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Final Rodeo

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"The most robust show of excitement for the Bush family's blessed event comes in the form of a coffee mug honoring the event sold by a local tourist trap."

So reports the Lone Star Iconoclast, a weekly newspaper in Crawford, Texas, which says residents of the dusty town "that has endured a decade in the shadow of George W. Bush are laying low this weekend" while the president's 26-year-old daughter, Jenna, gets hitched to Virginian Henry Hager.

"Otherwise, the locals are avoiding the area like the plague," says the paper, adding "townsfolk also expect their community to return back to normal once Bush leaves the president's office."

American revolution

OK, let's get this straight: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton thinks President Bush should boycott the opening of this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing.

Her Republican opponent (as opposed to Mrs. Clinton's Democratic opponent) John McCain says he would not attend the opening ceremonies without Chinese concessions toward Tibet and the Dalai Lama.

The ever-hopeful Democrat Barack Obama, meanwhile, says the Beijing Olympics represent an opportunity for China to show the world what positives it has accomplished over the past several decades.

As for one of the official 2008 Olympic artists — Mark T. Smith — he is going to China. In fact, the Miami-based artist will unveil his official Olympic painting right here May 20 at Teatro Goldoni restaurant on K Street, where he will be signing posters of his creation.

"Although my work is not specifically designed to be a social or political statement, I will attend the games and may have the opportunity to make my views known through the media coverage of the event," Mr. Smith says.

As for the controversy surrounding the 2008 games, he points out that "change comes in many forms, and through a wide variety of contributions ... My way is artistic."

Lunch with Cindy

It was standing room only yesterday at the Capitol Hill Club for the Cindy McCain luncheon sponsored by the Republican Women's Federal Forum, chaired by Judy Black.

In fact, the luncheon was so full that food-servers had to be eliminated to accommodate enough table and chairs to squeeze all the ticket-holders in the dining room.

Among the guests: Franki Roberts, wife of Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, Susan Allen, wife of former Virginia Sen. George Allen, and Republican activists Cathy Gillespie, Sally Atwater and a host of congressional wives and Republican women with a smattering of Republican gentlemen.

The Ann Hand jewelry was out and shining, especially the John McCain pin. Surprising everyone, Mrs. McCain welcomed the crowd to "the McCain home," pointing out that her husband grew up in the building that is now the Capitol Hill Club.

Mrs. McCain, who spoke without notes for half an hour, informed the crowd that her husband is the man to be the next president because he understands more than anyone the need to do the right thing for the troops in Iraq.

The McCains have two sons in active duty, one of them a 19-year-old Marine, Jimmy, who recently returned from duty in Iraq. While he was in Iraq, according to Mrs. McCain, her son was waist deep in mud digging out an overturned military vehicle when his superior walked up and yelled, "McCain! Your dad just won New Hampshire. Keep digging!"

Yankee 'chumps'

A former boxer, Rep. James P. Moran of Virginia is not one to hold his punches, physically or verbally.

This week, the Democrat is angry about the price of gasoline, particularly as it pertains to Iraq. And whereas Americans are now paying just under $4 per gallon of gasoline, he predicts the cost will rise to $5 and eventually $6.

"Iraq will get even more revenue than the $72 billion they're anticipating this year," Mr. Moran notes. "They got $100 billion over the last couple of years, much of it our money. And yet Americans have already contributed over half a trillion dollars to Iraq's economy ...

"Iraqis are getting a surplus of oil revenue from us and yet we are paying to pick up their garbage and train their security forces when they've got surpluses they don't even know what to do with. Who's the chump in this picture?"

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