- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saslaw: Shermanesque?

Last week was pretty good for Virginia Republicans. The GOP picked up seven seats in the state House and two in the state Senate in the Nov. 8 elections, and on Wednesday Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling declared that he fully intended to use his tie-breaking vote in the Senate so that Republicans would govern as an effective majority.

But not so fast, said Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw never one to mince words.

Gov. Bob McDonnell “spent $5 million, they targeted about seven or eight races, and only won two of them,” the Fairfax Democrat said. “I don’t see where this is a repudiation of anything. Twenty to 20 is hardly a mandate. Would I have loved to keep 22? Absolutely. I thought we could keep ‘em all, but we didn’t. It is what it is. I’ve never heard of something like this [creating] a mandate. They won two seats.”

Mr. Saslaw, who will lose his title of majority leader in a few months if Republican — if to be believed — will not share power with Democrats, also says there is a lot of time between now and the start of the General Assembly session.

“Obviously, if you’ve got 21 votes, you can pretty much align any way you want,” he said. “That’s a long way to go to be making these Shermanesque statements at this point.”

Unscripted moments

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray makes a lot of public appearances every week, but his latest round was chock full of surprises.

Mr. Gray turned 69 on Tuesday, so R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn used a pro-D.C. Statehood event that morning to sing a soulful rendition of “Happy Birthday” — replete with frills and octave leaps — before transitioning to Stevie Wonder’s noted song of the same name.

As this was happening, city employees walked down the steps of the John A. Wilson Building with a birthday cake and an over-sized birthday card that represented Mr. Gray’s “giant responsibilities” as the city’s executive.
“I have just one wish today, and that is that D.C. becomes N.C.,” Mr. Gray told the audience. “‘District of Columbia’ becomes ‘New Columbia.’”

On Thursday, it was an act of nature that caught the mayor by surprise.

His notes blew away as soon as he took to the podium to talk about the refurbished District of Columbia War Memorial.

“Well we’ll find out, now, won’t we?” he quipped to raucous laughter.

Film buff

Council member Jack Evans likes to watch movies, particularly ones with Bruce Willis.

How do we know this? Well, he told everyone at a public hearing before the Committee on Small and Local Business Development on Wednesday.

Mr. Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, ticked off “infinite examples” of movie scenes that are supposed to take place in the District yet were shot in other cities.

“I’m killing myself telling you what movies I go to see, but I love those Bruce Willis movies,” he said. “He’s driving down 14th Street — you know, right our here, we all know what that looks like. But it wasn’t 14th Street, it was some other neighborhood in some other city.”

The humorous example from an unidentified film was part of a rundown that also included faux D.C. scenes in “Wedding Crashers” and perhaps the biggest groan-inducing non-D.C. movie scene of all time: the notorious sequence from “No Way Out” in which Kevin Costner evades pursuers by jumping on the Metro at a Georgetown subway stop.

“There’s no subway in Georgetown,” said Mr. Evans, still obviously agitated almost 25 years after the movie’s 1987 release. “It was a subway in Baltimore, actually.”

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