- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Ouch!
"OK, Charlie, I'll ask you, because you're one of them."
House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. David Dreier, California Republican, after being challenged repeatedly by Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, to "Ask the old folks! Ask the old folks!" about what effect proposed Republican legislation would have on senior citizens.
For the record, Mr. Rangel is 72. Mr. Dreier turns 50 on Friday.

Learning from Lyndon?
We'd written yesterday that former Clinton strategists James Carville and Paul Begala had issued a strategy memo last year encouraging Democrats to call President Bush unflattering names or so conservative pundit Ann Coulter charges in her new book, "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right."
Well, Mr. Begala has since been spotted cell-phone pressed to his ear, with Mr. Carville on the other end rifling through Miss Coulter's book at the Trover Shop on Capitol Hill.
"Ah, this is nuts!" Mr. Begala told Mr. Carville more than once while thumbing through the book's passages.
"It's no more nuts than your books!" countered Lisa McCormick, managing director of the media market firm Currie Jennings, who happened to be strolling past the vocal Mr. Begala. (During the 2000 presidential campaign, the Democrat authored a scathing book about Mr. Bush's communication skills).
Obviously, Mr. Begala didn't like what he read of "Slander." Rather than buying Miss Coulter's book (Crown Publishers, $24.95), he slid out of the shop with a biography of Lyndon B. Johnson under his arm.

Great 88
"Does he or does he not?" demands Russ Mann, among dozens of readers to write yesterday after Rep. Diane E. Watson, California Democrat, contended that President Bush has an IQ "of 88."
"If, in fact, he does have an IQ of 88, it is not mud-slinging to point it out," Mr. Mann observes. "Need I remind you that your job as a journalist is to check things out? So, do your job. Check it out."
Well, Mr. Mann, we had to look no further than the Museum of Hoaxes www.museumofhoaxes.com which says the Bush IQ rumor began circulating last July upon fictitious word that the Lovenstein Institute (there is no such monster) of Scranton, Pa., had conducted research into the IQs of all presidents of the past 50 years.
Mr. Bush, or so the tale went, ranked at the very bottom with an IQ of 91.
"This news quickly gained attention from the international media," notes the museum. "The London Guardian broke the story on July 19, and on August 26 Garry Trudeau featured the report in his Doonesbury comic strip. Unfortunately, both Trudeau and the Guardian had been taken in by a hoax.
"In its original version, the joke was evident," adds the museum, given the Pennsylvania Court Observer was cited as its source, "but this paper was simultaneously described as having a circulation of only five readers."
Miss Watson's office yesterday told inquiring minds that it couldn't recall when the congresswoman might have made such a blistering remark. For the record, the words were uttered late last month, when Americans for Democratic Action, the nation's oldest liberal political organization, presented its Liberal Agenda for a Secure Nation at the group's annual national conference in Washington.
"This president has an IQ of 88," Miss Watson said of Mr. Bush, an alum of Yale and Harvard. "That tells you something."
Concludes Inside the Beltway reader Warren L. Griffin: "I think Diane Watson confused Bush's popularity rating with his IQ."

Born-again patriots
Those Boomers bred on blame
Have recovered from their shame:
They fly the flag
And do not gag
On the Pledge they now proclaim.

F.R. Duplantier

Try Martha's Vineyard
Don't pack your bathing trunks for "Bernie Sanders Beach" in Vermont, despite what we wrote yesterday of the beach in New England, renamed albeit briefly in honor of Independent Rep. Bernard Sanders.
"Bernie Sanders Beach is no more," writes the Burlington Free Press, reporting that Burlington City Council members scrapped their own measure to rename North Beach after its former mayor-turned-lawmaker.
Turns out Mr. Sanders, modest guy that he is, personally requested that the council forgo the honor.

Congratulations
The National Press Club has bestowed one of its top awards on an investigative reporter for Insight magazine, a sister publication of The Washington Times.
John Berlau won the club's Sandy Hume Memorial Award for Excellence in Political Journalism for a series of articles on potential conflicts of interest involving IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti and his stock holdings.
His reporting even prompted Terry Lemons, chief of media relations at the Internal Revenue Service, to send a memo telling agency employees not to talk to this "very persistent, very aggressive, very nasty" reporter.
"Everyone at Insight is extremely proud of John for winning this award," said Paul Rodriguez, Insight's managing editor. "John's reporting ability is exceptional, especially on the Rosotti story. He is one of those rare journalists who truly has an innate sense for finding the real story in any assignment."



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