John McCaslin

The official White House pool report of President Bush's final State of the Union address, as filed by White House pooler Patrick W. Gavin:

71 rounds of applause (with Bush)

2 Democratic claps (against Bush)

3 rounds of laughter (with Bush)

1 Democratic chuckle (at Bush)

1 Democratic hiss

Behind the smirk

It took seven years, until the president's very last State of the Union address, and now J.B. Poersch, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, says, "I finally figured out what that smirk is for. George Bush just can't keep saying his lines with a straight face."

Stars and diamonds

Once again, Mobil Travel Guide has given its five-star award to the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, making it still the city's first and only Mobil Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond Hotel.

General Manager Christopher Hunsberger credits the hotel's 435-member staff for having demonstrated their "passion to serve and their compassion for our guests."

Spring salute

Once again, Washington art figure Marsha Ralls is being saluted for her trademark drive and enthusiasm, this time in New York.

The founder and president of the Ralls Collection in Georgetown will be honored by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) for her commitment to increasing education and economic opportunities for low-income youth at NFTE's 15th annual "Salute to the Entrepreneurial Spirit" Awards Dinner on April 2.

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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