Federal City Digest

Federal City Digest

(Anonymous - Associated Press)
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Friday, March 6, 2009

But Who's Counting?

The Transportation Department on Tuesday announced that President Obama was the third president to pay it a visit, after Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Jeffrey N. Shane, a partner at Hogan and Hartson, recalls another visit in 1969, when he was a young lawyer at the two-year-old department on the eighth floor of the old Federal Aviation Agency. "One morning, sensing somehow that this was the Big Day" -- when the president would make a promised visit to Secretary John A. Volpe's office -- "I began taking frequent strolls past the secretary's suite," Shane recalled.

"My perseverance was rewarded: On one of those walks, I saw half a dozen employees gathered near a bank of elevators. Just as I joined them, the doors to one of the elevators opened. Out came a grim-looking guy with a flat-top crew cut and a curly wire coming out of his ear. Good sign! . . . And then, striding purposefully, the president of the United States, Richard M. Nixon. . . .

"The applause lasted only a few seconds, but it caught Nixon by surprise.

"He stopped, turned in our direction, flashed a big smile, and flung both arms skyward in that famous double-V."


-- President Obama travels to Ohio with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to attend a graduation ceremony for 26 police recruits whose jobs are being saved with stimulus money in Columbus. Vice President Biden pounds the message home, speaking before the Miami Police Department in Florida.

-- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton departs Belgium for Geneva, where she is scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

-- Garance Franke-Ruta federalcity@washpost.com

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