John McCaslin

Continuing our series of features leading up to this summer's Democratic and Republican conventions in Boston and New York respectively, we pay a visit to the historic Ritz-Carlton in Boston, where doorman Norman Pashoian has been waiting ever so patiently for the politicians to come calling.

Pashoian, you see, has been greeting presidents and heads of state at his Arlington Street post for an amazing 57 years, opening his first door on the heels of Harry S. Truman becoming president.

Upstairs in the Ritz, we've learned, the plush presidential suite will be enhanced during the July 26-29 convention with framed photos and duplicates of presidential documents from the nearby John F. Kennedy Library.

Which leads us to wonder who will be staying in the famous suite, where composer Irving Berlin wrote songs for his Broadway show, "Mr. President."

"The identity of the guest ... will not be revealed, in keeping with the nearly century-old tradition of discretion at the Ritz-Carlton, Boston," says the hotel's Caron Le Brun.

Still, we have it on good authority that the evening turndown service will not include the usual chocolate mints on the pillows, rather presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's favorite chocolate chip cookies. Hmmm.

Delegates staying in the hotel will be returning home with red, white and blue pillowcases embroidered with the words, "The Democratic National Convention, July 2004, The Ritz-Carlton, Boston."


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton doesn't appreciate the generous tax cut provided to her and former President Bill Clinton by the "compassionate" President Bush, which isn't to say she's returning the money.

"I know what my compassionate mother thinks about a budget that gives her daughter and son-in-law tax cuts while kicking 300,000 poor kids out of after-school programs," Sen. Clinton writes in the new afterword of the paperback version of her recent best seller, "Living History."

The former first lady-turned-New York Democratic senator also writes in her updated book that she's "worried about my country," which is a far different place from three years ago.

"When I first arrived in the Senate, I was dismayed to find the Bush administration and its congressional allies using every lever of power available to undo the economic, social and global progress achieved during my husband's presidency," she says.

"I admit I viewed that prospect dimly because I believe my husband was a very good president who left our nation well prepared for the future."

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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