John McCaslin

 It's apparently not too early to audition for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential inauguration - at least as far as the organizer for the "Obama Inaugural Glee Club" is concerned.

The Illinois senator's official 2008 presidential campaign Web site says the tryout schedule to join the glee club is soon to be announced. Auditions will be hosted by Sharon McSweeney of Charlottesville, Va., who plans to enlist four singers from each of the 50 states "in our beautiful union."

One fewer fan

Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten knew Tim Russert "not as well as everyone else in this city, but as little as I knew him, I felt like we were great friends."

In an interview with Inside the Beltway on Monday in his new Nationals Park office overlooking the Anacostia River, Mr. Kasten said, "I gather that's how he made everyone feel."

When former chief NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw interrupted his network's regularly scheduled programming last Friday to inform the nation of his colleague's sudden passing, he closed by pointing out that Mr. Russert was a major sports enthusiast, including a huge fan of the fledgling Washington Nationals baseball team.

"I think the [Buffalo] Bills got higher billing than we did, but we're still proud to be on that list," Mr. Kasten said. "It was great looking over there seeing he and James Carville at a game, seated next to Bob Schieffer, right across the aisle, because that's the kind of friendship he had with everyone, even with competitors.

"And when we were starting to go to market with our stadium last summer, we went to Tim and said would you 'voice over' the pitch in this new ballpark? He couldn't say 'yes' fast enough. He was just a great guy, a great fan, and like everyone else we certainly miss him."

Shrunken shoes

On the heels of Scott McClellan's blistering denunciation of the Bush administration, which he once served as spokesman, comes conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan's most unflattering assessment of George W. Bush beneath the headline, "The Incredible Shrinking President." Writing in Monday's edition of the American Conservative, of which he is a founding editor, Mr. Buchanan says the "synchronized savagery of the attacks on McClellan as turncoat suggests he drew blood," and now in its wake events "suggest that history is passing Bush by."

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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