Stranger Than Fictio
Former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers reminisces.
HARRY KIRS BAUM
ee Dee Myers refers to her introduction
into the world of presidential politics as
"the trifecta on how not to go to
Washington." President Bill Clinton's
former press secretary was the
youngest, the first woman and a
The Washington press corps treat-
ed her with a double standard —
every story written about her
included descriptions of her hair,
her makeup and her clothes, but she
never took it personally, she said
during the Jewish Women's
Foundation of Metropolitan
Detroit's first "Women's Lighting
the Way" luncheon on June 11 in
The event honored former Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit President Penny Blumenstein,
who was the first woman in that post. She was at
the Federation helm in 1999 when a group of nine
women created the Jewish Women's Foundation.
"With Penny's encouragement and support, we
have grown to a board of 110 trustees," who func-
tion independently regarding policy and grant deci-
sions, said Margot Halperin, Foundation president.
Myers entertained a crowd of 375 with her quick-
witted, straightforward, funny style. She told insider
stories and of her not-so-stellar campaign percent-
age, starting with Walter Mondale.
"When I got out of college, I didn't think Ronald
Reagan deserved another term as president; so I
went to work with Walter Mondale," she said. "The
campaign could only have been described as a politi-
cal disaster. We lost 49 states, but we won 13 elec-
toral votes — so that was great," she quipped.
She learned that she could make a living working
on national politics, she said.
She followed with a string of losses: Los Angeles
Mayor Tom Bradley's run for governor in 1986, the
Michael Dukakis presidential campaign, then Diane
Feinstein's run for California governor.
"So it's pretty easy to understand why, in the fall
of 1991, Bill Clinton called me. It made perfect
sense," she said. "We went from being the longest of
long shots to winning the White House. It's been a
She is now a contributing editor to Vanity Fair
magazine and a consultant for television's West Wing.
The show is very similar to what it was like in the
Clinton White House, she said. "Different White
Houses have different personalities, depending on the
president and on the party; but it's very true to me.
"Mostly what I do is come up with story ideas. The
great thing about that is I get to spend more time with
the C. J. Craig character than any other. She gets to
have a lot of the same experiences that I had, but I get
to change the ending so it comes out better," Myers
said. "The thing that you thought of as you walked
away, she actually gets to say, so it's been a lot of fun."
The writers will bounce ideas off of her as a reality
check, she said.
"When you consider what's happened in
Washington in the last five years, it's hard to argue
that fiction is less credible than fact," she said.
"If I had come five years ago and said, 'Let me tell
you what's going to happen the next five years: The
president of the United States, who's being sued for sex-
ual harassment, is going to have an affair with a White
House intern; and that will give rise to an independent
counsel investigation, which is going to give rise to an
impeachment where the smoking gun turns out to be a
blue cocktail dress from the Gap,' the first question you
have to ask yourself is: 'Who buys their cocktail attire at
the Gap, and who dates such women?'
"And then if I said the subsequent presidential elec-
Dee Dee Myers talks politics.
tion will end in a tie, and that's going to end in a slew
of lawsuits involving hanging chads and swinging
chads and Jews for [Patrick] Buchanan, and then the
sitting first lady would run for the U.S. Senate in a
state where she's never lived, and win, you would all
think I was crazy. So it just goes to show you cannot
make up what happens in real life." ❑
Miracle Mission attracts inter generational families.
HARRY MRS BAUM •
IV hen the Menuck clan ventures on
Federation's Michigan Miracle Mission
4, it will be a major family event.
"This is the first time the four of us
have been to Israel together," said Allen, family patri-
arch from Bloomfield Township. "I think it's a great
commitment as a family because we have the same
views and the same feeling for the well-being of the
land of Israel."
While other members of the Menuck family are
still deciding, Allen and his wife, Jackie, have signed
Allen, Jackie, Craig and Jill Menuck study a map of Israel
up with son Craig and daughter-in-law Jill of
Birmingham. They are part of the 330 participants
ible experience we're going to have."
who so far have committed going on the mission
"Other than my kids and my wife, Israel is one of
April 18-28, 2004. Mission cosponsors are the Jewish the most important things in my life," Allen said.
"Having my family there is really something spe-
News and the Michigan Board of Rabbis.
"I just think it's a great trip as a family," said Craig.
"When you go on the mission, you have experi-
ences that you can't have when you go alone," Jill
Federation's Michigan Miracle Mission 4 will
said. "If we went as just the four of us, we wouldn't
cost $2,895 per person, but those who sign up
meet the-same leaders or have the same experiences.
by June 30 with a $500 deposit will receive a
"We love Israel; we're dedicated to the Israeli state
$150 discount. For information, call Sally
and we thought this was an excellent opportunity"
Krugel, MMM4 director, (248) 203-1485.
she said. "All of us having previously been on mis-
sions, we know the quality of the trip and the incred-