John McCaslin

"If somebody had taken a picture, it would have been worth a million dollars. He looked kind of stunned."

So Carmen Mercer, vice president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, described the reaction of President Bush after he finally learned her identity during a fund-raising dinner this week in Phoenix - but only after he smiled and posed with her for a photograph, shook her hand twice and autographed her name tag.

Suffice it to say, Bush and Mercer, who owns a restaurant in Tombstone, Ariz., have not seen eye-to-eye when it comes to public help in addressing illegal-immigration problems that plague her state.

Mercer helps direct more than 1,000 Minuteman volunteers who have patrolled the border separating Arizona and Mexico. In recent months, they have assisted federal authorities in the apprehension of thousands of illegal aliens who otherwise might have gained entry into the country.

In a telephone interview yesterday with The Beltway Beat, Mercer said "it was quite exciting to see the president this close up" at Monday night's dinner benefiting Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican.

After a friend of Mercer's told the president who she was, Bush said: "I knew I liked her the minute I saw her."


For weeks on end, the outspoken counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington - this group of minds questions whether global warming is man-made - became aware that somebody was intrigued with the curbside garbage he placed out for collection.

"This past summer, I and a select group of others learned that (Greenpeace) coveted our trash, apparently to feed their various conspiracy theories involving anyone who questions their dogma," says Christopher C. Horner. "Indeed, my own refuse began regularly disappearing the night before pickup.

"To have a little fun, I not only placed a few intriguing items throughout my otherwise boring refuse, but also let my two large-breed dogs in on it - liberally proffering a heat-cured week's worth of their best throughout each batch," he tells The Beltway Beat.

Recently, Horner learned that several Washington publications, namely The Washington Post, National Journal and Roll Call, "all passed" when offered "the results of the greens' dogged pursuit."

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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