- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2002

Two to tango

"Activities in support of Take Our Daughters to Work Day have been planned at many of our various facilities. Although the focus of the day is on girls, boys are also encouraged to participate."

Environmental Protection Agency chief Christie Whitman, in a memo to EPA staff about today's Take Our Daughters to Work Day.

Texas White House

A White House insider says presidential Counselor Karen Hughes will not be riding off into the sunset when she steps down from her key post this summer and returns to Texas.

"I think you will see her here in Washington [quite frequently] for major decisions or announcements," says a White House official, who asks not to be identified. "And certainly [she and President Bush] will be talking on the phone constantly."

The 45-year-old Mrs. Hughes, considered Mr. Bush's closest adviser, has been constantly at his side since his days as Texas governor. She surprised everybody in the White House and elsewhere this week by announcing her resignation, explaining that she's homesick for Texas and wants to spend more time with her family.

She stressed that she would continue to advise the president, although she probably won't be on the federal payroll.

"A lot is being said about her departure," the official acknowledged, "and many in Washington are having a hard time believing that someone would want to leave a great job like this for their family. But that's the way this White House operates, and that's the way Karen Hughes operates. It makes all of us realize the importance of family."

Mr. Bush often reveals that he, too, is homesick for Texas. In fact, the president prefers to huddle with visiting foreign heads of state at his Prairie Chapel ranch, where he chauffeurs them around in his pickup. As we speak, he welcomes Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to his ranch today to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

As for Mrs. Hughes' replacement, the White House official repeated Mr. Bush's sentiments that "Karen Hughes is irreplaceable."

Bush tribute

Karen Hughes isn't leaving Washington without first attending the 88th annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner honoring President Bush on May 4, the first WHCA dinner since September 11.

First lady Laura Bush will also be on hand for the black-tie gala in the cavernous Washington Hilton ballroom, joined by senior White House officials Andrew Card, Karl Rove and Mary Matalin.

The Washington Times is pleased to welcome to the dinner as its distinguished guests Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez, U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick, Virginia Sen. John Warner, Michigan Gov. John Engler, former New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal, Israel's temporary Ambassador to the U.S. Rafael Barak, Singapore Ambassador Heng Chee Chan, and Denmark's Ambassador Ulrik A. Federspiel.

Also among this newspaper's guests, as The Times celebrates its 20th anniversary, are National Rifle Association Executive Director Wayne LaPierre, Cato Institute founder and president Edward Crane, Reps. Robert Ehrlich of Maryland and Jennifer Dunn of Washington, former secretary of labor nominee Linda Chavez, Wall Street economist Larry Kudlow, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and Brooks Robinson, the former Hall of Fame vacuum cleaner at third base for the Baltimore Orioles (and next-door neighbor in Little Rock, Ark., to Washington Times Editor in Chief Wesley Pruden, when they were boys on Denison Street).

The featured entertainer for the evening will be Drew Carey, star of "The Drew Carey Show" and "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?"

Afghan is in

It used to be that film and TV celebrities like Rob Lowe and Tony Curtis, and "15-minute stars" like O.J. Simpson's house guest Brian "Kato" Kaelin, were the hit of the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Not so this year.

Who would have guessed that one of this year's biggest snares is newly appointed Afghanistan Ambassador Ishaq Shahryar, who, along with his wife, Hafizah, will be seated in the company of Sunday talkmeister John McLaughlin.

Come to think of it, Mr. McLaughlin is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of "The McLaughlin Group," which premiered as a pilot on WRC-TV Channel 4 in Washington in April 1982 and went on to make history as the originator of the political screamfest.

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