Tony Snow, Singing a Catchy Tune of Togetherness

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, January 11, 2007

Quick! Before all those promises of bipartisan cooperation and respect go down the tubes, let's all hold hands and talk about Tony Snow's favorite song: "Kumbaya."

The White House press secretary dropped the k-word just last week to describe meetings between President Bush and members of Congress: "Everybody assumes that when we talk about bipartisanship that it's just sort of happy-face 'Kumbaya' stuff, and [that] we're really lying through our teeth. And the fact is that these meetings may not be happy-face 'Kumbaya,' but they have been very constructive in the sense that people are talking respectfully about important issues and expressing their ideas."

It was the fourth time he pulled the term out during White House press briefings, notes Washington editor/blogger Howard Mortman of New Media Strategies. Snow used it last June ("When you have General Casey going in and trying to brief a prime minister, nobody is singing 'Kumbaya' "), September ("The idea that somehow we would have an endless string of 'Kumbaya' moments is sort of one of those things that you might wish were the case") and doubled up in August ("I hate to be 'Kumbaya,' but we're going to be 'Kumbaya,' because I got help and advice from a lot of people before I took this job.")

So, what gives? Long summer nights singing around the campfire? "Long ago, as a kid, of course I did," Snow told us yesterday. He says he doesn't consciously use the word, which he describes as "atmospheric rather than analytic," but says as part of the common culture, it often fits.

He's not the only devotee of the song, which began as a spiritual, turned into a folk anthem, and has evolved into political shorthand for idealistic, fuzzy-wuzzy moments. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) drops it now and then. John Bolton described his departure from the United Nations by saying "nobody sang 'Kumbaya.' " Democratic strategist Dan Carol started his "Kumbaya, Dammit" blog to urge progressives to quit the internecine bickering. "It's become a catchphrase for people coming together," said Carol. "At some level, it's being used to say, 'Just chill.' " For the record, does Snow actually like the song? "I don't have it on my iPod," he said.

Rosie and the Donald: Round-by-Round Scores

Rosie O'Donnell, left, gets a high five from co-hosts Barbara Walter
In this corner, Rosie O'Donnell and Barbara Walters. In the other corner, Donald Trump.(Mary Altaffer - AP)
Weren't we going to just, you know, cool down over the holidays, come back from vacay pretending to forget all those cranky things we said? . . . No? So for everyone keeping score at home, a recap of the latest in the Rosie O'Donnell- Donald Trump battle:

On Tuesday, Trump sends O'Donnell a letter (cc: the entire world) claiming Barbara Walters told him that she hates working with O'Donnell and implied that she'll soon kick her off "The View."

Yesterday on the show, Walters shows solidarity with O'Donnell and jumps into the fray herself. Calls Trump a "poor, pathetic man." High-fives all around. Says Walters: "He just can't let go, but we're moving on." (Really?)

Trump takes on Walters, issues another statement calling her a liar and "a sad figurehead dominated by a third-rate comedian."

Why can't we all just get along?!? Oh, right -- new season of "The Apprentice" to promote. And after the first Rosie-Donald skirmish last month, ratings for "The View" surged by about a million viewers a day.

Another Prince Charming Gets Out of Town Unsnared

Swedish Princess Lilian, left, and Prince Carl Philip
Prince Carl Philip (shown with Swedish Princess Lilian) flew under the radar while in town during the fall.(Janerik Henriksson - AP)
Sorry, ladies. Sweden's Carl Philip managed to slip in and out of a Washington job in the fall without a peep, proving that even a royal Orlando Bloom look-alike can fly under the radar.

The 27-year-old prince (second in line to Crown Princess Victoria), an aspiring photographer who completed graphic-design studies in Stockholm, teamed up with National Geographic to work with famed nature photographer Mattias Klum. The prince and Klum traveled on assignment to Borneo, then spent a short amount of time at Geographic headquarters here editing the film.

"The main task was field work," said royal spokeswoman Nina Eldh, who told us the two men are also filming a documentary to commemorate this year's 300th birthday of renowned Swedish botanist Carl von Linne.

All that globe-hopping meant no chance to flirt with the Swedish Prince Charming -- but then, he's already spoken for. Carl's been dating Emma Pernald for about eight years now, and is waiting only until big sis picks a husband before tying the knot.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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