- The Washington Times - Friday, November 28, 2008

WHITE HOUSE

Bush ready to go when time comes

President Bush is relishing the chance to see “the klieg lights shift somewhere else,” although he admits he’ll miss perks like White House cooking and flying on Air Force One.

“Frankly, I’m not going to miss the limelight all that much,” Mr. Bush said in an intimate family conversation with his sister, Doro Bush Koch, about how he’ll feel when he leaves the White House to make way for Barack Obama on Jan. 20.

“Been a fabulous experience to be president,” Mr. Bush told Mrs. Doro in the conversation recorded for the oral-history organization StoryCorps. But he said he’ll be ready to go when the time comes.

Mr. Bush acknowledged in the Nov. 12 conversation — aired Thursday on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” — that he would miss the trips on the presidential jet and not having to worry about traffic.

He and first lady Laura Bush agreed in the talk that they would miss the chefs at the Executive Mansion, but disagreed about who would be in charge of meals when they move back to Texas in January.

“I’m sure I’m going to lose a lot of weight, because Laura’s going to be the cook,” Mr. Bush deadpanned. Mrs. Bush responded, “You’re going to be the person grilling, though, I think.”

The president also said he would miss spending time with his sister, who lives in the D.C. area.

“This is a job which, you know, obviously had a lot of stress to it; it has a lot of pressure,” Mr. Bush said. “But when you’re around your family at all, all that pales.”

CONGRESS

Rangel ethics probe to end by Jan. 3

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the far-reaching ethics investigation into Rep. Charles B. Rangel will conclude by early next year.

Mrs. Pelosi issued a statement late Wednesday saying she has been assured the report by the House ethics committee will be completed before this session of Congress ends on Jan. 3.

“I look forward to reviewing the report at that time,” said Mrs. Pelosi, who has resisted calls from Republicans to remove Mr. Rangel from his powerful position atop the tax-writing Ways & Means Committee.

Her announcement puts a ticking clock on an investigation that could have dragged on for many more months, considering how many issues surrounding the personal finances and ethics of the long-serving lawmaker have now been brought before the committee.

Mr. Rangel, New York Democrat, is under scrutiny for not paying taxes on income from a Dominican Republic beach house he owns. The ethics panel is also looking at his living arrangements in New York City for three rent-stabilized apartments, as well as his effort to drum up donors for a college center named in his honor.

Mr. Rangel has paid more than $10,000 owed in back taxes, but insisted he never intentionally dodged any taxes.

HOLIDAYS

White House sorry for Hanukkah cards

A Bush administration spokeswoman said the invitations to this year’s White House Hanukkah reception bore images of Christmas trees because of a “staff mistake.”

Press secretary Sally McDonough said staff members erred in failing to print separate cards for invitations to the different holiday events at the White House, CNN reported Thursday.

The cards, which were sent to U.S. Jewish leaders, are emblazoned with an image of the White House Christmas tree being pulled by a horse-drawn cart with a Christmas wreath tacked on to the White House in the background.

“Mrs. Bush is apologetic. It is just something that fell through the cracks,” Miss McDonough said.

She said the intended Hanukkah invitations, which bear the image of a menorah given to the White House during the Harry Truman administration, would be sent out Thursday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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