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Campaign contributions, presidential autographs on "Post-its," political tightrope-walking in Virginia ... it's sticky notes this week in Rumor Mill.

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Sticky Notes

Campaign contributions, presidential autographs on “Post-its,” political tightrope-walking in Virginia … it’s sticky notes this week in Rumor Mill.

POST-IT PRICE

Like presidents before him who even signed flesh, George W. Bush has grown accustomed to autographing anything ink will adhere to — now including "Post-its" handed to him by unprepared CIA employees after the president’s impromptu lunchtime remarks in the agency’s cafeteria in recent days.

Don’t laugh. Hollywood Collectibles, as we speak, is peddling a 3×5 index card signed by former President George Bush for $175.

BOYDA’S HOLIDAY

Controversy surrounding the August congressional recess is hanging tough like the heat.

Now it’s Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., coming under fire from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which says after "casting the deciding vote to give Congress a monthlong vacation, Boyda is now disingenuously claiming she had nothing to do with it."

"Nancy Boyda is desperately hiding from the fact that she cast the deciding vote to send Congress on a monthlong vacation instead of addressing critical energy legislation to lower the cost of gasoline," says NRCC spokesman Ken Spain.

The final vote tally to vacate Washington was a razor-thin 213-212.

So, says Mr. Spain, while Congress is taking its vacation against the wishes of Republicans, "families all across the country have had to cancel their vacations because of the high gas prices."

BARACK BUCKS

We’re not sure whether it signals an upcoming political shift in this country or maybe has something to do with the ailing economy, but for whatever reason, the Democratic National Committee for the first time in four years outraised the Republican National Committee in a one-month period, bringing in $28 million during the month of July 2008.

Meanwhile, the Federal Election Commission announced Friday that the $409 million the Republican Party raised from January 2007 through the close of June 2008 reflected a 12 percent decline in contributions when compared with the same time period leading up to the 2004 presidential campaign.

Democratic fundraising committees, at the same time, had fewer receipts than Republicans — $351 million during the same reporting period. However, that figure is still 26 percent higher than in 2004, according to the FEC.

DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney says the strong fundraising numbers in July "are a testament to Barack Obama‘s message of change and hope and his vision for America’s future."

BELK BILK

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has closed the unusual case of one-time U.S. Senate candidate Marcus Belk and his phony National Democratic Congressional Committee (NDCC).

Under a settlement with the Justice Department, Mr. Belk admitted to operating his so-called NDCC as a political committee without registering and reporting with the FEC.

"In addition … he admitted that he knowingly and willfully received excessive contributions, commingled NDCC funds with his personal funds and fraudulently misrepresented himself as acting on behalf of a political party," the FEC says.

"Mr. Belk also acknowledged other knowing and willful reporting violations related to his own campaign for the U.S. Senate in South Carolina in 2004."

Mr. Belk was sentenced to 36 months’ probation, ordered to pay restitution and perform 100 hours of community service. Furthermore, he is prohibited from working or volunteering in federal campaigns in a capacity involving finances or disclosure reports for a period of 10 years, says the FEC.

‘INTENSE’ INTRIGUE

Due to worldwide demand, upcoming acceptance speeches by Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, as well as other news generated by both political parties at their respective conventions, will be broadcast around the world in Persian, Mandarin, Pashto and Urdu.

The Voice of America says it is fielding a team of 90 reporters, technicians, producers, directors and coordinators at both the Denver and St. Paul, Minn., convention sites to create "round-the-clock" radio, television, and Internet broadcasts in two dozen languages.

"This election, historic in many ways, is attracting intense interest around the world," says VOA Executive Editor Steve Redish. "We’ll be working hard to explain to people how the process works and who the personalities are."
The VOA, it’s worth noting, says one of its largest audiences is in Iran.

MORE WIND

Republican National Convention organizers in Minneapolis-St. Paul have jumped on the same green bandwagon that rolled earlier into Denver, site of the Democratic National Convention.

One detail we are extremely proud of is our greening initiative," says RNC president and CEO Maria Cino, who wishes to highlight the party’s "eco-conscious efforts, which include the use of General Motors hybrid vehicles and plans to power the Xcel Energy Center with wind and solar energy."

JELLY JAM

Who’s not talking about the important role Virginia’s voters will play in the 2008 presidential election?

After decades of being firmly in the Republican camp, it now appears the Old Dominion is at least flirting with the Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama.

On top of that, it was announced in recent days that former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, now the heavily-favored Democratic nominee for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, will keynote the party’s national convention — handed a bigger prime-time speaking role than the Democratic presidential runner-up, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Virginia Gov. Tim. Kaine, at the same time, remains on Mr. Obama’s short list to become the vice president nominee, giving Democrats even bigger chances of winning the state in November.

So how is Jeffrey M. Frederick, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, handling so much competition?

He’s gone on the offensive, attacking Mr. Obama this week for "demonstrating once again he is void of a single original idea," including hijacking the well-known campaign line from Ronald Reagan, "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?"

Says Mr. Frederick: "It’s a shame he couldn’t ask Mr. Gorbachev to tear down that wall on his recent trip to Europe, though I guess he can still hand out jellybeans."

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Written By

John McCaslin pens the award-winning Inside the Beltway column for The Washington Times. His column has been syndicated by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and Tribune Media Services.

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