No Vacancy? No Problem
President Bush isn't looking very far for his next conservative pick to the U.S. Supreme Court: His top two candidates work just 12 blocks away in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Insiders say Judge Janice Rogers Brown, appointed in June 2005, tops the list, followed by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, appointed in May. Also up: Peter Keisler, whose nomination to the D.C. court is pending. So there's no vacancy, you say? With apologies to Justice John Paul Stevens, 86, it's his seat they hope to fill.
Boston's Parade of Conservatives
They probably feel a bit out of place, but we hear that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is inviting conservatives-and especially Christian conservatives-to Beantown for "cultivational" meetings and briefings on his 2008 Republican presidential campaign. Insiders say it's just like those treks to Austin many conservatives made to visit with George W. Bush before his run in 2000. If you think the Christian right would have a problem with a Mormon, you would be wrong. We hear he's wowing them just as he did last month when he spoke at the Family Research Council's "Liberty Sunday" on protecting traditional marriage.
Admiral's Advice: Make Family Time
Adm. Thad Allen, the U.S. Coast Guard boss and Hurricane Katrina cleanup czar, doesn't just play a fit battle commander-he is one. His regime starts early every morning when he mountain-bikes the 5 miles to work, usually with a coastie security detail in tow. He also walks 5 or 6 miles with his wife, Pam, most weekends, usually making a pit stop for coffee. "I guess you could say we manage our lives by walking around," Allen says of his 31-year marriage. "It's a way to decompress from the week, and we both work, so we don't always get a chance to see so much of each other during the week." But it's not all Gold's Gym for President Bush's "Energizer bunny." He's big on 6:30 a.m. breakfast meetings and adores hamburgers.
Trimming the Tree in Ornament 3-D
The new White House Historical Association Christmas ornament is in 3-D this year, melding a Tiffany-inspired design with the building's North Portico. The 2006 ornament honors Chester Arthur, president from 1881 to 1885, who spruced up 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with period motifs and Tiffany decorations because he found the White House ratty and Congress refused to build a new one.
Bubba and the Myth of the Big Mac
Finally, proof that former President Clinton's love of Big Macs was phony baloney. In his upcoming book, White House Chef, former Clinton-Bush chef Walter Scheib recalls his first meeting with Bubba, when Clinton asked about cooking Big Macs. Then the prez cracked up laughing. "Aw, don't worry about that. I don't really eat much of that stuff. That's just the press."