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See it, say it - then wait for Homeland Security officials to pick up the phone

( For Callers Who Want To Report Something Suspicious To Homeland Security Officials: Good Luck.)

Crowley wrote that the Americans had "cold cuts." Yeah, but that was lunch.

The dinner menu was: "A Mélange of Spicy, Big-Eye Tuna with Mango, Avocado and Crispy Shallots and Sake-Yuzu Sorbet; A Fricassee of Maine Lobster with Potato Gnocchi and Curried Walnuts; Barbecue Braised Short Rib on Crispy Green Tossed in Truffled Vinaigrette; Lemon Pudding Cake with Blueberry Cobbler and Lemon Verbena Ice Cream."

Still, the Chinese haven't budged on their grossly manipulated currency. Probably should have ordered the "Tin of Sin: American Ossetra Caviar with a Crab and Cucumber Rillette." But that's $24 more per person.

True, the Chinese spare no expense feting the Americans over there. But if they don't come through on the currency, next time it's Ray's.

Castro si, Mullen no

Our colleague Bob Woodward's new book, "Obama's Wars," is getting praise from some odd corners. Cuba's Fidel Castro ordered a quick translation of "Obama's Wars," saying, "It would not be possible to understand anything about the current policy of the United States if one ignores the contents of this book."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Sept. 22, "I hope people will read the whole book."

But Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, who didn't come off so well in the book, disagrees. On Sept. 29 he said he hadn't read it, and it appears he has no intention of doing so.

On Friday, Mullen dispatched "a senior aide to my house to return the signed copy," Woodward told us Tuesday. The aide offered "no explanation of why the book was being sent back," Woodward said, nor did he "claim there were any inaccuracies. The chairman just plans not to read it." The book's spine was uncracked.

Big house, big plans?

Our man in Beijing, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, a fluent Mandarin speaker, raised a few eyebrows when he bought a fine, 5,100-square-foot, five-bedroom bungalow in Kalorama a few months ago for $3.6 million. It's a modest 13-room rowhouse with five fireplaces just two doors from the Verveers - Melanne, ambassador at large for global women's issues, and Phil, State's coordinator for international communications and information policy.

But it's not the price tag or size that caused a stir. Huntsman's father was a billionaire, after all, and he and his wife, Mary, have seven kids, two of them adopted, ranging in age from 4 to 25, so a large house would be in order.

No, the buzz was whether this meant that the highly regarded Huntsman, a Republican who had been ambassador to Singapore for Bush I and deputy trade representative under Bush II, might be moving back to run for president in 2012.

Not so. Best we can figure, the purchase didn't signal an imminent departure from China. Huntsman's always had presidential ambitions, but he wouldn't run against Obama in 2012. Maybe a run against Clinton in 2016?

A very desirable closet

Speaking of real estate: excellent, cozy office now available, two-year lease, in the West Wing. No windows, barely room to turn around, but ah, the location: just steps down the hall from the Oval Office.

Here's how it became available: Interim Chief of Staff Pete Rouse moved across the reception area into Rahm Emanuel's fine corner office with that fireplace and the Don Regan Memorial Patio. Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina moved across the hall to Rouse's office: larger and, more important, two windows.

Deputy Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen moved from her closet/office to Messina's larger one. So hers is now up for grabs. One caveat: Rouse is only interim, so your lease may terminate if everyone moves back. But the odds are better than 50.

Staff food critic Tom Sietsema contributed to this report.

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