- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Osama Obama’

Everybody but Sen. Ted Kennedy wrote to Inside the Beltway after we reported yesterday that the Massachusetts Democrat walked out of the Radio-Television News Directors Association dinner just as Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes stepped to the podium to accept a First Amendment Award.

By doing so, Mr. Kennedy missed the most controversial joke of the night — Mr. Ailes’ quip about President Bush confusing the name of Sen. Barack Obama with terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Jim Bash of Forest Hills, N.Y., writes: “I think Sen. Kennedy might have thought [the joke] aimed at him, as I recall he publicly referred to ‘Obama Bin Laden’ shortly after Sen. Obama was elected.”

Indeed, at a National Press Club briefing in 2005, a befuddled Mr. Kennedy mangled the name of the Illinois Democrat and 2008 presidential candidate, calling him “Osama bin …. Osama … Obama.”

In the Navy

Statement issued by NASA: “Further inquiries concerning Nowak’s status and activities should be directed to the chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs, (703) 614-2000.”

In other words, now that the space agency has terminated U.S. Navy Capt. Lisa Marie Nowak’s detail as a NASA astronaut, it has effectively washed its hands of her legal and personal morass. Still, Capt. Nowak remains an active-duty naval officer.

“Nowak will receive her next assignment from the U.S. Navy,” NASA assures.

Going to Reno

Frustration within conservative ranks is reaching “record levels,” according to the right-leaning Citizen Outreach, which announces its first Conservative Leadership Conference in October 2007, with the emphasis on the 2008 presidential election and the so-called “new media” that supports a particular party’s candidates.

The conference “will play home to some of the nation’s top conservative activists and bloggers who desire to see the movement grow into a powerful force in U.S. politics,” says organizers, who plan a national straw poll, campaign training and “blogger courses.”

Rather than the District, the conference venue is Reno, Nev., where Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, has signed on as event co-sponsor. Organizers expect a showing of Republican presidential hopefuls.

March madness

Unlike U.S. senators, whose terms are for six years, congressmen find themselves constantly running for re-election, given their short two-year terms in office.

As a result, lawmakers from both parties are always campaigning, with one fundraiser as creative as the other, even in March 2007 — 20 months before Election Day. Here’s a sample of events hosted by Republicans in the coming days.

Today:

• The Spring 2007 Congressional “Boot Round Up,” Capitol Hill Club. Checks payable to Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (California) for Congress.

• Join DelegateLuis Fortuno (Puerto Rico) for Josh Groban in concert, Verizon Center. $750 per ticket.

Rep. Tom Petri (Wisconsin) invites you to his annual “Bratwurst Fry,” the American Trucking Association. $2,500 host, $500 per person.

• Join Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (Missouri) at Lucky Strike Lanes, Gallery Place. $1,500 PAC, $500 per bowler.

Tomorrow:

• Join Rep. Terry Everett (Alabama) for an “Alabama Country” breakfast, Capitol Hill Club. Checks payable to Everett for Congress.

• Join Rep. Jack Kingston (Georgia) for his 15th annual St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser, Bullfeathers. $1,000.

Rep. John McHugh (New York) cordially invites you to his St. Patrick’s Day party, Associated General Contractors town house. $1,000 PAC, $500 per person.

• Rep. Pete King (New York) cordially invites you to his St. Patrick’s Festival, Phoenix Park Hotel. $5,000 host, $500 per person.

Thursday:

• Join Rep. Lee Terry (Nebraska) to celebrate the opening day of March Madness (basketball), 18th Amendment. Checks payable to Lee Terry for Congress.

• Join Rep. Adrian Smith (Nebraska) for a Bar-B-Que & Blues lunch, $500 per person.

Friday:

Rep. Robin Hayes (North Carolina) cordially invites you to the first round of the 2007 NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball championship, private suite, New Orleans Arena. $2,500 PAC, $500 per fan.

• Join Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Florida) for a weekend getaway in Miami, March 16-18. $5,000 per PAC, or $2,500 per sunbather.

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

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