John McCaslin

While not a household name, Gail Lovelace arguably is the person responsible for the orderly transfer of power from President Bush to President-elect Barack Obama.

At least every eight years, the General Services Administration (GSA) turns over to a president-elect what has become a 120,000-square-foot, fully furnished, computer-equipped Presidential Transition Headquarters. This week, it was Mr. Obama who was awarded the keys to the suite of modern offices in downtown Washington by GSA acting Administrator James A. Williams.

Congress in 1963 handed the GSA the responsibility of providing each new administration not only with office space, but information technology, furniture, equipment and other logistical support — including the federal funds to pay for it all.

The GSA even appoints a "Presidential Transition Director" — Ms. Lovelace — who said this week that her staff "worked more than two years to complete this headquarters and help facilitate the orderly transfer of executive power."

Pretty impressive, figuring the GSA manages 8,600 government-owned or leased buildings, 425 historic properties, and Uncle Sam's fleet of 208,000 vehicles.


Aristotle reminds us, "Youth is easily deceived, because it is quick to hope."

Let's hope youth is right this time, given its major impact in deciding the 2008 presidential election.

Indeed, overwhelming youth support for President-elect Barack Obama in battleground states turned out to keep this election out of reach for Republican John McCain, said Eric Greenberg, author of "Generation We: How Millennial Youth Are Taking Over America and Changing Our World Forever."

He points to exit polls showing the youth vote supported Obama/Biden over McCain/Palin 66 percent to 32 percent, which he said is the highest share of the youth vote for a presidential ticket since exit polls began reporting results by age groups in 1976.

Specifically, college towns in the battleground states of Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Florida saw increases of up to 92 percent in youth voter turnout in comparison with 2004 (Precinct 01 at Indiana University Bloomington saw at least a 287 percent increase in youth vote over 2004).

More broadly, 18-29 year-olds represented 18 percent of the electorate (some 24 million young Americans) while those identified as 65 and older made up only 16 percent.

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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