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Newt preps at zoo


House Speaker Newt Gingrich took part recently in a Roar And Snore Sleepover. No, it wasn’t a platform committee hearing.

While other Republicans were tucked in their beds at plush, waterfront hotels, Gingrich and his wife and daughter camped Friday night at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, something he’s done before.

Gingrich also received an autographed art work from Carol, the painting elephant, who signs her creations with a trunk dipped in paint.

Hey, who’s the QB here?


Jack Kemp may be No. 2 on the Republican ticket, but he shrank in no one’s shadow Saturday as he was officially named Bob Dole’s running mate.

In case any of the analysts missed the point of revitalizing the GOP presidential ticket, the former pro-quarterback strutted his prowess onstage.

As he wrapped up a speech that at 12 minutes was twice as winded as Dole’s, someone in the crowd of about 1,500 pitched a football to Kemp, 61, who paused and stripped off his suit coat before throwing deep.

As for the presidential candidate, he and Kemp worked the crowds separately, signing autographs and posing for pictures. “Where’s the quarterback?” Dole said several times without looking up. “Where’s the quarterback?”

Diversity, GOP style


There will be fewer women and minorities among the 1,990 delegates to the 1996 Republican National Convention, an Associated Press survey of delegates shows. This represents a step back from gains heralded by the GOP four years ago.

The survey, which included all but 72 of the delegates, found that 66 percent are men, 33 percent are women, and that there are only 53 (2.7 percent) black delegates. The delegations in more than a half-dozen states are completely white and dominated by religious conservatives.

“We’ve got lots of diversity,” joked one senior official in the Iowa delegation. “We’ve got evangelicals and we’ve got fundamentalists.”

Guerrillas in their midst


Like a guerrilla unit infiltrating an enemy city, a small cadre of Democrats is establishing a beachhead in the Republican convention town for a week of “reality check” activities.

“It’s not like being a Martian,” ClintonGore deputy campaign manager Ann Lewis said Saturday. “It’s a little bit like being at somebody else’s family reunion.”

They have set up a Lucy-like booth outside the site of the GOP platform hearings with a sign reading, “The Democrat Is In.”

The Clinton-Gore political team has become renowned for the lightning speed with which it responds to Republican happenings. Just Friday, as word spread that Dole was moving toward selecting Kemp as his running mate, Democratic operatives distributed small footballs imprinted with the words “Hail Mary Pass” - a reference to what they said was a desperation pick.

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