John McCaslin

We recalled in this column on Monday that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton decided against a recent spread in the pages of Vogue for fear of appearing "too feminine," according to her campaign team.

Now we hear from Judi McLean Parks, professor of organizational behavior at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, that regardless of whether Mrs. Clinton wins the Democratic nomination for president, the question of how much being a woman helped or hurt her campaign will linger for a long time.

The professor says characteristics one tends to associate with women — like being facilitative or caring — are not what Americans think of as leadership traits, and therefore, Mrs. Clinton faces an uphill battle trying to overcome people's expectations.

"If you as a woman behave in a masculine manner, then in some way or another I'm going to think less of you, find you less likable, and be less likely to hire you — all because you have violated the expectations of what a woman is supposed to be like," Ms. McLean Parks explains.

"In politics, people get angry. They yell at each other. She's not allowed to do that because she is under a microscope for everything she does. As a result, she has to backpedal and soften what was a legitimate display of anger."

Pay to preside

If you don't think that a presidential candidate has to buy his or her way into the White House, then think again.

Consider the April 2008 "Harper's Index":

Total amount that Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have given to the campaigns of Democratic "superdelegates": $1,601,925.

Amount that former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's campaign spent to win a single Republican delegate: $48,000,000.

Big night

One of the Washington-area's finest restaurants is celebrating its 30th anniversary in style with a reception, dinner, auction and film premiere at the Mellon Auditorium on April 9.

The Inn at Little Washington is raising a toast that star-studded evening to America's "culinary pioneers," including Robert Mondavi, Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck and Tim and Nina Zagat, among others on the evening's list of honorees.

In addition, Thomas Jefferson and Julia Child are among those to be honored in memoriam.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is the featured guest, and NBC's Andrea Mitchell plays mistress of ceremonies.

Bulb freedom

Did Uncle Sam rush far too fast to force Americans to screw only "energy-efficient" light bulbs into their sockets by the year 2012?

Yes, says Rep. Michele Bachmann, the first Republican woman to be elected to Congress from Minnesota. The recently enacted energy bill, she explains, contains a provision to phase out incandescent light bulbs, mandating that only the energy-efficient bulbs can be sold in the United Stats in fewer than four years' time.

Mrs. Bachmann notes, however, that the new "high-mercury light bulbs chosen for them by the government received little scrutiny" and cites studies linking the green bulbs to higher incidences of breast cancer.

Just before the Easter recess, she introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, which would repeal the mandate until the health questions are answered.

Trace your roots

Curious about when and how your ancestors arrived in America?

For the first time, the National Archives is making available online more than 5.2 million records of some of the passengers who arrived during the last half of the 19th century at the ports of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Orleans.

The records, which can be found at, were transcribed from original ship manifests.

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 .

Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.