By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers.
If you didn't know that the two-war Pentagon was operating on shoestring, here's the latest evidence. Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has just canceled his annual Christmas party. The chief has just sent out cards announcing that he and his wife have decided to "forego their holiday reception this year" in light of the "trying financial times." The Mullens had been famous for welcoming friends and associates during back-to-back parties at their decked-out Foggy Bottom digs. The parties drew an eclectic mix of Pentagon brass, federal lawmakers, foreign military attachés, journalists, and stars bound for the annual USO Christmas tour for troops overseas. Last year, musician Kid Rock mingled among several dozen guests enjoying heavy hors d'oeuvres and a glass or two of their fave beverage while military singers and musicians dazzled with an array of holiday classics. According to the card, shown above, the Mullens will host a small gathering for wounded service members, their families, and the families of the fallen. So far, Mullen is the only one taking such drastic action as Wall Street, Main Street, and the incoming Obama administration grapple with job losses, evaporating retirement accounts, and depressed consumer sentiment.