By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Now that the House has approved healthcare reform, the floodgates are opening for action on other pressing issues. Among them is settling the rum war between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. At issue: Diageo PLC, the makers of Captain Morgan rum, is moving its operations from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands, which offered a sweetened deal to the British firm. Puerto Rico, however, is fighting back and now wants Congress to intervene. And it has become a blood match between the lobbyists and PR firms representing the two sides. The latest: Edelman, the Virgin Islands' influential publicity team, stepped in and successfully killed a local Washington TV report about Puerto Rico's latest moves in the duel. "The U.S.V.I. decided enough is enough. It wanted to tell its side of the story," says Edelman's Chris Hayes, though there was no new Virgin Islands angle. The Hill's Susan Crabtree, who was featured in the TV report, says the move "shows how there is a lot of money at stake for both sides."