Fraud Within

John McCaslin

3/19/2008 10:45:45 AM - John McCaslin

Given that Democrats often have complained about voting fraud during national elections, the Republican Study Committee (RSC), as we reported last month, is doing its share to call attention to polling-station problems by keeping a running list of vote-fraud cases as reported by the press in advance of the 2008 presidential election.

The latest charges of fraud: "The Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign accused the Barack Obama campaign of voting irregularities in Texas, including prematurely removing convention packets from polling places, locking Clinton supporters out of caucus sites, and filling out precinct convention sign-in sheets during the day and submitting them as completed vote totals at caucus."

Good grief, candidates — and from the same party, no less. As Rodney King said, can't we all get along?

Unprecedented

We keep hearing about unprecedented numbers of Democrats coming out to vote in the 2008 presidential primaries. Just how many are there?

The Democratic National Committee told us yesterday that a whopping 2.8 million Democratic ballots were cast in the recent Texas primary — more votes than Al Gore received in Texas in the 2000 general election.

Detox anybody? The Casablanca Hotel in New York City's Times Square is offering "political rehab" for election-weary Washingtonians venturing north to the Big Apple.

From now until Election Day, the hotel says guests who need to "dry out" can request to "have their guest room televisions set to block all news channels and, if desired, all channels that offer daily news programming."

Living in sin

The Family Research Council is hosting a lecture in Washington this morning by Mike and Harriet McManus, co-founders of Marriage Savers.

The McManuses contend that almost 62 percent of couples who married in 2002 previously had lived together, while studies show that cohabiting before marriage increases a couple's odds of divorce by 50 percent.

That has us wondering why the cohabiting couples, if they were getting along so well in the first place, bothered to get married.

Cows and eggs

Boy, do we ever have sticklers for readers. Don't get us wrong, we appreciate every comment, contribution and complaint sent to Inside the Beltway, so keep them coming.

This week, Tom Willoughby of Maryland picked up his phone after reading Monday's item on Washington's annual Easter Egg Roll, participants of which were chased off the U.S. Capitol grounds in the late 19th century because they were making the grass too muddy.

Recalled the White House Historical Association: "Either the angry rollers rushed to the gates of the White House and demanded that they be let in to roll their eggs on the president's lawn or President Rutherford B. Hayes, alerted to the plight of the children, opened the gates to the South Lawn and welcomed all the rollers to his end of Pennsylvania Avenue."

But Mr. Willoughby notes: "You have President Hayes opening the gates of the South Lawn, but I think in that day and time there was a cow down there where Constitution Avenue is, and I think they had a barn and a henhouse and that sort of thing. I don't believe there were gates, because the South Lawn was a pasture and the fence wasn't built, as I've been told, until the advent of Franklin D. Roosevelt."

Yesterday, Bill Bushong of the White House Historical Association confirmed that President Ulysses S. Grant, whose two terms in the White House immediately preceded Hayes' presidency, "built a new iron south fence at the end of his first administration."

Once the fence went up, Mr. Bushong says, its gates were opened daily, probably at 10 a.m., for the public to gain access to what is now the South Lawn. "The south grounds of the White House were treated somewhat like a public park. People could stroll the grounds, view the gardens, enjoy the space."

He says it wasn't until security concerns emerged during World War II that "a perimeter was established around the White House with guard boxes" — a perimeter that has since expanded in size and scope.