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Kennedy's Endorsement of Obama Had Family Roots

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama grew from ire over the Clinton campaign's statements on the civil rights legacy of President John F. Kennedy.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama grew from ire over the Clinton campaign's statements on the civil rights legacy of President John F. Kennedy. (By Gerald Martineau -- The Washington Post)
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It'll cost you a little more than face value to watch Bon Jovi's "Lost Highway" show with Lautenberg: $1,500 per ticket, $2,500 for a pair, or -- total deal -- $5,000 for four.

Lautenberg has told us before that he and Bon Jovi, a New Jersey native and power broker in his state, are personal friends. "He's a wonderful person," the senator says. (Bon Jovi's wife has donated money to Lautenberg under the couple's official last name, Bongiovi.) As for the show next month, Lautenberg says, "It's not only an opportunity to show Jersey pride in D.C., but to raise money for a great cause." That cause, of course, is his fifth Senate campaign.

Ah, to be young again.

McCain's Conservative Front

The John McCain outreach project to the conservative wing of the Republican Party took another step yesterday with one of his leading surrogates making an impromptu case for the Arizona senator's presidential bid to House conservatives.

Former senator Phil Gramm, the Texan who chaired the Banking Committee and is now an executive with UBS of Switzerland, met with the House's Republican Study Committee at their annual retreat in Baltimore's Intercontinental Harbor Court. Gramm, a top McCain adviser, was invited to speak by one of his former staffers, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the RSC chairman.

Gramm was there ostensibly to talk about curbing spending. But the lawmakers instead peppered him with questions about his friend McCain, who seized front-runner status for the Republican nomination with his big win in the Florida primary the night before.

A source inside the meeting said many RSC members remained skeptical of McCain, particularly because of his opposition to President Bush's 2001 tax cuts.

But Gramm kept his pitch focused on McCain's lifelong opposition to those multimillion-dollar earmarks in congressional spending bills that have driven conservatives mad. And, in his one-of-a-kind Texas twang, Gramm kept the audience entertained by disparaging Republicans who don't mind pouring millions of federal dollars into their own districts.

"That's like feeding a dog that is trained to bite ya," Gramm said.

Retreat, Take II

Fresh from cutting a key interest rate another half point yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will serve as the star guest at the House Democratic issues retreat in Williamsburg.

Bernanke (who holds the job Gramm was once rumored to covet) will speak to the lawmakers Friday, just three days after the House overwhelmingly passed its version of a stimulus plan that includes rebate checks for lower- and middle-income taxpayers. No doubt the Democrats will want Bernanke to answer many questions about what he thinks of the Senate Finance Committee's version of the stimulus plan, which would cost $11 billion more than the House version.

Schumer to Weiner: A Giant Omission

Don't ask Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) who he's betting on in this weekend's Super Bowl.

He's still steaming that his political acolyte, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), blew Schumer's chance to win a few dollars -- legally -- on his beloved New York Giants in the NFC championship game against the legendary Green Bay Packers on Jan. 20.

The day before the game, Schumer was out riding his bike past Weiner's apartment in Queens. Weiner was in Las Vegas, stumping for Clinton in the Nevada Democratic Caucus. Schumer had his "Aha!" moment, got out his cellphone, and told Weiner to put $50 on the Giants for him at one of the casino's sports books. "The most I've ever bet on anything," Schumer told On the Hill.

Two days later, Weiner had a confession. "I've got good news and bad news," he said.

"Tell me the good news," Schumer said.

"The Giants won," Weiner countered, prompting Schumer to angrily respond that he knew that already.

The bad news: "I forgot to place your bet," Weiner said.


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