- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 20, 2009


“Just an enormous sense of excitement,” says Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, when asked by Inside the Beltway how he feels now that President Obama has officially taken up residence in the White House.

“You don’t always get to live this kind of history — once in 230 years.”


So, actress and advocate Fran Drescher, busy lobbying of late to serve the remainder of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s term in the Senate, what do you personally take away from President Obama’s inaugural address?

“I’m going to discourage partisanship because that’s what my president asks of me,” she informs this columnist.


“I have a lot of hope,” says outspoken Hollywood actor Tim Robbins as President Obama begins his first term in office.

“It’s been great to see so many people turn out in Washington, which translates into the personal investments so many have placed in this country,” he tells Inside the Beltway. “Millions are united, and it is that spirit that elected Barack Obama president.”

We’ll recall that with flights grounded in New York immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mr. Robbins and a friend jumped into a vehicle and drove 56 hours to Los Angeles so he could be with his longtime partner, Susan Sarandon, and the couple’s children.

The actress accompanied Mr. Robbins to Tuesday’s inaugural.


“What Obama Should Read,” reads the headline in Washington Monthly, which asked well-known writers and thinkers to suggest which books President Obama should have by his bedside.

Our favorite recommendation is from Washington writer Joel Garreau, who encourages Mr. Obama to keep handy Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

Explains Mr. Garreau: “It’s the greatest long-view provider — ever — of fresh reminders why you cared. Cared about these perverse, ornery, unpredictable, cussed people you chose to lead. It never lets you forget that in the face of unprecedented threats, the ragged human convoy of divergent perceptions, piqued honor, posturing, insecurity and humor will wend its way to glory.”


President Obama wasn’t the only person celebrating a new beginning Tuesday. Longtime political pollster Frank Luntz announced his new company, the Word Doctors, with virtual offices in Washington, New York, Tampa, Fla., and Los Angeles.

“While we are language experts, don’t let the name fool you. Our primary mission is to provide genuine insight and measurable impact for CEOs and senior corporate management, trade associations and philanthropic organizations that are struggling strategically and tactically in this difficult economic environment,” Mr. Luntz tells this columnist.

And it’s not just the chief executive officers who are interested in powerful words.

In the midst of Tuesday’s inaugural balls, Mr. Luntz, who was just named senior fellow of UCLA’s School of Public Policy, hosted a private dinner at the Caucus Room, with more than a dozen senators and congressmen having RSVP’d.

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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