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Who's who.

George W. Bush and his top envoy in Iraq, L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer have become fast friends over the past few months--so much so that many in Foggy Bottom speculate that Bremer will replace Secretary of State Colin Powell if Bush wins a second term. The Washington Post reported recently that the two had a "double-date" dinner with their wives early in the fall and have worked out together in the White House gym. What the two couples may share most in common, however, are strong religious convictions. Bremer converted to Catholicism as an adult and his wife, Frances, is a prayer volunteer with www.dailyguideposts.com, a website that connects the prayer requests of complete strangers with volunteers who agree to pray for their concerns. In addition, the Bremers own a house in Lourdes, a town in France famous as the site of St. Bernadette's vision of the Virgin Mary and a pilgrimage destination for Catholics. The Bremers collect holy water from the site and Frances tells friends that the water has reportedly healed a cancer-stricken friend of the family as well as their ailing cat.

If Bremer doesn't succeed Powell, than who will? Syndicated columnist Robert Novak suggested recently that it would be Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), currently chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Like Powell, Lugar hails from the GOP's moderate wing on foreign policy, and his appointment would be a defeat for adminstration hawks, who expected that one of their own would be taking the top slot at boggy Bottom. Speculation had centered on Paul Wolfowitz, the neoconservative intellectual currently serving as deputy secretary of Defense. But Novak reports that Wolfowitz is "reported to have lost favor at the White House"--perhaps because of his poor planning for postwar Iraq, the consequences of which may now threaten Bush's reelection.

Before even the first caucuses are held in Iowa, there's already speculation about whether Dean would engineer a house-cleaning at the Democratic National Committee should he win the nomination and, perhaps, the presidency. It was only a few years ago, after all, that Bill Clinton and other party leaders installed Terry McAuliffe as DNC chair, in the process forcing out a number of recently-hired staffers with ties to Al Gore. Now that Gore has gotten behind Dean, some Democratic insiders predict it would be payback time should Dean win the nomination. Topping the list of potential replacements for McAuliffe is Donna Brazile, a respected grassroots operative who served as Gore's campaign manager in 2000.

If the press has already anointed Dean the presumptive nominee, rival candidate Wesley Clark doesn't seem to be taking notice. During a recent campaign stop in New York City, Clark met with New York State attorney general Eliot Spitzer, whom the General is reportedly considering as a running mate. Spitzer has garnered headlines for his pursuit of pharmaceutical companies, gun manufacturers, polluters, and--most famously--white-collar criminals on Wall Street, taking on the powerful investment firm Merrill Lynch. Spitzer's aggressive tough-on-crime style that has earned him the nickname "The Enforcer," as well as his New York background, would balance nicely with Clark's foreign-policy background and Southern roots.
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Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:523
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