U.S. Envoy at Home With a Gun and a Plane

These mementos can be used for golfing with Jack Abramoff or by political foes teeing off on Rep. Robert W. Ney for questionable activities.
These mementos can be used for golfing with Jack Abramoff or by political foes teeing off on Rep. Robert W. Ney for questionable activities. (By Julia Ewan -- The Washington Post)
By Al Kamen
Friday, March 3, 2006

P amela P. Willeford , the third shooter in Vice President Cheney 's recent hunting excursion, apparently has yet to publicly remark on the incident or why she was in Texas at all that day, since she is posted as our ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

As it turns out, her husband, George "Boots" Willeford III , who was also at the Armstrong ranch that day, is a practicing physician in Austin. One associate of the couple noted she "commutes" to the embassy in Bern, which is about a 12-hour trip -- a long and arduous commute, especially going commercial.

So how much time does she actually spend in Switzerland?

"Ambassador Willeford is a full-time ambassador and fully engaged in all aspects of U.S. diplomacy with Switzerland and Liechtenstein," embassy public affairs officer Daniel Wendell said in an e-mail. "In the 2 1/2 years she has been ambassador," he said, though she officially took over only 27 months ago, "Ambassador Willeford has been away from post for family and personal travel for a total of 21 weeks."

In addition, ambassadors normally would come back once or twice a year for about a week for consultations.

Now that is a great gig. About five months' vacation in a little over two years, and it's "full-time?" And Willeford, 55, is viewed as one of the more dedicated and hardworking of the noncareer chiefs of mission in Europe.

No wonder high rollers contribute millions for these ambassadorships.

Golfers Know When Play Gets Rough

Tuesday was candidates' night at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, with representatives of the various state and local campaigns in the area showing up at the event, hosted by the campus college Democrats and Republicans.

The most hotly watched Ohio race is GOP Rep. Robert W. Ney 's reelection bid against challenger Chillicothe Mayor Joseph P. Sulzer . Ney has been in a bit of political hot water of late for, among other things, taking a golfing trip to Scotland financed by former GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff , who has pleaded guilty to political corruption charges.

And there, amid the campaign literature on Ney's table, were plastic packets with a half-dozen golf tees in them saying "Bob Ney for Congress."

A great idea, just in case anyone had forgotten about that little trip.

Is U.S. Eating Jumblatt's Bitter Words?

The enemy of my enemy, as the saying goes, is a truly wonderful chap -- even if he had also been my enemy.


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