Condi Call

John McCaslin
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Posted: Feb 24, 2005 12:00 AM

When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was a little girl - about the same time that one of her classmates was killed in the infamous 1963 Birmingham church bombing - she was photographed by her father, John, in front of the White house.

And she told him, "One day, I'm going to live there."

Divine intervention?

"I worked for Elizabeth Dole for president in 1999, and you could feel the historic momentum - the buzz was nationwide. It's time for a woman in the White House," says Crystal Dueker, the Midwest's acting chairwoman of Americans for Rice.

She points to a new poll conducted by the Siena College Research Institute that found that 81 percent of 1,125 people surveyed would vote for a woman for president. And whereas the poll also identifies New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as a favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination, the majority on the Republican side clearly favors Rice.

What's the attraction?

"I look at somebody who doesn't need training wheels when they enter the White House," Dueker says in a telephone interview. "I would like her to follow in the footsteps of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan, all of whom held the position of secretary of state before they became president."

Others are impressed with the former White House national security adviser's international-relations background, including talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, who said of Rice: "There is no pretense, no power play, none of the usual false airs. . . . She's got the power, and everyone knows it."

"I look at statesmanship, where she stands on the world stage and her ability to deal with foreign leaders," agrees Dueker. "Some people say she never held elective office. Well, this is a woman who doesn't need training. She has name recognition, and she is charming."

The group (AmericansForRice.com) is already busy organizing a support network across the country and plans to make its presence felt at the New Hampshire Lincoln-Reagan Dinner March 4.

PAINTER'S HELPERS

Cans of bright red paint and brushes, symbolizing the so-called red states that supported President Bush in the 2004 election, were hand-delivered Wednesday to key leaders of the Democratic Party.

"Now that you've anointed a raving left-wing radical to chair the DNC, you're likely to need these," said the accompanying message from the gift giver - the online political action network Laptop America - referring to newly crowned Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

DON'T BE DASCHLED

Calling attacks on many of President Bush's judicial nominees personal and "blatantly partisan," the Judicial Confirmation Network is teaming up with no less than 70 citizen and grass-roots organizations to circulate a national petition calling on senators to bring numerous stalled nominations to the floor for "respectful debate" and timely votes.

"The rhetoric we are already hearing from the left is divisive and unproductive to the confirmation process," network executive director Gary Marx says of certain Democrats in the newly convened 109th Congress.

He reminds them that the "stunning re-election defeat of former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle was due largely to the public's perception that (the Democrat) was no longer willing to work in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation with his Republican colleagues."

ACADIANA ACCENTS

D.C. restaurateurs Gus DiMillo , Jeff Tunks and David Wizenberg, of DC Coast, TenPenh and Ceiba fame, will bring Louisiana cuisine and atmosphere to the nation's capital when they open Acadiana in September at 901 New York Ave. NW.

"Our new restaurant will primarily be a Louisiana seafood house," says Tunks, head chef of the three restaurants who previously cooked in New Orleans.

As for the restaurant name?

"It was during the late 1700s when 5,000 Acadians were transported to southwest Louisiana, known as the bayou country, or Acadiana, to establish farms and permanent residence in that region," educates Simone Rathle, a Louisiana native who handles public relations for the three D.C. restaurants.

"Over the years, the Acadians established a certain culture and cuisine that is most distinctive and unchanging."

HOLLYWOOD A-WORD

Christopher C. Horner, policy counsel for the European Enterprise Institute in Brussels, has just flown back to Washington aboard United Airlines, its cabin treated to the popular movie "Sideways."

"A pleasant surprise given the Mrs. and I have only been turned away due to crowding at the theater," notes Horner. "As part of its process of editing out offensive expletives, United was kind enough to show a version of the film in which a character, not once but twice, is heard to refer to an antagonist as an 'Ashcroft' - the former Attorney General John Ashcroft and bane of the left - serving as the substitution of choice for the anatomical slur sharing the same first letter."

RUDE REVIEW

Overheard on a European Parliament escalator after President Bush's speech in Brussels about "mending fences" with Europe:

"Did you hear, he quoted Albert Camus."

"Well, there is no way he would possibly understand it."

"I know, I mean he is hardly literate, you know."

WORLD OF MIME

"No news here, merely a mime's impression of wordless events for the benefit of photographers and poolers at NATO HQ, Brussels."

- Official White House pool report on President Bush's trip to Europe, in this case observing a photo opportunity at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

NOAH'S HELPER

"Rain finally broke today. Was starting to round up two of everything" - or so quips a soggy California-based Chris Barnett, whose popular column "Barnett on Business Travel" appears in the Travel section of The Washington Times.

VAGUE ATTEMPTS

First it was Iowa and Connecticut. Then, we wrote recently, Texas.

Now, an Assembly bill has been introduced in New York to make hunting a punishable act of animal cruelty. Do we sense a pattern across this country, similar to what has beguiled Britain?

Anti-hunting lawmakers, confirms the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, are introducing "vague or poorly worded" animal-cruelty legislation in an effort to outlaw hunting. The latest New York bill, introduced by Democratic Assembly member Alexander Grannis, seeks to revise the state's definition of animal cruelty to include "killing or injuring . . . wild game and wild birds."

"The bill creates a contradiction in the law as the state code allows regulated hunting," says Tony Celebrezze, an alliance director. "But the definition of animal cruelty in the bill makes hunting illegal. If (it) becomes law, anti-hunters will have a field day ensuring that sportsmen are prosecuted on animal cruelty charges."

The New York bill mirrors legislation introduced recently in Texas. Similar bills in Iowa and Connecticut were defeated.

CRIMINAL MISUSE

While we're on the subject of hunting - albeit in this case hunting humans - Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, has joined as a co-sponsor of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Introduced by Sens. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, and Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican, the legislation would prevent unwarranted lawsuits against manufacturers or sellers of firearms and ammunition for damages resulting from the unlawful use of their products.

As Snowe sees it, "Manufacturers and sellers acting within the law should not be held responsible for the actions of criminals who misuse their products."

WEEKEND SCIENTISTS

When it comes to reporting on pressing scientific issues such as global warming, stem-cell research, prescription drugs and biotechnology, do reporters know what they're writing about?

"Never before have so many daunting and complicated questions . . . dominated the news - and never before has clear, accurate and insightful writing about the same been more important to public policy and personal decision making. But are we getting the science journalism we need?"

That's the question the Institute for Humane Studies wants answered Saturday at a Washington panel discussion on the state of "science journalism."

Sally Satel, author of "PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness is Corrupting Medicine" and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, is among the panelists.