John McCaslin

He has a beat-up Potomac River bridge named after him - one of the most treacherous spans a motorist can cross in this country - but no official presidential library overseen by the National Archives and Records Administration.

His birthplace and adjoining property in Staunton, which includes a library and museum, is overseen by the private Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation, which was chartered in 1938 by the commonwealth of Virginia to purchase and preserve the site.

Now, if a Virginia congressman has his way, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States (1913-1921), will receive proper national support for exhibits and other materials to create an official presidential library.

Republican Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte has introduced the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Authorization Act, to honor a "statesman, scholar and president" who faced "economic crisis, democratic decay and world war."

Goodlatte's legislation mandates a public-private library partnership in which a private entity raises at least twice the money to be allocated by Congress.

Once the library is complete, the legislation states, the federal government will have no role or responsibility for the operation of the library.

THE FIELD

Time to check in with oddsmakers tracking Republican and Democratic horses as they approach the 2008 starting gate for the White House.

The latest Political Derby "Jockey Wire" forwarded to The Beltway Beat shows that Virginia Sen. George Allen remains the Republican favorite. Although Allen doesn't poll as well with the general public as some of the horses trailing him, "D.C. insiders still rate him No. 1," according to the wire.

Behind Allen, in order of Republican popularity, are Arizona Sen. John McCain (given his popular ethics reform platform, he "owes [(ormer lobbyist) Jack Abramoff a steak dinner," says the wire), former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

On the Democratic track, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton remains so popular that she owns first, second and third place. ("She can still walk down any street in any major American metropolis and Democrats practically throw their wallets at her," notes the wire.)


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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