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Washington Whispers

February 2007


Eat the Press

Horton's Kids is a great little charity that helps poor children in Washington's crummy neighborhoods get some tutoring, mentoring, and even healthcare.

And while it doesn't get much press, the media seem to love it. At least, that's the impression from the group's Second Annual Silent Auction being ...

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TAGS:
journalism

Little Miss Susie for President

Today, the Children's Defense Fund will field its own presidential candidate–Susie Flynn. The goal is a big one: using Flynn to promote the fund's bid to get healthcare for all of the 9 million uninsured kids in the country. At a press conference, fund officials will show off the "Elect Susie" ads ...

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TAGS:
children
health insurance

The PowerPoint as Running Mate

JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WRMitt Romney, the former Bay State guv now running third in the gop presidential sweepstakes, doesn't use a BlackBerry or even carry a cellphone. But that's not to say he's not a techie geek. In fact, he's proving to be just the kind of wonk that would make Microsoft's Bill ...

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TAGS:
Romney, Mitt
2008 presidential election

Could Al Gore Bankroll His Bid?

If you're wondering why, despite his denials, Al Gore remains the most talked about nonpresidential candidate, it's this: His friends think he's done so well in the private world that he could bankroll the start of his own 2008 bid. "If Al Gore wants to run, he will come with all the means ...

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TAGS:
Gore, Al

This Candidate Is Used to Running

It doesn't look as if we'll be seeing Sen. Barack Obama, among the leanest Democrats running for the presidency, hanging out at McDonald's. That's because he's big on exercise and healthy eating. "He exercises every day," says an insider. Obama's a runner and a regular on the treadmill. The ...

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TAGS:
Obama, Barack
exercise and fitness

Once Again in the Line of Fire

Can a prosecutor go on to become president? Well, that's what fans of tv prosecutor Arthur Branch, aka former Sen. Fred Thompson, hope. We hear that his buddies are strongly urging him to jump into the already packed gop race. "The draft- Fred movement grows," says one ally, citing several blogs ...

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TAGS:
Thompson, Fred
2008 presidential election

A New Rambo, but the Same Ending

Suicide attacks dominate the headlines, but here's one that didn't happen. A U.S. Army officer in Afghanistan reports that last month a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden Toyota Corolla up to an Army base in Kabul, where an Afghan nicknamed "Rambo" was guarding the gate. Rambo wears an ...

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TAGS:
Afghanistan
Army

United by Lipstick to Fight Violence

Avon is joining Mary Kay February 27 to demand Congress fund the Violence Against Women Act. And note to lawmakers not into this program: Running when you see one of Mary Kay's pink brigade won't work. Avon's got some 5 million worldwide agents who dress just like you.

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TAGS:
Congress

A Scandal for the Silver Screen

From our Buzz Etc. files: There's talk that outted cia operative Valerie Plame's story may hit the silver screen. It all started when she was spotted lunching with actress Morgan Fairchild and hubby Joe Wilson. cia types say her book has been iced in the clearance process, so the quickest way to ...

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TAGS:
Plame, Valerie

A Nasty Habit, All Snuffed Out

He was among Congress's heaviest smokers, but now former Majority Leader Dick Armey has given up his Carlton menthol 100s. "I was just thinking about my wife one day," he tells us, "and I realized that of all the things I could do on this Earth that would make her happy is to quit smoking." Just ...

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TAGS:
Armey, Dick
smoking and tobacco

Amazing Grace, the Movement Movie

JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WRDon't call the new release Amazing Grace just another political thriller. What was once billed as an educational movie is fast becoming the model for bipartisanship. For weeks the hottest flick in the political and religious underground, Amazing Grace debuts at the White ...

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TAGS:
movies

This Supreme Court Stuff Is Hard Work

He didn't use the word lazy, but that was Sen. Arlen Specter's suggestion when he asked Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy if taking two months off in summer limited the number of cases heard by the high court. "I don't think my colleagues would say we are under-worked," says Kennedy.

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TAGS:
Kennedy, Anthony
Supreme Court

Shaming Those Wimpy D.C. Drivers

OK, so Washingtonians can't drive in the snow. But do we have to be sneered at by smug snow senators like Vermont's Patrick Leahy? On a day last week when a few inches shut down much of the District, Leahy opened a committee hearing with some Green Mountain State chest-pounding. "A little snow's ...

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TAGS:
Leahy, Pat

Jackie to Joan: Rein In Your Man

Kennedy buffs rejoice: What's thought to be the biggest-ever cache of JFK and Jackie O memorabilia is heading to auction, including a racy letter from Jackie to Sen. Edward Kennedy's former wife, Joan, urging her to rein in her wandering hubby, a life preserver from jfk's sailboat Victura, and the ...

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TAGS:
Kennedy, Ted

The Book on the Mormon Problem

The big debate is finally here: Will Mitt Romney's Mormonism kill him in the mainstream Christian-voting gop presidential primaries? We think we've got a source who knows: conservative pundit and radio host Hugh Hewitt. "He, and the country, definitely have a 'Mormon problem,'" Hewitt tells us,

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TAGS:
Mormonism
Romney, Mitt

On the Court: Two Down, One to Go

The White House is still holding out hope that it will have a chance to name a third justice to the Supreme Court and cement its conservative tilt for generations to come. "We need one more on the Supreme Court," says a Bushie who was instrumental in getting Chief Justice John G. Roberts and ...

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TAGS:
Supreme Court

Out Loud

"My answer to him is, 'Look, don't pay attention to it. I'm doing fine.' "

President Bush, offering advice to his father, the former president, who gets emotional when his son is criticized

"It is like sending your sweetheart Valentine's Day roses with divorce papers."

Rep. Tom Feeney, Florida ...

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TAGS:
Bush, George W.
Iraq war (2003-2011)

Old Media Pillaged

It's about time the Washington Post, Roll Call, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Times put filters on their switchboards to block calls from Politico.com and the Washington Examiner. That's because we hear that the Examiner and Politico have a bunch more top jobs to fill, and it's those ...

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TAGS:
media
TSA

Nobody Does It to the Dems Like Newt

JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WRHe's back. A conservative back-bencher who fired up a lackluster GOP and grabbed victory in 1994, Newt Gingrich is being tapped by the newly out-of-power group to help map a return trip. "Unlike anyone else in the party," says a prominent gop insider, "Newt knows how to ...

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TAGS:
Gingrich, Newt
Republican Party

Evangelical Vote: Down to Two

The race to win the Christian-right vote has already narrowed to a battle between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, say activists. And for many at this month's closed-door summit of the Council for National Policy—a top-secret club of marquee conservative ...

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TAGS:
Huckabee, Mike
Romney, Mitt
religion

Better Than a Suggestion Box

Being the new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee hasn't gone to Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson's head. In fact, it's prompted him to become even more of a man of the people: He's offering his own kind of whistle-blower protection for the Transportation Security Agency. The ...

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TAGS:
TSA

Kissing Up Wasn't His Approach

So it turns out that President Bush's new Central Command chief, Adm. William "Fox" Fallon, was barely in the running for the job when Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, first drew up his list. Until, that is, Bush met with Fallon, then head of Pacific Command, during a fueling ...

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TAGS:
Fallon, William

She Was Their First Lady After All

It's been painfully long since Hillary Rodham Clinton spent time in Arkansas, where she once served as first lady, but the locals hold no grudges. The New York senator's visit there earlier this month came because Bill Clinton's stepfather died and there was a funeral in his childhood home of Hot ...

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TAGS:
Clinton, Hillary
Arkansas

The 110th: Diverse and Out of Uniform

Congress isn't just for lawyers and business types anymore. It's fast becoming home to former sheriffs, pages, Peace Corps volunteers, and blue-collar folks like meat cutters. Longtime Congressional Research Service Hill profiler Mildred Amer finds several firsts in the Democratic-controlled House ...

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TAGS:
Congress

Out Loud

"Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone?"

Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, decrying the $4 billion the United States sent to Iraq to pay for goods after the invasion

"That's such a w aste of time right now ... I ...

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TAGS:
Obama, Barack
Iraq war (2003-2011)

Newsflash: Hillary Can Smile

Thursday night's book party and 50th birthday bash for former Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe was notable for many reasons. The most prominent: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton smiled for over 20 minutes.

As McAuliffe and his wife bragged on about their life and friends, mostly Hillary, she ...

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TAGS:
Clinton, Hillary
McAuliffe, Terry
books

Now Warming Up, Hillary the Comic

When Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton last month popped off a funny seemingly aimed at her hubby—"What in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?"—many didn't believe her aides who claimed it proved she's a jokester. "People just don't want to believe that ...

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TAGS:
Clinton, Hillary

And if Elected, He Won't Serve

There's been a lot of buzz lately that smooth communicator Tony Snow ought to run for office once he leaves President Bush's employ. It started when the press secretary began campaigning for Republicans and has heated up with his rounds in gop circles to suggest better ways to communicate—and win.

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TAGS:
Snow, Tony

Grave Sale: Personal Effects

Auctions commonly follow death, but it's rare—we hope—that parts of the deceased are bid away along with their personal effects. That will be the case at the next online auction from our friends at Alexander Autographs, the big trafficker in political and celeb mementos. The February 24 and 25

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Almost as Good as Being in Baghdad

When Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus got the Iraq assignment, it meant another star, and his wife had a very special plan. The daughter of a four-star herself, she'd pin her dad's fourth star on her hubby. One prob: The change-of-command ceremony happens in Baghdad. Well, thanks to a suggestion from ...

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TAGS:
Petraeus, David

A Win No Matter What the Outcome

Here's an "only in Washington" tidbit: Former Cheney aide and cia leak case target Lewis "Scooter" Libby and former suspect Karl Rove use the same pr firm. But it didn't start out that way. Rove, accused by Libby's lawyers of hanging the former veep deputy out to dry, uses Mark Corollo, a former ...

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TAGS:
Rove, Karl
Libby, Lewis "Scooter"

Laura Loses to Family, Fishing

What's better than working for first lady Laura Bush? Well, in the case of spokeswoman Susan Whitson, it's starting a family and fishing. "I will miss working at the White House and with Mrs. Bush very much," she says. But time's up after handling questions for nearly two years. Her goal after ...

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TAGS:
White House

An Act of God or Good Connections?

It's about the time when colleges and universities send out feelers to potential graduation ceremony speakers, and it's no different at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. Well, almost. Its new president, Jim Towey, has connections—the kind that could get President Bush to come. He's the former ...

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TAGS:
Bush, George W.

The Colbert Gift Bag Challenge

Papa Bear, there's a problem with your Factor: Your faux rival gives better guest goodie bags. And we hear this from one of the regulars on Fox's O'Reilly Factor hosted by Bill O'Reilly. Jed Babbin, the new editor of Human Events, did a bit on Stephen Colbert's farcical Colbert Report last week and ...

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TAGS:
O'Reilly, Bill
Colbert, Stephen

Out Loud

"I'm not that good at pronouncing words anyway."

President Bush on criticism he left off the "ic" in his State of the Union address when referring to the "Democrat" majority

"Wait till Oscar night ... if Al Gore has slimmed down 25 or 30 pounds, Lord knows."

Donna Brazile, Gore's 2000 campaign ...

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TAGS:
Bush, George W.
Gore, Al
Cheney, Mary
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