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Politics 101: Pose With Young People

Sen. John McCain dares to stand near retiring colleagues. No wonder they call him a maverick.
Sen. John McCain dares to stand near retiring colleagues. No wonder they call him a maverick. (By J. Scott Applewhite -- Associated Press)

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By Al Kamen
Friday, February 15, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has been tarring Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) as creatures of the bad old, really old, ways of Washington.

And Clinton and McCain have been trying their best to help him make that case. Clinton pitched in first, after losing the Iowa presidential caucuses, by having former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and retired Gen. Wesley Clark next to her onstage for her concession speech, along with former president Bill Clinton.

But Hillary Clinton, a quick learner, never repeated that image and makes sure cheering fans surround her, especially when she doesn't talk about losing eight straight contests.

Then McCain, who probably didn't pay any attention to Clinton's error, pops up in Alexandria to celebrate his Potomac trifecta on Tuesday. And he stands with retiring Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) on his immediate right and retiring Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) on his left.

At this rate, why would Obama need any more contributions?

Time Is Short, People

Speaking of McCain, remember, the deadline is midnight tonight for entries to the In the Loop contest to predict whom he will choose as his running mate this fall. Send entries -- only one entry per person -- to mccainveep@washpost.com. You must include a cell, work or home telephone number.

The first 10 correct guessers will win, in addition to bragging rights, an official In the Loop T-shirt. Don't delay.

Despise Us Constructively

After a tumultuous beginning a couple of weeks ago, things have calmed down on the Transportation Security Administration's new blog, Evolution of Security.

When it first appeared, hundreds of furious fliers bombarded the blog ( http://www.tsa.gov/blog) with, as TSA spokesman Christopher White put it, "rants, vents and stream-of-consciousness diatribes" about the usual stuff -- shoes, liquids, delays, and on and on -- calling screeners unprintable names.

But after a while, everyone calmed down, White said, and there has been a "great shift to legitimate questions." It's not useful to post or to respond to comments such as "I hate you with every fiber of my being" or "you are idiots," he said, but if posters write "you are idiots and here's why," TSA will respond and "we'll run that all day" on the blog.

The blog, in addition to providing an outlet for frustrated passengers, has even been helpful, White said.

Several passengers posted comments the morning of Feb. 4 saying that security personnel at some airports -- turned out to be 10, including Cincinnati's, were ordering "passengers to remove all electronics, including cellphones, iPods, BlackBerrys" from their bags, White said.


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