Washington Babylon — December 24, 2007, 8:36 am

Christmas Special on GOP Influence

“The 2008 Senate races are in full swing,” begins a recent letter to GOP sympathizers from North Carolina Senator Richard Burr. “With Republicans defending twice as many seats as the Democrats, we certainly have an enormous task ahead of us.” Burr’s letter, sent on behalf of his Next Century Fund Leadership PAC, says he wants to do everything possible to ensure that GOP candidates “have the resources they need going into Election Day.”

“Early money” is vital to the GOP’s congressional hopes, writes Burr. Hence, his PAC, which raises money to support other Republican candidates, is running a year-end promo. Contributors of $5,000 get a “max-out package” that entitles them to take part in two trips next year with Burr and other party luminaries. They can pick from among three possible affairs: a May “Golf Outing” to Gainesville, Virginia’s famous Robert Trent Jones course; a “Friends & Family” trip that same month to North Carolina’s Outer Banks; or a fall golf event at Pinehurst in North Carolina.

But there’s more. Donors who pony up their $5,000 will also get to attend two party events in Washington, DC, with details to be forthcoming.

For those financially stretched thin due to the holidays, there’s more good news: Burr is extending his offer through mid-2008.

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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