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On the Light Side

July 23, 1988

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) _ Johnny Carson, poking fun at Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton for the 35-minute speech that had Democratic conventioneers shouting and snoozing, invited him to appear on his ″Tonight Show.″

″It would be great,″ Carson told his studio audience Friday night. ″We won’t have to book any other guests.″

Carson said Clinton had been invited to appear on his late-night show next week. The governor’s press secretary, Mike Gauldin, said in Little Rock that the invitation had been received, but didn’t know if Clinton had accepted.

Clinton’s speech Wednesday night nominating Michael Dukakis for the Democratic presidential nomination was widely panned for its length - Clinton had been allotted 15 minutes - and its content, which many described as boring.

In his monologue, Carson said the 5-foot-7 Dukakis looked taller when he delivered his acceptance speech Thursday ″because he was standing on a transcript of Gov. Bill Clinton’s speech.

″It’s kind of a sad footnote. Clinton’s speech is still going on. Because of the greenhouse effect, it’s still trapped in Atlanta,″ Carson said.

Jackie Speer, an Arkansas State Police trooper assigned to the Governor’s Mansion, said he believed Clinton was asleep when Carson’s monologue began, and said the governor was not available for comment.

When he returned to Little Rock on Friday, Clinton told reporters, ″Everybody knows I can make a speech. Now everyone knows I can blow one.″


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - After a 3,400-mile journey they reached the East Coast, but that wasn’t enough for some jubilant participants in the TransAmerica Bicycle Trek who wheeled into the sea, bicycles and all.

The trek ended Friday when about 300 bikers from 35 states and Canada cruised down this seaside resort’s famous Boardwalk while the theme from the movie ″Rocky″ blared from a loudspeaker.

It was the last stop in a 46-day cross-country journey that began in Seattle, raising $1.9 million for the American Lung Association along the way.

″We went coast to coast, literally, and we’re just an enthusiastic, excited group that wants to go swimming,″ said Dan Bennett of Smithfield, R.I., as he held up his bicycle at the ocean’s edge, whooping with glee and spraying champagne on fellow bikers.

Nearby, Atlantic City lifeguard Toby Tracy watched many of the bikers dunk themselves in the ocean, despite a thick fog.

Technically, the beach was closed because of the poor weather, ″but why should we stop them after what they’ve been through?″ Tracy said.

The participants in the second annual event were as young as 13 and as old as 72.

The oldest biker, George Perry of Milwaukee, led the group as it followed a police motorcade.

Will he attempt the trek again?

″Did Sir Edmund Hillary climb Mount Everest twice?″ he asked, grinning. ″No, I don’t think so. This is the best and the longest voyage there is.″

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