Thursday, January 25, 2007

Historic tie

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Virginia Democratic Sen. James H. Webb Jr. weren’t the only sloppy-slurpers of the day on Tuesday, causing each to change their attire before President Bush‘s State of the Union address.

Inside the Beltway has learned that Arizona Sen. John McCain spilled on his necktie moments before the much-anticipated address, forcing him to borrow a yellow tie (shown several times on television) from a young staffer in the Senate Cloakroom. The Republican returned the tie promptly after the State of the Union “without any further food stains,” according to a source close to the tie.

(We might recommend that the staffer auction his suddenly historic tie over EBay.)

Mrs. Pelosi reportedly spilled chocolate on her jacket hours before the speech, while Mr. Webb, who was set to deliver the Democrats’ response to Mr. Bush’s address, spilled coffee on his shirt.

Wishful’ thinking?

A unique study conducted among a sample of Americans during President Bush‘s State of the Union address measured both positive and negative “emotional” responses.

Emotions of Republicans, Democrats and independents were measured using an Ayer Emotional Battery, “which captures the feelings of participants as they listen to or view advertising or communications,” explains HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. The results among party affiliation:

Republicans: Wishful, desirous, hopeful

Democrats: Disgusted, irritated, enraged, contemptuous

Independents: Not bored, attentive

Here she is?

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Actually, even the Washington host doesn’t know — not yet, at least.

Congressional Quarterly is pleased once again to be able to host Miss America at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 63rd annual Congressional Dinner at the Ritz-Carlton on Feb. 6. However, the popular Capitol Hill publication will have to wait until Monday, after the 2007 Miss America is crowned in Las Vegas, to find out who will be coming to dinner.

CQ could save on airfare if the winner is Kate Michael, Miss District of Columbia, who actually has toiled for a living in the halls of Congress.

Tough to mimic

“George W. is not the easiest impression to do,” impersonator Rich Little confesses in a telephone interview with Inside the Beltway from his home in Las Vegas.

We’d written yesterday that Mr. Little will be the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in April, and not surprisingly he tells us his repertoire will be heavy on politics and politicians.

“I haven’t been back to Washington in so many years, I’m thrilled about it,” he says. “I’ve never met George W. I’ve met every president from [Richard] Nixon on, and performed in front of them, but I haven’t met Dubya.”

As for impersonating President Bush, Mr. Little says, “I don’t think he’s one of my all-time best. But I do him — although I don’t pretend to look like him. I do his father George Bush a bit better, actually.”

Mr. Little also does an amazing Ronald Reagan, his all-time favorite, along with Bill Clinton, Dr. Phil and Andy Rooney, asking his audience when mimicking the latter: “Why do kamikaze pilots wear helmets?” and “Why do they sterilize the needles before lethal injections?”

Arabic intrigue

Middlebury College in Vermont has apparently become the first American academic institution to start a school-abroad program in the Middle East.

The college will offer courses to 15 to 20 students per semester beginning this fall in Egypt, according to the Middlebury campus newspaper.

“The fact that we will have this sort of program — as far as we know, the only one of its kind — will put Middlebury out front of other institutions when it comes to demonstrating the seriousness with which we take engaging the rest of the world in general, and the Middle East in particular,” Jeffrey Cason, dean of international programs, tells the campus paper. “We have been building our academic-year Arabic program for several years now, and the number of students taking Arabic has increased every year.”

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or

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