Enter the Clinton White House from Pennsylvania...


September 25, 1993

WHEN YOU enter the Clinton White House from Pennsylvania Avenue, keep an eye out for presidential portraits. There, in an honored niche on your right, is Harry S. Truman. There, in an equally prestigious spot on your left, is Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The visages of these Democratic greats tells you that a Democrat is in residence at the Executive Mansion. During the long Republican hiatus that preceded Bill Clinton's inaugural, HST was hung obscurely in a far hallway. We are not sure about FDR.

And what, pray tell, has happened to Republican presidents of yesterday? Well, Ronald Reagan is hanging in the stairway leading to the second floor. And on the landing, Richard Nixon's fate is to have to stare continuously at Warren G. Harding. There's got to be some sly Democratic hand at work in this arrangement.

Two floors down, which is the entryway for the south side of the White House looking out toward the Ellipse and the Jefferson memorial, the portraits of First Ladies are on display. There, in a beautiful room, you will find some famous Democratic damsels: Eleanor Roosevelt, Lady Bird Johnson, Jackie Kennedy. But as for Nancy Reagan, she is relegated to the hallway. Politics, as they say, is cruel sport.

But not entirely. While Calvin Coolidge no longer hangs in the Oval Office, a place of honor accorded him by Ronald Reagan, Grace Coolidge still is in a place of prominence. And why not? Her portrait in a long red velvet dress reminds us that lemony old Cal had one stunning wife.

* * *

LAST Monday, an editorial stated that Michael Gambrill, the new police chief of Baltimore County, was the first department head to serve in every rank.

Not so, a few readers said, including former County Council secretary Tom Toporovich, the unofficial mayor of Dundalk.

Two other chiefs had started as patrolmen and worked their way through every rank to the top: Gilbert Deyle, the chief from 1957 to 1963, and Ellison Ensor, who ran the department from 1967 to 1975.

However, Mike Gambrill has the distinction of being the first Baltimore County chief to have started in the county police department as a cadet and then gone through each rank to become the head man.

* * *

A TOWSON bookstore has already decorated for Halloween, with a display window full of the usual spooky tokens. Witches. Ghosts. Jack o'lanterns. And, smack in the middle, a picture of Rush Limbaugh.

A fan of the right-wing commentator took exception to the placement of his hero's photo. In a huff, he entered the store (dare we say he "Rushed in"?).

Why? the man asked. Because, the employee answered, "I think Rush Limbaugh is real scary."

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