Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan tried to set the record straight last month about his support for a bill recapitalizing the Savings Association Insurance Fund.

Unfortunately, his penchant for obtuse statements left his clarifications anything but clear.

In a May 17 letter to Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., Mr. Greenspan said it is unfair to make "groups of innocent bystanders" pay for the bailout. But he also said it would be even worse if Congress just let the problem fester.

"So while I acknowledge the elements of inequitableness in the solutions before us," Mr. Greenspan wrote, "I also believe that the potential consequences of instability in the existing situation make it incumbent upon us to address the problem and to do so before we have any deterioration in the situation."

To America's Community Bankers, that meant Mr. Greenspan was backing the rescue legislation - and the thrift group distributed the letter to every member of Congress.

The Fed chairman had to reiterate his position after Rep. Jay Dickey, R- Ark., fired off a letter last month saying Mr. Greenspan opposed the bill because it is unfair to banks.


When Comptroller's Office spokesman Edward Alwood sent The Washington Post a copy of his upcoming book, "Straight News," he only was hoping to get a quote for the back cover.

He certainly didn't expect to see his face splashed across the front page of its June 3 Style section.

The book is the product of six years of research into how the media portrayed homosexuality as a sickness in the '50s and '60s. While last week's Post article is great publicity, Mr. Alwood said he wished it would have appeared closer to his book's publication date this fall.

"I told the comptroller, 'I can't control the press for you and I can't control the press for me,'" joked Mr. Alwood, who was a spokesman for the American Bankers Association from 1987 to 1995.

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