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On Keeping Current

Too late. "Once again the Bush administration is spending time and taxpayer money on public relations, rather than developing a real plan for success in Iraq," said Brendan Daly , a recipient who is a spokesman for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.). "Americans know the war is going in the wrong direction, and the Pentagon PR machine won't change that fact."

Turns out the e-mail list was an old one, used to distribute general info from the Defense Department.

So, please, please, be careful hitting "send."

Parallel Universe, the Best Defense

What with all their legal troubles, we thought folks such as Enron's Ken Lay , former representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Rep. William J. "Frozen Dollar Bill" Jefferson (D-La.) might come up with more creative defense lines.

So here, from the Montomery Advertiser in Alabama, is an example of how the best handle such inquiries:

" Ronald Wayne Blankenship , who is in the Democratic runoff for Jefferson County sheriff, says it's a coincidence that a man with a criminal history shares his name. And birth date. And has a wife with the same name -- Judy Ruth Green Stonecipher Blankenship .

"And does the same kind of work. And looks like him.

"Blankenship, 63, says he isn't the same Ronald Wayne Blankenship who was suspected of faking his own death in 1990 and did time in jail for assault that same year.

" 'Do you know how many Ronald Blankenships there are?' " he told the Birmingham News. Blankenship, who got 26 percent of the vote in a three-way primary last week, acknowledged that he looked like a newspaper photo of the man who faked his death.

"It looks like me in a way," he said, "but all Blankenships get to looking alike."

Talk about creating reasonable doubt.

Honest Abe and Honest Bill

Rudderless Democrats had best not count on Bill Clinton returning to the political fray anytime soon.

The former president, at a book party for New Republic editor Peter Beinart 's "The Good Fight: Why Liberals -- and Only Liberals -- Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again," approached Jay Winik , author of "April 1865: The Month That Saved America," and asked Winik what he thought of "Lincoln's Melancholy" by Joshua Wolf Shenk .

"Fascinating," Winik said. "And intriguing."

"I wanted to write that book, but he beat me to the punch," Clinton said. "I was going to write it next year. I love Lincoln -- for all of his problems, he grows larger with history."

Clinton can only hope . . .

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