- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2006

Feeding the chief

The former East German locals have figured out how to get the attention of the leader of the free world: feed him.

After greeting President Bush with a barrel of herring Wednesday, the prospect of pork practically dominated yesterday’s joint press conference held by the leaders of Germany and the United States.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hosting the president in Rostock in her home district, ordered dinner last night that included a 66-pound wild boar, slow-cooked on a spit.

Mr. Bush — amid questions on Iran, the Middle East, Russia and free trade — made several jokes about what he kept calling the “pig,” reports Joseph Curl of The Washington Times.

“I’m looking forward to the feast you’re going to have tonight,” he said. “I understand I may have the honor of slicing the pig.”

Mrs. Merkel noted the sizable boar takes some time to prepare over the fire.

“I hope it’s actually roasting; otherwise, we won’t be able to eat it tonight,” she joked.

Later Mr. Bush thanked Mrs. Merkel for hosting his visit, adding, “Looking forward to that pig tonight.”

Trinwillershagen inn proprietor Olaf Micheel shot the animal and said he had seasoned the boar, rubbing it in fat before skewering it in preparation for last night’s party of about 60 guests.

With a meat fork and carving knife, Mr. Bush did indeed carve one of the three boar carcasses slowly rotating on spits, slicing off several pieces.

Of cards, names

Connecticut Republican leaders have asked the Republican seeking to unseat U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman to reconsider his campaign because he used a fake name to gamble at a casino in the 1990s, a newspaper reported.

Alan Schlesinger acknowledged he had used a bogus name to obtain a card that Foxwoods Resort Casino patrons can use to win rewards. Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Republican State Chairman George Gallo asked him to reconsider running, the Hartford Courant reported.

“I am not going to let this bother me,” Mr. Schlesinger said. “I am going to continue in the race.”

The governor was told by a former state police officer Wednesday that Mr. Schlesinger used the name Alan Gold to gamble and avoid detection as a card-counter, someone who keeps track of cards as they are played to improve their odds of winning. Although card-counting is not considered cheating, counters are often banned from casinos.

Mr. Schlesinger, a self-described recreational blackjack player, said that the former officer, Bradley Beecher, is disgruntled and that his credibility is questionable. He said he used the pseudonym at Foxwoods because he was a state legislator and the mayor of Derby and wanted privacy.

Mr. Gallo said he would meet with Mr. Schlesinger within the next day to discuss his campaign. The state party cannot strip Mr. Schlesinger of its nomination, only pressure him to quit. If he does withdraw, the Republican State Central Committee will fill the vacancy, Mr. Gallo said.

City withdraws

New Orleans has dropped out of the race to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention, saying the cost of holding the event after Hurricane Katrina last year was too massive.

The announcement yesterday leaves Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul and New York as the remaining competitors to host the party’s nominating convention.

“The main reason is that we’re not at a point to raise the millions and millions required,” said Kelly Schulz, vice president of communications with the city’s conventions and visitors bureau.

Cities vying for the Republican convention are Cleveland, New York, and joint bids from Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Questions for GOP

A judge gave New Hampshire Democrats the go-ahead yesterday to question high-ranking Republicans in a civil suit over the jamming of Democrats’ phones on Election Day 2002.

Three former Republican officials already have been sentenced in the phone-jamming scheme. In the civil suit, state Democrats want to know who knew about the plan.

They point to a record of phone calls that show national Republican official James Tobin, one of those convicted, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period as the phone-jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down.

The national Republican Party, which paid millions to defend Mr. Tobin, said the contacts involved routine election business and that it was “preposterous” to suggest they involved phone jamming, the Associated Press reports.

Robert Kelner, a D.C. lawyer representing the Republican National Committee (RNC), said some of the officials the Democrats want to question may fight being deposed.

Democrats want to question the former associate director of the White House Political Affairs Office, Alicia Davis, and the former executive director of political operations for the RNC, Terry Nelson.

Also on their list is the former national political director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Chris LaCivita, who went on to develop the Swift Boat veterans TV campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts in 2004, and Ed Gillespie, who was RNC chairman when the decision was made to pay Mr. Tobin’s legal expenses.

Backing Israel

The House next week is expected to pass a resolution defending and supporting Israel, which is engaged in bloody battles in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon over the recent taking of Israeli soldiers.

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Israel has attacked Beirut’s airport and two Lebanese army air bases and that more than 50 people have died.

A House Republican aide said the resolution will aim to express support and shared concern.

Hastert hospitalized

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert will remain in Bethesda Naval Hospital this weekend after being admitted yesterday for a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis.

Aides for the Illinois Republican said he sought treatment for the infection, on his lower left leg, after it did not respond to a topical ointment. The aides said the condition is not serious.

Mr. Hastert, 64, third in line to the presidency, will remain at the hospital this weekend and will receive intravenous antibiotics. He will return to work on Capitol Hill next week.

The speaker’s office sent out a definition of cellulitis, noting the skin will appear swollen and red and feel hot and tender. It may spread rapidly without treatment.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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