Inside the Beltway

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Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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LINGERING LEHRER

“News Hour” anchorman Jim Lehrer quitting PBS? Oh, not really.

Mr. Lehrer — a veteran fixture of political discourse for three decades at the network — says he will no longer be part of the daily team. It is all part of the inevitable, unenviable process of leaving the stage. A few months ago, the newsman quietly removed his name from the hourlong broadcast, “enhancing the brand,” as PBS delicately put it.

It’s frosty stuff. News organizations that obsess about “brand” often lose sight of the genuine appeal of their assorted “products.” But no matter. Good luck, Mr. Lehrer.

“I have been laboring in the glories of daily journalism for 52 years — 36 of them here at the Newshour and its earlier incarnations — and there comes a time to step aside from the daily process, and that time has arrived,” he says.

Mr. Lehrer will still appear on “many Friday evenings” to referee debates between syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

“It is the most constructive and graceful exit strategy I have ever seen for someone holding a coveted and senior position in today’s media,” observes Robert McNeil, longtime partner to Mr. Lehrer in an earlier version of the show.

POLL DU JOUR

• 87 percent of likely Republican voters say the federal government has become a “special-interest group.”

• 6 percent disagree.

• 67 percent say big business and the government “work together” in ways to hurt consumers and investors.

• 20 percent are not sure; 13 percent disagree.

• 64 percent say the gap between Americans who want to govern themselves and politicians is as “big as it was” between the 18th-century American colonists and Great Britain.

• 20 percent are not sure; 16 percent disagree.

• 43 percent say they are “members” of the tea party movement; 41 percent are not.

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