John McCaslin

Portion of the U.S. population that has lived only under presidents named Bush and Clinton: one-quarter

Estimated portion eight years from now if Hillary Rodham Clinton were to win two terms: one-third

— Harper's Index, January 2008

Mom's in town

Speaking of former first ladies, albeit one who is not currently criss-crossing snowy Iowa seeking caucus support, Barbara Bush, wife of former President George H.W. Bush and mother of President Bush, will return to Washington this month to participate in the "American Conversation" series at the National Archives, hosted by Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein.

The series focuses on U.S. history and identity, and previously featured former first lady-turned-senator-turned-presidential aspirant Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mrs. Bush will discuss "family and friends in a public life" on Jan. 25. She most recently authored "Reflections," which documents a first lady's traditionally ordinary life after the White House.

GOP 'outreach'

For the second time in as many months, former Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, who when first elected in 1994 became only the second black Republican in the House since 1928, is critical of his party's presidential candidates because they "don't show up" for black voters.

"Republicans want to say we reach out. But what we do instead is 60 days before an election, we'll spend some money on black radio and TV or buy an ad in Ebony and Jet, and that's our outreach. People read through that," Mr. Watts said in an interview with the publication the Ripon Forum, which takes its name from Ripon, Wis., the birthplace of the Republican Party.

'Betrayed' soldiers

The Libertarian Party says active U.S. military personnel who are opposed to America sticking its nose — and troops — in other nations' affairs and borders represent a "sizable portion" of the party's 25 percent increase in membership during 2007.

"Military service men and women recognize the value in the Libertarian Party's non-interventionist foreign policy position," said the party's executive director, Shane Cory, a Marine Corps veteran. "Members of the armed forces, just like their civilian counterparts, feel betrayed by Republicans and Democrats, and are searching for an alternative."

'New guy'

It's tough being the new guy on the block, or shall we say new hand on the ranch.

If anybody working today in Washington political circles has paid his dues, it's Ed Gillespie, who last June was appointed counselor to President Bush. Consider that his very first job on Capitol Hill was working as an attendant in the Senate parking lot.

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 .

Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.