John McCaslin

That was Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, reminding his colleagues this week that it was 751 days ago when the soon-to-become House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, running for re-election in California, said: " 'Elect us and we will produce a common-sense plan to help bring down the price of gasoline at the pump.'

"Unfortunately, the price of gasoline at about the time that she took office as speaker of the House was about $2.33 a gallon, I believe. And now, of course, it is about $3.75 a gallon."

One cent, two ...

Suffice it to say, the federal government could do a better job integrating new employees into the workplace.

A new report we obtained from the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton captures some eye-opening snapshots of new government employees' experiences when they first start their jobs, including one new hire who spent his time counting $2.85 cents in change left in his desk drawer because he had no computer and nothing to do on his first day at work.

Then there was the new federal hire who recounts that his supervisor didn't come to see him for the first three days he was on the job.

The report, "Getting Onboard: A Model for Integrating and Engaging New Employees," says better integrating new civil servants from the time they accept a job through their first year of service — a process defined as "onboarding" — makes them more engaged and increases retention by as much as 25 percent.

First impressions matter, the report states, because 90 percent of employees decide whether or not they will stay at an organization or look for a new position within the first six months on the job.

React first

The John McCain 2008 presidential campaign placed a written embargo for 10 a.m. yesterday on prepared remarks delivered that same hour in Columbus, Ohio, by the Republican presidential candidate.

But the embargo didn't stop Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean from reading the prepared text of the Arizona senator's speech, which outlined his presidency should he get elected, and responding in kind — at 9:46 a.m., well before the Republican delivered his address.

"The reality behind Senator McCain's new rhetoric is that his plans either ignore the problems he identifies or actually makes them worse," Mr. Dean said before Mr. McCain took the stage. "Whether he is taking President Bush's fiscal policies to new extremes, continuing a stay-the-course strategy in Iraq that has distracted from the real war on terror, or pretending he would bring transparency to government after refusing to even release his own tax records, Senator McCain found yet another way to show he's the wrong choice for America's future."

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.