August 16, 1993 12:00 PM

FOLEY’S NEW CLOUT

Barefoot and clad in a gi, Tom Foley split two one-inch planks with a swift elbow jab, then broke two more boards with a ferocious hand chop. “This is not a veiled threat,” the Speaker of the House quipped at the July 31 Jhoon Rhee International Championship of martial arts at Washington’s Omni Shoreham hotel.

“It’s a stress reliever,” says Foley, 64, who has studied the Korean art of tae kwon do with Grandmaster Rhee for the past six months and earned his intermediate-level green belt at the event. “You can exert some energy and feel physically very active.” But can you break a gridlock with one hand?

STEPHANOPOLOVERS

President Clinton’s right-hand man may not have as many fans in Washington as he did when he went to work at the White House last January. But at Stanford University, the 32-year-old George Stephanopoulos has not only fans but also a fanzine. Graduate students Michael Melcher, 30, and Polly Arenberg, 28, put out the first issue of Stephanopouletter: a six-page quarterly available only to card-carrying members of their new George Stephanopoulos fan club. For an annual fee of $10, members can learn such “Stephanopouknowledge” factlets as George’s preferences for latte, nonalcoholic tropical drinks and high speeds on the StairMaster. “During the campaign, I spent hours watching CNN,” explains Arenberg. “I began to see George as a spokesperson for our generation.”

MAKING A SPLASH

It was moving-in day at the newly refurbished vice presidential house, and Tipper Gore was struck with a case of midsummer madness. She phoned one of Al’s aides, Ed Emerson, and asked him for a ride on his Harley-Davidson. The mansion guards were shocked when the two pulled up at the gate. But the were in for a bigger surprise when Tipper, 44, announced she was going to inaugurate the backyard pool by inviting Emerson to join her. Before the stunned aide could demur, Tipper proffered one of Al’s bathing suits, and for the next 20 minutes the two cannonballed and splashed away the July heat. “It was all very innocent,” says one Gore staffer. “There were [furniture] movers all around.”

HEY, LEO!

On Aug. 19 both Bill Clinton and Tipper Core will be blowing out candles when he turns 47 and she 45. Do these two Leos share any leonine traits? “Hillary and Al are very similar, and Bill and I are very similar,” Tipper has said. “We joke about it when we’re together as couples.” Bill and Tipper both love rock and roll, play band instruments (sax and drums, respectively) and once drove Mustangs. Mere coincidence? Not at all, says Washington-area astrologer Caroline Casey. “Leo is the passionate, celebratory, playful sign,” she says. “And in that sense, Tipper is more a lover of parties than, say, Hillary.”

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