Q: What's with this FUNNIEST CELEBRITY IN WASHINGTON runner-up trophywho won?
A: They brought in a ringer. A guy who wrote for the Onion.
Q: That hardly seems fair.
A: I follow an edict from a very distinguished Philadelphia lawyer, who said, "Never complain, never explain."
Q: What was it like growing up Jewish in Kansas?
A: It was lonelyan occasional fistfight and racial or religious slur. But once I joined the debate team, things improved. I learned to protect myselfat least verbally.
Q: Did you win any of those fistfights?
A: They were mostly draws. A lot of swinging and very little connecting. Sort of like legislating.
Q: I've heard that you sing to your wife.
A: Yeah, we sing together sometimes.
Q: Really? What do you sing?
A: Oh, old-time hits. Golden oldies. Sinatra's my favorite.
Q: What's your song?
A: "My Way."
Q: So, you seem to have gone from being the outcast of one political party to being the outcast of the other.
A: Well, I feel very comfortable being a Democrat. My new colleagues were always my friends. And many people urged me to become a Democratalmost as many Republicans as Democrats. But I must say, the reaction stings a little. I just was not going to subject my record to the bleak prospects of a primary election.
Q: What's been the worst part of it?
A: Two factors. Disappointing so many people who were unhappy with my choice and my own personal disappointment at the Republican Party, that it didn't want me to be their candidate.
Q: Are you ever surprised that there aren't more people voting issue by issue? Do you ever find yourself asking "Why am I alone up here?"
A: Regrettably, that has become the temper of the times. If you're a member of Congress who's not ideologically driven and who's willing to listen, you could be in great demand. It is with unwelcome frequency that I find myself the deciding vote.
Q: When you served on the Warren Commission investigating the death of JFK, you were the author of the controversial "single-bullet theory." In light of all the new evidence, do you still stand by it?
A: Yes. It started out as a theory. And when 20 years passed and nobody had disproved it, it became the single-bullet conclusion. When ABC did a two-hour retrospective on the 40th anniversary of President Kennedy's death, they called it the single-bullet fact. Obviously a strange path for a bullet, but then sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Q: Have you encountered many conspiracy theorists in Congress?
A: Well, yes. But not on the Warren Commission. There are conspiracies all over the Senate floor on any day!
Q: During the Clarence Thomas hearings you laid into Anita Hill pretty hard. Do you regret that?
A: It was important to question her, because it was the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, and I thought it was important for the Senate to know what the facts were in order to confirm or reject. And I thought the questions were professional. I had a tough political race in the next year, but my opponent couldn't use any of the tapes from the hearing because I don't think she could find a single question where I was unprofessional. Was I pointed? Was I direct? Was I strong? Yes. But, candidly, it was nothing compared to what you do at a trial. Because I've given a lot of trials, and I've done a lot of cross-examinations.