LAUGH LINES : Punchlines

Nose to nose: After columnist William Safire called Hillary Clinton a "congenital liar," the president conceded that he'd like to punch Safire in the nose:

* "Can't anybody write about the Clintons without mentioning genitals?" (Argus Hamilton)

* "A grammarian like Safire can't be punched in the nose--he can only be punched on the nose." (Russ Myers)

* "Safire says he was misquoted. What he really said is that Chelsea is a Clearasil buyer." (Bob Mills)

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Also in the news: Tab TV show "Hard Copy" is airing excerpts from O.J.'s upcoming video. Why not, says Steve Tatham. "That's the one show that can match his credibility."

That New York car dealer who promised lease-holders a free car if more than four inches of snow fell in Central Park on Monday? Bill Williams says, "Just in case, he plans to call the National Park Service for a recount."

The Wilson administration is encouraging same-sex schools. Hey, says Joe Kevany, "It worked for Congress for all those years."

Washingtonian magazine ran a photo of Bob Dole exercising on a StairMaster while wearing a shirt and tie. "He didn't want to undress too much," says Hamilton. "That's what cost the mayor of San Francisco his job."

Race-car driver Richard Petty is running for North Carolina secretary of state. Jerry Perisho says his campaign machine includes good name recognition, solid endorsements and a 357 dual-carb with overhead cam that goes zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds.

"The Elvis Overture," an orchestral work based on 20 of the King's songs, was premiered on his birthday. Says Gary Easley, "His fans thought it was wonderful, but music lovers felt they were caught in a trap and couldn't walk out."

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In the rough: After pondering for eight months, CBS has canned Ben Wright for his alleged boneheaded remarks about women golfers:

* Wright may be right that women's breasts can ruin a golf swing--"but it's usually the swing of the male golfers admiring them." (Mills)

* "The network obviously felt it was handicapped by having boobs like Wright on the air." (Tony Peyser)

* "Wright may have put his foot in his mouth once too often, but his career isn't over yet. Dr. Scholl is coming out with a Ben Wright Signature Insole." (Kenny Noble)

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Reader Ruth Denburg Yoshiwara recently took her son Benjamin, 3, to a party where an adorable 18-month-old named Noland got a lot of attention. The following weekend brought another party and, coincidentally, another kid named Noland--this one about 4 years old. Benjamin studied this new Noland for a few minutes, then announced:

"Boy, Noland sure is getting bigger!"

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