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Playing Hardball?

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MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews confirms that he is contemplating a run for the U.S. Senate in his native Pennsylvania.

Mr. Matthews noted in a conversation with this columnist that his network contract is set to expire next year, and he is currently weighing his various options, including becoming a Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Sen. Arlen Specter in 2010.

He also made a point of saying that his brother, Republican James R. Matthews, the Montgomery County (Pa.) commissioner who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2006, would play a key role should a campaign be launched to unseat Mr. Specter, Pennsylvania's longest-serving senator, who has already announced that he is seeking a sixth term in office.

The popular MSNBC host is no stranger to politics, having served as a speechwriter to President Carter and top aide to then-House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr.


"Also inside," or so we read on the subscription envelope for National Review magazine, the NBC reporter who bares his "inner little girl."

What inquiring mind wouldn't see that teaser and rip into the envelope to read National Review Editor Rich Lowry explain how the magazine delights in tweaking the orthodoxy with inconvenient revelations, including "why NBC's David Gregory screams like a 6-year-old girl at press briefings."


Like many Americans, Michelle Obama is impressed by her husband's oratorical skills.

Joining the Democratic National Committee in promoting Sen. Barack Obama's upcoming nomination speech before 75,000 supporters and others attending next month's Democratic National Convention, Mrs. Obama recalls the evening during the 2004 Democratic convention when she and her husband were standing backstage before his first prime-time speech.

"The way he tells it, he was too busy in the days before the convention to feel any pressure — but about an hour before the speech, I could tell he was getting a little nervous," she says of Mr. Obama. "To break the tension, right before he went out on stage, I leaned in close and said, 'Just don't screw it up, buddy.'

"We laughed. And then Barack brought the house down."


The two presumptive presidential nominees, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, have been reminded that it's not too early to begin planning for the future by forming presidential transition teams.

"It's essential to shore up the vulnerabilities to our nation that inevitably occur during transitions, and it is unrealistic to believe that our new president will be ready to govern on day one without aggressively preparing for that possibility today," noted Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service.

Heading an organization that works to revitalize the federal government, Mr. Stier co-penned an open letter to both candidates urging them to begin transition plans now instead of "treating transition planning like a championship trophy they're afraid to touch."


The friendly rivalry that exists between Kansas and Missouri extends far beyond the collegiate football fields and basketball courts, reaching back to pre-Civil War days when the neighboring states fought over whether or not Kansas would allow slavery.

(Kansas won the right to be an abolitionist state, but not without bloodshed and the destruction of the city of Lawrence, home of the University of Kansas).

This week, whatever bad blood persists between the "Show Me" and "Sunflower" states was put aside when the Kansas State Society and Missouri State Society, both based here in Washington, came together on Capitol Hill to raise money for the victims of recent tornadoes in Kansas and flooding in Missouri.

"Peace and harmony and lots of beer ruled," participant Ladonna H. Curzon tells Inside the Beltway, who thanked the benefit's sponsors, which included Husch Blackwell Sanders, Kansas City Southern Lines, Sprint Nextel and Union Pacific.

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