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STILL THE IDOL

We’re told singer Pat Boone will be stopping by the White House on Wednesday among his personal appointments while in Washington this week, including a photo session with a number of senators and congressmen before meeting with Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan.

After all, Mr. Boone was the original American Idol, winning not one but two national contests weeks apart in 1955: the Ted Mack Amateur Hour and Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.

Upon learning Mr. Boone was coming to town, Annie Rohrhoff, a college student and research assistant at the 60 Plus Association and National Defense Council Foundation, recalled the many times she listened to her aunt Sue Cronin and her lady friends pretend Mr. Boone was not married and dream about which one of the women he would choose as his bride.

“Pat’s wife, Shirley, has heard just about everything in their 54 years of marriage but perhaps not that one,” reacts 60 Plus Chairman James L. Martin. The singer is the national spokesman for the senior citizens group.

NOT THE CLUB SET

Nobody brings to light a more outrageous if not hilarious batch of Fourth Estate quotes than the Media Research Center, including a recent gem uttered by Time’s Joe Klein on CNN when reacting to former Bush White House aide Karl Rove’s comment that Sen. Barack Obama resembles a snide country-club elitist.

Wondered Mr. Klein: “Since when do they start letting people like Barack Obama into Republican country clubs?”

GET OVER IT

An obviously much-needed conference on Race and Reconciliation in America, initiated and hosted by former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and his author and playwright wife Janet Langhart Cohen, is attracting leaders from myriad fields, including politics, business, military, law and entertainment.

The Cohens are co-authors of “Love in Black and White,” the autobiographical account of their bi-racial marriage. The two-day conference, aimed at initiating a serious and civil dialogue on racial, ethnic and religious prejudice, will be held at the National Press Club on July 24 and 25.

“Any discussion of race or racism inevitably stirs uncomfortable reactions,” says Mrs. Cohen. “The problem is that racial prejudice is not just a thing of the past, and neither whites nor blacks are over it.”

Adds Mr. Cohen: “Our goal is to begin a national conversation to deal with the truth, understand the need for accountability, and learn how we can work together to really achieve a post-racial society.”

Among the participants are Academy Award-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr., best-selling author Deepak Chopra, U.S. District Court Judge Harold Kennedy and Joshua Packwood, the first white valedictorian to graduate from the historically black Morehouse College in the school’s 141-year history.

Also attending will be Simeon Wright, cousin of Emmett Till, whose 1955 murder in Mississippi helped spawn America’s civil rights movement. A reading of Mrs. Cohen’s new play “Anne and Emmett,” an imagined conversation between Holocaust victim Anne Frank and Till, will be featured at the conference.

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