John McCaslin

A North Carolina congresswoman who was once a Christmas tree farmer is coming to the defense of the Lowe's home-improvement store chain, saying it was a "copy-editing slip-up" that led to the company labeling Christmas trees "family trees" in its holiday catalog.

Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx says she fully supports "every American's right to voice concerns over what many see as the steady march of secularism each Christmas season," and like others she paid close attention to the "no small outcry from a number of concerned citizens who thought that Lowe's might be up to something here."

But after "hearing from Lowe's myself," the congresswoman says the company "assured me that they were not out to alter the nomenclature of this fine Christmas tradition."

"As a former Christmas tree farmer ... I also know that Lowe's was in no way attempting to undermine our celebrations of Advent."

Lowe's has pledged to redouble its proofreading.

Seger clan

It's not every day that the average Joe gets invited to the White House, so why not take advantage of the privilege?

That's what Indiana farmer Ted Seger, chairman of the National Turkey Federation, did yesterday at the annual pardoning of the "National Thanksgiving Turkey" in the White House Rose Garden.

"Appreciate you coming, Ted," remarked President Bush, who then couldn't help but observe that Mr. Seger brought with him to the White House his mother, seven brothers and more than 30 family members.

"No wonder there are so many people in the Rose Garden," Mr. Bush commented.

Much obliged

They make it a sport to bash President Bush, but Democrats say they have more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving than they did during the Clinton years.

Both Democrats and Republicans were asked in a new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll: "This Thanksgiving, do you have more or less to be thankful for than you did 10 years ago?"

Exactly 74 percent of Democrats — about three in four — say they have more to be thankful for this year than they did in 1997. As for Republicans, 88 percent have more reason to be grateful.

Open wide

The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield was best known for the catchphrase: "I don't get no respect."

Now, an Idaho congressman is asking that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers show Americans a little more respect this Thanksgiving season.

Rep. Bill Sali, Idaho Republican, said yesterday that he is troubled by complaints "that Americans are not being treated respectfully as they make it through checkpoints" of the nation's airports.

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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