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In the category of the more things change the more they stay the same, veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs during Monday afternoon's press briefing why President Obama was sending more American troops into Afghanistan "to kill people"?

Mr. Gibbs explained to the 88-year-old Miss Thomas that "terrorists" reside in Afghanistan.


Robert Wood, acting spokesman at the State Department, is becoming acclimated under his new boss, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Welcome to the briefing. If you like, I'll run down some of the secretary's calls that she's had over the last couple of days," began Mr. Wood, not the least being Mrs. Clinton's long-distance conversation with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

Mr. Wood: Czechoslovakia holds the EU presidency, as I think most of you know.

Reporter: Except that, I'm sorry, Czechoslovakia hasn't existed for a while.

Mr. Wood: Did I say - excuse me, the Czech Republic. It's just one of those things.

Reporter: First day jitters, eh?


Care to send a letter to former President Bush now that he's packed up and moved from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Here's his new mailing address, as provided to Inside the Beltway:

George W. Bush
P.O. Box 259000
Dallas, TX 75225-9000


The Republican National Committee is peddling President George W. Bush Commemorative Cigars for $12 each, or a full box of 25 for $225.

The Bush stogies are premium handmade from the Dominican Republic, with a Sumatra wrapper and gold wax seal to preserve the collectible for years to come. The cigar's tube is imprinted with a "43" logo with the dates of Mr. Bush's presidency: Jan. 20, 2001 to Jan. 20, 2009.


Effective April 12, Alan C. Lowe will become director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Lewisville, Texas.


Mr. Bush's library is temporarily located in Lewisville while a permanent library and museum for the nation's 43rd president is being built on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Upon completion, it will become the 13th library in the National Archives Presidential Libraries system.

Mr. Lowe was interim director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, N.Y., and more recently led the building and development of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy in Tennessee. He first worked as an archivist at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.


Everybody wants a tour of the White House now that President Obama is in the Oval Office.

We're told that the public tour procedure under the nation's 44th president remains the same: tour requests must be submitted through a member of Congress, accepted up to six months in advance; tours are available for groups of 10 or more people; tours run from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; tours are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.


One of Washington's top lobbyists, Anne Wexler, has appointed former Rep. Robert E. "Bud' Cramer, a founder of the moderate Blue Dog Democrats, chairman of Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates.

"It fits precisely with the reputation that Bud earned in Congress for being a public servant focused on what was best for the nation, his state and his constituency," she says of the former Alabama congressman's appointment.

Mr. Cramer served in Congress from 1991 to 2008 and sat on the House Appropriations Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence.

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