John McCaslin

"It can be tough to lose a hard-fought race - I know, because I've been there."

So recalled Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, the leader of the pack in early polls for the 2004 Democratic presidential primary, following Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's endorsement Saturday of the party's presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama.

Lest anybody forget, Mr. Dean was riding high in his campaign for the White House four years ago when, for whatever reason, he delivered his infamous "I Have a Scream" speech. The Internet-based Urban Dictionary suggests his exuberance "was played around 700 times on CNN within the next 24 hours."

Closing a chapter

The first page of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's official presidential campaign Web site Sunday simply posted this message: "Support Senator Obama Today. Sign up now and together we can write the next chapter in America's story."

Tell her that

"As you may know, I was a boxer. And I've seen many fights go the distance. But never have I seen one where everyone came out stronger - until now."

- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton ended her 501-day campaign for president Saturday

Awaiting Mitt

Inside the Beltway reader Chuck Bloomer of Virginia writes: "I saw a bumper sticker as I drove home down Interstate 395: 'Mormons for Obama.' I have a feeling it is a very small group."

Get real

Maybe now that the Democratic Party has finally chosen Sen. Barack Obama as its presumptive presidential nominee the so-called Democratic and Republican "strategists" we are subjected to on cable TV will start discussing the important issues instead of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's chances of becoming the vice presidential nominee.

For that matter, maybe the candidates themselves will now begin debating what's really important for America.

That said, four graduate engineering students of Carnegie Mellon recently penned an open letter to the remaining slate of presidential candidates asking that each detail his or her positions on issues like energy independence. As of last word, no White House hopeful had responded.

Nevertheless, for their effort, the four students on Wednesday will be presented with awards at the 19th annual Energy Efficiency Forum at the National Press Club, where keynote speakers will include Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman.

Pulpit mixing

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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