It had to be the best quote of the last week, perhaps of the year thus far. The occasion was the annual dinner of the Gridiron Club in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, where former prez Bill Clinton had agreed to stand in for President Barack Obama, who was working hard on the historic U.S. House vote on healthcare reform that came the next day.
Clinton got off several not-so-bad lines, as reported by the Associated Press and others, including joking that his favorite cocktail now is “Lipitor on the rocks,” referring to his problems with cholesterol. (This was the president, of course, who sometimes interrupted his jog with a stop for a burger at McDonald’s. Would that that had been his worst vice.)
The real keeper, however, was a reference not only to Clinton’s own health woes, but to those of another former Washington official with well-known heart problems.
Clinton predicted that the Democrats would pass the healthcare reform bill.
“It may not happen in my lifetime or Dick Cheney’s … but hopefully by Easter,” he said.
In a videotaped message to the reporters’ dinner, Obama took his own jab at Clinton. He said that when he asked Clinton to take his place, Clinton said, “Let me clear my schedule for the next three years.”
OK, that’s not funny. Bill’s fine as a court jester and even ambassador to disaster-torn places. But please, he was a disaster enough in the White House last time.
Greed vs. Greed
Media attention to Your Texas Rangers has been focused of late mostly on manager Ron Washington’s dalliance with nose candy last year. Perhaps as a result, negotiations over the sale of the club — and the problems that current owner Tom Hicks has with his debt load — have largely flown under the radar.
Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that creditors to whom Hicks owes money from his sports operating company are balking at the deal currently on the table. Pittsburgh attorney and sports investor Chuck Greenberg, along with team president Nolan Ryan, have reportedly agreed to buy the club from Hicks for $530 million. The problem? Hicks’ company owes the creditors $540 million.
According to the WSJ sources, the group of lenders would get only 43 percent of the total debt owed, or $231 million, in the deal. If a majority of the debt holders don’t like that proposal, they can delay the sale, which Hicks wants to have completed by April 1.
But what is really pissing off the debt holders, according to reports, is that the money from Greenberg and Ryan would include $90 million for the 47 acres of land around The Ballpark in Arlington. Hicks thinks that should go into his pocket and not into the pockets of the 40 or so banks that hold his loans.
Let’s see, bankers versus a sports club owner who has kept his local teams on a starvation diet. Static has no dog in that fight.