A Modern-Day Thomas Jefferson?
Virginia Gov. Mark Warner is white-hot on the Democratic presidential circuit. A popular moderate in a southern state, he helped push successor Tim Kaine to victory in this month's elections and last week started his 2008 dance in New Hampshire. " Mark Warner, " says Virginia Rep. Tom Davis --a Republican--"is presidential material."
But it's not just his politics that have some Virginians humming "Hail to the Chief." Many see him as a contemporary Thomas Jefferson, a businessman and reluctant politician who dabbles in farming and winemaking at his Rappahannock Bend farm. "He's kind of a Renaissance man," says Virginia writer Walker Elliott Rowe, author of Wandering Through Virginia's Vineyards . At his farm, Warner grows 15 acres of grapes for nearby Ingleside Vineyards. They use the grapes in Ingleside wines and bottle a private Rappahannock Bend label that Warner offers at charity auctions. "The wines are very good," cheers owner Douglas Flemer, who also manages Warner's vineyard. He says Warner's wine roots could help in 2008. "The fact that he can say he's a grape grower," says Flemer, "could help in places like California." But Warner's team urges that we not take the Jeffersonian winemaker turned president comparison too seriously. "The governor jokes," says aide Ellen Qualls, "that the wine is good for charity auctions, not for drinking."
Still a Bargain at $150,000 Each
Sick and tired of losing experienced special forces to private security firms waving bricks of dollars at soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon recently offered $150,000 re-enlistment bonuses to SEAL s and Green Berets with 19 years or more of service. It worked. Gen. Doug Brown, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, reveals that 601 people took the tax-free bonus that expired last month. Don't choke on the price: Training one soldier tops $300,000.
In the Body Count War: U.S. Wins 25-1
Frustrated GOP lawmakers are desperate for President Bush to do more to show how troops are winning the war in Iraq, and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence has an idea: Tell how many insurgents the U.S. troops are killing, not just the American death toll. "This is football season," says the Republican, who takes time to mourn with constituents who lose family members in combat. "People want to know if we're winning or losing . . . what's the score." Fresh from a trip to Iraq, Pence says he knows the score: just over 2,000 Americans dead, compared with 50,000 to 60,000 enemy combatants.
They, Too, Will Speak--for a Price
In all the coverage of Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward 's surprise participation in the CIA- spy leak case came the revelation that he demands up to $50,000 a speech. That got us wondering what other notables ask. Some answers: ex-Democratic boss Terry McAuliffe, $10,000 to $30,000; political guru Charlie Cook, $5,000 to $10,000; former Sen. Bob Dole, $30,001 to $75,000; talk radio's Laura Ingraham, $10,001 to $30,000; Newsweek 's Michael Isikoff, $5,000 to $20,000; and NBC's Andrea Mitchell, $20,001 to $30,000.