George W. Bush was not present last Saturday night for the black-tie banquet of the National Italian-American Foundation (NIAF) at the Washington Hilton Hotel for the fifth straight year of his presidency.
That angered Republican members of NIAF, the leading organization of one ethnic group split evenly between Republicans and Democrats. During the eight years of the Clinton presidency, either Bill or Hillary Clinton made every NIAF dinner.
President Bush's aides told NIAF that he does not like to go out on Saturday nights. However, Bush has attended such events of the Alfalfa Club, the Gridiron Club and the White House Correspondents' Association and stayed the entire evening. NIAF would be happy if Bush, like Clinton, just delivered pre-dinner remarks and then left.
HONORING A COMMUNIST
A new sidewalk sculpture exhibit in downtown Washington honoring founders of "enduring social movements" as "positive role models" for American youth includes W.E.B. Du Bois, a NAACP founder who was a longtime vocal champion of the Soviet Union and joined the Communist Party before he died.
The website for the exhibit ("The Extra Mile") acknowledges Du Bois's Communist and pro-Soviet leanings, but blames them on U.S. policies. "The government continued its attacks on [Du Bois] and his organization, assuming that only a Soviet agent would advocate for peace," according to the website.
"The Extra Mile" is a project of the Points of Light Foundation, which was inspired by President George H.W. Bush. The Du Bois exhibit was sponsored by Freddie Mac, the quasi-governmental mortgage-trading firm.