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Lou Cannon

Sue De Lapa

Lou Cannon


Literary, Liberal, Affordable Santa Barbara

Speaking of Veeps and Other Co-Presidents


Clinton-Obama Ticket?: If Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, would she invite Barack Obama to be her vice presidential nominee?

I don’t think she could afford not to,” South Coast correspondent and Ronald Reagan biographer Lou Cannon said at a signing Sunday, May 4, for his new book, Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy.

It would help unify the party, he told a group in the garden of investigative journalist Ann Louise Bardach.

But if Obama gets the nod and invites Hillary to be his veep, would she be likely to accept? “A good question,” replied a dubious Cannon. “I’m not sure she would,” said Sally Bedell Smith, Washington D.C. journalist, who was signing her book, For the Love of Politics: Inside the Clinton White House.

The question came up whether if Hillary was elected president her husband Bill would become in effect a co-president, raising Constitutional questions. Would an unelected person be making or strongly influencing crucial decisions? Each of the Clintons is half of a unique whole and “collaboration is deeply ingrained,” Smith said.

It’s a legitimate question,” Cannon said. “Do you want to dilute the Constitutional authority? It’s a legitimate question as whether this would be a co-presidency.”

Which led to comments about whether the powerful influence of Vice President Dick Cheney made the Bush White House a dual presidency. Asked if Nancy Reagan was in effect a co-president, Cannon replied “No.” She focused on husband Ronald, not public policy, he said.

Hillary was such an active power in the Clinton presidency that when Vice President Al Gore was asked how it felt to be No. 2 in the White House, Gore replied, “She seems to enjoy it,” Smith wrote.

Bardach said her book, After Fidel, about the Castro regime, will be published by Scribner’s after the fall election, “unless he dies, then they rush it right out.”

Miramar Suit?: Miramar hotel developer Rick Caruso says that although his project will have no affect on adjacent Oak Creek, some neighbors are threatening to sue, which could “delay the project for months, if not years.”

The neighbors are concerned that the rebuilding plan might exacerbate flooding, Caruso said. In a mailing to Montecitans, he said the draft Miramar environmental impact report is available via the county planning website until May 15 pending a June 10 Montecito Planning Commission hearing.

Right is Wrong: Former Montecitan Arianna Huffington, now running a high-profile Internet blog, has a new book out: Right is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution and Made Us All Less Safe (and What You Need to Know to End the Madness).

SB on the Cheap: A New York Times writer rolled into town and decided to forgo high-end hotels like the Four Seasons Biltmore or San Ysidro Ranch and credit-card maxing eateries. She managed to have a great time in three days on less than $700. Julie Besonen wrote that she rented a Ford Focus for $32 a day, stood firm against an upgrade, and checked into a “compact and elegantly furnished” room at the Montecito Inn for $149 a night. Bypassing the ultra-popular La Super-Rica Taqueria, she met friends at the “tidy, brightly lighted” El Bajio on Milpas Street for an affordable quesadilla adobada goody-filled tortilla and a spicy caldo de camaron soup.

Then, after a tour, Julie and friends were off to Enterprise Fish Company for gin and tonics (de rigueur for the East Coast set) and taquitos, oysters, crab cakes, and Cajun popcorn. The next day she shelled out a mere $100 for a “spacious” room at the Inn at East Beach and got lucky with a table on the deck at Brophy Bros. for clam chowder, an oyster shooter and Kalyra label wine. Still on the lookout for bargains, Julie and her brother Keith hit the Brewhouse, where a hot dog and a cold pint of local beer set her back only $3.95 at happy hour. She then made a great choice, Los Arroyos downtown for two soft tacos with Jack cheese, and grilled pasilla chiles with onions and queso fresco for $8.50, plus creamy guacamole for $4.25. Her last night was a “snug room” at the Bath Street Inn B&B, $123. Total cost for the three days: $666.82. Eat your heart out, Biltmore.

Bucket Brigade: Betty Stephens, Sandi Nicholson and the rest of the Santa Barbara Volunteer Bucket Brigade plan to turn over their gift of a brand new Type III brush fire truck to the Board of Supervisors today. We’re talking $300,000 or more for equipment that could save property, trees, and lives in case of wildfires.

Beauty and the Beast: Even though the Santa Barbara High theater department was hard hit by a burglary of around $20,000 worth of mikes and other uninsured gear, the Tony Award-winning musical Beauty and the Beast will go on as planned. It will be staged this Friday, May 9, at 7 p.m., through May 17 as a fundraiser for the theater arts department’s performance at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival next summer. There’ll be a Beauty and the Beast gala Friday at 5 p.m. and a Mother’s Day matinee at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 11. Tickets are $10 for adults. You can buy them by calling 966-9101, ext. 220.

Five Women I Admire: They are Jane Hulse, Melinda Burns, Dawn Hobbs, Melissa Evans, and Anna Davison. Names sound familiar? They’re former News-Press journalists who quit or were illegally fired. I worked with all five and have great respect for them. On Wednesday they’ll be honored by the Santa Barbara chapter of the Association for Women in Communications, and receive the 2008 Women of Achievement awards at a luncheon at the Canary Hotel.

Sarah to Speak: Sarah Weddington, the Texas attorney who argued the historic Roe v. Wade abortion case before the U.S. Supreme Court and won, will be speaking at UCSB on May 15 in Embarcadero Hall (the old Bank of America in Isla Vista) at 6:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by Associated Students Women’s Commission.

Barney Brantingham can be reached at barney@independent.com or (805) 965-5205. He writes online columns Tuesdays and Fridays and a print column for Thursdays.

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