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In the Loop

Snow on the Trail

By Al Kamen
Friday, October 29, 2004; Page A21

Keeping up with Treasury Secretary John W. "Battleground" Snow . . . Snow, ridding us at long last of that annoying and silly tradition of keeping the Treasury Department above the political fray, continues his work in states seen as critical to President Bush on Election Day.

As of last week, Snow had logged 11 weeks of brutal travel to give "non-campaign" speeches in the Midwest and Florida. Since Aug. 6, 21 of the 23 speeches Snow has given on the nation's economic health have been in political battleground states, including 13 in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The other two speeches were in New York City.

_____In the Loop_____
Tenet: Iraq Not 'Wrong' -- Just 'Looking Bad' (The Washington Post, Oct 27, 2004)
Manufacturers' Group Hunts for Culprit (The Washington Post, Oct 25, 2004)
Pick a President, Win a T-Shirt (The Washington Post, Oct 22, 2004)
Snow's Job: Spreading Economic Cheer (The Washington Post, Oct 20, 2004)
Cheney Pops One for Edwards (The Washington Post, Oct 18, 2004)
More In the Loop

This week, Snow continued the pace, heading back to the Midwest on Tuesday for a talk to the Franchise Business Roundtable at the International Dairy Queen Inc. headquarters in Minneapolis, followed by a talk Wednesday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and wrapping up yesterday in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

But this is not to denigrate the fine efforts of other top Treasury officials or imply they've been slackers. On the contrary, Deputy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman was in Reading, Pa., this week and Undersecretary for International Affairs John B. Taylor visited Cleveland. Other top officials have made the rounds regularly to the key states, including Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In contrast, last October, for example, Snow made four speeches outside the Beltway. These were in Mexico, Spain, Chicago and New York. Other Treasury officials made a total of four speeches outside the D.C. area, according to the departmental Web site, visiting Philadelphia, New York, Japan and Michigan.

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Kentucky Fried Senate Race

Loop Fans in the Greater Washington area have been, thank goodness, largely spared from the mind-numbing nastiness of Campaign 2004. But it is indeed getting rough out there, really rough, judging from a blast yesterday from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee about the heated Kentucky Senate race.

GOP Sen. Jim Bunning's been slipping in the polls to the Democratic challenger, physician Daniel Mongiardo, largely because of some odd comments and actions by Bunning in recent weeks.

Kentucky Republicans called Mongiardo "limp-wristed" and questioned his manhood. The DSCC got upset and issued a news release with this headline: "Jim Bunning, Mentally Impaired and Getting his Butt Whupped by Dr. Dan, Resorts to Desperation Tactics in Kentucky Senate Race."

My goodness! Not since the Florida Democratic Senate primary in 1950 have we seen something like this. That was the legendary race in which Rep. George A. Smathers supposedly -- he adamantly denies it -- attacked Sen. Claude D. Pepper for being "known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert. Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to have practiced nepotism with his sister-in-law and he has a sister who was once a thespian in New York. He matriculated with co-eds at the university."

Sometimes, it's especially good to live Inside the Beltway.

400,000 in the Hit Parade

Some reporters are displaying signs of exhaustion as the presidential campaign hits the last few days. White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters Wednesday, "I expect [Bush] will talk about the fact that more than 400,000 munitions have been seized or otherwise destroyed."

"When you say that 400,000 musicians [sic] have been seized or destroyed," one reporter said, according to a transcript, "what, specifically, are you referring to?"

Most likely some wandering violinists. Or maybe some horn sections?

British Reserve Activated

On the foreign policy front . . . seems the British government, by tradition, goes into deep hibernation here in the months before a U.S. presidential election, with no officials even coming here, lest they make waves.

Perhaps that's why Cherie Booth Blair, wife of British prime minister and Bush pal Tony Blair, raised a few eyebrows yesterday when she showed up in battleground Detroit to call on governments to adopt family-friendly policies. Her three-day tour also takes her to Harvard.

And British Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith found himself yesterday in New Mexico talking about terrorism and Guantanamo Bay and such.

We're told these are just private trips, nothing to do with the government.

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