• Top Line

    Why does Champagne need a sheriff? And how can we get that job? Director of the Champagne Bureau -- a U.S. group that represents grape growers and winemakers in Champagne, France -- did not divulge the secrets to securing his job, but says Champagne does need a policeman of sorts.

    "We want to make sure the world, and consumers around the world, understand that Champagne only comes from Champagne," says Sam Heitner, director of the group.

    Champagne is a region about 90 miles northeast of Paris, France. About 15,000 growers and 300 houses, says Heitner, come together in a community to make the wine that is known as Champagne. Only three grapes are allowed in the exclusive, bubbly wine: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier.

    When a menu includes, say, California Champagne -- as was the case on the Inaugural menu -- Heitner's group takes notice.

    "We are really supportive of truth in labeling," says Heitner, "ensuring consumers know where their wine comes from." In other words, if

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  • Congressman paralyzed by gun showcases victims of gun violence at State of the Union

    Politics Confidential

    Congressman Jim Langevin, D-R.I., persuaded 40 of his colleagues to give up their ticket to the State of the Union to a person affected by gun violence. The Democratic congressman says he was motivated by the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.

    "It had a profound effect on the entire country," says Langevin. "My concern was that the news cycle moves on after a period of time and we're onto other things, and I don't want us to lose focus on the tragedy of Newtown."

    "We need to act and we need to keep the pressure on, we need to keep the focus on."

    The Rhode Island congressman is himself a victim of an accidental gun shooting. As a 16-year-old, Langevin was shot while working with the Warwick Police Department in the Boy Scout Explorer program. A weapons expert handling a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, not realizing a round rested in the chamber, pulled the trigger, bouncing a bullet off a metal locker and striking the teenager in the neck, severing his spinal

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  • Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha humbled by award

    Politics Confidential

    When Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha heard he was receiving the nation's highest military honor, the first thing he thought of was his comrades.

    "I thought about the great things that so many soldiers did that day. You know, that was a team effort," says Romesha.

    That day was October 3, 2009, when more than 300 Taliban fighters attacked the small outpost manned by 53 American troops and an Afghan National Army unit. Despite all odds, Romesha and his comrades repelled the deadly attack on their remote outpost in the mountains of Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border.

    Romesha said during the battle, he focused on what he called the job -- fighting off the insurgents with his comrades.

    "When you start getting doubt in your mind, it's ... just like a fighter going into the ring, if you think you've lost before you step in for that 'bout, you've already been defeated," says the U.S. Army former staff sergeant.

    The battle would ultimately claim eight American

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