John McCaslin

Former comedian and soon-to-be-launched liberal talk show host Al Franken, author of "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" (The Penguin Group, 2003) reportedly broke his own eyeglasses when tossing a Howard Dean heckler to the ground at a political event in Manchester, N.H.

A witness tells this column that the heckler, a supporter of Lyndon LaRouche, "would neither shut up or leave" the Palace Theater. So Franken, who admits in his book that he needs to lose "40 pounds" from his buttocks, morphed into a bouncer and "knocked the guy to the ground, breaking his glasses."


No sooner did President Bush detail his vision for space travel, including a manned Mars mission, and the GOP Shoppe produced a button with a picture of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the words: "Why Can't We Send a Woman to Mars!"


Reader Lee Allen, of Provo, Utah, writes: "It seems that lost in all the obituaries on Bob Keeshan, also known as 'Captain Kangaroo,' is his war record. I recall reading ... that Keeshan was awarded the Navy Cross for valor on Iwo Jima. Lee Marvin, who was also a recipient, said that Keeshan was the bravest man he ever knew."

Intriguing, Lee, but the story you read is "almost complete fabrication," say fact-finders at The story is told that "Marvin appeared on the 'Tonight Show' in the '70s when host Johnny Carson brought up Marvin's record in the Marines. Carson said people may not have known that Marvin fought in Iwo Jima, one of the best-known battles of World War II, and was awarded the Navy Cross.

"Marvin then tells a story of heroism in battle about the bravest man he ever knew who was also awarded the Navy Cross - Bob Keeshan, who later became best-known as Captain Kangaroo."

Marvin and Keeshan did both serve in the Marines. However, Keeshan - who joined up at age 17 - said two years ago that he never served at Iwo Jima, was not awarded the Navy Cross, and never saw combat.

Marvin, in fact, was wounded in the Pacific and awarded the Purple Heart, but he never fought at Iwo Jima. He's buried with a simple grave marker in Arlington National Cemetery.


Michael K. Deaver, author of "A Different Drummer: My Thirty Years with Ronald Reagan," (HarperCollins, 2001) will soon have a new book out titled, "Nancy: A Portrait of My Years with Nancy Reagan" (HarperCollins, Feb. 2004).

John McCaslin

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

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