May 15, 2000 12:00 PM

If the six-minute video screened at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington, D.C., April 29 is any indication, Bill Clinton could be Ronald Reagan in reverse: the President who becomes an actor. The video—featuring cameos by such notables as anchor Sam Donaldson and Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala—was a smash among the black-tie crowd of some 2,600 that included everyone from Alan Greenspan to Regis Philbin. “The President was a pleasure to work with,” says Kevin Spacey, who in one skit pulls his American Beauty Best Actor Oscar away from a fantasizing Clinton. “He’s very warm and funny.” The tape was conceived by White House press secretary Joe Lockhart as a tongue-in-cheek dig at the stories claiming the President is a lonely lame duck with little to do while Al Gore and the First Lady hit the campaign trail. The spoof shows the President watching 101 Dalmatians with First Dog Buddy, learning to shop online and playing the board game Battleship with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Henry Shelton. Although the tape cost a mere $12,000 (paid by the Democratic National Committee) and was filmed in about 90 minutes over two days, presidential production values prevailed. Everybody Loves Raymond executive producer Phil Rosenthal, a Clinton supporter who collaborated with Lockhart and the President on the skits, directed. “He has the comic timing of Jackie Gleason,” says Rosenthal. Could a screen test be in the offing? After Clinton saw the tape, says Rosenthal, “he said, ‘I hope we can work together again.’ So I gave him my card.”

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