When in Waco

John McCaslin

2/27/2008 10:46:36 AM - John McCaslin

Washington's social writers would have preferred a Rose Garden setting for the May wedding of first daughter Jenna Bush — heck, there hasn't been one amid the flowers since Hillary Rodham Clinton's younger brother, Tony Rodham, and Nicole Boxer, the daughter of Sen. Barbara Boxer, took advantage of the White House digs in 1994.

Still, they're mighty proud in Texas that Miss Bush has decided to get hitched at her parents' ranch.

"It is wonderful that Jenna has chosen to come back to the ranch, to our county, to have her wedding in perhaps a more private setting," Lesly Rascoe of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce told Inside the Beltway by telephone yesterday. "It's not something that happens very often here. It will make for a great memory."

And we have good news for the 200-or-so invited wedding guests: a much-needed hotel (if you don't mind staying at a Hampton Inn) will be opening in Waco in early April. "This will bring 120 additional rooms to the market," boasts Miss Rascoe.

Don't laugh.

Miss Bush, 25, and her 28-year-old beau, Henry Hager, are said to be exchanging nuptials on Saturday, May 10, which coincides with the annual convention of the 3,500-member Texas Technology Students Association in Waco. As a result, we're told a hotel room anywhere in the vicinity of the Crawford-area ranch is more difficult to come by than lodging in and around Boston for the 2007 baseball World Series.

As for first lady Laura Bush ... feeling any stress?

President Bush noted yesterday that his wife is starring in a new movie: "Mother of the Bride."

How rude

Always love your mother, because you'll never have another. This son was constantly reminded of that fact growing up.

But in the opinion of one congressman, spending $123,000 in federal taxpayer funds to support the International Mother's Day Shrine in Grafton, W.Va., is going too far.

"This is the mother of all pork projects," insists Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, who spotted the earmark for the existing shrine in the 2008 federal budget.

That said, we did a little research yesterday and discovered that Grafton (population 5,489) happens to be the birthplace of Mother's Day. It was first celebrated privately in the West Virginia town in 1907 when Anna Jarvis commemorated the anniversary of her mother's death.

One year later — on May 10, 1908 — 407 children continued the tradition by honoring their mothers at Grafton's Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, which in 1962 became the International Mother's Day Shrine that the congressman — not me, mom, I promise — does not wish to support.

Stick with mom

Speaking of mothers and daughters, everybody's talking about the cover of the March 3 New York magazine, showing a smiling Chelsea Clinton as "The Next Clinton" on the political horizon.

"Described as tall, slim and glamorously coifed, the 28-year-old Chelsea is poised to some day abandon her $200K a year hedge fund gig to move into the family business," notes Kevin McCauley, editor of O'Dwyer's Public Relations News, on odwyerpr.com.

"New York's cover warns readers that Chelsea has 'her mother's discipline' and 'her father's charm.' Chelsea, in fact, 'could be the dynasty's back-up plan.' To that, this blogger says 'God, help us.' Let's pump some air into Hillary's campaign."

Covering his tracks

We always enjoy reading the required explanations from congressmen on why they didn't show up to vote on the House floor, the most important task a lawmaker has on Capitol Hill.

An obviously frustrated Rep. Spencer Bachus, Alabama Republican, went the extra step this week, actually including in his written excuse to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a detailed timeline of what went wrong:

"Madam Speaker, on February 25, 2008, I missed votes because my flight was delayed. Southwest Flight 1357, scheduled to depart BHM [Birmingham] at 1:20 p.m. and arrive at BWI [Baltimore-Washington] at 4:10 p.m., did not depart BHM until 3:15 p.m. and arrived at BWI at 6 p.m."

Closet comic

"Please be seated — unless, of course, you don't have a seat."

— President Bush, addressing the 2008 Republican Governors Association Gala at the National Building Museum