- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Asking for prayers

“Prayers mean the world to me.”

So White House press secretary Tony Snow wrote in a brief note to this columnist last Friday, before surgery Monday found cancer had spread to his liver.

President Bush yesterday said Mr. Snow’s attitude is “that he is not going to let this whip him, and he’s upbeat.”

“My attitude is that we need to pray for him, and for his family,” Mr. Bush said.

The ‘they’

The 63rd annual Radio-Television Correspondents’ Association (RTCA) dinner will be held this evening at the Washington Hilton, where the 2007 David Bloom and Joan Shorenstein Barone awards will be presented to deserving broadcasters in memory of their departed colleagues.

In other words, what a difference six years makes. Take the transcript from the 57th annual RTCA dinner on March 29, 2001, when George W. Bush made his first appearance before the broadcasters as the newly elected president.

“It’s good to see so many members of the Congress here,” Mr. Bush noted. “My fellow Texan, Tom DeLay, here at the head table. Lew [Ketcham, dinner chairman] asked me a little earlier if Tom ever smiled.”

An embattled Mr. DeLay resigned from Congress last year “to pursue new opportunities,” or so he said.

Senator [Joe] Lieberman is here,” said Mr. Bush, having no idea how important an ally he would have in the Connecticut Democrat (since turned independent) for the unforeseen war against terrorism.

“And how about this for foreign-policy vision,” Mr. Bush added. “When I was [growing] up, it was a dangerous world and we knew exactly who the ‘they’ were. It was us versus them. And it was clear who the ‘them’ was. Today, we’re not so sure who the ‘they’ are, but we know they’re there.”

Surely, the president never realized the “they” he referred to were preparing a major terrorist attack on American soil in less than six months’ time.

Coming to dinner

On a more cheerful note, NBC “Saturday Night Live” cast member, comedian and impersonator Darrell Hammond is the invited guest this evening of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews for the 63rd annual Radio-Television Correspondents’ Association dinner.

We’re not sure if it was Mr. Hammond’s terrific impersonation of Mr. Matthews that made the TV news-talk host so popular or vice versa.

Meanwhile, CNN has garnered a top list of administration, congressional and military officials for tonight’s dinner, including senior White House aide Karl Rove and White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten.

The cable network’s guest list also includes Gen. Peter Pace, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman; Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau; former New York Gov. George E. Pataki; Democratic Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont; Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican; and Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican.

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that while in Washington, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs will be broadcasting two special reports, tonight and tomorrow, before live audiences at George Washington University. As part of Mr. Dobbs’ ongoing “The War Within” series, the specials will air each night at 8.

How cozy

Charles Peters, founding editor of the Washington Monthly, says that after many years of covering Washington he’s now discovered — buried in a long Washington Post article about the proposed merger of the XM and Sirius satellite-radio services — “the most succinct explanation of how Washington really works that I’ve ever encountered.”

The paragraph reads: “To help the proposed Sirius-XM merger at the FCC, Sirius has hired the communications law firm Wiley Rein. Managing Partner Richard E. Wiley is a former FCC chairman. Kevin Martin, the FCC chairman, is a former associate of the firm.”

Worthy honor

Montana Sen. Max Baucus, former Virginia Lt. Gov. Donald S. Beyer Jr. and 1999 Miss America Nicole Johnson gathered at the Palm in Tysons Corner on Monday night in support of the Capitol Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Mr. Baucus was honored at the annual “Palm Night” dinner for having displayed outstanding dedication to JDRF’s mission of finding a cure for juvenile, or type 1, diabetes. Past honorees have included Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont.

This year’s dinner was exclusive, limited to 150 guests, but those in attendance have been known to produce. Last year’s event, for instance, raised $130,000 for diabetes research. The Palm always donates space, servers and its signature steak and lobster.

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

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