John McCaslin

Cliff Stoddard, counsel for the Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations, was intrigued to learn this week that top executives of the four major record companies are unwilling to crack down on explicit music lyrics, particularly by rap artists.

"I found it interesting," Mr. Stoddard told Inside the Beltway yesterday, "because last week, I was approached by a young man who identified himself as an 'up-and-coming' rap artist. He had made CDs with labels and music and told me that he was promoting his rap, which contained no obscenities or degrading references to women."

"I told him that I would support his fledgling career and paid him for one of his CDs. Not a rap fan myself, I still placed the CD in my car's CD player to listen to it as I drove away. The CD was completely blank. I guess that rap without obscenities or the degradation of women does not really exist after all."

Paired with Carville

An enthusiastic Maria Cino, president and CEO of the 2008 Republican National Convention, rushed back "home" from Minneapolis to headline the annual membership reception of the Commonwealth Republican Women's Club (CRWC), held at the Alexandria Lyceum.

Miss Cino, a longtime Republican Party strategist who until recently was acting secretary of Transportation, told the packed audience that she had always claimed Buffalo, N.Y., as her home until a recent visit by her mother, who pointed out that she has now spent half of her life in the Washington area, and it was time she called it "home."

TheGOP convention chairman said she was 12 years old when she got her start in politics, knocking on doorsin Buffalo in support of Republican candidates. Not surprisingly, she grew up to be deputy chairman and chief operating officer of the Republican National Committee, national political director for George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and chief of staff to then-New York Rep. Bill Paxon.

When asked how to break through the Democratic stronghold in Alexandria, where there are currently no elected Republicans, Miss Cino encouraged CRWC's members, led by president Leslie Anderson, to either keep knocking on doors, or else get as many Republican friends as possible to move to thecity.

Miss Cino said she personally tried that strategy by getting Republican operative Mary Matalin to move next door to her in Old Town, which almost worked, until her Democratic husband, James Carville, came along, too.


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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