SHORT OF A DUEL
“Unlike Wayne LaPierre, I don’t fly on private jets, and my salary is a dollar a year. I can also outshoot LaPierre and I’ll gladly challenge him to a wild hunt. That’s a challenge I look forward to, but I won’t hold my breath that he’ll ever take it.”
So says Ray Schoenke, a former Washington Redskins football standout and founding president of the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA), referring - none-too-kindly, obviously - to National Rifle Association President Wayne R. LaPierre.
An avid hunter, Mr. Schoenke owns a 300-acre hunting preserve on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, although he stalks game around the world.
His uncommon challenge at marksmanship coincides with the release of the AHSA’s new report, “Slash and Burn: Why Does the National Rifle Association Leadership Support Congress’s Biggest Opponents of Conservation?”
Explains Mr. Schoenke: “Our goal is to pull back the curtain on the ugly truth: The leaders of the [NRA], who have long claimed to represent hunters and shooters, have instead overwhelmingly supported the biggest conservation opponents in Congress. We want America’s 70 million gun owners, most of whom, like you and me, consider themselves conservationists, the opportunity to learn about the NRA’s dismal record on conservation.”
“He was just so cute, so adorable,” recalls Wilmington, Del., native Elaine Manarin, a language arts and math resources teacher at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes Lower School in Alexandria, who reveals her childhood “crush” on Windybush Swim Club lifeguard Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.
“Every other girl at the pool had a crush on him, too,” she adds.
“It was a local little swim club. He was in high school, and I was two years younger - I was Elaine Smith in those days,” Mrs. Manarin tells Inside the Beltway, referring to the Delaware Democrat who was tapped this past weekend to be the vice-presidential running mate of Sen. Barack Obama.
“He was so friendly to everybody, adults and children alike. He always had a huge smile on his face and a little gleam in his eye - he still has it; I can see it on television,” she notes. “I was the person who checked the members’ club passes when they came in, and he was the tanned lifeguard. And I had a crush on him, but he didn’t know that.
“We would get off work at the same time, and sometimes he would give me a ride to my house. One night it was really cold and he lent me his jacket, and don’t print this, or I will kill you, but I actually stuck the jacket under my pillow that night.”
A few years later, she and Valerie Biden, the senator’s sister, were attending the University of Delaware, and Mrs. Manarin recalls bumping into the young Mr. Biden.
“And I will never forget this,” she says. “During our conversation he made the point of saying that, ‘One day I want to be the president of the United States.’ ”
“Johnny,” the Democratic National Committee wrote Sunday in one of its mass e-mailings, “Barack Obama and Joe Biden just made their first public appearance as running mates at a rally in Springfield, Illinois. They are the leaders who will bring the change our country needs. But they can’t do it alone.
“Show your support for the Obama-Biden ticket today. Make a donation of $15 or more, and you will receive a first edition Obama-Biden Car Magnet.”
The Jockey Club, for many years the power base of official Washington until the popular restaurant folded up its checkered tablecloths and closed its doors a decade or so ago, is in the midst of being restored to its previous grandeur and is slated to reopen, along with the adjoining Fairfax Lounge, this fall.
The new owners are even bringing back Martin Garbisu, the club’s original maitre ‘d.
• John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.