- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2005

Presidential stall

At a rooftop party overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue, a gaggle of Washington political operatives this week was discussing the game of golf when one gentleman recalled a rather hilarious inaugural round played in 1995 at the Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, Ga.

“As far as I know, it was never written about,” the storyteller said.

The players, we confirmed yesterday, were former President George Bush, professional golfer Davis Love III, whose home is in Sea Island; Bill Jones, whose family founded Sea Island and is the club’s chief executive officer and president; and Griffin B. Bell, attorney general under President Carter.

“The course was completely new and not yet open to members,” the story begins. “On hole No. 5 there is a restroom facility. After finishing the hole, [former] President Bush had to make a stop at the restroom facility while the rest of the golfing group waited for him.

“When he came out, the group was hysterically laughing, as he had entered — and used — the women’s restroom!”

What makes this particular golf outing even more memorable is that Mr. Bush, after he returned home to Houston, had a brass plaque made and sent to Mr. Jones, who in turn had it attached to the door to the women’s restroom.

It says: “During the inaugural round of the Ocean Forest Golf Club, President George Bush mistakenly used this restroom.”

Anthony Schumacher, the assistant golf pro at Ocean Forest, told us by telephone that the plaque remains in place today.


“He’s not Reaganesque — he’s Carteresque,” quips Washington political operative Christian Josi of President Bush, recalling President Carter, clad in his cardigan sweater, asking Americans to turn down their thermostats while he flipped off the light switches around Washington’s monuments.

“You can look back at some of the steps that we were taking to promote energy efficiency and conserve energy,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said this week. “And some steps that we’re already taking, since yesterday, in terms of the White House, the president has directed the staff to take steps to increase the thermostats, scale back nonessential travel, to look at other ways that we can conserve energy.”

Hats off to Lutes

Federal employees have come under a barrage of criticism in recent weeks, particularly those who responded — some say too slowly — to Hurricane Katrina.

Now we call your attention to nine government workers who this week were honored in Washington as recipients of the 2005 Service to America Medals.

“National events, from the attacks of 9/11 to more recent disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, remind us of the vital importance of a strong and vibrant federal work force,” says Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit organization committed to revitalizing federal government service.

Without further ado:

• Tobin Bradley, a State Department employee who organized 15 local elections in Iraq and developed a voting system that the U.N. used for the January national elections.

• Orlando Figueroa, a NASA employee who led the development of the Mars Exploration Rover project.

• Barbara Turner, who spent 40 years fighting childhood diseases in Egypt and leading USAID’s efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.

• Kevin McAleenan, who established the Office of Anti-Terrorism within the Department of Homeland Security. He is now the director of the office.

• Elizabeth Grossman, a lawyer at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who secured EEOC’s second largest sexual-discrimination settlement ever against Morgan Stanley.

• Alan Estevez, a Department of Defense employee who implemented the use of Radio Frequency Identification by the military.

• Steven Bice, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employee who developed the Strategic National Stockpile and the CDC’s Marcus Emergency Operations Center.

• Subhashree Madhavan of the National Cancer Institute Center for Bioinformatics, who created a national brain-tumor database that could lead to new cancer treatments.

• And last, but not least in our book, Terence Lutes, the Internal Revenue Service employee who led development of the popular EFile system, which has allowed millions of Americans to get tax refunds quicker, while cutting processing costs.

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

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