- The Washington Times - Monday, September 19, 2005

Pass the calamari

Congressional critics of George W. Bush’s initial response to Hurricane Katrina were eager to turn on their TV sets during prime time on Thursday when the president, addressing the nation from Jackson Square in New Orleans, delivered arguably one of the most important speeches of his presidency.

At the same time, hundreds of miles away in Washington, 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry arrived at a crowded Cafe Milano in Georgetown, took off his suitcoat, and sat down to a shirt-sleeve dinner with three unidentified men.

“The senator arrived at Cafe Milano about 7:30,” a network news executive in Washington, who was seated nearby, tells Inside the Beltway. “Senator Kerry’s dinner lasted through the president’s speech — and due to his positioning at the table his back was to the bar television throughout the entire speech. He never turned around once during the address.”

Mr. Bush’s speech ended at approximately 9:25 p.m. local time. Lo and behold, when he was still seated at the table wiping squid from his chin, Mr. Kerry responded to the president’s address with a statement of his own, issued at exactly 9:54 p.m.

“Leadership isn’t a speech or a toll-free number,” began the senator. “Leadership is getting the job done. No American doubts that New Orleans will rise again, they doubt the competence and commitment of this administration. Weeks after Katrina, Americans want an end to politics as usual that leaves them dangerously and unforgivably unprepared. Americans want to know that their government will be there when it counts with leadership that keeps them safe, not speeches in the aftermath to explain away the inexcusable.”

Spy on spies

A most intriguing gentleman is returning to the nation’s capital this week for the official release of his new book that is already rocking the United Nations: “The UN Gang: A Memoir of Incompetence, Corruption, Espionage, Anti-Semitism and Islamic Extremism at the UN Secretariat.”

You don’t say?

“In reading the title and subtitle, you don’t have to read the book actually,” teases Pedro Sanjuan in an interview with Inside the Beltway.

And how does he support his subtitle’s mouthful of accusations?

“I was minding my own business in the Reagan administration as assistant secretary of Interior for Territories and International Affairs,” he begins, “when all of a sudden George H.W. Bush, then vice president who I knew fairly well in those days, got it into his head that since I spoke Russian I would be a great spy at the U.N. After all, the U.N. Secretariat in those days was an intelligence collection agency for the Soviet Union.”

What happens upon his arrival at the U.N., which this column unfortunately does not have space to reprint, are most unusual face-to-face encounters and verbal exchanges with leading U.N. officials, including the top Soviet officer at the U.N. who told the newly arrived U.S. official that he had it on good authority that he and his entire family, despite their surname and heritage, were Jewish.

“He ran out saying, ‘Not only do the Americans send a spy, he is a Jew,’” Mr. Sanjuan tells us. “And that’s just the first chapter.”

Publishers Weekly says of his book: “The United Nations headquarters appears as a byzantine bureaucracy riddled with lazy staff, rampant sexual harassment, hectoring anti-Semitism and flagrant drug dealing in this contemptuous memoir. And worse: Sanjuan alleges that the U.N. library housed the largest KGB intelligence operation in America and hints darkly — with no apparent evidence — that the 9/11 attacks may have been plotted by Islamic jihadists at the U.N.”

Mr. Sanjuan will be holding a book signing at the Barnes and Noble in Georgetown starting at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow.

Power of one

As President Bush experienced when motorcading back to the White House from the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance at the Washington National Cathedral, it doesn’t take a large gathering of placard-waving protesters to get his attention.

Or so we read in the official White House pool report: “As the motorcade left the cathedral grounds at 12:10, children from Beauvoir, the National Cathedral elementary school, in their uniforms, jumped up and down in excitement cheering the president.

“Later, as the motorcade was turning off Rock Creek Parkway, a bicyclist stood in defiance with his arms raised and his thumbs pointing down.”

P for president

Here’s a problem that is knotty

And could drive a person dotty:

When a meeting’s not brief,

The commander in chief

Sometimes has to use the potty.

F.R. Duplantier

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

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