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Circus Act

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Reacting Thursday to word that novice guitar player Joe Wurzelbacher, otherwise known as Joe the Plumber, has quickly forgotten whatever middle-class tax concerns that he once had by signing with a Nashville public relations agency that envisions a country music record deal with a major label, WMAL-AM Washington radio host Fred Grandy, a former Iowa Republican congressman, suggested that the plumber has become the "Kato Kaelin" of the 2008 presidential campaign.

Once an aspiring actor, Mr. Kaelin rose to fame overnight during the O.J. Simpson murder case.


It's not just the long precinct lines that Florida's early voters are complaining about, or so we read in a McClatchy news story quoting state Republican Rep. Kevin Ambler as saying some of his constituents consider it inappropriate to vote in places of worship where the same beliefs are not shared.

"If you're Jewish and have to go to St. Timothy's Catholic Church, people complained to us and said they're bothered by that," Mr. Ambler said.


Minimum number of reporters who traveled to Wasilla, Alaska, in the two weeks after Gov. Sarah Palin's selection as a vice-presidential candidate: 90

Estimated number of votes that Oprah Winfrey's endorsement swung to Sen. Barack Obama's primary campaign: 1,015,559

— Harper's Index, November 2008


On Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, an equal distance between the White House and Capitol Hill, one finds the popular restaurant TenPenh, where for the past two months thirsty patrons have been casting votes for their favorite 2008 candidates by ordering various Democratic drinks or Republican drinks.

Sarah Palin — wouldn't you know? — is outdistancing John McCain, 22 percent to 16 percent.


The Central Intelligence Agency understands the importance of intelligence relationships overseas, and it hasn't forgotten that being a good neighbor is extremely important, too.

For that reason, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden and his wife, Jeanine, recently hosted nearly 100 members of the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce (the CIA continues to be the largest employer in McLean) during a reception at the agency's headquarters.

"When I speak at engagements around the nation, I try to demystify our agency," the local folk were told by Mr. Hayden, who explained how the spy agency came about locating in McLean, just across the Potomac River from Washington.

"Thanks to President Eisenhower, we have this beautiful patch of Northern Virginia for our headquarters. And considering where a lot of our people are serving these days, it's a very nice place to come home to," he noted. "Tonight, it's my privilege to finally say we are your friends and neighbors."

So to speak. We don't recommend dropping by unannounced to borrow a cup of sugar.


For decades, we learn on this Halloween Day, the White House Rose Garden has remained virtually undisturbed for ghostly reasons few care to discuss.

"The ghost of Dolley Madison appeared in the Rose Garden during the administration of Woodrow Wilson," we read in the National Directory of Haunted Places, "Dolley had planted the garden a hundred years earlier, but Mrs. Wilson gave orders to have it dug up."

"Workmen reported that Dolley's ghost appeared in the garden and kept them from carrying out their job," notes the directory's author, Dennis William Hauck.

In 1913, despite the disturbed spirit of Dolley floating about, Ellen Wilson, the first wife of President Wilson, was finally able to replace the original colonial garden with a rose garden.

"After that, no one dared harm the famous White House Rose Garden," adds Mr. Hauck.

That is, until President John F. Kennedy issued instructions to have the Rose Garden, located just outside of the Oval Office, redesigned for outdoor ceremonies, which continue to this day.

The rest, shall we say, is history.

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