John McCaslin

He might not be leading in the polls, but Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri was the first of the Democratic presidential wannabes to issue a statement Sunday on the capture of Saddam Hussein. And for good reason.

Unlike the other contenders, Gephardt all but embraced President Bush's mission in Iraq. And now, says the Missouri Democrat, it's time for him to finish what Bush started.

"I supported this effort in Iraq without regard for the political consequences because it was the right thing to do. I still feel that way now, and today is a major step toward stabilizing Iraq and building a new democracy," said Gephardt, who was told of Saddam's capture when waking up Sunday in Sumter, S.C.

But he cautions that the war on terrorism is in its early stages.

"For many years, we will be confronted with a war on terrorism that is unfinished," says the former House minority leader. "This will be a long and difficult struggle, and we need a president who has the credibility to unite the American people and our allies in an effort to make our nation and our world safe."

Referring to himself, of course.

PATRIOT GAMES

Outspoken Hall of Fame quarterback and Fox Sports celebrity Terry Bradshaw, caught up in the jubilation over the capture of Saddam Hussein, stared into the camera while signing off of Sunday's football broadcast and declared: "Osama, my friend, you're next."

BAD SANTA

Learning of the capture of Saddam Hussein, Thea King of Baltimore caused fellow employees to burst out laughing when she said: "He looks just like the Unabomber!"

In fact, if juxtaposing photos of Saddam when he was captured with photos of hermit Ted Kaczynski after he was nabbed at his Montana hideout, the two grizzled men appear to be one and the same.

Meanwhile, catching his first sight of the former Iraqi president as his bearded, bewildered picture was flashed across the TV screen during Sunday brunch at Vermillion in Alexandria, Va. lawyer David D. Hudgins shouted for all to hear: "Bad Santa!"

DRESSING ARNOLD

"It's been like drinking out of a fire hose the last few weeks," former Capitol Hill aide Vince Sollitto, deputy press secretary to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, tells this column.

"The media attention has been immense, one of those rare synergies where the political media, the California entertainment media and the international media have all converged," he says, noting that "the media pools and number of cameras for the swearing-in ceremony were even more than at the presidential level."


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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