John McCaslin

For its November "Women We Love" issue, Esquire polled 3,414 readers - whose eyes for the ladies tend to favor the GOP.

In the category "Hottest wife of a presidential or vice-presidential candidate," the winner was first lady Laura Bush (47 percent), with 30 percent choosing Teresa Heinz Kerry, 20 percent picking Elizabeth Edwards and 3 percent choosing Lynne V. Cheney.

And since John Kerry's campaign has declared the children of candidates "fair game," The Beltway Beat can report that Esquire readers judged the Massachusetts Democrat's daughters less attractive than President Bush's girls.

For "Hottest daughter of a presidential candidate," the magazine's top honors went to Jenna Bush (38 percent), with Barbara Bush and Alexandra Kerry tied for second at 24 percent, and Vanessa Kerry at 13 percent.

BETTER HALF

Laura Bush received a batch of letters from kindergarten students whose teacher asked them to recite what they think are the responsibilities of the first lady.

A little girl named Shelby replied: "Help the president with his paperwork and then help him clean his office. Take care of him when he's sick and put cold cloths on his head."

While Megan observed: "Feed the dogs and plant the daffodils and do the president's speeches when he isn't feeling well."

As for Todd, who obviously has an eye for fashion, he stated: "Wear pretty suits and shovel the snow and feed the birds."

MIND YOUR TONGUE

Vice President Dick Cheney was joined by supportive community leaders for a cup of coffee and conversation this week at the Grill in Charleston, W.Va., within earshot - or so Cheney cautioned the West Virginians - of the national press.

"(T)he press are with us, of course," the vice president observed. "But we don't hold that against them. But you just need to know whatever you say is going to be broadcasted or recorded, so I like to warn people when they're on the record.

"It's a cautionary note that some of my colleagues in the Congress and government often forget at their peril."

MAINE POINT

Spotted by The Beltway Beat reader Terence McManus at the annual fair in Farmington, Maine: a T-shirt with a first-line caption of "Kerry for President" - followed by the second line - "of France."

COMEBACK KID

Mike Inganamort tells this column that he and several other students at American University are behind a new Web site - stopmarionbarry.com - and petition drive critical of former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who, despite a tarnished reputation and criminal record last month won the Democratic primary for city council.


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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