- The Washington Times - Monday, August 31, 2009

SENATE

Kennedy’s widow touted for vacancy

Two U.S. senators Sunday suggested that the Senate seat held by Edward M. Kennedy could be filled by his widow, Vicki, despite her professed reluctance to take the job.

“Whatever Vicki wants to do, I’m in her corner,” said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, speaking to CNN.

Mr. Dodd noted that Mrs. Kennedy, 55, had said she is not interested in succeeding her late husband, “but she could change her mind, and if she did, I’m for it. I think she’d be great.”

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, told CNN that Mr. Kennedy’s widow, the former Victoria Reggie, who was married to the senator for 17 years, “ought to be considered” to fill the vacant Senate seat representing the state of Massachusetts.

Mr. Hatch praised her as a “very brilliant lawyer” and “solid individual.”

“She certainly made a difference in Ted’s life, let me tell you. And I have nothing but great respect for her,” Mr. Hatch said.

PRESIDENT

Obama goes out for ice cream

WEST TISBURY, Mass. | President Obama spent his last day on a Martha’s Vineyard vacation buying ice cream treats for his daughters at a general store and an oatmeal-raisin cookie for himself at a deli.

Wearing a White Sox cap, jeans and a black fleece jacket, the president made an unscheduled stop at the small village just up the street from his rented Chilmark farm. The jaunt was one of the few times journalists have seen the president in public without golf clubs.

Mr. Obama made small talk with patrons before buying candy and ice cream at Alley’s General Store.

“Hope you guys are having a good time,” Mr. Obama told one customer as cameras clicked and the floor underfoot creaked.

The 12-minute expedition was one of the few public outings for the Obamas, who scheduled his first vacation as president for just a scant week despite the intense pressures of his office.

VICE PRESIDENT

Little League honors Biden

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. | Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. fondly recalled playing youth baseball in Pennsylvania while being honored at the Little League World Series.

Mr. Biden was enshrined into the Little League’s Hall of Excellence before Sunday’s title game between California and Taiwan.

Accompanied by three granddaughters, Mr. Biden told the crowd he started out in Little League as an 8-year-old playing shortstop for the Green Ridge Little League in Scranton before moving to center field.

Mr. Biden joked that if he were given the choice as a child to pitch in the World Series or be vice president, he would pick the World Series.

Sporting a Little League World Series hat, Mr. Biden then signed a few autographs.

He did not take questions from reporters.

The team from Chula Vista, Calif., defeated Taoyuan, Taiwan, 6-3.

GSA

Federal workers’ ‘per diem’ rate rises

The government will shell out between $39 and $64 a day for meals for each federal employee who’s on the road on official business, according to an announcement from the General Services Administration, which sets the “per diem” rates for lodging, meals and incidental expenses allowed when traveling.

The old rates - from $31 to $61 - hadn’t been increased since 2006, GSA said. The variation comes from the differing costs of living nationwide.

TENNESSEE

U.S. pays to boost ‘Elvis Boulevard’

The city of Memphis, Tenn., last week got about $1 million from the federal government to spruce up Elvis Presley Boulevard outside the King’s Graceland mansion as a way to enhance the tourist experience, the Commercial Appeal newspaper reports.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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