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A new Hannah Montana and a house of cards ... this week's Washington Rumor Mill

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A new Hannah Montana and a house of cards … this week’s Washington Rumor Mill

THEN AND NOW

To think it was only two short months ago that retired Gen. Colin L. Powell was being mentioned quite prominently among the potential vice-presidential running mates being considered by Republican candidate Sen. John McCain.

One campaign adviser went so far as to confirm that it was Mr. Powell to whom Mr. McCain was referring when he said he would not rule out a pro-choice running mate.

Now, as the country has learned, the Republican (or so we still assume) Mr. Powell has officially thrown his support behind Democratic Sen. Barack Obama‘s candidacy for the White House.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW?

Get a load of this contest: AmericasTrueNews.com will pay cash bounties of up to $50,000 to those who can offer verifiable facts about the presidential candidates.

The Web site is offering $200 to those who e-mail previously undisclosed facts that can be verified and are then used on its site.

In addition, $1,000 will be sent to anybody who can prove that the information posted on the site is verifiably wrong.

However, the Web site will pay as much as $50,000 to the person who can make a claim on its “Knock Out Challenge” — verifiable information that stops either Democratic or Republican presidential campaigns in their tracks with news so stunning that it makes the election a foregone conclusion.

NEW HANNAH MONTANA

“She took the stage in her signature ruby red heels. The crowd erupted with a mighty roar. If only the electricity generated at that moment could have been harnessed; energy crisis, solved. My daughters’ eyes lit up, their digital cameras clicking as fast as they could point and shoot. …

“And like the mom who always has a special surprise for you when you most need it and least expect it, she announced a mystery person had come just for us … Out onto the stage runs Hank Williams Jr. I thought all of the men standing around us were going to simultaneously go into cardiac arrest. I don’t know how this would have gone over in Trenton, New Jersey, but in Richmond, Virginia, this ranked better than a puppy on Christmas morning.”

~ Amanda Keller, an author and mother of three residing in Richmond (she grew up across the street from this columnist in Old Town Alexandria), writing on the Associated Content Web site about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin‘s recent speech at the Richmond International Raceway.

MEN FOR McCAIN

Despite Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin‘s entry in the 2008 presidential campaign, most national and state polling conducted immediately after the recent series of presidential and vice-presidential debates showed gender gaps in a range consistent with those taken in presidential elections since 1980.

On the Democratic side, almost all of the polling found women, at a higher level than men, supporting the Democratic ticket — in this case Sens. Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to a summary of polls conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics.

The opposite is true with the Republican ticket, where more men than women supported Sen. John McCain and Mrs. Palin.

TOP TO BOTTOM

We are pleased to report that the long-awaited (ground was broken in June 2000), much-anticipated (space for 4,000 people, with 26 restrooms), highly expensive ($621 million; $100 million of it for design changes after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks) underground U.S. Capitol Visitors Center has received its permanent certificate of occupancy from the fire marshal.

That last hurdle crossed, the spacious mostly marble facility will open its cellar doors to the public on Dec. 2 — the 145th anniversary of the date on which the Statue of Freedom was placed atop the Capitol Dome.

HUMPTY DUMPTY

The nation’s housing market deteriorated into a “house of cards” that ultimately came tumbling down.

That was the assessment of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Roy A. Bernardi during opening ceremonies for the 52nd International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) World Congress meeting this past week in Puerto Rico.

Mr. Bernardi recalled that the U.S. experienced a boom in homeownership and equity wealth creation from 2000 to 2005.

“Homeownership grew to 70 percent of families in the United States,” he said. “That was the highest level in our history. For people in our minority communities, homeownership rose to over 50 percent of families, again a record rate of homeownership.”

Then, he said, it was realized “that the housing market was a house of cards, unsteady, ready to tumble down. And it has, with dire consequences for hundreds of thousands of Americans and for our economy.”

DEAN AND DUNCAN

Hopefully, when Americans awaken Nov. 5, they will know who will be the next president of the United States.

And nobody better to discuss Election Day and its aftermath that Wednesday — appearing side by side, no less — than the respective chairmen of the Democratic and Republican National Committees, Howard Dean and Robert “Mike” Duncan.

The pair of party leaders has agreed to appear together at a National Press Club luncheon, when only one of the two gentlemen will be grinning from ear to ear.

HORSE DOCTOR

Outlining a series of industrywide integrity reforms, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced the creation of the Safety and Integrity Alliance, to be headed by former Wisconsin governor and ex-Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson.

Mr. Thompson, who ran briefly as a Republican candidate for president in 2008 and hangs his shingle at the Washington law office of Akin Gump, will oversee reforms that include uniform medication rules and penalties for each racing state and a ban of steroids from racing competition.

MY HERO

We see that the makers of the Obama Underwear line, Andrew Christian, created a viral video where superhero “Obama Man” saves the damsel in distress, Sarah Palin.

The underwear named for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is now on super sale at only $7.95. Mr. Christian produces contemporary collections of urban inspired menswear that can be found in exclusive boutiques around the world.

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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