Picks and Pans Review: Sounds Off

updated 02/23/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/23/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Clinton's Joke Writer

If you think Bill Clinton was witty-as Presidents go—give some credit to Mark Katz, 40, who penned gags for about 20 of Clinton's speeches and cracks wise in a new book, Clinton & Me. Here are some one (or two) liners:

ON HANDLING MONICAGATE We could do jokes about the investigation, but not about what caused it. For example, at a Gridiron dinner: "Kindly withhold your subpoenas until all jokes have been told."

ON LIFE AT THE CENTER OF THE STORM There was a time in 1998 and 1999 when I was the only humor writer in the world not writing Monica jokes. I regretted that because it looked like a lot of fun.... Those were, without a doubt, the darkest days of my career as a Democratic operative. And that's coming from someone who worked on the Dukakis campaign.

ON JOKES WE NEVER HEARD Even as I was writing it, I knew he would never say [this joke]: "I've made a terrible mistake. Traditionally, Presidents raise money in the Oval Office and have sex in the Lincoln bedroom." I knew it would never get off my hard drive.

ON OTHER SENSITIVE TOPICS Asking him to do a joke about McDonald's was to invite a small tirade about the fact that he hadn't been there since he took office.

ON WHAT MOM THINKS After [Clinton] got done congratulating me and talking me up to Mom about how funny I am, she said, "Mr. President, you just complimented Mark for the same thing I used to spank him for."

ON HIS AMBITIONS I'm willing to send jokes to all the [Democratic candidates] in hopes one of them wins. I still want a ride in Air Force One.

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