- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 11, 2006

A phone call away

Rest assured, White House telephone operators — two of whom spoke to Inside the Beltway — have heard it all.

Take the woman who called the White House earlier this week and identified herself as “Grandma Rap.” She requested President Bush’s mailing address so she could send the commander in chief her latest CD.

But our favorite caller, also this week, claimed to possess the DNA of Adam and Eve, which the person invited Mr. Bush to tap into, thereby curing everything that ails the world.

Future Republican

“Hey, Rich, good to see you, buddy,” President Bush told staunch supporter Richard T. Crotty during a presidential stop yesterday in Orlando, Fla. “You might remember his son made him famous. Made me famous, too.

“The lad went to sleep in the middle of one of my stemwinders.”

Who will forget the fidgety son of the Orange County mayor twisting his head, yawning and eventually falling asleep — while standing on his feet directly behind Mr. Bush — during a 45-minute campaign address by the president in 2004.

David Letterman made Tyler Crotty even more famous by showing a video of his background performance during a skit on his “Late Show” on CBS about how Mr. Bush invigorates America’s youth.

Hood of Nottingham

C-SPAN junkies this week will notice the first major format change in more than a decade with the network’s congressional coverage. The major cities of a congressman’s district are now identified on the screen.

Previously, lawmakers were identified by only their party affiliation and state. The change was suggested by C-SPAN viewers who watch the network’s weekly coverage of the British House of Commons, where members’ local constituencies are identified.

An example of the new format:

Rep. Marion Berry

D-Arkansas

Jonesboro, Cabot, Mountain Home

Just ask Kerry

A pair of Republican congressmen wants to dissolve the Presidential Election Campaign Fund — the $3 contribution box taxpayers can check on their federal tax form to help finance presidential elections.

Only 11 percent of taxpayers supported the fund in 2004, according to Reps. John T. Doolittle of California and Randy Neugebauer of Texas. By 2008, that number is projected to fall to 5 percent — meaning 95 percent of taxpayers will choose not to participate.

The congressmen contend the fund diverts money from the general treasury that instead could be used to reduce the massive federal deficit. Apart from that, they point out, Sen. John Kerry said recently that his decision to participate in the public financing system was the biggest mistake in his failed 2004 presidential campaign.

Self-help book

“I’ve lost 40 pounds and have another 20 to go,” NBC “Today” show travel editor Peter Greenberg tells Inside the Beltway.

Mr. Greenberg, who logs an average of 400,000 air miles each year, has a new book out this week, “The Traveler’s Diet: Eating Right and Staying Fit on the Road.” And let’s just say he’s the first reader to follow his own advice.

What you might not have known: “People who drink diet sodas don’t lose weight — in fact, they gain weight,” the travel editor writes, explaining how he kicked a severe “Diet Pepsi habit” after learning that laboratory rats fed artificial sweeteners actually ate more than rats fed real sugar.

More awareness

That would be 2004 Mrs. United States Edrienne Carpenter gracing Capitol Hill tomorrow. The Kauai, Hawaii, native, who donates her time playing piano at retirement homes, volunteering at women’s shelters, promoting youth literacy, and teaching the hula to children in the Make-A-Wish program, will be briefing lawmakers on severe postpartum depression.

After the births of her two children, Mrs. Carpenter experienced her own severe depression, saying she learned the hard way of the need for more educational awareness, medical resources and emotional and physical support for women, their husbands and children.

She recently discussed her struggles with TV’s Dr. Phil.

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


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