- The Washington Times - Monday, September 6, 2004

Almighty endorsement

“Jesus Loves You,” reads the official White House pool report of a lone banner held high for President Bush as his motorcade passed Sunday through Parkersburg, W.Va.

Awaiting justice

Still under federal investigation is the “sloppy socks scandal” — or so the theft of national-security documents by former Clinton White House official Samuel R. Berger has been duly named by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican.

The congresswoman finds it incredulous that former President Clinton would make a “laughing matter” of his former national security adviser “stooping to such a level … where it appears he has stuffed [documents] in his socks, in his pants pocket, in his jacket pocket …

“Let me tell you, my constituents want some answers,” says Mrs. Blackburn.

Ghost writer

Longtime Chicago Sun-Times political columnist Steve Neal was the centerpiece of Chicago politics until he lost his life to a brief but intense illness in February.

Considered a rare breed in modern journalism — a relentless reporter and raconteur who demonstrated a tremendous knowledge of history — he left a huge mark on Chicago, where he regularly congregated with the high and mighty.

As a chronicler of political life, he was best known for his snappy leads, as well as his many books — 11 in all — albeit he didn’t live to see the publishing date of his final tome: “Happy Days Are Here Again: The 1932 Democratic Convention, the Emergence of FDR — And How America Was Changed Forever.”

So, this evening, Washington-based Chicago columnist Robert Novak and Congressional Quarterly Publisher Bob Merry will join Mr. Neal’s widow, Susan Neal, and a host of admiring scribes at Teatro Goldoni in Washington to formally release the book on Mr. Neal’s behalf.

Weekend update

While continuing to dig its new galleries on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Newseum counts more than 500 journalism-related artifacts added to its already impressive collection.

Among the more eye-opening, the bomb-shattered car that belonged to Arizona Republic organized crime reporter Dan Bolles, who died in 1976 after an assassin detonated a bomb placed beneath the seat of the car.

When the $400 million, 550,000-square-foot new Newseum opens in 2007, the car’s wreckage will go on display in its “Dateline: Danger” gallery — one of a dozen new artifact galleries, according to the Newseum’s executive director, Joe Urschel.

Other new acquisitions include a manuscript filed by Ernie Pyle for one of his World War II newspaper columns, AP and UPI teletype wire copy reporting the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and on the lighter side, a “Weekend Update” sign from the first season of TV’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Urgent matters

Not one, but two mayors — Glen Goodwin and Jerry Ruby — joined President Bush on the dais as he stumped this past weekend in Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Ohio.

“I’m honored the two mayors are here,” noted Mr. Bush, who said that when barking presidential orders, his job is basically no different than theirs.

“Fill the potholes!” he said. “Works every time.”

Quote of the week

“He says he’s in touch with the West. He must mean western Massachusetts.”

Vice President Dick Cheney, continuing his campaign assault on Democratic presidential nominee and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

Chef’s choice

As award-winning executive chef of three of Washington’s most popular restaurants — DC Coast, TenPenh and Ceiba — Jeff Tunks can eat whatever he wants whenever he wants.

Therein lies the problem.

So, every single day during the past year, when not dishing up the richest cuisine the nation’s capital has to offer, an overweight Mr. Tunks has quietly ducked into a Subway sandwich shop next door to DC Coast and ordered a 12-inch turkey, lettuce and tomato sub on whole-wheat bread — hold the cheese.

So far, the 6-foot-3-inch chef has lost more than 120 pounds.

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

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