Keeping Tabs

Rich Man, Rich Woman

The tabloids weigh in on the pardon scandals. 

While the mainstream media is busy being surprised all over again that the National Enquirer sometimes beats the pack on big political stories (Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler appears to have just noticed that the tabloids have had a significant impact on the coverage of the last three presidential campaigns. Hul-loooo? Anyone home?), the Enquirer has—thankfully—returned to doing what it does best. Hugh Rodham’s $400,000 ethical lapse? Yeah, whatever. Leave it to the Wall Street Journal. Keeping Tabs is much more interested in having the Enquirer ferret out the stories that really matter: This week, in a sensational cover story that, sadly, will probably not register with the nation’s media critics, the Enquirer blows the lid on diet and fitness guru Suzanne Somers’ “plastic surgery scandal.” According to the Enquirer, the former Three’s Company star “hides a startling secret behind her perfect body: She’s undergone liposuction!” Yep, the woman whose next book is titled Eat, Cheat, and Melt the Fat Away reportedly spent nearly $12,000 last month melting the fat from her “inner and outer thighs, abdomen, hips and upper back behind the armpits,” according to an Enquirer source. Somers was spotted arriving at the Lasky Clinic in Beverly Hills just before 8 a.m. and was photographed being helped into her car by a nurse some six hours later, although her publicist tells the Enquirer she was there “only to have a mole removed.” Hmmm. We’re thinking a full-blown congressional inquiry is called for. Chrissy-gate, anyone?

Somers’ upper back aside, however, on the whole, the tabloids are just as obsessed as the rest of the media with former President Clinton and his circle. The good news is that you can be certain the tabs will provide the kind of singular reportage we’ve come to know and love. Let the Washington Post tease out the nuances of pardonee Marc Rich’s business affairs; the tabs get the dirt on Denise Rich’s plastic surgery! In last week’s cover about the purported “love affair” between the glam songstress and the former president, a friend helpfully tells the Enquirer that “at 57, Denise is three years older than Bill Clinton, but you would never know it from her glamorous and unlined appearance.” The Star minces no words, reporting that “$55,000 worth of plastic surgery and dental work transformed tax cheat Marc Rich’s ex-wife from a dark-haired ugly duckling into a stunning blonde swan—and led to her sizzling affair with the former president.” The story goes on to claim that not long after Rich was introduced to Clinton, a friend advised the wealthy divorcee to “pretty herself up,” telling her, “It’s competitive out there … there are plenty of single, wealthy women with their mansions and private planes—you’ve got to look beautiful to have an edge on them! So go for it, and have a face lift.” The result? “Almost overnight, she was transformed.”

The Enquirer maintains that it was “common knowledge” inside the White House that Clinton and Rich were lovers, a theory confirmed by a “top Washington socialite” but denied by Rich’s spokesman Howard Rubenstein: “Denise has said she did not sleep with the President. I don’t know how many times she visited the White House.” (Just what constitutes a “top” socialite anyway?)

According to the Globe, Denise Rich’s closeness to the former president was a sore spot with his wife, who “went ballistic” when she learned of Rich’s frequent White House visits. In last week’s cover story, the Globe reported that a Clinton divorce is now a “done deal,” with Hillary Clinton planning to file “quietly” in mid-April. An insider tells the Globe that the senator is “absolutely livid with rage. She says she’s through with him once and for all.” Mrs. Clinton is said to be planning to take the president to the proverbial cleaners (“I’m taking him for everything and I’d better not hear a peep out of him. He can have his bimbos and high-rolling Hollywood friends. That’s it!” she supposedly told a confidant) and is even going to return to her maiden name. Meanwhile, a friend concurs in the Star that “she will not ride with him on his crazy roller coaster life anymore. This time, she’s getting off for good!” Eagle-eyed readers, by the way, may recall that the Globe previously reported that a February 2001 Clinton divorce was a “sure thing.” But in a rare move, the Globe actually recalls its earlier prediction, claiming the couple postponed their split in order to be together at daughter Chelsea’s 21st birthday party on Feb. 24.

Chelsea’s birthday party is actually the subject of considerable tabloid ink. The Enquirer reports that the former first daughter is “deeply involved in a red-hot love triangle with two handsome suitors” as evidenced in part by the fact that she arrived at the party with Oberlin student Benjamin Cahn “and was seen kissing him early that evening” but left “close to 2 a.m.” with Cornell’s John Dauer and “they were holding hands!”

Following in the esteemed tradition of Globe reporter Marlise Kast’s first-person account of her “date” with Rick Rockwell and Star ace Shannon Loughrin’s chilling narrative about attending a party at Jonbenet Ramsey’s house, Globe scribe Roger Hitts pens a blockbuster first-person story titled “A Kiss Is Just a Kiss,” about his experience covering the party. Hitts claims that “as Chelsea and Ben prepared to leave,” she came over to tell him goodbye: “I held out my hand to shake hers, when she leaned toward me—planted a big kiss on my lips—then twirled and exited with a coquettish grin tossed my way.” But wait! There’s more! “She didn’t just kiss me, she said, ‘Goodbye, Roger.’ ” Love triangle? Pshaw! Make that a rectangle!

“I chose not to believe my wife’s explanation that Chelsea singled me out to make her boyfriend Ben jealous,” Hitts explains. “Instead I believe a very classy young lady and I had a magical moment.” For the record, Keeping Tabs would like to point out that Roger’s photo makes all too clear that he’s not exactly the type who typically sends 21-year-old girls into coquettish flutters, but who are we to deny the power of magic?

And finally, lest you think that Denise Rich could ever eclipse the tabs’ favorite Clinton inamorata, the Enquirer weighs in with a story titled “It’s Plastic Surgery or Bust for Chubby Monica … but the bust seems to be winning so far!” The story reports that Lewinsky, “fresh from flunking out of a fat farm—is busting out all over!” Reportedly desperate to slim down before she appears in an HBO documentary about the impeachment scandal, the woman the Enquirer tactfully calls “the Mouth That Roared” is supposedly contemplating liposuction. (Just what is it about Bill Clinton that has women lining up to go under the knife?)

“Although she is no fan of Linda Tripp, Monica’s impressed with the change Linda has undergone,” explains an insider. “Monica wants to undergo liposuction on her lower body before the end of spring so she’ll be healed by summer. She’s convinced it’s the only way to go.” Keeping Tabs’ advice: Go for it, Monica! And don’t forget the upper back behind your armpits.