Finding a new communications director is not always easy, as the Gore campaign is finding out. Former White House spinmeister Mark Fabiani wasn't interested. Others have been approached, including Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's chief of staff, Alan Fleischmann, a big Al Gore fan. He got a call Friday and thought hard but turned it down Sunday. He's a bigger Townsend fan.

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer's chief of staff, Josh Isay, also got a call, but he, too, decided to stay put.

Now it turns out the campaign's going to be looking for a press secretary as well. Press secretary Kiki Moore, who had been going back and forth of late about whether she could move to Nashville, has decided for personal reasons to stay in Washington.

It's not that no one wants to work for the campaign, we're told, but that it's hard to get the right combination of skills in someone who also would be willing to move to Nashville for a year.

The Gore folks could use someone with substantial experience both as a political reporter and on the dark side as a spinmeister. They need someone who is a savvy Beltway insider and yet knowledgeable about and comfortable among voters. They need a real pro, a national campaign veteran who is widely respected by the media and who projects an image of confidence and levelheadedness.

A plus would be someone who knows Texas politics and might be able to spot weaknesses in the Bush campaign strategy and exploit them. And it would have to be someone known to be willing to devote a year to a presidential campaign.

Hmmmmm. . . . Who could fit the bill?

But of course: David Beckwith.

Another Gore Image Change

Don't forget. Midnight Friday is the deadline for the Loop's Third Annual Gore Halloween Party Contest. Send in your suggestion--one entry per person--for the perfect costumes for the vice president and Tipper Gore. Mail suggestions to In the Loop, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or via e-mail to Loop@washpost.com. Be sure to include home and work phone numbers.

A Fez, Maybe, but . . .

Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, reflected Monday on the House floor about President Clinton's veto and Democratic partisanship that doomed his bill.

"I have thought about some strategy of my own," Callahan said. "Every time somebody walks in the White House with a turban on his head, that the president gets a glass of wine, gives it to the king or whoever he is talking to, then they stand there in the Oval Office or wherever they stand in the White House and they clink those glasses together and lo and behold the president says, 'Let me give you a little bit of money.'

"So the president or king or whoever he is . . . goes back to his country and he says, 'The president promised me some money,' " Callahan opined, explaining the appropriations process, "and then the president calls up here and says, 'Sonny, this is an obligation of the United States of America. I made this commitment to this king, to this president.' And that is not right. That is not an obligation of the United States of America."

So Callahan said he was "going to call the president, and . . . go down to the White House one day this week. But before I go, I am going to buy me one of those turbans. And I am going to walk in the Oval Office with that turban on my head. And I am going to suggest to the president that we each get a glass of wine, and I am going to tell him that I am representing the senior citizens of this country, that I am representing the taxpayers of this country, and that I am representing the people who are concerned about Social Security, and let us have a toast. Let us toast that we are not going to take this $4 billion off the backs of the senior citizens or off of our national defense and we are not going to raise taxes."

Turbans?

Continental Divide

The Export-Import Bank is in a bit of an uproar over a two-week trip Chairman James Harmon and four other staffers are taking to Africa. There's some fussing that the trip to Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Mozambique includes a little down time this weekend for the group to go to a magnificent game park in South Africa.

There's even more consternation that the quintet is flying two legs--Ghana to Nigeria and Nigeria to South Africa--in the comfort of a private Lear jet. That costs $29,000 for five people one way.

What was wrong with commercial airlines? A bank spokesman said that British Airways was booked for one leg and that the only other carrier, Bellview Air, was deemed not to have a good enough safety and security record for the bank folks.

Detractors say the costly trip--arranged by the bank's hard-charging counselor to the board, Gloria McCabe--shouldn't have been taken while the bank is operating under a continuing resolution.

Supporters of the trip say that it had been postponed from last July and that the continent, where bank activity jumped from $50 million to $550 million in the last year, needed visiting.