John McCaslin

"The other day, I asked my barber, Clinton Truesdale, what extras he might throw in to justify charging a customer four bills for a trim: 'I'd go home and cook his family dinner. Ask him if there was anything else he needed me to do.' "

So writes Leonard Pitts Jr., Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary in 2004, regarding Democratic presidential aspirant John Edwards' paying $400 each for a pair of haircuts in California.

Class of '57

Look for this summer's annual "An Evening With Larry King and Friends" to be more than just a fundraising dinner for the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, which the nightly CNN host founded in 1988 after suffering a heart attack and undergoing quintuple-bypass surgery.

Mr. King says the June 9 Ritz-Carlton Washington gala will also be a celebration of his 50th year in broadcasting.

Line to Leno

Brian J. Kennedy, press secretary to House Republican leader Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, knows firsthand that the late-night talk-show hosts enjoy weaving into their opening monologues anything and everything outrageous accomplished on Capitol Hill.

So now, whenever he issues a press release on the latest congressional shenanigan -- such as this week's announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she first wanted to "read" the Democrats' already-approved conference report on the Iraq war-funding bill before she sends it to President Bush for his veto -- Mr. Kennedy simply starts with the line:

"NOTE for Leno, Letterman, Conan, and other interested parties ..."

Small talk

Sincere thanks to Wry Baby, producer of a collection of cotton clothes for children up to 12 months old, for sending Inside the Beltway its new line of outfits for babies, emblazoned "Teeny Republican" and "Tiny Democrat." We hereby invite readers to send us their nominations as to which politicians deserve to wear such outfits, assuming they came in larger sizes.


As expected, reaction from Capitol Hill on word that Uncle Sam is spending your hard-earned tax dollars -- more than $500,000 annually -- on a "Hollywood health office."

"The purpose of this effort is not to advocate or promote healthy lifestyles, but rather ensure that fictional television dramas and soap operas provide accurate information," relays Roland Foster, aide to Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican. "For example, it made employees at the [federal] agencies 'cringe' when epidemic detective work on a TV show was conducted by [National Institutes of Health] rather than [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].

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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