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You Don't Say?

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Yesterday, while Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was undergoing surgery at Duke University Medical Center for his cancerous brain tumor, an invitation arrived for a book party surrounding "The Secret Plot to Make Ted Kennedy President:

Inside the Real Watergate Conspiracy." Author Geoff Shepard, a corporate lawyer who worked in the Nixon White House for more than five years, says his new book will change how people think about Watergate.

One book summary describes how the Massachusetts Democrat and his cohorts "smelled blood after the Watergate break-in and set out to exaggerate and prolong the scandal, not merely to destroy Richard Nixon, but to undermine the entire Republican Party and pave the way for another Kennedy presidency in 1976."

The author says the Kennedy conspiracy included senators, congressmen and officials from both the Justice Department and the special prosecutor's office, the latter going so far as to use "delay tactics and obfuscation" to postpone indictments.

The upcoming book reception, fittingly enough, will be held at the International Spy Museum.

Early regrets

One might argue that President Bush is counting down the days until he leaves office and returns to his beloved Texas. Consider his remarks yesterday during the Ford's Theatre Gala:

"I know you're excited about the opening of the renovated Ford's Theatre in February 2009. Laura and I are excited, too. Just send the pictures down to Crawford."

Shinola and Sunni

Every day of late, national radio host Bill Press gives his listeners a new reason not to vote for Sen. John McCain for president come November.

By Monday, the left-leaning talker had reached 101 reasons and counting, among his more recent: "John McCain doesn't know Shi'ite from Shinola."


Older readers of this column, unlike the younger crop, will tell you that Shinola was a popular brand of shoe polish during the previous century. The phrase, "He doesn't know [expletive deleted] from Shinola," was widely used during World War II.

So that's it

So, what really became of former White House press secretary Scott McClellan? For that answer, let's turn to current press secretary Dana Perino.

Reporter: "Last week in your statement you used the word 'disgruntled' to describe him. Why did you use that word 'disgruntled'? Is he disgruntled because he was fired? Did he, in fact, resign? Was he pushed out?"

Mrs. Perino: "Being disgruntled means being displeased or being discontented. And I think that by any measure, if you look at Scott in his comments over the past week that he is displeased with his time at the White House. That's why I used that phrase. ... And so I think that 'disgruntled' is the right way to characterize it."

Reporter: "But just for the record, so, he did resign, though, he was not fired?"

Mrs. Perino: "Technically, he resigned, yes."

Reporter: "Technically?"

Mrs. Perino: "He resigned."

Reporter: "He was asked to resign, though, Dana?"

Mrs. Perino: "I'm not going to comment on it. He resigned."

Old and new

The Central Intelligence Agency on Monday paid tribute to 89 colleagues lost in the line of duty, including two CIA employees killed during the past year while conducting missions in war zones.

CIA Director Michael V. Hayden told the stories of those officers and others whose sacrifice is commemorated on the agency's Memorial Wall. Relatives of more than 30 fallen CIA officers were in attendance Monday.

"We come together, generations old and new, to pay special tribute to those we have lost in service: Men and women, never far from our minds, who loved their country - believed it is worth working for, fighting for, even dying for, so that all that defines America will prosper and endure."

Buzz in orbit

NASA actually strapped "Toy Story" space ranger Buzz Lightyear into the Space Shuttle Discovery when it launched on Saturday and safely delivered the toy Monday afternoon to the International Space Station.

We're told that Buzz's participation in this current space mission is part of a new NASA educational program for children.

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