- The Washington Times - Monday, September 20, 2004

Bush supporters

“Most uneventful bus ride,” reads the official White House pool report surrounding President Bush’s campaign swing through Minnesota. “Only notes of interest along way were the smiling guys waving outside Jake’s Exotic Dancers, just outside St. Paul.”

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Rather embarrassing

“The truth of the matter, of course, is

We rely on anonymous sources,

On political hacks,

Certifiable quacks,

And extraterrestrial forces.”

F.R. Duplantier

Changing guard

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton tomorrow will join in the debate over National Guard and Reserve duty — although this New York Democrat, unlike CBS anchor Dan Rather, isn’t as concerned about whether President Bush served his fair share decades ago.

Instead, the Center for American Progress, the Association of the U.S. Army, and the Center for Peace and Security Studies will hold a day-long summit at Georgetown University on the future of the National Guard and Reserve.

Besides Mrs. Clinton, a host of military-defense and homeland-security policy-makers will reassess the roles of the reserve component in meeting the nation’s changing and expanding security needs. Among those testifying: Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Security Paul McHale, Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Bush stunts

Former President George H.W. Bush is living proof why the Federal Aviation Administration rule requiring pilots to retire on their 60th birthday is outdated and should be scrapped.

“Just look at our 41st president, George Bush,” Capt. Joseph “Ike” Eichelkraut, president of the Southwest Airline Pilots’ Association, told lawmakers on Capitol Hill. “At 80 years young, he not only wants to fly in airplanes, he’s jumping out of them.”

Sen. Larry Craig, Idaho Republican, who chaired the hearing on mandatory retirement policies, agrees that the age restriction was arbitrary and based on “medical facts” of a previous era.

“The mandatory retirement rules for pilots were established in 1959 — 45 years ago,” he said, noting that Americans are now living healthier and, subsequently, longer lives.

Sophia’s poster

Three-year-old Sophia Parlock has a new Bush-Cheney campaign poster, courtesy of President Bush himself.

Sophia became famous Thursday when Associated Press photographer Randy Snyder captured a shot of the toddler crying after her Bush-Cheney sign was torn to pieces at a Huntington, W.Va., rally for Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards.

Sophia’s father, Republican activist Phil Parlock, charges that Mr. Edwards’ supporters “pounced” on him and two of his children, equating it to a “feeding frenzy.”

The photo of Sophia crying made her a cause celebre in newspapers around the country. Mr. Parlock said on Friday that he’d already given more than 20 interviews.

U.S. News & World Report writer Paul Bedard was the first to report Friday that the White House sent Sophia a new poster, with a personal inscription from the president: “Dear Sophia, Thank you for supporting my campaign. I understand someone tore up your sign. So I am sending you a new sign and a signed picture.”

Hummer rides

The LUKE Foundation in Prince George’s County says it will provide limousine service to and from the polls on Election Day, Nov. 2, to help those who “felt disenfranchised” after the 2000 presidential election.

Voters in historically low-turnout areas of the county will be chauffeured to the polls in “Hummers and other luxury limousines.”

Says the foundation’s president, Charles G. Davis: “It does not matter which candidate you vote for, but in order to be acknowledged in our system, you must vote.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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