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Jewish World Review Dec. 13, 2002 / 8 Teves, 5763

Art Buchwald

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Consumer Reports

Give 'til it hurts | The Saudi Arabian rulers have gone into Damage Control Mode. Despite the fact that they have five American public relations firms working for them at millions of dollars, they are still getting a bad press.

So the PR chiefs met with the Saudi Arabian prince in charge of Goodwill and Happiness.

The prince said, "I don't like what's going on in the U.S. and neither does the rest of the Royal Family."

Charlie Soapwitch said, "We hope to get you on Larry King. People like Larry King for his frankness and upbeat audience."

Eliott Heartsick said, "Mike Wallace or Leslie Stahl will come to Riyadh and do a piece on your palaces. Americans love to look into other people's homes."

The prince said, "It's not enough. People are suspicious of our charities. We have the most honest charities in the world. We take care of the homeless, the hungry and the poor."

Robin Goodrich said, "Let's take an ad in all the American newspapers showing National Football League players who have benefited from the charities."

George Rumplemeyer said, "We have to play down the al-Qaida connection. We'll say the Saudis did not give Osama bin Laden money, they loaned it to him at 5 percent and he put up his cave in Pakistan as collateral."

"I'm not sure it will fly," Heartsick said. "What about this? There is a $25 million reward for bin Laden's head. Why don't the Saudis double it? It will show you are sincere about finding and delivering him, dead or alive."

The prince said, "Bin Laden's family makes a lot of money in Saudi Arabia and I doubt if my brother princes want to get them mad at us."

The PR reps were racking their brains. Goodrich said, "Suppose we get the wife of the Saudi ambassador to go on the air with Barbara Walters and explain that when she gave $130,000 to two of the Sept. 11 terrorists she thought she was giving the money to the Freedom for All Women in the Free World charity."

The prince said, "If the American people believe it, we'll go for it."

Rumplemeyer said, "Maybe Barbara will ask her, 'If you were an oil well, what kind of oil well would you be?'" Rumplemeyer laughed at his own joke.

The prince said, "Let's knock off the jokes."

Goodrich said, "I think we've covered all the bases. We have to sell Saudi Arabia like we sell Pepto Bismol. The people have to believe Saudi charities are good for them."

The prince said, "You'd better be right or we'll turn the account over to J. Walter Thompson."

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12/06/02: Pre-nursery is rough
11/20/02: The Princess and the butler
11/15/02: Preaching democracy
11/04/02: The blame game
10/30/02: The threat of golf
10/11/02: The wives of Hidden Valley
10/04/02: Will the real Saddam stand up?
10/01/02: To shred or not to shred
09/20/02: Plea-bargaining crime
09/17/02: Jack and Jane
09/12/02: Signing books is half the fun
09/10/02: To lose one's center
09/05/02: Moot court
08/29/02: I spy-you-spy
08/27/02: No smoking --- I love you
08/23/02: Ashes to ashes
08/14/02: Wall Street good news
08/09/02: Things in my attic
08/01/02: Damage control
08/01/02: Another icon
07/30/02: Draft all the lawyers
07/25/02: House for rent
07/23/02: Doin' time
07/19/02: The loophole game
07/16/02: Money as a game
07/11/02: Just desserts
07/02/02: So you want to win?
06/19/02: Homeland security parking
06/13/02: The Accused
06/11/02: Don't let them know
06/06/02: The FBI changes its ways
06/04/02: RED ALERT
05/28/02: Malice On Purpose: I'm scared!
05/23/02: Barbie Doll
05/21/02: Why Bermuda?
05/19/02: White collar prisons
05/15/02: Those in depression
05/09/02: Mother's Day in the market
05/07/02: Salary negotiations
04/26/02: Homeland security
04/24/02: The greatest breakthrough
04/18/02: Conflict of Interest
04/15/02: The Sign That Couldn't
04/11/02: It's Cherry Blossom Time
04/08/02: The Young Audience
03/31/02: Safe Deposit for Sale
03/26/02: Au Revoir to Soft Money
03/21/02: Andersen Defense Fund?
03/19/02: Celebrity kickers
03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

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