IN OTHER WORDS: Co-opting a tainted name for a good cause

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Finally, some good news about “Team Thomas.”

Observers of D.C. city hall’s tumultuous, scandal-ridden year will remember that federal prosecutors named Team Thomas as a nonprofit entity that former council member Harry Thomas Jr. used, in part, to funnel more than $350,000 in public funds to his own pockets for lavish trips and other expenses, including a Chevy Tahoe and a shiny motorcycle.

On Thursday, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson co-opted the term for a good cause. Whether she realized it or not is another matter.

Standing before a packed gymnasium at Neval Thomas Elementary School in Ward 7, she singled out high-achieving students at the school for their performance on annual standardized testing.

“I saw Team Thomas leading the field,” Ms. Henderson said with pride.

All told, she used the term about a half-dozen times or so.

There’s nothing wrong with labeling the aspiring youngsters as such, but it probably elicited some inner chuckles among the crowd.

Nice try …

The first rule about being a vice presidential candidate: Don’t talk about being a vice presidential candidate.

And Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has fielded the question much more than he ever would have cared to by now, has it down to a science.

“You’re going to have to ask the [Mitt] Romney campaign,” he told a group of editors and reporters at The Washington Times last week. “There’s only one list that matters; it’s not in my pocket. I’ve said pretty much everything I could possibly say. But look, I’ve told Gov. Romney I'll do everything I can to help him win, starting with winning Virginia.”

He pointed to his trip to Iowa the previous day to campaign for Mr. Romney, and his serving as chairman of the Platform Committee for the Republican National Convention.

“Look, there’s buzz out there, and I just really can’t spend time thinking about that,” he said. “The governor will make his decision and announcement when he feels ready.”

“Can I follow up quickly?” an editor asked.

“Yeah, but you’re not getting anything,” Mr. McDonnell said with a laugh.

But, it was a different question: Would he be willing to leave the governorship early to serve in a Romney administration?

“Honestly, this has been the great privilege of my life to be governor of Virginia; other governors have said there’s no higher honor than to be governor of Virginia,” he replied. “Nobody’s made me any offers, so I guess I won’t answer that type of hypothetical question at this point. … I’m not sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.”

Such questions, one would assume, will cease soon enough, Mr. McDonnell.

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

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author

Megan Poinski

Megan Poinski is the former deputy metro editor at The Washington Times. She has worked as a reporter, editor and web designer for more than a decade, covering mostly local, state and federal government in Ohio, Maryland and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Throughout her career, she has received reporting awards from the Scripps Howard Foundation, Capitolbeat, and Associated Press Managing ...

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