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Mark, I Think You Left Something in the Shower

This cutout of Mark R. Warner was waiting for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine when he moved into the executive mansion. Kaine returned it, with embellishments.
This cutout of Mark R. Warner was waiting for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine when he moved into the executive mansion. Kaine returned it, with embellishments. (By Michael White)

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By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 25, 2006

Former governor Mark R. Warner has long made it clear that he never really wanted to leave the executive mansion.

It turns out he didn't leave.

After seeing power shift to his handpicked successor, Warner slinked away. But when Timothy M. Kaine arrived for his first night in the executive mansion, he found a life-size cutout of Warner standing in his shower, with a note suggesting that Warner would never really leave the office he loved.

The cutout remained in the executive mansion until May 16, when Kaine retaliated with his own bit of gubernatorial humor.

Warner was in town for the formal unveiling of his state portrait, having taken a momentary break from the presidential-hopeful circuit. The oil painting shows a serious Warner, standing with his hands on his hips the way he often did during his four years in power.

There is no evidence in the official portrait of the toothy grin that Virginians -- and, increasingly, the rest of the nation -- have come to know. It was a stern Warner who looked out at a crowd of hundreds at the unveiling at the new Patrick Henry executive office building next to the Capitol.

Kaine got his revenge at a private reception at the mansion afterward.

There, Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton , held their own unveiling. They flipped back a sheet to reveal the cutout of Warner.

But Warner's face was plastered over with the cover of a recent New York Times Magazine, which seemed to magnify Warner's already large front teeth and tinted everything the former governor was wearing purple. (It may be a small consolation to Warner that a recent picture of Al Gore in GQ was even worse.)

Kaine had also wrapped a purple floral tie around the cutout's neck, prompting a red-faced Warner to declare that he hated to take Kaine's favorite tie.

Take it he did, tucking the cutout under his arm for a final departure from the place where his political career took off.

Now, the cutout might be heading to New Hampshire, where Warner seems to be spending all his time lately. (And where he'll be June 3, as the keynote speaker at the New Hampshire Democratic convention.)


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