Look on the bright side: At least Jack Abramoff, former uber-lobbyist-turned-admitted felon, isn’t discriminatory when it comes to hurling crude epithets at the people who made him rich.
That whopping 357-page report on tribal lobbying released last week by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee was accompanied by hundreds of inflammatory e-mails, including one in which Abramoff described Gabon, a small, French-speaking country on the west coast of Africa, as a “monkey coloney [sic].”
He said it in a January 2003 e-mail exchange with former Greenberg Traurig associate Todd Boulanger, who e-mailed Abramoff asking him to lunch. Abramoff replied that he already had a lunch date with “the Gabon guys.” (Abramoff reportedly sought $9 million from Gabonese President Omar Bongo to arrange a meeting with President Bush.)
“What is ‘Gabon’?” Boulanger asked.
“A monkey coloney [sic] in Africa,” Abramoff replied.
Similarly, neither was Abramoff’s former business partner Michael Scanlon, who also pleaded guilty in the lobbying scandal, familiar with the little nickname Abramoff had chosen for one of his tribal clients: “troglodytes.” (Troglodytes he was busily bilking out of millions of dollars.)
“What’s a troglodyte?” Scanlon, Abramoff’s protégé, once asked in an e-mail.
“What am I, a dictionary? :) It’s a lower form of existence, basically,” Abramoff replied, adding that the Indians were “morons.”
Wonder if Abramoff will stop using such terms of endearment when he gets to prison?
Kay and Fergie. When it comes to promoting her new book, “What’s Right About America: Celebrating Our Nation’s Values,” Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) snagged a little help from none other than the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, who penned the foreword to Granger’s tome, which hits bookshelves this week.
Turns out that Fergie, who dubbed the book “a great read and a bible for anyone interested in the past, present and future of the American value system,” is an old pal of the Texas Congresswoman.
The two bonded back in 2002, when Fergie visited the Hill to talk about obesity, an issue near and dear to the Weight Watchers’ spokeswoman’s heart and to the Congresswoman, who has pushed anti-obesity legislation.
At the time, Granger’s office reached out to the vivacious redhead, and the two met and “forged a friendship,” said Caitlin Carroll, a spokeswoman for Granger. “Kay’s a strong Texas woman, and Sarah Ferguson’s a lot of fun. The two of them just clicked.”
Fergie, Carroll added, subsequently spoke to 1,500 high school girls in Granger’s Fort Worth district on the dangers of obesity.
So what’s all this got to do with traditional American values?
Carroll conceded there was a bit of irony that a Brit had written the foreword. (After all, the tome includes a section praising the virtues of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, hardly the biggest fans of the British Crown.) But she added: “Even the British can understand American values.” (And Fergie always did seem to have an affinity for all things Texan — remember that infamous toe-sucking episode with Lone Star businessman John Bryan?)
Aimed at teachers and parents, Granger’s slim, 119-page volume is packed with inspirational stories of great Americans such as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. and offers plenty of positive advice from Granger about living a better, fuller, more American life, such as: “Get what you want in life by helping others get what they want in life” and “Be brave and stay away from drugs. Go your own way and be your own person.”
Granger has received permission to promote the book (all proceeds of which are going to charity) on her campaign Web site, said Carroll. A kickoff party is also planned for July 6 in Fort Worth, and local book signings in Texas will follow, beginning in mid-July.
And if you still need something to fill the dog days of summer, Granger’s book even offers discussion questions and assignments for personal growth á la motivational speaker Tony Robbins. So get ready, kids. Let’s put on our thinking caps and come up with some good answers to her question, “Why are there still places in the world where different lives are treated differently?”
Good thing that would never happen here.
Softball, Foreshadowing? If softball is any indication, the Republicans are primed to kick some Democratic butt this fall. The Republican National Committee softball team trounced the Democratic National Committee squad Wednesday night, 26-8.
Could be that the GOP smack talk and other forms of psychological warfare really got to the Democrats. Republican players showed up with a life-size cardboard cut-out of George W. Bush, who stood on the sidelines smirking and “cheering” the whole time. After they won, they hoisted W up on their shoulders and paraded him around, as Democrats stood by seething.
Kevin McLaughlin, who heads the radio and television department at the RNC, said the Democrats had some cheesy organized cheers. “We were up quite handily when they started those cheers.” Democrats, he said, were chanting “four more runs, four more runs,” then switched to chants of “32 percent, 32 percent,” referencing the president’s dismal approval rating.
“They wanted to cut and run in the fifth inning, but they stuck it out to the end,” McLaughlin said of the Democrats.
Democrats would point out, thank you very much, that the DNC is ranked 14th in the league, while the RNC is way at the bottom, at 57th.
“The RNC better relish their win on the softball field, because it’ll be their only victory this year, as the Democrats are poised to take back the House and the Senate in November,” DNC spokesman Mark Paustenbach told HOH.
Hollywood Fred? Is conservative talking head Fred Barnes angling for a role in “CSI: N.Y.?” Barnes had a two-hour lunch Monday at the Monocle with actor Gary Sinise, who was in town participating in an event at the White House promoting a group he co-founded called the Iraqi Children Fund.
A mutual friend in Hollywood arranged the lunch. Barnes told HOH that Sinise kept his political opinions to himself. “He’s certainly pro-military,” Barnes said. But he said Sinise told him he “wants to keep his group apolitical to make sure he doesn’t scare off any supporters.”
Sinise has been to Iraq and Afghanistan. He told his new pal Fred that he and his business partner, Laura Hillebrand, author of the best-selling book and box-office hit “Seabiscuit,” arranged to have the book translated into Arabic for schoolchildren in Iraq. “I was impressed with how much Gary Sinise has done. ... [He] is a real patriot,” Barnes said.
Somebody who spotted the duo called HOH and said she’d just seen Barnes having lunch with “Lt. Dan.” Sinise even told Barnes that he’s still recognized as Lt. Dan Taylor, the character he played in “Forrest Gump.” In fact, Sinise’s band, the “Lt. Dan Band,” performs regularly for U.S. troops.
Bree Hocking contributed to this report.
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Visitors get their first look at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which opened to the public on Monday, Oct. 6, 2014. The new memorial is located off Independence Ave. SW between the Rayburn House Office Building and HHS. Buy photo here.