John McCaslin

Laura unplugged

During a question-and-answer session yesterday with children in Schwerin, Germany, first lady Laura Bush described her favorite hobbies, her fondness for reading, and how she likes to watch baseball on TV.

Then came a pair of unexpected, rather personal questions from the German youngsters, the first: "How is it with George W. Bush by marriage?"

"By marriage?" a surprised Mrs. Bush repeated, in between fits of laughter. "It's great. It's very good."

Next question?
"How old are you?"
"How old am I?" Mrs. Bush laughed, pausing for a second before coming clean. "Don't tell anyone. Sixty."

'Aunt Jooey'

Look behind a Washington camera, and you'll find the Fischer sisters of New Orleans.

Since July 2002, Betsy Fischer has been executive producer of NBC's No. 1-rated Sunday morning public-affairs program, "Meet the Press," hosted by Tim Russert.

Tomorrow evening, she's hosting an opening reception for her talented sister, Julie Fischer, whose photographs of people, places and things in Washington and beyond have just gone on exhibit at the NBC Art Gallery on Nebraska Avenue through June.

"Growing up, Julie was always the 'artistic one,' putting my poor little stick-figure drawings and Polaroid snapshots to shame," Betsy tells Inside the Beltway. "It's not surprising that she would become a true artiste."

She adds that it's been "wonderful" to have her sister in Washington the last few years, not only to do all the "fun sisterly things together, but I'm most thankful that my five-year-old daughter has gotten to really know her 'Aunt Jooey,' as she named her. In fact, I'm certain she is now the most well-photographed child around."

Julie studied photography at both Loyola University in New Orleans and San Francisco's Academy of Art University. On her Web site (, she notes that inspiration comes in many forms, but her inspiration happens to come when she is "behind the camera," when she is able to "capture the rhythm of life in a still image."

Positioning Rudy

Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani has lined up as his Washington fundraising co-chairmen Liz and Lou Cordia, the latter a longtime Republican political operative and former Reagan administration official.

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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