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Democrats Provide Some Grist for the Humor Mill

August 30, 1996

CHICAGO (AP) _ Finally, on the last day of the Democratic National Convention, the pols produced some material a comic can work with.

The resignation of President Clinton’s top political strategist, Dick Morris, after a tabloid linked him with a $200-an-hour call girl provided plenty of grist for comedy writer Al Franken and Republican pundit Arianna Huffington.

Well before Jay Leno’s and David Letterman’s opening monologues, Franken and Huffington were spicing up their coverage of the convention for the Comedy Central cable channel with skits based on the ``White House Call Girl Scandal.″

``It’s symbolic of the prostitution of the Democratic Party,″ Huffington said. Democrats have abandoned their principles for ``the cheap thrill of an election-night victory.″

But Leno wasn’t far behind, opening his show with: ``Well, I guess you know the big news from the White House, otherwise known as Mustang Ranch east.″

``We can’t thank this Dick Morris enough,″ Leno acknowledged a few jokes later.

Huffington said Morris is the perfect example of political prostitution because he has run campaigns for Democrats and Republicans alike. ``He will run Jesse Helms’ campaign, he will run Trent Lott’s campaign, he will run Bill Clinton’s campaign.″

In one bit on Thursday night’s show ``Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher,″ Huffington catches Franken in bed with a prostitute.

``Al admits he is feeling dirty, not just because he has been with a hooker but because all week he has been betraying his principles to go along with Clinton’s election strategy,″ she said.

Huffington and Franken have reversed their roles since their coverage of the GOP convention.

In San Diego, Franken portrayed the attack-dog reporter. Now Franken says he is a ``complete shill″ for the Democrats and Huffington, who lobbed friendlier questions to Republicans, has gone on the attack.

Huffington’s husband, oil millionaire Michael Huffington, ran unsuccessfully for Senate in California two years ago. She spent part of this week interviewing the Democratic Party’s millionaires, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California.

``That’s her idea of irony,″ quipped Franken.

The only irony, Huffington retorted, is that these millionaires are members of ``a party of income distribution and class-warfare rhetoric.″

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