Inside the Beltway

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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CRECHE ALERT

Indeed, the official Christmas theme at the White House this year is the cozy but generic “Shine, Give, Share,” but never fear, there is still a nativity scene among the many decorations, a spokesman tells Inside the Beltway. The traditional 18th-century Italian creche made of terra cotta and carved wood is happily situated in the East Room, as it has been since 1967 - the gift of one Mrs. Charles W. Engelhard Jr.

And speaking of history, the state china from former President George W. Bush’s administration is also part of the glittering mix, arranged in a grand holiday dinner display in where-else-but the China Room. Meanwhile, there’s a guide to it all - along with directions to craft an “East Garden Room Mini-Tree,” plus a recipe for pumpkin cake with orange cream cheese frosting - right here: WhiteHouse.gov/2011HolidayTour.

A CLANDESTINE CHRISTMAS

“Scaling back our holiday celebrations is just another small example of our commitment to making sure that we continue to make wise fiscal decisions across the board.”

(Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., on his decision to stage a more modest seasonal party at the CIA and elsewhere in the intelligence community this year.)

CAIN STILL ABLE

Presidential hopeful Herman Cain continues to battle his way down the campaign trail, pursued by shrill journalists seeking their daily sexual affairs fix. To their credit, Mr. Cain’s political rivals, for the most part, keep their tacky schadenfreude about the situation to themselves. The American public, meanwhile, is not keen to be rushed into judgment about Mr. Cain, a candidate who ruled favorability polls for weeks.

Some say it’s way uglier than all that, though.

“Once you go conservative black, you better watch your back,” points out Human Events legal affairs correspondent Ann Coulter.

“With the mainstream media giddily reporting on an alleged affair involving Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, how long can it be before they break the news that their 2004 vice presidential candidate conceived a ‘love child’ with his mistress, Rielle Hunter?

“The left is trying to destroy Cain with a miasma of hazy accusations leveled by three troubled women. Considered individually, the accusations are utterly unbelievable. They are even less credible taken together. This is how liberals destroy a man, out of nothing.”

Miss Coulter adds, “But this is how liberals dirty you up when they’ve got nothing: They launch a series of false accusations, knowing that Americans with busy lives won’t follow each story to the end and notice that they were all blind alleys. The liberal media is an old story, but it’s still a big story when it comes to creating the impression of scandal out of thin air.”

CHRISTIEFIED

The Republican words heard ‘round the world? Well, maybe. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made a recent demand to President Obama after he delicately sidestepped the pile of supercommittee mess last week, asking, “What the hell are we paying you for?” The phrase could have a long shelf life:

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