- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2006

You don’t say

Our ears perked up when a member of the White House press corps persisted in asking presidential press secretary Tony Snow whether he was “concerned about the Mexican election, and what it might mean if there’s a real problem down there.”

Such as?

“They both claim to be president — we’ve got two guys claiming to be president of Mexico,” the reporter said. “What if we’ve got two guys both claiming victory?”

Without naming names, Mr. Snow reminded the scribe: “I think we’ve had situations here where people have — there have been multiple claimants to victory.”

Big Six-Zero

President Bush got a spectacular jump on his 60th birthday last night (his actual birthday is tomorrow ) by hosting a private celebration with family and friends in the White House residence.

And what better backdrop for his distinguished guests than the awesome Fourth of July fireworks display above the adjacent Ellipse and Mall.

“There’s about 150 guests,” White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino told Inside the Beltway prior to the celebration. “Mostly friends and family, a few [fellow alumni] from Yale. The twins [Jenna and Barbara] will be there, and so will [younger brother] Marvin and his family. The 41s won’t be there,” she added of Mr. Bush’s father, former President Bush.

Playing with fire

‘Tis the season for fireworks, when Secret Service ears are trained to distinguish the difference between the sound of a firecracker and a firearm.

During one ride back to the White House this week, President Bush’s motorcade came to a halt at a red light on 17th Street Southeast, near Congressional Cemetery, when suddenly there was a loud pop from a single firecracker.

Likely culprits: two boys and a girl, jumping up and down on a nearby rowhouse porch.

Pivotal Ohio

No better city than Cleveland or state than Ohio to play host this week to the 70th anniversary gala and board meeting of the Young Republican (YR) National Federation.

Honored guests are Ohio Sen. George V. Voinovich and his wife, Janet, both of whom were Cleveland YRs however many years ago. (Hint: The senator will turn 70 on July 15.)

Among the events are a black-tie Friday evening at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a dinner Saturday featuring Republican National Committee Co-chairman Jo Ann Davidson, who is no stranger to Ohio politics.

Elected to the RNC’s helm 18 months ago, Mrs. Davidson was a member of the Ohio legislature for 20 years, serving as House speaker from 1995 to 2000. She caught the attention of President Bush in 2004 when, as chairman of his Ohio Valley regional campaign, she helped the state recruit more than 87,000 volunteers, who made more than 4.5 million door-to-door knocks and phone calls to voters — the majority in the final 72 hours of Mr. Bush’s hard-fought campaign against Democratic Sen. John Kerry.

Indeed, Mr. Bush could not claim victory — or, for that matter, Mr. Kerry acknowledge defeat — until the late morning after Election Day, once all the votes in Ohio were counted.

Go figure

OK, let’s get this straight: The United States is allowing millions of illegal aliens, most of them poor and uneducated, to remain in the United States and place a tremendous burden on the country’s infrastructure, yet the highly educated foreign nationals who come here to earn graduate degrees are shown the door as quickly as they earn their diplomas?

“Current policy, in effect, mandates that we send these innovative minds home, or to other countries which welcome their skills, to compete against us,” says Rep. John Shadegg, Arizona Republican.

Consider these figures: In 2005, foreign nationals earned more than 40 percent of the master’s degrees and 60 percent of the doctorate degrees in engineering awarded by U.S. universities. In some states, the percentages are higher.

“It makes absolutely no sense to educate and train these talented individuals and then refuse to allow them to stay in the United States,” says the congressman, who has proposed a bill that would increase the allotment of visas the U.S. awards to its graduate students.

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

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