Rep. Mack's theoretical gift to Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez came bearing gifts when he met with President Obama at the Summit of the Americas last weekend: the leftist history book "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" by Eduardo Galleano, which subsequently shot up to No. 2 on Amazon.com's best sellers' list.

Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) was also at the summit and confirmed for me yesterday that, alas, Chavez did not to try to mug for photos with or shake the hand of the longtime congressional opponent of the Venezuelan leader. And he didn't bring Mack any gifts, either. While Obama downplayed the literary gift -- "I was going to give him one of mine" -- Mack had another idea.

"I would have given him 'Capitalism and Freedom' by Milton Frideman," Mack said.

And what of the Amazon sales rush sparked by Chavez's gift?

"It is disturbing," Mack said. "It's another one of those signs that Chavez doesn't represent anything that's good. All he does is look for opportunities to promote himself and destroy other people, and it's sad that there are those willing to follow that type of person."

While Chavez and Mack didn't meet, the congressman did have a brief, one-on-one chat with one of Chavez's allies, Ecuador President Rafael Correa. Mack said he reminded Correa that we're known by the friends we keep, and Correa responded that Chavez is his friend and he's going to support him.

"And I said we'd have to agree to disagree," Mack said.

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