Cussing's no stranger to the Bush White House
Vice President Dick Cheney doesn't own the market on swearwords like the F-bomb he dropped on Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy. Turns out President Bush has quite the mouth, following in a rich tradition of cussing presidents. "He uses the 'F' word as an adjective, a verb, and a noun," says one adviser. Ditto for the "S" word. But not often in anger. "It's more conversational," adds the insider, "like how guys talk." In a White House that prides itself on self-control, Bush doesn't swear much in the Oval Office and never in front of his wife or new acquaintances. "It's less in the Oval than other places. The more relaxed he gets, the more he uses it," another associate says. A Clinton-Gore aide says Bubba and his veep did the same. "They were very mindful of where they were," says the aide. Like past presidents, Bush is unapologetic about his cussing. In fact, when Democrats called on Cheney to apologize to Leahy, whom he crudely put down last month, it was Bush who blocked him. "Bush said, 'You said it, so don't back away from it,' " an associate says
A Case For Nanook Of The North
If Sen. John McCain sets sail at year's end for Antarctica, it won't be because the White House has succeeded in muzzling the call-'em-as-he-sees-'em lawmaker who considered running as John Kerry 's veep before climbing onto the Bush-Cheney train. It'll be because McCain's concerned about the plight of the Adelies, probably the most famous of all penguins. Seems many of the tuxedoed birds with the funny waddle are finding food scarce, thanks to global warming. McCain wants to find out if sea ice is melting away and, with it, the habitat for the Bud Ice, Kool, and Penguin Books mascot. Associates tell us that McCain was taken with recent testimony about the warming Adelie homeland and has since asked the National Science Foundation to get him to Antarctica's remote Palmer Station for a look-see. It would be a good bookend for another trip he's taking next month, to the Arctic island of Spitsbergen to size up the impact of climate change up north. To help, look for McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman to reintroduce legislation iced last year to cut carbon-dioxide emissions.
Calling The Shots
Sen. John Kerry 's leaving nothing to chance. Not only did he spend time at his Pittsburgh farm last week drafting his convention speech in between Frisbee throws to his German shepherd, Kim; he even worked on the party platform. Kerry didn't think it focused enough on veterans and community service--both considered GOP issues--so he wrote his own positions. "He wants his party to speak to military families and veterans the way it did under Truman and Kennedy," said an ally. And when Kerry was told that national service doesn't poll well, the insider quoted him saying, "It's going in the platform." Result: The issues take up the largest space in the platform.
Readying a fight with Democrats accusing him of ethics hanky-panky, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has rehired the consigliere who beat racketeering charges against the Republican. Ed Bethune 's job: Scuttle a politically charged case prompted by DeLay's help in redrawing Texas congressional districts to add five GOP seats. "He fixes things, if you know what I mean," says a DeLay friend.
Running While Black
First there was driving while black. Now there's running while black. At least that's the way it looks to some lawmakers who think the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is racist. We hear that the Congressional Black Caucus is likely to call for an investigation into how the agency picks its targets and whether it has a whites-only hiring practice for staff. The USADA says the charges are unfounded: Fewer than a quarter of the athletes it has sanctioned for drug use are black. Of its 34 staff, 23 are women, though only two of nine top officials are black.
Rummy's Big Foot
Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld has done it again. Just days after the White House brokered a deal to end a stalemate over Sen. John McCain 's probe of a costly Air Force plan to lease air refueling tankers, Rumsfeld seems to have derailed it. Congressional aides said he is again trying to limit what documents about the deal the senators can see. If the SecDef doesn't play ball, McCain and others are likely to subpoena the papers.
We hate to admit it, but not all lawyers stink. Take those at the legal and lobby outfit Greenberg Traurig. They've raised $22,000 and counting to send 1,000 care packages to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany. G-T's Washington rep, Joe Reeder, a former Army under secretary, called it Operation Grateful. He said the firm polled families for what the troops want. Soft toilet paper was No. 1. But just as important were Beanie Babies because troops in Iraq and Afghanistan like to give them to kids.
Not only is President Bush skipping a long summer break to campaign; the whole Republican Party has junked the practice of standing down during the Democratic convention. Besides airing ads in battleground states during the Democratic confab, the GOP will kick off a national community-service drive called "Compassion Across America" in every state.
The cartoonists are coming, the cartoonists are coming. That's the story in Paul Revere 's hometown of Boston during the Democratic National Convention. A huge exhibit of political cartoons from 35 artists, including 19 Pulitzer winners, will be hosted at Boston's Suffolk University by the school and the John Joseph Moakley Archive and Institute. But it's not all GOP-bashing at the gallery right off Boston Common. The cartoons are evenly split between the parties. "It seems," said Boston Globe cartoonist Dan Wasserman, "to be an equal-opportunity collection of insults."
Treasury Secretary John Snow hates to leave his mutt, Gus, at home, but the pup probably wouldn't mind if his master made a return trip to Anchorage. That's because Snow last week ended a business trip at Arctic Paws, maker of salmon dog treats called Yummy Chummies. In his thank-you note to owners Brett and Kelly Gibson, who gave him some samples, Snow said, "I know Gus will be grateful for the treats." We're told he was.
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With Julian E. Barnes
This story appears in the July 12, 2004 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.