- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 20, 2011

The much-ballyhooed filming of Steven Spielberg’s Abraham Lincoln epic starring Daniel Day-Lewis has been underway in Richmond for some time. For those in and around Capitol Square, it’s hard not to notice, what with all the actors milling around in 19th-century garb.

All told, the incentive package to lure the superstar director (as if he needed it) to film in Virginia included $1 million from the Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund, $2.5 million from the Virginia Motion Picture Tax Credit program and $1.1 million in in-kind contributions.

But if that wasn’t enough, the office of first lady Maureen McDonnell announced that, due to the ongoing filming at the executive mansion and Capitol Square, there will be no Capitol tree lighting this year (though the mansion will be open for official tours and open houses next month).

“They have taken over Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol in the last few weeks,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said.

Damn Yankees.

Credit, please

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley would like a little credit.

The governor was a tad touchy last week about a story in the Baltimore Sun that outlined the resurgence of the Port of Baltimore, which has seen revitalized shipping and cruise industries in recent years while business has waned and jobs have been lost in port city rival Norfolk.

Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot brought up the story at last week’s Board of Public Works meeting and praised the reporter — who was in attendance — for his “tremendous article” on how the port was “out-competing” its Virginia counterpart.

However, Mr. O'Malley quickly jumped in to say that he felt the article failed to mention certain unsung heroes in the port’s resurgence — namely, his and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown’s administration.

“Did you notice how there was never one mention of the O’Malley-Brown administration?” he asked in a tone that was equal parts playful and annoyed, and got his point across while also drawing laughs from those in attendance. “The only public-private partnership, the consistency of leadership interrupted only once, the jobs happening 10 years ahead of Norfolk, and you managed to keep the name ‘O'Malley-Brown’ out of the entire article. That was phenomenal.”

After the laughs died down, Mr. Franchot got in his own jab at the reporter — although we think his was entirely in jest.

“Neither was the comptroller or the treasurer mentioned,” he said.

Sacre bleu!

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray was tickled to see a reporter from Agence France-Presse at his bi-weekly news conference Wednesday in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Ward 7.

So much so, he had a few questions for the reporter who started his query by noting he is from “the French news agency.”

“The French news agency?!” Mr. Gray said. “Hey man, we’re honored over here that you’re — you gonna write about this in Paris?”

“We could very well,” he said.

“Well that’s not a commitment,” the mayor said. “We want to be on the front page of the best newspaper.”

Although the presser focused on Wal-Mart and the joie de vivre it’s expected to bring to retail in the city, the reporter just had a quick question about the Occupy D.C. movement.

• David Sherfinski, David Hill and Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.