Rep. Murphy on Monkey Business

Monkey business

Rep. Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania Republican, noting that oil and gas prices are climbing to record highs and families are struggling to make ends meet, sums up floor action in the U.S. Congress in recent days.

“Well, we voted on monkeys. Yes, we voted to prohibit you from driving a monkey across state lines,” the none-too-pleased congressman informed the country.

Obama glee

It’s apparently not too early to audition for Sen. Barack Obama‘s presidential inauguration – at least as far as the organizer for the “Obama Inaugural Glee Club” is concerned.

The Illinois senator’s official 2008 presidential campaign Web site says the tryout schedule to join the glee club is soon to be announced. Auditions will be hosted by Sharon McSweeney of Charlottesville, Va., who plans to enlist four singers from each of the 50 states “in our beautiful union.”

Obama is Gored

The Democratic National Committee enlisted Al Gore to write a fundraising letter on behalf of the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, and the former vice president has answered the request by adding to the bottom of the DNC letter: “P.S. – Visit AlGore.com to read my journal and learn more about our movement to solve the climate crisis.”
The Web site created by Mr. Gore provides a link to Amazon.com and his book “The Assault on Reason,” a complete list and links to the former vice president’s several projects and causes; a just-issued warning Tuesday about the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, suddenly changing gears and calling for an end to the federal ban on offshore oil drilling while raising the ire of environmental groups in the process; and last but not least “Tipper Gore‘s Photographs.”

‘Mikey,’ anyone?

He will remain in his post as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, but after nearly 40 years of active military duty, a retirement ceremony was held Friday for Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden.

Gen. Hayden occupies “one of the most critical positions in the country today” and his military retirement “does not mark the end of a career,” stressed Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates at the Bolling Air Force Base Officers’ Club.

Mr. Gates who, like the retiring general, served in the Air Force before becoming CIA director in 1991 lauded Gen. Hayden as the “quintessential intelligence professional” who “understands the threats we face and what we must do to confront them.”

In the often-thankless field of intelligence, Mr. Gates noted, “when you smell the flowers, you look around for the coffin.”

But the defense secretary also called attention to Gen. Hayden’s personal side, pointing out that the Pittsburgh native, who left the helm of the National Security Agency (NSA) to become CIA director in May 2006, likes to show up unannounced in the agency’s employee cafeteria and “search for an empty chair, not empty table.”

Once, Mr. Gates recalled, the CIA director unwittingly sat down in the middle of a baby shower, and by the time he finished his lunch he had offered a few of his own suggestions for suitable baby names.

Bring ’em on

As New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton this week seeks to unify a fractured Democratic Party leading up to the presidential nomination of Sen. Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, host Mayor John W. Hickenlooper isn’t overly concerned about protests.

In a letter to residents of his city, he points out that the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston attracted 10,000 demonstrators, and similar “peaceful demonstrations” are anticipated at Denver’s Civic Center, Skyline Park and other downtown areas during convention week.

Otherwise, whereas up to 50,000 visitors are anticipated in Denver from Aug. 23 to Aug. 28, that is fewer than the number of people who arrive downtown for a Broncos football game or some Rockies baseball games, sometimes compounded by hockey or basketball games at the city’s main indoor arena.

“Denver has hosted games in all three downtown stadiums at the same time, involving close to 150,000 people,” Mr. Hickenlooper notes.

Russert on Rice

Crystal Dueker, communications director of “Think Condi,” writes: “Imagine being part of an independent political group, with the vision of . . . Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the next president of the United States.
 
“Imagine your North Dakota cell phone ringing while on a trip to Florida, with a voice saying they represent the NBC’s news division; asking for your assistance in preparation for Tim Russert‘s interview for the upcoming weekend . . .
 
“Now you can understand the excitement during the final segment of the show in seeing the historic pictures of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, John Q. Adams, Van Buren, and Buchanan on the screen, as Russert asks Secretary Rice, ‘Do you know what they have in common?’
 
“As she claimed it was too early for this pop quiz, Russert explained that each of them held the post as secretary of state before becoming the president of the United States. Of course, her banter of denial to run might have frustrated us, but when asked by Russert if our website should be shut down, Secretary Rice said, ‘No, it is a matter of free speech.'”
 
Miss Rice, obviously, chose not to run for president in 2008, but now the group “Think Condi” is pushing for her to be selected as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain‘s running mate.
 
Reagan monument

Michael Reagan, son of the late President Ronald Reagan, will deliver a June 30 speech at Berlin’s historic “Cafe Einstein,” a well-known politico and journalism hangout.

The California-based national radio host will be in Berlin to help drum up support and choose a suitable location for a monument to his father, which would no doubt highlight the Gipper’s riveting 1987 speech at Brandenburg Gate during which he demanded: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

The Berlin landmark is to be funded through the Reagan Legacy Foundation, which seeks to advance the causes that Mr. Reagan held dear and also memorialize the accomplishments of his presidency.

The foundation states that there “is no truly fitting memorial in Berlin” to Mr. Reagan, “unlike John F. Kennedy, whose support for Berlin after the wall was erected in 1961 is evident in various places in the city, and at the Free University of Berlin, where an institute is named for JFK.

“As we all know, President Reagan’s speech in Berlin is an iconic statement of his presidency. His words came to pass. There is no longer a divide between East and West epitomized by the Berlin Wall.”

Pay now or later

The $21.5 million collected in a single night exceeded fundraising goals of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) annual President’s Dinner.
 
“When we started this, it was clear Republicans were facing an uphill fight this November,” acknowledged NRSC President’s Dinner chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. “However, times have changed. The $13.5 million [portion] the NRSC raised for the dinner shows people understand that Democrats are going to do more than just increase the price of gas.”


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