Mr. Gates Goes To Washington

The software billionaire learns a lesson about money, power and political finesse

Some of the Senators on the Judiciary Committee may not have heard of the Gates Library Foundation, which helps wire libraries to the Internet. So they were surprised when phone calls started coming in to their offices with the good news from one of Bill Gates' charitable trusts. The callers just wanted the Senators to know that the foundation had donated generously to libraries in their states--$1.67 million, all told.

If the calls were part of an effort to soften Gates' image in Washington, they didn't work. "I don't think they get it," says Republican Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio, chairman...

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