A bit of light was shed last week on Cristina V. Beato's stalled nomination to be assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Beato, who had been deputy assistant secretary, was nominated back in July to move up. But the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has yet to hold a hearing on the nomination, with Democrats raising questions about, among other things, whether she had embellished her resume.

For example, they note that she said she had "established" a University of New Mexico occupational health clinic and claimed to be "medical attache" at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey for six months in 1986. That position didn't exist until 1995, and the New Mexico clinic existed before she was hired.

Back in January, the committee asked Beato, who emigrated as a child from Cuba, to explain these and other concerns. She and HHS lawyers are still working on the answers, which apparently take a lot of time. By Feb. 24, her resume on the HHS Web site had been fixed to take care of any problems.

And last week her hometown paper, the Albuquerque Journal, hinted at what the real problem might be. As they said in "Cool Hand Luke," it's a failure to communicate.

In an interview with the Journal, Beato said that because she was a nominee for the post, she couldn't comment on the specific allegations. She added, though, that English is her third language -- she is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks French -- and that she has sometimes made mistakes in wording things.

"I've never been one to tout anything," she told the Journal, adding that she hasn't "paid much attention to the details of her resume."

French? But of course. That's why it said medical attache on the resume.

No Longer So 'Well Confirmed'

Noted without comment.

June 17, 2004. Vice President Cheney talking to CNBC's Gloria Borger.

Borger: "Well, let's go to Mohamed Atta for a minute, because you mentioned him as well. You have said in the past that it was, quote, 'pretty well confirmed.' "

Cheney: "No, I never said that."

Borger: "Okay."

Cheney: "Never said that."

Borger: "I think that is . . . "

Cheney: "Absolutely not. What I said was the Czech intelligence service reported after 9/11 that Atta had been in Prague on April 9th of 2001, where he allegedly met with an Iraqi intelligence official. We have never been able to confirm that nor have we been able to knock it down."

On Dec. 9, 2001. Cheney talking to NBC's Tim Russert.

Cheney: "Well, what we now have that's developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that -- it's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack. Now, what the purpose of that was, what transpired between them, we simply don't know at this point, but that's clearly an avenue that we want to pursue."

Sloganeering Deadline Wednesday

Don't forget the In the Loop Presidential Slogan Contest! This is to help the Bush and Kerry presidential campaigns come up with a memorable slogan to fire up their troops and move on to victory.

Think of FDR's droll "We millionaires want Willkie" in 1940, or Benjamin Harrison's sophisticated jab at Grover Cleveland in 1892: "Grover, Grover, all is over."

Send in your suggestions, no more than one per candidate, to: In the Loop, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or e-mail to: intheloop@washpost.com. Please include your name and home and work phone numbers.

The 10 winning entries for each campaign will win classic, dark-blue-with-white-lettering In the Loop T-shirts. Contest deadline is Wednesday. Hill folks and administration officials may, of course, enter "on background."

Bowing Out in London?

Moving on . . . The British media are reporting that William Farish, Texas oilman, former chairman of Churchill Downs and now ambassador to the Court of Saint James, is calling it quits for personal reasons.

Hottie Line at the NSC

Heads were shaking and jaws were dropping from the Hill to Foggy Bottom, from K Street to the Pentagon, over the news last week that National Security Council spokesman Jim Wilkinson, 33, is in this week's People magazine as one of its "50 Hottest" bachelors. (Also on the list is actor Orlando Bloom of "Lord of the Rings.")

Wilkinson is quoted wondering why he's unable to get a date and says, "I'm a great catch. Think of all the background checks I've been through." He's "got a screenplay cooking," he told People, a satire about dating in Washington called "So Who Do You Work For?"

"The guy is a PR genius. The fact that he could convince anyone that he is remotely hot is an impressive achievement," said one Bush adviser.

National Security Council's Jim Wilkinson is on hot bachelors list.