John McCaslin

Mr. Blitzer finally asked the statesman about the Illinois senator, and Mr. Powell replied that "every American has an obligation right now at this moment in our history to look at all the candidates and to make a judgment not simply on the basis of ideology, or simply on the basis of political affiliation, but on the basis of who is the best person for all of America."

Lincoln's shadow

That was President and Mrs. Bush entering the East Room of the White House last night to pay tribute to Abraham Lincoln — albeit, two days before his 199th birthday.

Which is the exact point one Illinois congressman is trying to make.

Heck, Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog gets more recognition every February than the nation's 16th president, and he's a rodent.

Says Republican Rep. Don Manzullo: "The prominence of President Abraham Lincoln is an undisputed fact of American history. The man best known for freeing the slaves and saving an imperiled Union has attained iconic status among historians and citizens alike. And yet, this man of great genius, compassion and acumen lacks official federal recognition for the day of his birth, February 12."

Raisin hope

That would be famed cyclist Saul Raisin in Washington to preview the course for the inaugural U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic to be held this spring.

The Utah resident, who was on his way to becoming the next Lance Armstrong before a serious cycling accident in France in 2006 resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), also met in recent days with Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch and visited patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Mr. Raisin and his Raisin Hope Foundation is teaming up with the Air Force to help military members and their families who have been affected by TBI. The May 4 classic will start and end at the U.S. Air Force Memorial on the grounds of Fort Myer near the Pentagon.

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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