- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Dubya and Darrell
After eight memorable years of President Clinton, the White House Correspondents Association and a capacity crowd of more than 2,600 dinner guests are anxious to honor and roast President George W. Bush for the first time.
"We have a wonderful dinner this year, " association President Arlene Dillon, a senior producer for CBS News, tells Inside the Beltway. Not only are the president and first lady expected to be on hand a week from Saturday night, but also Vice President Richard Cheney and his wife.
In addition, reveals Ms. Dillon, an impressive list of White House alumni will be on hand to welcome Mr. Bush to town, including former Clinton explainers Mike McCurry, Joe Lockhart and Dee Dee Myers (former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos, now with ABC News, told us yesterday hes coming as a member of the Fourth Estate), and Marlin Fitzwater from the Reagan-Bush administrations.
As for Hollywood faces in the mix at the Washington Hilton, look for more right-leaning celebrities this year, from actress Bo "10" Derek to World Wrestling Federation superstar "The Rock," who wowed the arena at last summers Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.
"West Wing" president Martin Sheen wont be there, but several other stars from CBS hit show surrounding the White House will be, along with numerous characters from "Survivor" and "Survivor II, " including last years longest-lasting castaway Richard Hatch.
Cabinet members and congressmen, of course, will be seated at almost every table, with Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and Rep. Tom Davis, Virginia Republican, among the dignitaries dining with The Washington Times.
Finally, Darrell Hammond of NBCs "Saturday Night Live, " a dead-ringer for Bill Clinton, is this years featured comedian, although hes been forewarned that a stand-up before the president is no easy gig. The quick-witted Mr. Clinton, in fact, regularly outshined the associations paid performers.

How will Mr. Bush fare?

"I attended this years Gridiron Dinner and the radio and TV correspondents dinners and Mr. Bush was fabulous, " says Ms. Dillon. "Mr. Clinton over eight years perfected his speech at these events, and Mr. Bush is getting better as well."

Sit back and listen

Congress, when it reconvenes next week, will resume consideration of a long list of nominees for posts in the Bush administration, a process that can be painstakingly slow for everybody involved.
"The overwhelming majority of nominees make it through the Senate without any problems, " according to A Survivors Guide for Presidential Nominees, a project of the Brookings Institutions Presidential Appointee Initiative.
However, nominees are reminded that "its hard to predict which nominations will run into trouble, so you must prepare yourself for possible opposition."
Although chances of opposition are far greater when the Senate is controlled by one party and the White House another, thats not the case this political season as Republicans oversee both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Still, the guide recommends that nominees, once their names are sent to Capitol Hill, meet with every senator of the committee considering the nomination. And most of all, when the big day of laundry-airing arrives, dont be too worried.
"Its normal to be nervous before your confirmation hearing," the guide notes. "Most hearings, however, turn out to be painless events in which senators, rather than the nominee, do most of the talking."

Wants relief

Americans everywhere, Washingtonians by the hundreds, waited for the midnight deadline last night to pay their federal income taxes, an hour House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts Jr., Oklahoma Republican, couldnt let pass unnoticed:
"The government taxes you when you bring home a paycheck. It taxes you when you die. It taxes you when you make a phone call. It taxes you when you turn on a light. It taxes you when you sell a stock. It taxes you when you fill your car with gas. It taxes you when you ride a plane. It taxes you when you get married. Then it taxes you when you die. This is taxual insanity and it must end."

Equal spies

A State Department official, who asks not to be identified, couldnt help but notice that almost every spy listed in this column yesterday some of the more "spectacular" espionage cases of late, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency were males.
He reminded us of one Geneva Jones, a secretary for the State Department Bureau of Political Military Affairs, who pleaded guilty in 1994 of passing "secret" and "confidential" documents to Liberia.
Says the official: "Treason requires no affirmative action plan; the community of traitors is already as diverse as any other."


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