Gipper and Dubya

John McCaslin
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Posted: Feb 04, 2008 10:27 AM
Gipper and Dubya

We're told John McCain, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul — "we're still working on Mike Huckabee," says an organizer — are confirmed for this week's annual conservative powwow CPAC 2008, which kicks off Thursday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington.

Meanwhile, how's this for one of the featured CPAC book-signings that same day — father-and-son journalists Lou and Carl Cannon, co-authors of the just-released book "Reagan's Disciple: George W. Bush's Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy."

As Ronald Reagan's former White House Chief of Staff Kenneth M. Duberstein put it in his review: "Lou and Carl, as usual, get it right ... why one president soared — and one didn't. They tell it like it was, and like it is."

Soaring or not, Mr. Bush is scheduled to address the right-wingers Friday morning.

Coast is clear

For Republicans, if not yet Democrats, it's that time of the 2008 presidential campaign when one candidate has enough momentum going into Super Tuesday that notable supporters are no longer timid to come out of the closet.

Over the weekend, the John McCain camp fielded so many VIP endorsements that the Arizona senator's press office surely grew weary from making all the announcements — each accomplished by a separate news release.

Here's a tiny sample: Georgia Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson; Reps. Peter King of New York and Deborah Pryce of Ohio; former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and former Oklahoma Sen. Don Nickles.

Meanwhile, in the category of "It's not over until the fat lady sings," we were amused Friday when the McCain campaign issued this statement at 6:38 p.m.: "Montana Leaders Endorse John McCain."

Which was followed shortly thereafter by this bulletin mention from opponent Mitt Romney's camp at 7:06 p.m. referencing the former Massachusetts governor's son: "Josh Romney Travels to Montana."

Political theater

It's "Super Tuesday" in the District for an entirely different reason and audience tomorrow night, as Disney's "High School Musical" has its long-awaited opening at the National Theatre.

As for a political angle, well, how about the fact that the father of Ben Thompson, who plays basketball giant Zeke Baylor in the Broadway-style show, is none other than Robert J. Thompson, the leading Washington lobbyist and political strategist (he's chairman of the Thompson Advisory Group) who once served under President Reagan.

Mr. Thompson was Vice President George H.W. Bush's first executive assistant for congressional relations, and later served as special assistant to the president and deputy director of legislative affairs.

As for Ben, he's getting rave reviews for his national-tour performance.

Head count

Talk about a U.S. Capitol field trip, 31 Democratic U.S. senators traveled south along the Potomac River to George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate on Friday for a VIP tour. For several of the senators, it was their first visit to the first president's mansion.

Bragging rights

And finally, talk about a political track record: How about this observation from Chris Berry, president and general manager for Washington's WMAL-630 AM: "We have broadcast presidential election results since Herbert Hoover beat Al Smith in the presidential election of 1928."

Meanwhile, the news/talk radio station will produce the first live remote radio broadcast from the still-yet-to-open Newseum for Super Tuesday as presidential primary and caucus returns from 24 states are tabulated. The 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. hosts are Chris Core and Chris Plante.

Sleep on change

Guests spending Super Tuesday at the pair of Ritz-Carlton hotels in Washington and Georgetown will find "change" on their pillows — chocolate gold coins — accompanied by notes quoting the various presidential candidates on what the 2008 political buzzword actually means.

Republican Mitt Romney says if you really "want to change Washington, it'll take somebody going there who knows how to change things."

Democrat Barack Obama will tell you that "the right kind of experience ... will bring real results if we have the courage to change."

And then there's this factual observation from Republican hopeful Mike Huckabee: "the bulk of climate change is going to be left to the scientists."