- The Washington Times - Monday, August 30, 2004

Peeled Heinz

While he’s in New York for the Republican National Convention, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, host of “After Hours” on the Fox News Channel, is staying with the Illinois delegation at the DoubleTree Times Square Hotel.

In fact, Mr. Thomas is a regular guest at the hotel while taping his show.

“At breakfast this morning, I noticed something missing,” Mr. Thomas tells Inside the Beltway. “It was the Heinz ketchup in those little, miniature bottles. I asked one of the waiters what happened to the ketchup.

“He said quietly, ‘Oh, we took it out because we were afraid the delegates might be offended. But I’ll get you some.’

“As he went into the kitchen and brought out one of the little bottles, a supervisor came over and said, ‘Here’s what you want.’ It was a small cup with ketchup in it. No label. He was smiling.’”

Miz Nippy

It takes under five minutes to read James Carville’s new book, “Lu and the Swamp Ghost.”

After all, it’s the outspoken Democratic political consultant’s first book for children, officially released tomorrow and inspired by an episode in the Louisiana childhood of Mr. Carville’s mother, Lucille (known as “Miz Nippy”).

And to make sure children hear the story with the correct inflections, the book comes packaged with a CD read by Mr. Carville in his distinctive voice.

Miz Nippy, to tell a bit of the ghostly tale, grew up in southern Louisiana during the Great Depression. One day she is out checking her papa’s turkey traps in the cypress woods and comes across someone — or something — covered head to toe in mud. She heard about the swamp ghost who gobbles up nosy little girls, but this is the first time she came face-to-face with one of the creatures.

Obviously, Mr. Carville is living proof that his mother wasn’t swallowed whole, but the story is an intriguing one nonetheless.

Pew intruder

Children of Secret Service agents greet their fathers no differently than other children in Washington, or so we gather from the official White House pool report.

As President Bush bowed to pray at St. John’s Episcopal Church on an otherwise-sleepy August Sunday morning, the still of the sanctuary was broken by a boisterous toddler who yelled “Dada” to a Secret Service agent and made a brief run at the presidential pew before his mother scooped him up.

Jack and Bobby

“Two D.C. guys gone Hollywood!”

Or so best-selling author and former Washingtonian Brad Meltzer tells Inside the Beltway of his latest gig: co-creator of the new TV show “Jack & Bobby,” premiering Sept. 12 on the WB network.

“Thank God ‘The Sopranos’ are gone,” Mr. Meltzer quips of his first-ever show, which will air Sundays at 9 p.m., the same time slot as the HBO crime-family drama.

Jack and Bobby (not to be confused with the late Kennedy brothers) are two ordinary teenage brothers, one of whom grows up to be president in the year 2049.

“[I]n this election year, where both candidates went to Yale and are members of Skull & Bones, it’s nice to imagine a world where truly anyone can become president,” Mr. Meltzer notes.

Bush/Giuliani ‘04?

“We are very happy that Vice President Cheney will be serving this country … for another four years, but we thought it would be amusing to poke fun at the rumors that keep popping up in the press,” explains GOP Shoppe founder Brian Harlin, one of Washington’s top purveyors of political paraphernalia.

It’s not just former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani appearing with the president. These limited edition “rumor buttons,” released yesterday to coincide with the Republican National Convention, include a diverse cast of characters — some serious contenders for the 2008 election.

Character counts

“You know, he’s not the prettiest face in the race.”

President Bush, who says he likes to tease Vice President Dick Cheney about his challenger in this 2004 presidential election, the boyish-looking Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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