first thing you notice about Janet Reno is her distinctive voice,
like bubbles mixed with gravel.
Sitting in her room at the Regency Hotel in Miami, Reno is fresh-faced
and energetic. The 6'2" former Attorney General looks much
younger than her 63 years in a stylish shag haircut, low-cut
green top, tight black pants, rings on her fingers, and bells
on her shoes. Her easy-going manner immediately put us at ease.
However, we sensed a deep sadness lurking beneath the vivacious
We asked the former Attorney General what she'd been up to since
leaving office in January.
She paused for a moment. "A lot of deep thinking… thinking
and shaking." She looked soulfully into our eyes and sighed.
Suddenly the wave of melancholy broke, and Reno seemed, for
an instant, her old, effervescent self again. She began to talk
about her days as a cult-exterminating Attorney General, the
role that brought her stardom, and a renomination in 1997. The
current successful re-release of her 1993 horror classic, Waco
complete with restored footage and remixed sound has again
given Reno that elusive moment in the spotlight with which she
has always had a love-hate relationship.
coolest thing in those days was that I could go to Congress
and just say any damn thing I wanted to them. I could have told
them that Bill Clinton had become so spiritually pure that he
regularly levitated, and they'd pretty much have to accept it.
I mean, who were they going to report me to, God's Attorney
Attorney General was a role she almost didn't take. The Miami
native the daughter of Henry and Jane Reno spent an idyllic
childhood in South Florida. Her father was an immigrant from
Denmark who worked as a gaffer in a series of Danish blue movies
starring "Hans the Amorous Clydesdale."
When she was eight years old her family moved to a house in
the Everglades, where they filled in almost 21 acres of fragile
wetlands for the equestrian facilities Janet demanded. Janet
filled her days with outdoors activities like riding, scuba
diving, kayaking, flamingo training, and oiling her manatee.
After graduating from Coral Gables High School, she earned her
B.A. in animal husbandry at Cornell University. She earned her
L.L.B. From Harvard Law School, one of only sixteen "women"
in her class. She had been "doing law" since 1963,
and was ready for retirement when Bill Clinton called on her
to join his team.
the Attorney General interview came along, nobody had any idea
the position would reach the masses that it reached and be the
phenomenon that it was," she recalls. "And as years
went on I kept trying to get back to a quiet life."
But her fans knew that Janet could never sit still for long.
Now, with a new goal in mind, Janet's life seems like it may
be on the upswing again. From Florida, The Miami Herald
"Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno hasn't yet committed
to a gubernatorial bid, but she's prowling for potential campaign
We asked Janet if the rumors swirling around her search for
campaign staffers were true.
been looking into the idea. I was supposed to have a meeting
of my exploratory committee last Saturday. They said they'd
meet me at the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly in Jacksonville,
but when I got there, all I heard was a lot of snickering from
the palmettos behind the store. It was sort of a let down."
Despite such setbacks, Reno remains upbeat about the potential
run. She recently gave a moving speech at the Tampa aquarium,
delivered to a man in a red Honda that wouldn't start and four
bro's lampin' forty inside the bus stop shelter. In it, she
set out the themes that would define her campaign:
cry for me, Florida! I tremble for the chance to serve you.
I want to preserve your resources, give your children a strong
and positive future, protect your environment, have your elderly
stay in their homes as long as possible," she added. "Who
wants those old codgers wandering aimlessly around town, harassing
We asked her if she had spoken with President Clinton lately,
and if he was enjoying private life?
not been briefed on it, I was not aware of it, so I cannot comment,"
she said. "I would not comment while the matter is pending."
On the potential impact on a Reno candidacy of the seizure of
Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy who was rescued off the Florida
coast on Thanksgiving Day in 1999 only to be returned to Cuba
by U.S. authorities, she said:
those rafters would have voted for me even if I had massaged
Elian's feet with oil every day."
The currently single barrister, who has had long-term relationships
with singer Bob Dylan and athlete Dennis Rodman, lives outside
of Miami and continues her search for "Mr. Right."