- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 8, 2009

Call to order

Just so you can keep track of everything, we now provide a handy-dandy guide to the latest cultural embellishments on the Office of the President of the United States:

Whereas former President Bill Clinton once was deemed America’s first “black president,” America’s first black president has now been crowned America’s first “feminist president.”

President Obama has won the hearts and minds of Ms. Magazine, where the new inaugural issue features a heroic portrait of the nation’s 44th president sporting a T-shirt reading “This is what a feminist looks like.” It is the first time a man has been on the cover in the publication’s history.

Eleanor Smeal, publisher as well as president of the Feminist Majority, vouches for Mr. Obama, too — telling a recent feminist forum that the president himself told her, “I am a feminist.”

So I guess it must be true.

Mr. Clinton, incidentally, almost became the world’s first “First Gentleman,” but that is another subject entirely.

All about George

Perhaps ABC News hoped revelations that anchorman George Stephanopoulos weighed in on frequent strategy calls from the White House would go away. It’s been reported that the newsman and one-time Clinton aide chats daily with Democratic heavies James Carville, Paul Begala and Rahm Emanuel.

And horrors. He still reports on the Obama administration.

Oh. Geez. Oy vey.

Fox News was all upset for a while. But the Media Research Center (MRC) is not letting the issue go. The conservative media watchdog is now demanding Mr. Stephanopolous recuse himself from reporting on the White House all together and is underscoring its demand with a public petition.

“ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos is engaged in daily private phone briefings with Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel,” the MRC advises. “He then presents himself as a credible journalist and nonpartisan commentator in reporting about the administration. Such a move crosses journalistic lines, is a clear conflict of interest and must be stopped immediately.”

The petition will be forwarded to ABC News.

“Will Stephanopoulos be critical of the White House’s plans when he spends every morning helping to craft them? Not likely,” observes MRC director Brent Bozell.

By the numbers

77 percent of American voters overall say Iran’s nuclear program is for weapons development.

89 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of Democrats say the program is for weapons development.

56 percent say Iran should be required to stop developing nuclear weapons capabilities.

52 percent of voters view Iran as an enemy of the U.S.

11 percent of voters think America should apologize to Iran for “crimes” against the Islamic country.

73 percent oppose such an apology.

36 percent say relations between the two countries will get worse over the coming year.

33 percent think they will get better; the rest expect little change or are uncertain.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Jan. 29 and 30, 2009.

Cold war

Should Valentine’s Day suggest wining, whining and dining, the compleat and virtuous politico might consider a cheaper alternative in these times. Ciao Bella Gelato is offering an alternative to a bottle of wine: Blackberry Cabernet sorbet. Yes, it contains blackberries and red wine. In fact, it is like a “bowl” of wine, the manufacturer says.

Plus no sodium, 111 calories and even a few vitamins thrown in.

Other wine-based flavors include pomegranate champagne, strawberry chardonnay, sake cherry, champagne grapefruit campari and apricot chardonnay — many such flavors available at Whole Foods, Safeway and online at www.ciaobellagelato.com.

The confused can call 800/435-2863. The company also makes bourbon pecan gelato — but we won’t go there today.

Quotes of note

“An unsentimental and ultimately inspirational meditation on the gifts we can find among life’s biggest challenges.” — publisher’s description of “Resilience,” by Elizabeth Edwards, her memoir to be published in May.

“Follows a young attorney who is destined to be a contender for the presidency but today she just can’t find the right guy.” — description of “I, Claudia,” a new drama from ABC.

“You could grow orchids in there.” — White House chief of staff David Axelrod on the temperature in the Oval Office, to the New York Times.

Days of yore

Today marks the 189th birthday of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who eventually became second in command of the Union Army, took the city of Atlanta and with 60,000 men launched his “march to the sea,” where he captured Savannah.

He is remembered for noting, “War is all hell.”

Ironically, the Confederate States of America was also formed on this day in 1861.

Things have been full of static at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for some time. Today also marks the arrival of the first radio in the White House, installed by President Warren Gamaliel Harding in 1923. He also was the first president to ever speak on radio. Hear an early Harding radio speech, courtesy of the Library of Congress, at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/nfhtml/nfexpe.html.

And last but not least, happy birthday to veteran ABC newsman and former “Nightline” host Ted Koppel, born on this day in 1940.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes .com or 202/636-3085.

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