- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Bush speak

“It’s my honor to welcome Mike’s wife, Jeanine, and their family to the Oval Office,” President Bush said yesterday when nominating Gen. Michael V. Hayden as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. “I want to thank them for their willingness to support Mike Hayden in his long service to the United States.”

Now that he’s assured that his nomination has the support of the general’s family, all Mr. Bush needs now, as he noted yesterday, is “agreement of the Senate.”

Still shepherding

We’ve obtained a most intriguing White House pool report surrounding President and Mrs. Bush’s worship Sunday at St. John’s (Episcopal) Church, across Lafayette Park from the White House.

“According to the liturgical calendar, it was the Fourth Sunday of Easter — Good Shepherd Sunday — and the Rev. Luis Leon gave his homily based on John 10:11-16, ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’

“The president took the sermon to heart,” observed the writer, who quickly assured readers: “I’m being tongue-in-cheek here.”

Hearing Hillary

“Filled to capacity,” says Miriam Kleiman of the National Archives, referring to this evening’s appearance by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Archives’ William G. McGowan Theater on Constitution Avenue.

“We are very excited. It should be a great event,” she says of Archivist Allen Weinstein hosting the “American Conversation” with Mrs. Clinton, who is expected to discuss her life as first lady, senator, best-selling author — or, better yet, what intentions she has of seeking to become the first female president of the United States.

Women of valor

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tomorrow receives the third annual Woman of Valor Award from the Independent Women’s Forum.

The award, honoring women who through courage and commitment advance the principles of economic liberty, personal responsibility and political freedom, is named after Barbara K. Olson, a founder of the IWF who was a passenger on the hijacked airliner that crashed into the Pentagon on September 11.

The award will be presented by Mrs. Olson’s former husband, one-time U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson.

Willard bylines

Before the National Press Club took root two blocks from the White House, the Washington press corps took refuge within the Willard Hotel, even closer to the executive mansion.

And for good reason: the nation’s business, and even matters of the fledgling Fourth Estate, were regularly conducted at the hotel.

Indeed, on March 12, 1908, when Teddy Roosevelt was still ruling the roost, 32 newspapermen solidified journalism’s honored place at the Willard with the establishment of the National Press Club. Meeting in the Willard’s Gridiron Room, the hotel tells us, newspapermen framed the National Press Club’s constitution.

This Thursday evening, a group of Washington historians and reporters, including former National Press Club President Don Larrabee and U.S. Senate associate historian Donald Ritchie, will recall the shared history of the Willard and Fourth Estate during a National Press Club panel discussion sponsored in part by the Newseum.

The Willard InterContinental, as it’s called today, was once described by author Nathaniel Hawthorne as “much more justly … the center of Washington than either the Capitol, the White House or the State Department.”

Ding-dong

Judging from the response to yesterday’s item on the “new voice of Metro” — Randi Miller, 44,of Woodbridge, who was chosen from among 1,259 contestants to warn subway commuters when sliding doors are opening and closing — a good number of Inside the Beltway readers ride Metro.

The one Washingtonian we’d quoted yesterday complained that the new voice was too “authoritative” and “bossy.”

Her demanding tone, however, isn’t what bothers reader Andy Lawrence: “The [strict Catholic] nuns at St. Mary’s would have been proud of the voice, but the chimes leave a lot to achieve any desired reaction. They need to be louder and much sharper in tone. How about a coach’s whistle or herald trumpets?

“If all else fails, why not keep the sound we’ve all known since the opening of the Metro — ding-dong, ‘Avon calling?’”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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