In a move that raised eyebrows among observers of the 2008 campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., today sent former Vice President Al Gore a gift basket laden with high-calorie treats.

While the basket, chock full of such sumptuous snacks as chocolate croissants and pecan buns, was ostensibly a gift to congratulate Mr. Gore on the publication of his new book, “The Assault on Reason,” some members of the former vice president’s staff saw more sinister motives in Sen. Clinton’s choice of a present.

With Mr. Gore battling his waistline in recent years, any potential run for the White House in 2008 would presumably require a period of dieting and slimming down — processes that the basket of lip-smacking temptations seemed calculated to thwart.

At a press conference in Washington this morning, Carol Foyler, a senior member of Mr. Gore’s staff, told reporters that the basket of sugary delicacies had been “immediately identified as a threat to the vice president” and disposed of.

“At first we considered hiding the basket,” Ms. Foyler said. “Then we determined that it would be better to move the basket to an undisclosed location, where it was destroyed.”

Responding to the furor over the gift, Sen. Clinton called a press conference asking for forgiveness, claiming that she “meant no harm” in giving Mr. Gore the carbohydrate-rich basket.

“I value my friendship with with Al Gore,” Sen. Clinton said. “And, as a peace offering, I hope he will accept this case of Twinkies.”

Elsewhere, Dick Cheney welcomed his sixth grandchild into the world, meaning he now has more grandchildren than draft deferments.

Award-winning humorist, television personality and film actor Andy Borowitz is author of “The Republican Playbook.”

© 2007 Creators Syndicate Inc.

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