfare reform is a good improvement. And Mr. Clinton tried hard to accomplish some worthy things, but his honesty is in question. And even those Americans who love him cannot deny that.

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

"Men's Journal" magazine did a poll asking the question: Who is your favorite TV news personality? The retiring Tom Brokaw (search) won with 17 percent; Peter Jennings (search), second, 13 percent; some guy named O'Reilly, third, 11 percent; Dan Rather (search), fourth, 8 percent; Katie Couric (search), fifth, 5 percent. I'm sure this is ridiculous to my network news colleagues, but, hey, thank you, "Men's Journal."

Another ridiculous situation: It looks like the Canadian government will finally allow FOX News into that country, and it might happen next year if one of the cable operators up there picks us up, and they should. It will make them a lot of money.

The headline today in "The Toronto Globe & Mail" read "CRTC Likely to Approve Abrasive Fox News." Of course, the "Globe & Mail" makes "The New York Times" look like theJerry Falwell (search) newsletter. So we're not too upset with what they say.

We want all Canadians to know how open minded we are, and we look forward to broadcasting north of the border, eh?