Maybe Souter's the 'Male Harriet Miers'
In the fight over Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, a lot of really nasty stuff has been said about Justice David Souter as critics try to draw a sharply negative comparison with President Bush 's pick. Namely: Souter was a Republican unknown whose political friends conned former President George H. W. Bush into naming him to the court, where he blossomed into an embarrassing moderate liberal. Conservative Phyllis Schafly sneers that Miers is a "female Souter." Or maybe he's a male Miers: Both are single, in their 60s, frugal, and workaholics. What would happen if Cupid strikes in the court, some ask?
Silly issues, all, say Souter's few allies who'll talk. He isn't paying attention to how Miers's critics are hooking the two together, they say. "I pay little attention to this kind of foolishness, and I don't think he does either," says former New Hampshire Sen. Warren Rudman, Souter's rabbi in the 1990 confirmation. Blasted as a political Trojan horse by even party elders, Souter evidently is ignoring all the harsh words, and friends say he's probably not even aware of the flap. The abstemious justice watches little TV, skips court stories in the media, and devotes all his energy to his work. "That's David," says a friend. "If I told him about what people were saying, he'd say, 'What? I didn't know that.' " Souter's pal pauses, chuckles, then adds: "We should all be so lucky."
Mel's Passion--to Be Wrong
The man who brought religion to the big screen with The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson, is jumping back into the fray with his first-ever book endorsement, we hear. Friends say he's promoting the new book The Right to Be Wrong: Ending the Culture War Over Religion in America. The basic premise: When it comes to dealing with religion in public, you don't have to be right. In an E-mail provided to Whispers from the Becket Fund, a religious liberties legal group, Gibson says, "Making The Passion of the Christ taught me many things. One was just how scared some Americans are of religion in public. The Right to Be Wrong explains why they are scared and why they don't have to be."
Girls Rule in Dee Dee Myers's World
Just in time for the upcoming 2008 election, former President Clinton's spokeswoman, Dee Dee Myers, tells us she's planning to release a new book: Why Women Should Rule the World. "I love guys," she says, "but y'all haven't done that well." Published by William Morrow, it'll be less about soccer moms and more about female strategies in business and government. Or, in TV terms, "I like to think that we're evolving from Desperate Housewives to Commander in Chief. "
Riding the Rails With Old '41'
Forget those ad-wrapped city buses and VW Beetles: Former President George H. W. Bush has something much bigger to promote his Texas library and museum fundraising efforts. Tipsters say that Union Pacific Railroad has just finished painting a new locomotive in presidential colors and numbering it 4141 in honor of Bush, the 41st president. The paint job looks like Air Force One and includes the seal of Bush's museum, which is set to open a new train exhibit. The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum will help to unveil it this week and then use it for a November fundraising tour to Dallas. Union Pacific will then put it on the Houston-to-Fort Worth run.
Lt. Bob Dole Called Back Into Service
One of the nation's most recognizable veterans, Sen. Bob Dole, is still living by the military man's credo: Never leave a soldier behind. The World War II Army platoon leader this week joins Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to urge American firms to hire war veterans. Labor officials have created a site, hirevetsfirst.gov, to facilitate linking employers with job seekers.
Sunday TV Looks Like The Man Show
The White House Project, which really wants a woman as president, tells us what many already know: Guys rule Sunday talk shows. Women represent just 14 percent of the guests on the gabfests. We asked the project to break it down further. This is what they found for the November 2004-July 2005 period. Secretary of State Condi Rice was tops, with 10 appearances. Next: Sen. Dianne Feinstein with seven appearances, followed by Time writer Karen Tumulty and Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Jane Harman at six. The top guy: Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, with 18 appearances. What's a girl to do? The project has built SheSource.org, which lists female experts for TV.
Cross This Off Your Christmas List
Ex-CIA operative Gary Bernsten is about to go to war with the CIA, which is holding up publication of his memoir, Jawbreaker, about the CIA team he led in Afghanistan that chased Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora. It's SOP that the CIA clear books by former spooks, but Bernsten thinks they want it dead because he says the agency knew bin Laden was in Tora Bora but missed him. Lawyer Roy Krieger is preparing to sue Langley for $1 million in lost but anticipated pre-Christmas sales. Settle down, says the CIA: Books as long as Bernsten's 300-pager take time to review.
Return to Sender, Dipped in Acid
You can bet that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee won't be sending fundraising letters to Republican Connecticut General Assembly leader Robert Ward again. Ward got a letter blasting Republicans for "arrogance and corruption" from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. He answered it. First he agreed that abuse of power is wrong and listed five local lawmakers caught doing bad things. "All the legislators I mention have one important thing in common with you, congresswoman," he penned. "They are all Democrats." The DCCC didn't stand down, saying that if he isn't upset with GOP corruption, "the question Connecticut voters should be asking," said spokesman Bill Burton, "is, 'Why isn't he?' "
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With Suzi Parker and Kevin Whitelaw
This story appears in the October 24, 2005 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.