John McCaslin

Now that Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich is finally getting around to announcing he's dropping out of the race for the White House — just hours after making an "urgent" appeal for additional campaign funds — we wonder what's going to happen to some of the more intriguing items being sold in his official presidential-campaign store.

Among the most expensive are genuine Palm Beach County, Fla., voting machines for $295.95 each, plus $35 shipping and handling. Here's a description: "Used in Election 2000, containing actual chads, a replica butterfly ballot, plus a bonus letter 'The Stolen Presidential Election of 2000' personally signed by Dennis Kucinich."

Who knows, now that he's bowing out, maybe the congressman is willing to negotiate a new price for the four-legged machines.

'Combustible mix'

The last time we looked, Rep. Marcy Kaptur was a Democrat.

Nevertheless, the most-senior woman in Congress is critical of Bill Clinton's post-presidential lifestyle after reading in the Wall Street Journal this week that he stands to receive a $20 million payout from a partnership tie to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The tie in this case is billionaire investor Ron Burkle, "a major fundraiser and backer of the Clintons," Miss Kaptur points out.

Put them all together, she warns, and it's a "combustible mix."

The Ohio congresswoman wonders whether there's any president in modern history "but for Jimmy Carter" who has "not used the White House to cash in upon retirement," or used their connections "to build themselves pyramid monuments upon leaving office in the form of presidential libraries where they milk their presidential contacts for millions and millions of dollars?"

She says it's "sad" that Mr. Clinton and former President George H.W. Bush "took huge sums of money from foreign interests like Saudi Arabia to build their presidential libraries."

Sunday school

Speaking of our two most-recent Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter has lined up Bill Clinton to speak at next week's convention of moderate Baptists in Atlanta — a meeting already being denounced by the conservative Southern Baptist Convention that Mr. Carter publicly walked away from in 2000.

Despite the controversy brewing between the Baptist groups on the church's direction, Mr. Clinton will stand by Mr. Carter and join Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa as a speaker. Even former Vice President Al Gore has signed on, though he will lecture on the environment.

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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