- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Eagle-eye Hume

Tens of thousands of Washingtonians were on hand Saturday for the 80th anniversary of the world famous Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase race at Great Meadow in The Plains.

Among them, Fox News Channel’s Washington managing editor and anchor Brit Hume — albeit, as in past years, the popular newscaster wasn’t mixing with the well-dressed crowd manning the fences.

Instead, Mr. Hume was high atop the race course serving as a placing judge. (In other words, it is up to him to determine which horse crosses the finish line first.)

“I am one of three placing judges, and we all stand in the judge’s stand at a position above the finish line — one guy stands in the front, one guy stands behind him, and the third behind him — and we all peer out over the finish line.

“And what we see goes,” assures Mr. Hume.

If it happens to be an extremely close race (several races are run at each Gold Cup), the placing judges can always resort to a state-of-the-art digital camera that shoots an amazing 2,000 frames per second.

“So we can’t go wrong. There’s no danger,” says Mr. Hume, sounding somewhat relieved.

After all, he reveals to this column, “a couple of years ago there was one particular race that we did not think was close enough to look at.”

“We knew the owner, who was well-liked, and with people gathered all around him, he was about to receive the prize. Suddenly, this guy above us [manning the camera] got our attention, saying ‘You guys had better come up here.’”

Mr. Hume and his fellow judges couldn’t believe their eyes. The horse they all agreed was the first to cross the finish line, he says, actually finished second “by a fraction of a nose.”

“It was one of those nose-up, nose-down deals,” Mr. Hume explains. “We were all just stunned. And we were wrong. So, ever since then, we are perfectly willing to check.”

According to race chairman Arthur W. Arundel and his son, John Arundel, “attendees often do a double-take when they see Hume standing on the steward’s stand with his … half-rim glasses, taking his job very, very seriously.”

Mr. Hume spends weekends at his farm in — we’re not making this up — Hume, Va., where his brother is the postmaster.

Friends of the courts

Trouble seems to follow the Clintons wherever they go.

Now it’s Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2000 campaign-finance director, David Rosen, who stands accused of filing false statements surrounding a celebrity-studded Hollywood gala four years ago attended by the likes of Cher, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.

The FBI charges that Mr. Rosen underreported the actual costs of the event so that Mrs. Clinton could spend more campaign money elsewhere. Mr. Rosen, whose trial begins today, faces 15 years in jail and a quarter-million-dollar fine if convicted on three counts.

However, the event’s co-organizer, Aaron Tonken, says Mr. Rosen shouldn’t go to prison.

“David, I don’t think, deserves to go to jail,” Tonken told the Associated Press from his own prison cell, wouldn’t you know. Tonken was sentenced to 63 months on unrelated charges of defrauding charities of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Instead, Tonken — who was in charge of corralling celebrities for the fundraiser — says Mrs. Clinton’s campaign should be fined. Stay tuned.

Only in America

“There’s nothing like getting jumped by a bunch of illegal aliens to get your blood flowing and your sinuses cleared.”

Or so Washington radio personality Michael Graham tells Inside the Beltway, saying he was more than manhandled — by aliens and police officers alike — at a most unusual rally Saturday in a Maryland suburb of the nation’s capital.

Maryland happens to be one of the few states left that does not require applicants for driver’s licenses to prove they are residing in this country legally. Aliens, understandably, want it kept that way, thus the reason behind their rally.

Enter Mr. Graham, wearing a black T-shirt with three yellow letters: INS.

The aliens weren’t amused. In fact, those posted at the rally’s entrance gate forbid Mr. Graham access on the grounds — you won’t believe this — because he did not have a proper ID.

“That’s right, the one guy possessing a valid ID got turned away by those here illegally without ID,” says Mr. Graham, who is heard weekday mornings on WMAL-AM (630).

Now’s your chance

“As the sun set on the guest house, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin emerged to take a spin in the white Volga. [Mr. Bush] looked taken aback when Mr. Putin indicated that he should drive. The car was pointed at the press.”

—Official White House pool report of President Bush’s spin in Russian President Putin’s prized 1956 Volga sedan

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

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