Monday, July 12, 2004

Every vote counts?

“The president of the United States shook hands and nearly kissed a dog.”

—Official White House pool report surrounding President Bush‘s impromptu stop in Pottstown, Pa., on his way to a campaign appearance in Lancaster. The dog, a 3-year-old American Eskimo, was named Vixen.

Moore’s prop

The family of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone was shocked to learn that video footage of the major’s Arlington National Cemetery burial was included by Michael Moore in his movie “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

Maj. Stone was killed in March 2003 by a grenade that officials said was thrown into his tent by Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar, who is on trial for murder.

“It’s been a big shock, and we are not very happy about it, to say the least,” Kandi Gallagher, Maj. Stone’s aunt and family spokeswoman, tells Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson.

“We are furious that Greg was in that casket and cannot defend himself, and my sister, Greg’s mother, is just beside herself,” Miss Gallagher said. “She is furious. She called him a ‘maggot that eats off the dead.’ ”

The movie, described by critics as political propaganda during an election year, shows video footage of the funeral and Maj. Stone’s fiancee, Tammie Eslinger, kissing her hand and placing it on his coffin.

The family does not know how Mr. Moore obtained the video, and Miss Gallagher said they did not give permission and are considering legal recourse.

She described her nephew as a “totally conservative Republican” and said he would have found the film to be “putrid.”

“I’m sure he would have some choice words for Michael Moore,” she said. “Michael Moore would have a hard time asking our family for a glass of water if he were thirsty.”

Adieu, Bubba

Bill Clinton the future president of France?

Don’t laugh, it could happen.

“Normally, you’d have to live in France for five years … [b]ut Clinton was born in Arkansas, which was once part of France, and which was then acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase, making it ‘a state or territory over which France has ever exercised sovereignty or extended a mandate or protectorate,’ ” reveals Matthew Continetti, a writer for the Weekly Standard.

French social scientist Patrick Weil was the first to report that French civil law permits “citizens of states or territories over which France has ever exercised sovereignty or extended a mandate or protectorate” to apply “immediately” for naturalization as a French citizen.

That would pave the way for Mr. Clinton — who longs these days to be president of something — to seek France’s highest office.

“Clinton repeats this theme throughout [his new book] ‘My Life,’ ” Mr. Continetti observes. “He just loved being president, he tells us, again and again and again. Absolutely loved it. With all his heart and mind and body, it seems. He’d do it all over again if he could.”

Mr. Weil actually wrote to Mr. Clinton on Jan. 10, 2001, informing him that as a naturalized French citizen, “You would have the same full rights as all other French citizens. That includes running for the presidency.”

France doesn’t even require that Mr. Clinton renounce his American citizenship. However, he would need to purchase an official residence in France and learn the French language.

Muskie park?

A congressional bill has been introduced to examine whether a black granite memorial to former Sen. Edmund S. Muskie along the banks of the Androscoggin River in Rumford, Maine, should become a part of the National Park System.

A son of Polish immigrants, Mr. Muskie was born and raised in Rumford. He joined the Navy during World War II, serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. He became Maine’s governor in 1954, a U.S. senator in 1958, Democratic nominee for vice president alongside Hubert H. Humphrey in 1968, and a candidate for president in 1972.

He was a secretary of state under Jimmy Carter, and later was named to Ronald Reagan‘s special review board to investigate the Iran-Contra affair. He died in 1996.

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or

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