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Washington Whispers

December 2006


Bacon and Books Rule Arkansas

He's lost 110 pounds, written the book on middle-age healthcare, and even teamed with old foe Bill Clinton to urge kids off Coke and Big Macs, but the truth is bacon still rules outgoing Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's life. The proof is in the pudding, or at least the casserole. It's right there in ...

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Enough Already: It's Still McCain

Despite a flurry of reports that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani are surging in the 2008 presidential primary race, many Republican strategists believe that Sen. John McCain remains in firm control of the contest. "He's doing everything right, has the ...

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Democrats Hiring Up for Investigations

Evidence continues to mount that the new Democratic majority plans to investigate the war, energy policy, and other Bush policies, as key committees have begun hiring lawyer-investigators whose job will be to probe the administration. In the House, for example, the Appropriations Committee under

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St. Nancy: Patron of Chick Speakers

It's not every day that a woman is elected House speaker-in fact it's never happened-so incoming House boss Nancy Pelosi is planning to make the most of it.

Aides say she has mapped out a victory lap leading to her January 4 election that both touches on her blue-collar, Catholic, and ...

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Oh, No! It's Out With the Bow

First his dancing shoes and now his bow tie? Yup, Tucker Carlson, host of MSNBC's Tucker and a brief contestant on Dancing With the Stars, has gone traditional. "I ditched the bow tie for the same reason most men make profound life decisions: on a whim," he says. "After 20 years I was looking for a ...

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A D.C. Fan Calls It: the Saints by 3

We laughed when Katrina cleanup czar Donald Powell told us last summer: "You can write that on August 22 I predicted that the Saints will make the playoffs." Well, the New Orleans fan is the one laughing now, as the team is indeed headed to the post-season. His new prediction: The Saints will face ...

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The Future of Politics in an iPod

It wasn't long ago that we told you of how the Democrats and Republicans were preparing a new way to reach voters in 2008 through their mobile technology and iPods. Well, now we know why. Republican pollster David Winston tells us that new research found that 40 percent of 2006 voters ages 18 to 34 ...

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More Than Dad, Less Than Bubba

President Bush has kept Air Force One pretty busy in his six years, but Washington's pre-eminent expert on presidential travel says that at his current foreign travel rate, Bush won't best his predecessor. "He's creeping up on Clinton's record," says CBS Radio's White House correspondent Mark ...

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Truth or Fiction? It's Hard to Tell

Here's the scene: A conservative president, say President Bush, is getting ready to be replaced by a liberal, say Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, after a crisis like something worse than 9/11. The nation's national security team is worried that the nation is going to pot. So much so that the heads of ...

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Outloud

"At this pace, without recurrent access to the reserve components, through remobilization, we will break the active component."

Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army chief of staff, in lingo meant to say more active-duty soldiers are needed

"I'd like to see him under oath."

Matt Damon, a star in a new ...

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Links of the Week: Barneycam Rules The Net

And now our weekly choice of web links. Up first has to be Barneycam, the yearly Christmastime feature this year also featuring Miss Beazley, the first family's younger scotty. I mean Dolly Parton and Emmit Smith. Who could resist? Then there's the new thriller about the creation of the CIA. You ...

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Off to Auction: Limousine One

Talk about a belated Christmas present with a wow factor. If you can wait a few weeks and have up to $1 million to burn, the first armored presidential limo—built for FDR—is going up for auction to the highest bidder. The 1942 Lincoln, which also lugged Harry S. Truman around, has been in private ...

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Barney Makes Way for Miss Beazley

Another White House Christmas party for the media has come and gone, and last night's ranks right up there with the best. The Bushes stood for two hours; top aides like Tony Snow and Dan Bartlett made the rounds and the food was great.

I went with my daughter, Maddy, who last went to a White House ...

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The Media's Underbelly

Those in the South Dakota political communications world have seen the media's dark side in the coverage of ailing Sen. Tim Johnson, and they don't like it.

Like every reporter in town today, I called around some South Dakota political offices to see what was happening on the story and got an earful ...

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Mr. Word Blasts GOP Communication

Nobody does Republican words better than political adviser Frank Luntz. Heck, he's written the book on words. But he says Republicans have lost their silver tongue and that's the main reason they lost the 2006 elections.

In a new memo to congressional Republicans obtained by Whispers, he spells out ...

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Merry 'Holiday' Party at the White House

Well, they still don't hate me at the White House. Want proof? I, and probably a zillion other Washington reporters, got an invite to a Bush "holiday" reception.

Excuse me for blushing, but this is one of the coolest things still going in official Washington. First, you get to act like a socialite ...

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From Fatty to TKE

Forget Skull and Bones. Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is going TKE–Tau Kappa Epsilon. The fraternity is initiating Huckabee into their fold tomorrow in Little Rock, reports our Suzi Parker. Why Huckabee?

"He is, of course, a very impressive man, a dignified public servant. We look to men of high ...

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A Second Act in Cyberspace

Tom DeLay's back, this time on the Internet. Friends tell us that the powerful former House majority leader, dubbed the "Hammer" for his tough persuasion tactics, this week unveils TomDeLay.com, where he'll blog—DeLay's Daily—on newsy issues and build a coalition he's calling Grassroots, Action,

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Getting Mushy in His Fine Old Age

Those weren't tears of pain former President Bush shed last week during a tribute to his son Jeb, Florida's outgoing governor. Just the opposite. Family friends say the old guy is getting more emotional and has been prone to joyful crying jags when bragging on his kids. And—bless his heart—he ...

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What's Wrong? Don't You Trust Us?

"Oh, no you won't" is the reaction of cops and other first responders to an almost rude FBI decision to ask its Joint Terrorism Task Force members to take a lie detector test. To the FBI, it's a smart move: Since 9/11, the task force of federal and local officials has expanded to some 1,500 in over ...

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Has King Karl Lost His Magic Touch?

It's an ugly rumor, but it's spreading like wildfire: Karl Rove has lost his touch. In an amazing betrayal within a family where top political aide Rove is royalty, Bushies have been sneering at his pre-election happy talk that the gop would keep the Senate and take a slight hit in the House, both ...

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Another Contract With America

A chief architect of the 1994 GOP Contract With America that helped to end Democratic control in Washington is back with some ideas on how to return Republicans to power. Pollster and wordmeister Frank Luntz's simple message for the losers in the last election: Fess up you were wrong, stop wasting ...

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Worth the Paper It's Printed On

The job of Charles Allen, head of the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence office and a 40-year CIA vet, is keeping secrets. Except his own. In a town where the information on the business cards of government honchos is normally meaningless, Allen's is remarkably forthcoming. We know ...

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80 and Rocking Out to His iPod Nano

Here's an old dog who can learn new tricks: 80-year-old Rep. John Dingell, who just got an iPod nano and loves it. The most senior House member has an age-appropriate iTunes list he blasts from his iPod: Gilbert and Sullivan show tunes, marches, and Tchaikovsky ballets. The incoming chair of the ...

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Outloud

"To show you how important this one is, I read it."

President Bush, on the blockbuster Baker-Hamilton report that called for major changes in Iraq policy

"Being a former president does not give one a unique privilege to invent information."

Kenneth Stein, Emory University professor who ...

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Is Vilsack the Don of '08?

It's not often you hear presidential candidates make orphan jokes, but since he is one, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack has earned a certain right. It came today during a policy-heavy interview with U.S. News at his Washington campaign offices, where he has been hosting lots of media during his first-week ...

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It's Not Maple Syrup Dean's Out Selling

His loudmouthed inside-the-beltway boors are still booing Democratic boss Howard Dean, despite the party's strong election showing, but they're eating him up like sweet Vermont maple syrup in Canada and overseas. Party bigs say the former Vermont guv is headed to Europe to cheer on liberal parties ...

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Dems in? Lobbyists Win—No Problem!

The switch in Congress and promises by Democrats to swamp the administration with investigations and subpoenas are boosting K Street's bottom line. Lobbying and PR firms report up to a 25 percent surge in spending by worried firms, especially those in the defense, drug, and energy worlds expecting ...

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It's 'Rewrite' for the Bible of Politics

Our colleague and columnist Michael Barone is back to rewriting the Bible—er, the bible of politics that is. As the chief author of The Almanac of American Politics, Barone updates after every federal election. But with the Democrats taking control of the House and Senate and with about 30 new ...

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A Guy With a Whole Lot of Questions

Here's one thing the Department of Homeland Security can expect when Democrats take control of the Congress this January: Questions, and lots of 'em, from Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat taking the reins of the House Homeland Security Committee. At one point this year, Thompson had ...

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For TV, a Mile-High Summer Nightmare

Here's another reason the Big Apple is looking as if it will beat Denver to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention. TV networks—yes, they still run the show—are whining about how hard it will be to drag crews and gear to the Mile High City after wrapping up coverage of the Summer Olympics in ...

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Bush Legacy? Uh, Let's Wait on That

Now here's a real shocker. The Bushies aren't eager to start talking legacy about their prez yet. "Really," says one, "he's not obsessed with his legacy." Aides describe President Bush as the polar opposite of former President Bill Clinton, who was reportedly focused on his legacy the minute he was ...

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Outloud

"How about some wild sex?"

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a humorous webcast recorded but never aired, on things he's asked his wife for

"You can always blame it on President Bush if it makes you feel better."

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the incoming Senate Republican leader, on what ...

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Life as a GOP Slave

We've been hearing for days about a very funny yet sad tale of a Senate Republican aide's hellish experience doing get-out-the-vote efforts for now evicted Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee. It's been making the rounds in GOP circles and now we've got it. In exchange for authenticating it, we agreed ...

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It's Really a Hallmark

We just got the annual White House Christmas card from the first family and, yes, it's really a Hallmark. The stamp is right there on the back. This year's choice is an oil painting of the Oval Office done by James Blake. And in case my photo of the inside isn't clear enough, it reads:

Thy word is a ...

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