John McCaslin

Sending regrets

"How many tickets shall I put you down for?" jokes syndicated columnist and Fox News analyst Cal Thomas, who forwards an invitation for cocktails this Friday evening with 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Can't you attend, Cal?

"I already have two pictures with Hillary,' he says.

We had better pass, too. After all, cocktails will be served in Los Angeles. Then there's the cost of posing with Mrs. Clinton: $2,300. (We'll wait until we see her again at Cafe Milano and snap a picture with a cell phone.)

The fundraiser will be held at the Hollywood home of German-born film director Roland Emmerich, made famous by the blockbuster movie "Independence Day".

"This is your chance to hear from Senator Clinton herself and learn why I think she's the best candidate for president," writes party co-host Sen. Sheila James Kuehl, who touts herself as "the first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected to the California Legislature."

Grasping for mud

The Democratic National Committee isn't waiting for former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson to declare his candidacy for president before blasting his other "career" that doesn't involve being an actor.

"For years, acting wasn't the 'Law & Order' star's profession — it was a hobby. In the real world, Thompson has made a fortune in a decades-long career as a Washington lobbyist," the DNC's executive director, Tom McMahon, said yesterday.

Moments before, a Rasmussen poll was released showing Mr. Thompson ahead of all the other Republican presidential contenders for the first time.

Mr. McMahon went so far as to equate Mr. Thompson's lobbying efforts to "the Republican culture of corruption," a "revolving door of Republican politicians moving in and out of top political offices and Washington D.C. lobbying firms."

He even drew attention to the former senator's recent offer to host a fundraiser for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr.'s legal-defense fund. The DNC official said the gesture reflected Mr. Thompson's "role as the ultimate Washington insider."

Biting our hands

At least one politician is angry at Mexico for booing a lady — namely, Miss USA Rachel Smith, booed while on stage at last month's Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City.

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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