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Washington Whispers

May 2007


Thompson Will Get In Next Week

The fast-moving Fred Thompson for president campaign will take its first step toward joining the 2008 GOP race next week, when the actor and former senator will announce that he's testing the waters for a White House bid.

"That's the technical, legal thing we have to do to begin raising money and ...

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TAGS:
Thompson, Fred
2008 presidential election

MySpace Is Not Your Space at Work

It's been over three years since a House staffer scandalized Capitol Hill by blogging about her sexual exploits with staffers, but there are still no universal rules barring aides from blogging about their jobs on their work or home computers. "It's crazy, and we have to do something about it,"

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TAGS:
Congress
internet

A Green Light for Late Entries

Pollster John Zogby is helping us again, this time on determining if possible late entrants into the presidential race like Republican Newt Gingrich or Democrat Al Gore can really wait until September or later to jump in. His view: You betcha. "Gingrich can wait until the fall," Zogby says,

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TAGS:
Zogby, John
2008 presidential election

Hooked on Idol and Star Gwen Stefani

Turns out that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is just like a lot of us. She's a sucker for product placement. An American Idol fan, she fell for pop megastar Gwen Stefani when the platinum blond took over the coaching job for an Idol show. We're told Rice ran out and got one of Gwen's cds,

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TAGS:
Rice, Condoleezza

Museum-Boss-in-Chief Heads Home

The archivist who has brought us two of the hippest presidential libraries and museums-those of former Presidents Bush and Clinton-is retiring to direct the Museum of Mobile in Alabama. "You know when it's your time to move on," David Alsobrook tells us. For nearly 30 years, the National Archives ...

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Get Ready to Grill Your Lawmaker

Aides in House and Senate offices report that groups opposed to the immigration bill now before the Senate are warning that they plan to flood town hall meetings during the Memorial Day recess. One top leadership aide said that groups were contacting members' offices to get the times and places of ...

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TAGS:
Congress
immigration reform

Make Room, Simon, for Idol's Margaret

JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WR Even nerdy Washington has caught American Idol fever as the show enters its spectacular finale showdown between 17-year-old Jordin Sparks and beat-box guy Blake Lewis. Of course, the first family, who endorsed the show's massive "Idol Gives Back" fundraiser, will check ...

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TAGS:
Spellings, Margaret

Bush's Summer Hires Targeted

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a little trick up his sleeve that could spell an end to President Bush's devilish recess appointments of controversial figures like former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton. We hear that over the long August vacation, when those types of summer hires are ...

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TAGS:
Reid, Harry
Bush, George W.

Finally Dating After Long Separation

They haven't had their first kiss yet, but the White House is learning that dinner and a drink make it a lot easier to address tough issues with Congress. We're told that after years of giving Congress the cold shoulder, the White House is issuing more invitations to private gatherings. And members ...

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TAGS:
White House
Congress

Secrets Spilled in Private Spy Case

Thanks to a $2 million lawsuit, we're getting the first peek ever into the world of Washington's private eyes. These are firms that not only act like mini CIAs but also work with the feds and even rogue nations to dig up secrets and lies. The case features a prominent author and TV pundit on ...

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Full Speed Ahead in the East Wing

It's a long way from the deck of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter to the East Wing, but new White House Usher Stephen Rochon, a retired Coast Guard rear admiral, is finding great similarities in keeping both shipshape. "My background made me suited for this," says Rochon, who started in March as only the ...

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TAGS:
White House

Presidential Pizza Guy Does It Again

For two straight years, Dennis Tran has been Domino Pizza's speed king, and the Washington area pie tosser is giving the White House a little credit. Tran used to run the store closest to the White House, a big customer (the Bush crowd likes pepperoni). Speed was the theme when those orders came ...

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TAGS:
White House

Secret to Smoking Like a President

JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WRIt was election night 1992, and the popular Georgetown Tobacco shop was busy with political aides looking for one stogie brand: Paul Garmirian, a fave of former Presidents Bush and Clinton. "The Democrats were buying them to celebrate," recalls Garmirian, "and the ...

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Charming the Grouchy CIA

By most accounts, the cia's new boss, Gen. Michael Hayden, inherited a grumpy agency beaten up in the aftermath of 9/11. Now insiders tell us that morale is edging up. And they credit Hayden's charm offensive for the change. His technique: Hayden sends out regular E-mails to staff boasting about ...

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TAGS:
Hayden, Michael
CIA

A President's Day Nominee in 2008

The rushed 2008 presidential race, already pedal to the metal earlier than ever before, is starting to look as though it could produce likely nominees as early as mid-February 2008. That's more than six months before the actual nominating conventions. The reason: Big states, like Florida and ...

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TAGS:
2008 presidential election
primaries

New Is Old in the Bush Kitchen

It looks as if all those criticisms two years ago that first lady Laura Bush dumped her Clinton-era chef not because she disliked his style but just to put her stamp on the White House kitchen are proving true. Because at last week's state dinner for Queen Elizabeth, chef Cris Comerford produced a ...

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TAGS:
Bush, Laura
White House

Prince Philip's Rule on Lapel Pins

It turns out that a friend of Whispers was part of the greeting committee for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip when they visited Virginia's 400-year-old Jamestown last week. Richmonder L.Ray Ashworth, a former House delegate who's the chairman emeritus of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of ...

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The Maestro and His Blockbuster

Alan Greenspan's upcoming memoir is already causing a stir in publishing circles, where it's expected to top the sales of any modern life story. It had better: Penguin paid $8.5 million. And while those who've seen Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World have been sworn to secrecy, we're still ...

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TAGS:
Greenspan, Alan
books

Decanting 101: Pour It Back in the Bottle

Assistant White House Usher Daniel Shanks, the president's wine guru, offered us this trick to decanting fine wines. For a big California cab, for example, pour it out three hours early, but don't leave it in the decanter. "Pour it back in the bottle," he suggests. That gives it two shots of ...

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TAGS:
food and drink

Gentlemen, Start Your Lobbying

JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WRJon Kyl was a NASCAR fan long before he was a politician. The No. 3 GOP leader in the Senate, he recalls his days as an official track observer in the 1960s at Phoenix International Raceway. "You call the race in your part of the track," he says. Now, as the Senate ...

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TAGS:
Kyl, Jon
Senate
sports

America—and Big Cash—Beckon Blair

Move over, David Beckham: Another Brit is heading our way to cash in, just like the soccer star did. Retiring British Prime Minister Tony Blair plans to hit the lecture tour in the United States before or after he sets up a foundation to fund humanitarian work in Africa. He should do well: Yanks ...

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TAGS:
Blair, Tony
United States

House Oversight Back With a Roar

When the Democrats took over Congress this year, they renamed a few committees, messing up some old acronyms. But at least one turned out for the better. Rep. Henry Waxman's team renamed the House Government Reform Committee: It's now the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The new ...

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TAGS:
Congress
Waxman, Henry

Citadel Battle: Locks or Honor

The Citadel's decision to install locks on its barrack doors in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre has some alums concerned it mocks the storied school's honor code. While female cadets already have locks on their doors, reaction to slapping them on men's dorms has been mixed. "We've been ...

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TAGS:
school shootings

The Troops Petition: Let's Finish the Job

A couple of military guys in Iraq have found a way to speak up for completing the mission there without getting into any trouble. Navy Lt. Jason Nichols and Staff Sgt. David Thul from the Minnesota Army National Guard have rolled out an Internet petition to finish the job. Nichols tells us that his ...

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TAGS:
Iraq war (2003-2011)
Congress

Cowabunga: Turtle Power Returning

Just like the return of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after a 14-year absence from the silver screen, real live pet turtles might soon be making a comeback after an even longer 32-year wait. What, you didn't know that those small turtles you kept in a plastic aquarium as a kid are banned by the ...

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TAGS:
Landrieu, Mary
pets

Out Loud

"You have got to be kidding."

Mitt Romney, a GOP presidential candidate, asked at last week's debate if Bill Clinton should return as first spouse

"You can pay an escort to come to your home, get naked, and get a massage, and you haven't broken any laws, assuming you stay on

your stomach."

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TAGS:
Romney, Mitt
Clinton, Hillary

We Should Be Experts on Queen Visits

Queen Elizabeth's visit to the United States and site of the first Virginia colony is getting breathless media attention. But you'd think we'd be used to her visits by now. The White House Historical Association reminded me that she's been here five times before: 1939, 1951, 1957, 1976, and 1991.

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TAGS:
Elizabeth II