- The Washington Times - Friday, September 8, 2006

Personal touch

John McDowell couldn’t believe his ears when his telephone rang this week. Michael S. Steele, Maryland’s lieutenant governor and a Republican Senate candidate, was on the line, thanking the D.C. resident for his campaign contribution of $25.

“You must have the wrong John McDowell,” Mr. McDowell told the politician. “I only wrote you a check for $25.”

Mr. Steele said he understood that, but greatly appreciated the support.

Mr. McDowell told Inside the Beltway yesterday that as soon as he hung up the phone, he wrote Mr. Steele another check for $25, doubling his contribution.

Who’s cute?

Katie Couric’s debut on CBS raises several points. Why should it matter who comes into my home with the bad news? If the Grim Reaper looks like Katie, it’s still the Grim Reaper.”

So reasons Mark Russell, Washington’s piano-playing satirist.

Why white?

It’s only fitting that Griff Jenkins, arguably the most fashionable, if not most outrageously dressed talk-radio producer in the nation’s capital, weighed in on this week’s CBS anchoring debut of Katie Couric.

“I will not allow this space to become a fashion blog,” Mr. Jenkins, most recently producer of Tony Snow’s Fox News Radio show before the host became White House spokesman, promised readers of his blog, “Griff’s Notes” (www.brianandthejudge.com). “Nevertheless, did anyone else besides me notice that Katie Couric debuted in a bright white jacket?

“I’m no standard bearer of etiquette or purveyor of fashion advice, but isn’t there a ‘white rule’ about wearing white after Labor Day?” asked the preppy father of two daughters, who is known for his brightly patterned suits and ties — the more whales the better. “What would Emily Post have to say about this? And did you also notice — for us television folks — her ‘lavaliere mic’ was white as well? Perhaps she is setting a new trend in anchor microphones?”

Standard dictum for women: Wear white between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Time to roast

Now that he’s no longer dividing his time between anchoring duties in Washington and New York, CBS News veteran Bob Schieffer can be roasted — at the 18th annual Roast for Spina Bifida — by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, radio host Don Imus and his wife, Deirdre, and presidential press secretary Tony Snow.

“This is one of the most worthwhile annual events in Washington,” Mr. Schieffer said of the Oct. 3 JW Marriott roast, founded in 1989 by journalists Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt, whose 24-year-old son, Jeffrey Hunt, was born with the most common disabling birth defect in America.

Jefferson’s view

If former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami gets his wish and tours Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello during his whirlwind speaking tour of the United States, then he should be required to read “several times over” Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom.

So said Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, during an appearance on Fox News Radio’s “Brian & the Judge” show prior to Mr. Khatami’s address at the Washington National Cathedral. Mr. Allen, who once lived in a log cabin near Monticello, said the statute ensures “people’s rights are not enhanced nor diminished on account of religious beliefs.”

The current Iranian regime doesn’t recognize Israel’s “right to exist,” he said, adding that one needed to look no further than the thousands of rockets Iran supplied to Hezbollah guerrillas, who launched them in recent weeks into Israel.

Top rung already

Newsweek has officially named Jon Meacham as its editor, succeeding Mark Whitaker, who becomes the magazine’s corporate editor, among other digital duties.

Newsweek Chairman Richard M. Smith called Mr. Meacham “perhaps the best and brightest young editor in the business.”

Indeed, Mr. Meacham was only in his late 20s when he was named managing editor of Newsweek in 1998, during which time he supervised coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment of President Clinton.

Author of this year’s best-selling book “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation,” Mr. Meacham is presently working on a biography of Andrew Jackson. A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., he’s a graduate of the University of the South at Sewanee.

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

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