- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2003

Meaning of "I"
We discovered one way to get the attention of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's spokesman, Philippe Reines, who personally wrote to this newspaper: "I'll make you a deal if you tell me where you got the 'I.' from when you quoted me in your piece on HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton], I'll tell you what it stands for."
We kept our end of the deal by revealing yesterday that we'd come across Mr. Reines' previously unused middle initial in the Senate's payroll records.
Keeping his word, Mr. Reines yesterday delivered this one-word response: "Ioannis."

Florida wave
We had reported that Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida held a Washington "steering committee" meeting last week to discuss a possible bid for the Senate, assuming that Democratic Sen. Bob Graham announces he's running for president.
That meeting was so jam-packed with Capitol bigwigs that lobbyists were crammed into the hallway trying to hear Mr. Foley's presentation.
Now we learn that the five-term congressman held a series of "Kitchen Cabinet" meetings in South Florida this week with advisers, party leaders and fund-raisers. Once again, the turnout was described as tremendous.
As a result, one Foley aide in Washington tells us that his boss, whose hometown is West Palm Beach and who served in both the Florida House and Senate, is being pressured to run whether Mr. Graham makes a bid for the White House or not.
"The momentum is reverberating from the Sunshine State to the Capitol," says the aide, who points to impressive Republican gains in Florida last November, despite the Democratic National Committee pouring a record amount of money into the state.
"Even if Graham decides to run for re-election, the amount of enthusiasm for Mark is almost making the decision for him," the aide informs this column.

Airborne hug
Yesterday, we recalled the Capitol Hill reign of former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, the outspoken Illinois Democrat who is now said to have her sights set on the White House.
A few of our readers wrote to say that they would consider supporting a presidential bid by Mrs. Moseley-Braun, who would become the nation's first black and female president (the half-dozen other Democratic presidential hopefuls thus far in the 2004 contest, with the exception of the Rev. Al Sharpton, are all white males).
Meanwhile, rumors swirl around these wintry streets of Washington that the eventual Democratic front-runner (granted it's not Mrs. Moseley-Braun, and the odds are against that happening) will wind up choosing a woman as a running mate. That hasn't happened since Democrat Geraldine Ferraro made history alongside Walter Mondale in 1984, albeit on the losing end.
One woman who is often mentioned as a potential vice-presidential nominee for 2004 is newly crowned House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's name is also being bounced around. But come to think of it, hasn't Mrs. Clinton already held the No. 2 post at the White House? (Couldn't help myself, Al.)
And, of course, there's Mrs. Moseley-Braun, who no doubt would jump at the opportunity to be vice president of the United States, given the relatively obscure school district seat she now holds in Illinois.
Finally, we'd concluded yesterday's item with an earlier observation by Mrs. Moseley-Braun that it might have to do with her being "cuddly." For some reason, "if I walk up to someone to shake their hand, they will pull me toward them. A hug, a kiss, something physical."
Reveals one Washington attorney who read yesterday's column: "I've been hugged by Moseley-Braun, not the other way around, when our [St. Louis-bound] plane appeared headed south, rapidly, in what the pilot diplomatically described as a series of 'gyrations.'"

Football family
We had observed this week that Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican and eldest son of the late Redskins coach George Allen, would be rooting for the Oakland Raiders in this Sunday's Super Bowl.
No kidding, dozens of Inside the Beltway faithful wrote to tell us, with each observing that the senator's kid brother, Bruce Allen, happens to be senior assistant with the Raiders' front office in Oakland.
We tried reaching this other Mr. Allen yesterday, but he was "busy on the practice field" in San Diego with the rest of the Raiders team, said a spokeswoman for the team.

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