Rich Galen

While the President of the United States was in the Middle East doing the business of the free world, the Washington Post ran a front page article about how the next Senator from Virginia, Jim Webb, exhibited the kind of manner which would have gotten him beaten up and thrown into the street if he'd done it anywhere but the White House.

Webb, a Democrat, beat incumbent Republican Senator George Allen by a little over 9,000 votes out of 2.3 MILLION votes cast in the Commonwealth of Virigina.

According to the Washington Post, the Senator-elect from Virginia went to a reception for newly elected Senators and Congressmen at the White House.

Keep in mind, Webb didn't have to go to the White House. He went of his own free will. The Post's account:

Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Keep in mind, Webb's SON didn't have to go to Iraq. He joined the Marines of his own free will.

If Webb wants to start a fight with someone, go over to Rep. Charlie Rangle's (D-NY) office. He insists he will introduce legislation to reinstitute a draft. If Webb's son had been drafted, he would have had no choice as to a career path.

The first question you have to ask yourself is: Why did Senator-elect Webb go to the White House to start with? If he didn't want to be in the same place at the same time as the President … stay home.

Also, we only know from the Post account that the President responded as it is written. No sense of whether there was a smile, or a hand-on-shoulder, or dad-to-dad eye-contact.

I am drawn to this story because the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices and I were invited to the White House for a holiday reception last night.

We accepted. We did want to get into the receiving line. And we did get our picture taken with the President and the First Lady.

And we were honored at every step along the way: From having the Secret Service check our names at the front gate, to being handed our color-coded card to get into the reception line, to admiring the Christmas decorations in the rooms on the main floor of the White House, to getting into line and finally being announced to the President and Mrs. Bush for our photo.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at