If it didn't sink in during Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's endorsement of his candidacy this past weekend, it surely must now that the elected officers of the Democratic National Committee - vice chairs Lottie Shackelford, Linda Chavez Thompson, Rep. Mike Honda, Susan W. Turnbull, secretary Alice Germond, treasurer Andrew Tobias and finance chair Philip Murphy - have together officially endorsed Sen. Barack Obama to be the next commander in chief.
"Now that this historic primary season is over," reads a joint statement from the DNC officers, "we proudly offer our enthusiastic endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for president of the United States."
As for Mrs. Clinton?
"We also congratulate Senator Hillary Clinton on her extraordinary run for the presidency; the incredible amount of work she and her supporters poured into her campaign has left the Democratic Party stronger than ever."
Sign of times
We have to laugh at the disclaimer on a written invitation to a happy hour received Wednesday from one well-known Washington lobbyist: "This event is carbon neutral. No tomatoes will be served at this event."
We ducked into a crowded Martin's Tavern in Georgetown Tuesday night to escape the severe thunderstorm that raked the nation's capital with sharp lightning and torrential rain.
Sipping pints of beer at the bar were several groups of tourists pointing to the occupied wooden booths that overlook Wisconsin Avenue and N Street NW. Instead of seeing patrons dining there, they saw ghosts.
"That's booth number three where they got engaged," a woman whispered to her husband, referring to what is now known as "The Proposal Booth." There, on an otherwise ordinary Wednesday in June of 1953 - having just returned to Washington from covering the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II for the Washington Times Herald - the young Jacqueline Bouvier accepted John F. Kennedy's proposal of marriage.
Following Mass at nearby Holy Trinity Catholic Church, however, Kennedy preferred to sit in Booth No. 1 - "The Rumble Seat" - to read his Sunday newspaper while ordering brunch.
Richard M. Nixon, meanwhile, not only liked to sit in Booth No. 2, he had a hankering for Martin's meatloaf. That table is now called "The Nixon Booth."
A few seats away is Booth No. 6, "The Truman Booth," where Harry S. Truman often dined with his wife Bess and daughter Margaret.
"Margaret wrote 14 mystery novels set in Washington and many of her novels include Martin's Tavern," the restaurant recalls, including the best-seller "Murder in Georgetown," where on page 58 it reads: "She seemed anxious to comply and they arranged to meet at seven at Martin's Tavern."
If those historic booths are all taken, diners of Martin's Tavern might settle for Booth No. 24, "The LBJ Booth," where Lyndon B. Johnson regularly huddled with longtime House Speaker Sam Rayburn.
It's obviously OK for somebody to refer to themself as "redneck," but as NBC senior reporter Andrea Mitchell learned firsthand in recent days, don't stereotype an entire population in such derogatory fashion.
Perhaps you read where the highly respected TV journalist apologized to MSNBC viewers Monday after referring to southwestern Virginia - where Democratic Sen. Barack Obama was campaigning for president - as "real redneck." The Bristol Herald Courier newspaper responded in kind that the region "doesn't deserve to be the butt of jokes."
Now, on the heels of that apology, Inside the Beltway is asked to give mention to former actor-turned-Georgia Democratic Rep. Ben L. Jones' just-published book, "Redneck Boy in the Promised Land: The Confessions of Crazy Cooter."
Mr. Jones, perhaps best known for his role in popular TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard," writes in his tome: "Not many congressmen grew up in shacks without electricity or indoor plumbing, with rats scurrying about. I did. Not many were deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement. I was. Not many were jailed a dozen times for drunken, violent behavior ....
"And not many can claim to be the person who put the 'kibosh' on Newt Gingrich's career in Congress."