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‘The Country’s Ox is in a Ditch’

July 16, 1992

NEW YORK (AP) _ A handshake with Bill Clinton? A ride to the top of the Empire State Building? Caviar at the Russian Tea Room?

For some delegates, the most coveted event at the Democratic National Convention was a shot at two tickets to the ″David Letterman Show.″

Dozens of arms shot into the air when the members of the Washington state delegation were asked if anyone wanted to go to a taping of the show.

″The interest ranks right up there with the fashion show,″ said delegation chairwoman Karen Marchioro.″There’s no accounting for taste.″

Texas Gov. Ann Richards also popped in at the Letterman show - as a guest.

Richards, chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention, told Letterman that the Bush-Quayle reign is over.

″I think the phrase is: ’Stick a fork in them, they are done,‴ she told Letterman. ″I can’t imagine that they are going to be able to hang on.″

″The country’s ox is in a ditch,″ Richards said.

″The country’s ox is in a ditch?″ Letterman asked, unfamiliar with the phrase.

″I’ve never actually been an ox owner,″ he explained.


Maryland’s governor and the state party chairman got into a heated argument on the floor of the Democratic convention over who would announce Maryland’s first ballot vote.

The dispute between Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Nathan Landow, whose dislike for each other is well known, wasn’t settled until staffers for vice presidential candidate Al Gore worked out a compromise, state party leaders said privately.

The resolution to Wednesday night’s quarrel allowed Landow to say a few words and then introduce Schaefer, who gave a brief speech and then announced the delegation vote.

Before the compromise was reached, the two leaders men shouted at each other, drawing attention from nearby delegations, party officials said. ″It was embarrassing. The whole floor was watching us,″ said one Maryland official. ″It was a soap opera out there,″ added a high-ranking party official.

Schaefer left without commenting on the quarrel, and Landow wasn’t immediately available.


The Colorado delegation was treated to breakfast Wednesday by Sen. Tim Wirth at the Harvard Club.

Wirth suggested that the delegates tour the club, which was built in Manhattan in 1902 and now is a historic landmark.

Wirth, pointing out the building’s attractions, told the delegates to take some extra time on the second floor, a place where he’s spent some time.

″We have raised an awful lot of money on the second floor of this building,″ he said.


Times Square topless dance joints are going out of their way to lure delegates - and just about anyone else who happens by. Those delegates who do go, generally keep quiet about it.

″Most of them are pretty shy at first,″ one dancer said Wednesday during a break. ″They like to keep it rather hush-hush.″

Three delegates, two from Michigan and one from Ohio, stopped in one bar that offered free admission, two-for-one drinks and a free T-shirt.

But the men preferred to keep their credentials - and their identities - to themselves.

″That’s Jerry Brown, that’s Bill Clinton and I’m Al Gore,″ quipped one, pointing around the table.


They whooped, hollered and cheered for their favorite son at a matinee of ″The Will Rogers Follies,″ the Broadway musical about the Oklahoma humorist who never met a man he didn’t like.

A theater party of 200 Sooners, many of them delegates to the Democratic National Convention, led the applause and inevitable standing ovation at the end of the show.

″Go ahead and clap - that’s all right,″ Mac Davis, who plays the homespun philosopher, said after one particularly loud burst from the audience.

″He’s got the ‘howdy’ down just right,″ said Vivien Heinze, a delegate from Ponca City, Okla. But she wasn’t so sure about Davis’ prowess with a lariat, saying, ″That rope looked fixed.″

″The Will Rogers Follies″ has been the one Broadway show to capitalize on the Democratic convention. One of its scenes takes place at a political convention and its most popular number, ″Native Son,″ features dazzling choreography, with a line of chorus girls dressed in red, white and blue.

But few shows were sold out.

″When a big event takes over the city like this, people are here for that event,″ Alan Wasser, general manager of ″The Phantom of the Opera,″ ″Les Miserables″ and ″Miss Saigon,″ told Variety, the show business weekly. ″They eat in the restaurants and stay in the hotels, but they don’t go to the theater.″

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