- The Washington Times - Friday, September 29, 2006

Growing fear

Percentage likelihood — according to 39 Republican congressmen polled by National Journal in March, May and again this week — of Democrats taking over control of the House and Senate after the midterm elections: 25 percent, 32 percent and 34 percent, respectively.

Shame on you

If you think former President Bill Clinton has been in a sour mood, what with all the finger-pointing of late surrounding his administration’s reaction (or lack thereof) to global terrorism, wait until he sees three television ads that will start airing in the coming days.

The group Move America Forward, based in Sacramento, Calif., says it’s had enough of Mr. Clinton and his loyal lieutenants trying to “rewrite history” about the war on terrorism and goes so far as to call the former commander in chief “shameless.”

Viewers also will be reminded that Mr. Clinton’s national security adviser, Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger, was nabbed by security officials at the National Archives after he “stole and ate classified documents that exposed the failures of the Clinton anti-terrorism policies.”

One TV ad, we’re told, will be finalized today. Move America Forward predicts Mr. Clinton “won’t like it one bit.”

Fathers and sons

Your eyes don’t deceive you: Strom Thurmond is jumping aboard Sen. John McCain’s bandwagon for president.

Strom Thurmond Jr., that is, son and namesake of legendary Sen. Strom Thurmond, South Carolina Republican, the oldest senator (100 years) in U.S. history. He died on June 26, 2003.

In 2001, Mr. Thurmond was picked by President Bush to become U.S. attorney for South Carolina. Today, he’s in private practice in Aiken, S.C.

Also climbing aboard Mr. McCain’s Straight Talk America political action committee this week is the child of yet another great South Carolina political legacy. Carroll A. Campbell III is the oldest son of former South Carolina Gov. Carroll Campbell.

A longtime businessman, Mr. Campbell in 2003 was appointed by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford to serve on the South Carolina State Ports Authority.

Torments and joys

There’s much buzz about former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s upcoming book, “Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice.”

The former chief of the Justice Department will discuss in detail everything from the USA Patriot Act to the surveillance program authorized by President Bush, providing new details, his publisher said.

Otherwise, readers will share in Mr. Ashcroft’s personal “pitfalls, torments, joys and greatest accomplishments.”

Snow job

That was the country’s top Republican communicator, White House spokesman Tony Snow, ducking this week into a Capitol Hill meeting of the Republican Communications Association, a networking group of several hundred congressional press secretaries and other Republican communicators throughout Washington.

Lindsey Mask, press secretary of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, describes for us “a lighthearted, down-to-earth Snow, who fully described a ‘day in the life’ of a White House press secretary.”

“We could all feel his genuine enthusiasm for his new role and his sincere appreciation for and loyalty to the president of the United States,” she says.

Second acts

When Harry S. Truman left office, he had no Secret Service detail and no presidential pension, and had to sell some of his family’s land.

Lyndon B. Johnson became a full-time rancher and a virtual recluse upon leaving the Oval Office. And Jimmy Carter was riddled with $2 million in personal debt (no wonder he grabbed a hammer and went to work) when he pulled out of the White House driveway.

To help pay whatever bills he had, Ronald Reagan, less than one year after his last term expired, accepted $2 million for a speaking tour in Japan. But nobody has commanded a higher post-White House salary than Bill Clinton, who besides the millions of dollars he pulls in from speaking engagements, received the highest payment of any former president for his memoirs: a whopping $12 million.

All fascinating facts we cull from Mark Updegrove’s new book, “Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House.”

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

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