Keeping Tabs

If the Genes Fit

Paternity, domestic violence, and loving oaths of fealty at the Clinton White House.

If you have a child with a devilishly pouty lower lip, soulful hooded eyes, and a genetic fingerprint that matches that of FBI Lab Specimen K39–a blood sample drawn from Bill Clinton and supplied to the independent counsel’s office–then the tabloids might have an offer for you.

According to the Drudge Report and the New York Post, the Star has paid a former Arkansas prostitute and her 13-year-old son to take DNA tests to determine whether or not Clinton is the boy’s father. Bobbie Ann Williams alleged several years ago in the Globe that while state attorney general, Clinton paid her for sexual encounters and that one of those encounters resulted in the conception of her son. With Clinton’s genetic fingerprint available on Page 2,454 of the Starr report’s supplement, the Star is supposedly examining the validity of Williams’ claim. Clinton has denied ever having met the woman, but perhaps the Star can get Miss Manners to rule on whether purchasing sex from someone qualifies as a formal introduction.

The Clintons dominate the tabs this month, and the only good news about them is found in the Globe. According to the publication, a “friend” of Bill and Hillary’s says that on impeachment Saturday the couple “wrote a whole chapter in one of the most remarkable love stories of all time.” (As remarkable as the love story of Rep. and Mrs. Bob Livingston?) The Globe reports that Hillary pledged to the president a “vow of love” that “moved Bill to tears.” No, she didn’t vow to stand by him even if the DNA of a statistically significant portion of Arkansans younger than 25 match that of FBI Lab Specimen K39. What she said, according to the Globe, was this: “I know you’re going through hell right now. But I want you to know one thing: I’ll always be here for you. …We told each other 23 years ago: ‘Til death do us part.’ I meant every word of it.”

According to the National Enquirer, the Secret Service fears that Hillary may bring about that final day. “Hillary Beats up Bill,” screams one headline. Says the story: “The furious First Lady attacked the President, hitting him so hard she left a visible mark on his face–and Secret Service agents had to separate them. ‘Keep that bitch away from me!’ Bill Clinton told one agent.” She apparently has excellent aim, having also winged him with books and an ashtray. The Enquirer also cited the much-publicized scene of Hillary pulling her arm away from Bill during a recent memorial service in Israel for Yitzhak Rabin. “It was like his touch was revolting to her!” an “insider” reports. The Globe acknowledges this incident but attributes Hillary’s behavior to the heretofore unknown baba ghanouj syndrome. Jet lag, a busy schedule, and “the change in her diet to Middle Eastern food had caused the first lady to feel queasy and out of sorts,” it explains.

T he president isn’t the only recipient of the first lady’s right hook. The Star reports that “on nearly a dozen occasions in the last three months, Hillary has viciously lashed out at numerous Secret Service officers for getting in her way.” It reports that as she was leaving the White House one morning she passed an officer who said, “Good morning, Mrs. Clinton.” “Mrs. Clinton brushed by him, actually shoving him out of her way. … As she did, she snapped at him and cursed: ‘Get f–!’ ” According to the Star, about 10 such incidents have been reported to superiors. The publication explains that Hillary is lashing out from tension but is also bitter that during grand jury testimony Secret Service agents conveyed rumors of Clinton’s philandering–even though the officers she has attacked did not testify.

There’s no escape for Hillary. At the New York premiere of Shakespeare in Love, she was feted and photographed standing next to Gwyneth Paltrow. This proved that no middle-aged woman should stand next to a tall, lithe, blond, virtually naked actress. Paltrow, as displayed in the Enquirer, solved the age-old dilemma of having nothing to wear for that special occasion by deciding to wear nothing at all. Or to wear a dress that appears to be sequin-decorated Saran Wrap. At least Hillary could take comfort in the fact that Paltrow has let the world know she is not a natural blonde.

The Enquirer also rehashes old sexual allegations against the president, accusations that Starr investigated but did not publicize. These include the claim that while attorney general of Arkansas he raped one Juanita Broaddrick by biting her “on the lip until she gave in to his sexual advances.” More stories like this and someone at the White House is likely to get an ear bitten off.

The Globe bit the Enquirer’s ear this week in court, seeking to block its competitor from publishing an interview with former flight attendant Suzen Johnson. Johnson’s story of how she bedded Frank Gifford ran in the Globe a few years ago. The Enquirer “scoop” that the Globe wanted spiked reveals the somewhat obvious fact that the Globe paid Johnson for her seduction. At issue in this epic struggle were questions of First Amendment rights and the specter of prior restraint, making this battle call to mind nothing so much as the confrontation between Tweedledee and Tweedledum over ownership of a rattle.

T he Enquirer won the legal contest, and its cover features the boa-clad Johnson, who could use two wheelbarrows as a brassiere and whose nose is considerably smaller and lips substantially larger than the last time she appeared in the tabs. She apologizes for a flirtation–initiated by Gifford after he met her on an airplane–that resulted in the kind of genital to genital contact that our president has grown unfamiliar with in recent years.

Johnson’s naiveté is as convincingly natural as her nose, her lips, and her breasts. After she and a Globe editor checked into a $400 a night suite at a hotel near Frank’s office, Suzen went out for the evening. “I realize now that the cameras and microphones were probably installed by [the Globe] while I was out,” she reports. After transcripts and video stills of her encounter were made public, Johnson says she “hit the roof. I suddenly realized what I’d actually done–I’d been set up and paid to have sex with Frank.” If she had any doubts, clarification came in the form of a $250,000 deposit to her bank account.

Johnson’s sense of rectitude is matched only by Kathie Lee Gifford’s. The healing of the Gifford marriage is now complete, and Frank will never cheat again. How do we know this? Because she said so. The Globe quotes a Kathie Lee interview in USA Today in which she explains that: “We stayed home. We stayed in the word of God. And we stayed in bed. You want a recipe for healing? That’s what you do.” It also helps if you can send your husband on Larry King Live to grovel before the nation, as Frank did. Unfortunately, groveling before the nation does not work to strengthen the marriage of every cheating husband.

Finally, there is an update of the doings of the tabs’ favorite “merry widow” (in the words of the Globe), Rep. Mary Bono. According to the publication, just months after the skiing accident death of her husband, Sonny, she tossed “piles of irreplaceable mementos” of the late singer-congressman into the dumpster, where they were retrieved by one of his former restaurant employees. The Enquirer reports that war has broken out among Sonny’s survivors because he died without signing the will that would have left his estate to Mary. And the Globe reports that rumors are sweeping Washington, as well as Mary’s home district of Palm Springs, Calif., of her special friendship with–take a dramamine before reading on–Newt Gingrich. Well, she is an ambitious, alluring young thing with an ability to attract powerful men. Watch out, Mrs. Dennis Hastert.