With tongue-lashing relish, journalists basted and roasted the Age of Clinton at the annual Gridiron dinner Saturday night.
President Clinton, who gave the customary speech at the end of the roast, assured those attending that "the opinions I will express tonight are those of my wife." Hillary Rodham Clinton, in Little Rock, Ark., with her ailing father, did not attend.
The Clinton crowd and Republicans who survived the fall of George Bush mingled as they enjoyed--and endured--the lyrics and wisecracks of a musical review. Journalists made jokes at the expense of their foibles, policies and missteps.
In the show, Republicans were dubbed "The Grim Old Party," with a right wing bent only on "cannibalizing" other Republicans.
And moderate Republicans lamented, to the tune of "Achy Breaky Heart": "Our convention wasn't cool. The speakers frothed and drooled. We should have kept the right wing under wraps."
Clinton was duly dubbed "Our Arkansas Adonis." And he took some other dubbings, or drubbings, as well: "Clinton's getting wired for real time. He's already wired for mealtime."
During a Democratic skit, Clinton snuck on stage and played his saxophone. Later in his remarks, he said: "There's nothing like a little sax to get you out of trouble."
Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) presented the traditional remarks from the Republicans, poking fun at Bush's losing campaign by saying it was "Dr. Kevorkian's first effort as a campaign manager."
Congress also took "Sixteen Tons" of hits:
"SOOOME people say a congressman was put here to lead,
But if you want some power, better learn about greed.
Cash that check and churn that mail,
Get as rich as you can without landing in jail . . ."
One character portrayed Bush pardoning several of his top officials, singing: "Let me tell you pardnah, forget Iran-Contra. Pardon me, I didn't have a clue."
Clinton's economic plan, with the new taxes it will bring, took its turn, roasted to the tune of "Bringing in the Sheaves" by a Gridiron member portraying Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen:
"Taxing in the morning, taxing in the evening,
Taxing in the noontime and in the dewy eve.
Now that we're in power, it's the time for reaping.
We shall come rejoicing, fleecing all the sheep."