If, several decades from now, anthropologists set out to locate the spiritual hub of early twenty-first-century Washington, they could do worse than the Caucus Room, that bunker of a steakhouse across from the FBI building downtown. Founded seven years ago by a bipartisan klatch of moneymen and influence-peddlers--among them, famed lobbyist Tommy Boggs, Bush-family henchman C. Boyden Gray, and Clinton fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe--the restaurant caters to the bland appetites and bulging egos of Washington's expense-account elite.
It's not often that a high-ranking administration official tells a reporter that another high-ranking administration official is essentially dead weight. It's even rarer that such assertions are made on the record. But that's pretty much what happened in early June, when top White House education aide Sandy Kress, during an interview with The Wall Street Journal, described Education Secretary Rod Paige as "a little bit on the periphery." Even more remarkably, Kress was almost certainly guilty of understatement.