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In the Loop

Bremer's Leap Into the Greenbrier Patch

By Al Kamen
Wednesday, October 6, 2004; Page A25

Former Iraq viceroy L. Paul Bremer, President Bush's close pal, sure kicked up a bit of a fuss Monday when he talked about how "we never had enough troops on the ground" to effectively occupy Iraq.

This left White House aides scrambling Monday night to deny he said that, or if he did say it, that it was off the record or that he was misquoted or that it really wasn't Bremer but someone claiming to be Bremer.

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That gaffe alone may not have been enough to deep-six Bremer's chances for a top job in a second Bush term. But then Bremer also put in a good word for the president's Democratic challenger, John F. Kerry, on Iraq.

So while Bush is out there campaigning, saying Kerry's policies "are dangerous for world peace," Bremer is at the Greenbrier resort, telling the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers on Monday that he thought things in Iraq would be okay no matter who wins the election.

Bremer said, "My impression is that both the candidates have more or less the same plan": building up Iraq's security, keeping U.S. troops there until the country is stable and working to defeat terrorism around the world.

"America's not a nation of quitters," he said, according to an account provided by the CIAB. "Both candidates have made it clear we will see it through."

We trust this means Bremer has definitely decided to join the private sector, if not the Kerry campaign.

Don't Cross These Eyes

People on the Hill had been talking about how House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is looking different these days. Something about his eyes.

Turns out he has had plastic surgery to touch them up a bit. The Hammer has "joined the nip-and-tuck club," Roll Call reports, and everyone says he looks great.

"I had my eyes checked by my ophthalmologist," he told the paper's "Heard on the Hill" column. His upper lids had become so heavy, as apparently they are prone to do with age, that they were "blocking my vision."

Ah, the old "vision" thing.

Pardon Me?

Spin of the Week award: The winner, despite intense competition, is national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. Rice, chatting Sunday with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, was asked about Bush's claim that Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who sold nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran, and Libya, had been "brought to justice."

"To 'justice'?" Blitzer asked, saying that seemed to be very "sloppy wording," since Khan had been "pardoned by President [ Pervez] Musharraf."

Khan, who has done more damage to the security of the United States than anyone since Benedict Arnold, "himself lives in a villa," Blitzer noted -- actually five of them. "And the [International Atomic Energy Agency] would like to question him, and the Pakistani government doesn't even allow that to happen."

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