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Mrs. Waters declined to speak to Inside the Beltway yesterday.

Top speaker

“In the entire history of the United States, I believe there have been three powerful speakers of the House during moments of war: Henry Clay in the 19th century, Sam Rayburn during World War II and now Nancy Pelosi during our simultaneous wars on terror and the war in Iraq.”

So began Peter Kovler, chairman of the board of the Center for National Policy, in presenting the center’s Edmund Muskie Award to Mrs. Pelosi recently.

“But,” added Mr. Kovler, “here is one stark difference between Speaker Pelosi and Speakers Clay and Rayburn, and that is she has an opposing view to the contemporaneous president of the United States on how those wars should be run; and her courage and her steadfastness in those views arguably make her the single most significant speaker in our nation’s history.”

Popular flight

Imagine being the commercial airline pilot who counted not one, not two, not three, but six congressmen climbing aboard his airplane in Texas this week, each anxious (we assume) to get back to Washington to cast crucial votes on Capitol Hill.

As it was, the flight was delayed by stormy weather, and the group of six lawmakers missed the recorded votes for the day.

Southern Battle

Well-known Washington-area attorney/comedian Bob Battle has retained his sense of humor since moving his law practice to Richmond following his marriage.

A former prosecutor for the city of Fairfax, who spent another four years as a prosecutor under legendary Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Bob Horan (who prosecuted Beltway sniper Lee Boyd Malvo), Mr. Battle is well-known for the additional hats he wears, including press box announcer for the Washington Redskins for the past eight years.

He’s also a professional comedian, opening up for such stars as Chris Rock and Norm MacDonald; while current stars Dave Chapelle and Wanda Sykes opened for Mr. Battle when they were beginning their comedy careers.

Always the humorist, Mr. Battle is running an ad in the current issue of Virginia Lawyers Weekly, reminding “all y’all lawyahs up yon-dah” in the Washington area that his shingle is now hung in Richmond.

“Has your client been caught smoking pot in the parking lot of Kings Dominion by Scooby Doo Security while attending the big Clay Aiken concert?” the ad states. “Has your client’s son crashed mom and dad’s Geo Metro in the statue of Stonewall Jackson on Monument Avenue after a party at VCU? …

“Before you say you don’t know anyone who practices there — not so fast counselor! Your old pal Bob Battle is alive and well and living in Richmond.”

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