- The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2003

Brothers of sorts

Thus far, the 2004 presidential debates have been all about the Democrats.

Now we learn from the Rev. David M. OConnell, president of the Catholic University of America, that two Catholic alumni Edward Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee will engage in a debate hosted by the university on March 18.

It will be the first time that the two leaders of their respective parties have met for a debate. George Stephanopoulos, host of ABCs “This Week,” will moderate.

“Were delighted Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Gillespie will return to their alma mater to debate issues of national importance as the 2004 presidential race intensifies and as voters begin to focus more attention on the upcoming election,” says Father OConnell.

“It promises to be a great learning experience for our students and a thrill for our alumni, especially those who were classmates of these leaders.”

Mr. Gillespie graduated from Catholic in 1983 with a bachelors degree in politics. He was elected chairman of the Republic National Committee in July of this year. Mr. McAuliffe, who earned a bachelors degree in political science in 1979, was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee in February 2001.

Dressing Arnold

“Its been like drinking out of a fire hose the last few weeks,” former Capitol Hill aide Vince Sollitto, deputy press secretary to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, tells Inside the Beltway.

“The media attention has been immense, one of those rare synergies where the political media, the California entertainment media and the international media have all converged,” he says, noting that “the media pools and number of cameras for the swearing-in ceremony were even more than at the presidential level.”

Mr. Sollitto and his staff ought to know. Mr. Schwarzeneggers chief press secretary, Margita Thompson, previously worked in the White House press office under President Bush. Her deputy, Ashley Snee, also worked in the Bush White House.

Mr. Sollitto most recently served on the House Homeland Security Committee before making the switch from Capitol Hill to Sacramento. And how does Californias state capital compare with the nations capital?

Replies Mr. Sollitto: “Im not used to reading pool reports of which the last line is, ‘The governor wore a charcoal gray suit from Prada with boots and a large blue ring.”

Patriot games

Outspoken Hall of Fame quarterback and Fox Sports celebrity Terry Bradshaw, caught up in the jubilation over the capture of Saddam Hussein, stared into the camera while signing off of Sundays football broadcast and declared: “Osama, my friend, youre next.”

Bad Santa

Learning of the capture of Saddam Hussein, Thea King of Baltimore caused fellow employees to burst out laughing when she said: “He looks just like the Unabomber!”

In fact, if juxtaposing photos of Saddam when he was captured with photos of hermit Ted Kaczynski after he was nabbed at his Montana hideout, the two grizzled men appear to be one and the same.

Meanwhile, catching his first sight of the former Iraqi president as his bearded, bewildered picture was flashed across the TV screen during Sunday brunch at Vermillion in Alexandria, lawyer David D. Hudgins shouted for all to hear: “Bad Santa!”

High road

“Just because Washington is being ridiculous doesnt mean we have to be.”

Or so reads an editorial in Canadas National Post, surrounding the newly declared “Iraq (bidding) war.”

“Magnanimity in victory is laudible,” writes the leading newspapers editors. “Unfortunately, when it comes to awarding infrastructure contracts in post-Saddam Iraq, Washington isnt displaying much of it.”

Still, the Canadians concur that “from a moral point of view, there is some basis to the exclusion: Having refused to risk our soldiers for the liberation of Iraq, it is perhaps fitting that we will profit little from the industrial boom taking place in its wake.”

‘Shukran’

“America, soon you will see

How joyous a nation can be:

Now that youve got

Saddam on the spot,

We Iraqis are finally free.”

F.R. Duplantier

(For the record, “shukran” means “thank you” in Arabic.)

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslinwashingtontimes.com.


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