The Sept. 22 Politics column incorrectly said that Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) succeeded Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.). Burr succeeded Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.). (Published 9/24/2005)

Senator No heard only yes at the Marriott in Crystal City Tuesday night.

Jesse Helms, the North Carolina Republican who served as the unwavering voice of the right during his five terms in the Senate, was feted by a Who's Who of American conservatives. A videotaped message from President Bush hailed Helms as "a fearless defender of the culture of life" and praised "Senator No," as he was often called, for being on the losing end of many 99 to 1 votes in the Senate.

There was no moment reminiscent of the farewell speech for Strom Thurmond that cost Trent Lott his job as majority leader. In fact, there were few elected officials on the speaking list. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who succeeded Helms, spoke fondly -- and mildly. Burr noted that Helms "dedicates a chapter to constituent service" in his new book.

Helms appeared alternately amused and puzzled as the tributes continued. Helms, who has suffered from memory problems and other ailments since leaving the Senate in 2003, did not speak at the event, which marked the publication of his memoirs.

Jerry Falwell said Helms and Ronald Reagan are the two "greatest men I've ever known." Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association gave the retired senator a revolver. David A. Keene of the American Conservative Union recalled how Helms kept the United Nations' secretary general cooling his heels so the senator could play with Keene's granddaughter.

Other conservative giants -- James C. Dobson, Paul M. Weyrich, Robert D. Novak and Phyllis Schlafly -- took their turns, but Falwell may have had the night's most interesting remarks. The founder of the Moral Majority said he did not regard politics as a dirty business. In fact, he said, "It's a clean business."

Antiwar Ad Campaign

Cindy Sheehan arrived in Washington -- after a three-week national bus tour and 25 days camped out near President Bush's Crawford, Tex., ranch -- just in time for the launch of a $1 million advertising campaign sponsored by Gold Star Families For Peace, an antiwar group that she co-founded.

The ads will feature testimonials from women who lost loved ones in Iraq. The two-pronged effort includes a television spot that will begin airing nationwide on CNN today and a print ad set to run today in 14 newspapers including The Washington Post, USA Today and the Des Moines Register.

The bulk of the money will be spent on the print side. In the television spot, three women recount their loss before asking a handful of pointed questions of Bush. "How many more soldiers have to die for your mistake?" asks one.

The print ad features a split page with a set of quotes from Bush administration officials on the left side and a list of names of those killed in Iraq on the right. Over the left side of the page is written "They Lied"; on top of the right side are the words "They Died."

The big event, however, will be an antiwar rally Saturday on the Mall.

Cillizza is a staff writer for

The publication of Jesse Helms's memoirs "Here's Where I Stand" prompted the celebration.