- 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.

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