- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Sidney’s salons

Bill Clinton’s attack dog, Sidney Blumenthal, who before becoming a senior adviser to and defender of the former president reported for the New Republic, The Washington Post and the New Yorker, has landed at Salon.com.

“We’re excited about the addition of Sidney Blumenthal to our staff and the opening of our new Washington bureau, which is Salon’s most ambitious editorial expansion in years,” writes Salon editor and founder David Talbot.

In addition, Salon.com, which at last count had 74,000 paid subscribers, will initiate a “strategic alliance” with the British newspaper the Guardian, running daily items from that paper while Salon.com will be featured on the Guardian online. Mr. Talbot says Salon.com also will become a daily contributor to the new left-leaning progressive talk-radio network, Air America Radio.

In addition to Mr. Blumenthal, Air America’s listeners will be hearing from political activist Al Franken, commentator Janeane Garofalo, and Martin Kaplan, former chief speechwriter to Walter F. Mondale.

Grand Old Party

Both houses of Congress, or so it is ordered by resolution, are to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first meeting of the Republican Party.

And, no, that inaugural GOP meeting did not take place on Capitol Hill. Would you believe Ripon, Wis.?

On March 20, 1854, 50 men, three women and a child assembled in a simple frame schoolhouse, now known as the Little White Schoolhouse, to advocate the creation of a new political party under the name “Republican.”

Today, the Little White Schoolhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, designated by the Interior Department a National Historic Landmark on May 30, 1974. Ripon city officials say the schoolhouse, now a museum, attracts visitors from around the world.

Party planning

For the first time in its history, the Republican National Committee has selected New York City to host its presidential convention. And while there will be little political suspense in the Madison Square Garden air — what with an incumbent presidential nominee — New York is promising quite the show.

Upwards of 50,000 people, including 4,853 delegates and alternates and 15,000 reporters and pundits, have RSVP’d for the 2004 Republican National Convention from Aug. 30 through Sept. 2. And nobody is more pleased with the reservations than New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had empaneled a “dream team” of top city Republicans to lobby the RNC for the convention.

The mayor expects the late-summer political powwow to generate more than $150 million for New York City, and to make sure everything proceeds smoothly — taxi service to trash pickup — he has reached agreements with the city’s labor unions to sign “no strike” agreements for convention week.

On top of that, Mr. Bloomberg has secured more than 22,000 hotel rooms from 50 hotels — 17,000 of the rooms within one mile of Madison Square Garden. And get this: Mr. Bloomberg is promising almost half of those rooms will be available to convention-goers at an average rate of $156 per night — cheap by New York standards.

Here in Washington, meanwhile, Inside the Beltway is told that more than three dozen interested parties will descend on the Capitol Hill Club tomorrow to ensure they have a “spectacular presence” in New York for convention week.

New York public relations giant Saxton Group/A-List Strategic, along with Keelen Communications, is hosting the Capitol Hill convention “primer” to help guarantee attendees a “once-in-a-lifetime week of access and events.”

Among the speakers will be New York PR specialist Catherine Saxton, CEO of Saxton Group Ltd., who with others will address such topics as “insider access to Manhattan’s movers and shakers and major political funders,” “the ‘in’ venues,” and “how to get New York’s A-List VIPs and celebrities to your event, and attracting national high-profile VIPs.”

Tomorrow: Democrats to descend on Boston for the 2004 Democratic National Convention starting July 26.

American original

“He is an American original. He served in the Air Force in Korea, was captain of the 1964 U.S. Olympic judo team. He has been a rancher, a jewelry designer, a horse trainer and a public official. He is the only American Indian serving in the Senate. He carries the distinction of being 1 of 44 chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.”

— Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, upon learning that Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado Republican, would not be seeking re-election to a third term.

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

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