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The Fourth Hundred Days
by Paul Slansky
Issue of 2002-03-04
Posted 2002-05-27

1. Aides to Attorney General John Ashcroft offered as proof of his sense of humor his propensity to lighten the mood at tense meetings with his imitation of which character from "The Simpsons"?

(a) Homer.

(b) Ned Flanders.

(c) Mr. Burns.

(d) Apu.


2. True or false: White House spokesman Ari Fleischer insisted that his statement that he wasn't aware of "anybody in the White House" discussing Enron's financial situation was technically accurate because, although it turned out that both the Treasury Secretary and the Commerce Secretary had discussed the company's collapse with its chairman, Kenneth Lay, neither of them actually worked in the White House.


3. Which Enron-related whopper did George W. Bush tell?

(a) He claimed that Kenneth Lay "was a supporter of Ann Richards" in the 1994 Texas gubernatorial race, although Lay gave a great deal more money to Bush and even endorsed him.

(b) He implied that Lay was a Richards-administration holdover whom he first "got to know" after being elected governor, although the two had worked together on the 1992 Republican Convention.

(c) He expressed outrage that his own mother-in-law bought eight thousand dollars' worth of Enron stock "last summer," when she actually purchased it in 1999.

(d) All of the above.


Who said what?

4. "In Afghanistan, people who are friendly [to the United States] and unfriendly are constantly meeting together. Indeed, sometimes the same people can be friendly and later unfriendly within a relatively short period of time. There are also people who can pretend they're friendly and who, in fact, are not very friendly."

5. "Make [John Walker Lindh] leave his hair the way it is and his face as dirty as it is and let him go wandering around this country and see what kind of sympathy he would get."

6. "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists."

7. "If we find somebody who wants to harm America, who espouses the philosophy that's terrorist and bent, I can assure you we will bring that person to justice."

8. "Given the president's own definition of the monumental goals in September, it is way too soon for Karl Rove to be dancing in the end zone."


(a) John Ashcroft.

(b) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

(c) New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

(d) George W. Bush.

(e) George H. W. Bush.


9. In reference to the press coverage of the Enron scandal, who said, "They act like there's some billing records or some cattle scam or some fired travel aides or some blue dress"?

(a) White House aide Karen Hughes.

(b) White House aide Mary Matalin.

(c) The White House chief of staff, Andrew Card.

(d) The Republican National Committee chairman, Marc Racicot.


10. True or false: White House spokesman Ari Fleischer defended the Administration's refusal to release records of Vice-President Dick Cheney's energy-task-force meetings by saying, "You know, the very document that protects our liberties more than anything else, the Constitution, was, of course, drafted in total secrecy."

Match the item with the number.

11. Clemencies—out of almost nine hundred requested—granted by George W. Bush in 2001.

12. Dogs that saw George W. Bush faint, tumble off his couch, and bruise his face after eating a pretzel.

13. Dollars that an Enron share was worth when trading in the stock was suspended.

14. Dollars spent by the Justice Department on heavy blue drapes to hide the bare-breasted statue, there since 1936, that John Ashcroft hated to be photographed under.


(a) Zero.

(b) .67.

(c) Two.

(d) 8,650.


15. How did Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill dismiss the Enron collapse?

(a) "You've seen one biggest corporate bankruptcy in history, you've seen them all."

(b) "Companies come and go. It's part of the genius of capitalism."

(c) "In a year or two, we'll be laughing at this."

(d) "Enron, Shmenron."


16. What did George W. Bush say when he was asked by a reporter whether the war had changed him?

(a) "Not over my dead body."

(b) "It pretty much lets me do whatever I want as long as I say it's against terrorism."

(c) "I don't know. I don't spend a lot of time looking in the mirror. Except when I comb my hair."

(d) "It sure probably made me say the word 'evil' a lot more than I would have otherwise."









(1) c, (2) True, (3) d, (4)b, (5) e, (6) a, (7) d, (8) c, (9) b, (10) True, (11) a, (12) c, (13) b, (14) d, (15) b, (16) c.