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Wesley Pruden

Wesley Pruden

American journalist legend and Vietnam War author James Wesley Pruden Jr. is Editor Emeritus of The Washington Times. Mr. Pruden’s first job in the newspaper business dates back to 1951 as a copyboy at the now defunct Arkansas Gazette where he later became a sportswriter and an assistant state editor. In 1982, he joined The Washington Times, four months after the paper began, as chief political correspondent. He became assistant managing editor in 1983, managing editor in 1985, and editor-in-chief in 1992. He retired in January 2008 and became editor-in-chief-emeritus. Mr. Pruden is known for his coverage of President Ronald Reagan. In 1991, he won the H.L. Mencken Prize for excellence in writing and commentary. Mr. Pruden writes a twice-weekly column on politics and national affairs for The Times.

Articles by Wesley Pruden

Mitt Romney

PRUDEN: An attack of the fruit fly at Romney's campaign

It's not the wasps, bees and mosquitos, though stingers all, that bedevil presidential candidates. It's the fruit flies. Insignificant in their own right, they nevertheless have the ability to damage and even sink a campaign. That's the lesson for Mitt Romney, as taught by Eric Fehrnstrom, his once-anonymous "top aide," who confided to a CNN interviewer that Mr. Romney is not really a born-again conservative, that he's only pandering to the unwashed crazies on the right. Published March 23, 2012

** FILE ** Seen here two days before the 1992 presidential election, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton dance on stage at a rally at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" was that year's campaign theme song. (Associated Press)

PRUDEN: Bonnie and Clod Clinton in the air again

Good ol' Bubba. He never disappoints. He's always reaching for something new to feed his ravenous ego, now that age has withered, among other things, his ravenous libido. Published March 20, 2012

Benjamin Franklin

PRUDEN: A modest proposal for Barack Obama

Barack Obama is in trouble. Even The Washington Post says so. The Post's pollsters find that a record number of Americans now give the president "strongly negative" reviews of his first three years, and nearly 7 of every 10 Americans blame the president for the acute heartburn that strikes every American motorist when they pull up to the pump. Barely 1 in 4 approve of his handling of the issue. (Most of the naive ride bicycles and the rest ride skateboards.) Published March 13, 2012

Calvin Coolidge

PRUDEN: A discount on the 2-cent endorsement

In the age of the Internet, when everybody wants to get his two cents into the debate and anybody can invent his own facts and rant in a blog or sometimes even a newspaper column, endorsements don't mean much. They particularly don't mean much coming from a congressman. Published March 9, 2012

Benjamin Netanyahu

PRUDEN: The romance of Obama's empty rhetoric

Barack Obama is obsessed with words, and he never learned to make a short speech. The Israelis understand that, however well-meaning he may be. The president may even believe most of the stuff he hears himself say. Published March 6, 2012

President Obama

PRUDEN: Obama is doing what comes naturally

Barack Obama just can't help himself. Bowing to rogues and rascals, stooping low enough to bang his head on the sidewalk, comes naturally to him. He learned to talk by apologizing to everyone in the nursery. He was the prince of all he surveyed, and learned early that slick talk could take him almost anywhere. Published March 2, 2012


PRUDEN: The ignorance of Rick Santorum

There's a tiny priest living in Rick Santorum's trim, toned body, struggling to get out. The rogue priest escaped Sunday and said foolish things. The candidate most admired for plain speech made it plain and clear that he doesn't believe in the wall between church and state and doesn't think much of John F. Kennedy for saying he did. Published February 28, 2012

Sarah Palin

PRUDEN: Old Scratch riles the unschooled

Old Scratch has had a really good week. The Prince of Darkness has everybody talking about him. The Satanic force may not be driving the Republican primary campaign, but old Beelzebub is having a high old time confusing the natives. Published February 24, 2012

Rick Santorum

PRUDEN: Santorum's hyperbole: Over the top to the guillotine

Rick Santorum is breaking out of the trenches for a leap at the top, emboldened by winning semi-important caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota and a more or less meaningless primary in Missouri. He recognizes how President Obama put the First Amendment in mortal peril with his order to religious institutions to put conscience aside and obey secular gospel under pain of law, like it or not. Then it was "over the top" in pursuit of principle. Published February 14, 2012

Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat

PRUDEN: Condoms are only part of it

Barack Obama thought he was only picking a fight with the Roman Catholic bishops. He thought he could limit the argument over his health care mandate to a controversy over condoms. He's getting a bigger fight than he imagined. Published February 10, 2012


PRUDEN: Romney waiting for the big cupcake

Mitt Romney is dispatching a gallery of rivals, none of whom has ever looked particularly presidential. Can anyone actually say out loud, without a wince, "President Gingrich"? Or "President Paul" (who sounds more like a pope than a president), or "President Santorum"? Nice guys, maybe, but we know where nice guys finish. Published February 7, 2012

PRUDEN: The Gaffe Patrol abandons Newt Gingrich

Mitt Romney seemed to be asking for a visit from the Gaffe Patrol this week when he told a cable-TV interviewer that he "wasn't concerned about the very poor" because they have "the safety net," the middle class doesn't, and the rich don't need one. Taken in the context of the interview this was unremarkable stuff. Published February 3, 2012

PRUDEN: When the Earth refuses to warm

Global warming: Been there, done that. Forward-looking folks are adjusting their fretting machinery now to something called Cycle 25. Button up your overcoats. Ice is on the way. Published January 31, 2012

Bob Dole

PRUDEN: Off to the moon with randy Newt Gingrich

The great entertainers of our time turn out to be presidents and the men who would be president, and this week most of them are in Florida. This is as good as vaudeville ever was. Newt Gingrich, under siege by ex-wives and trying hard to keep track of the various versions of an autobiography-in-progress, nevertheless soldiers on in his mission to restore family values and "morality" to the nation. Published January 27, 2012

Nelson Rockefeller

PRUDEN: Newt Gingrich and the 'moral thing'

Politicians can't any longer talk about "moral character" without sounding like a stuffy Baptist deacon or a stiff Presbyterian elder. "Moral character" is no longer important in a presidential campaign, even to many conservatives and evangelicals. If it is important anymore, it is only as a talking point. Published January 24, 2012


PRUDEN: A soap opera for our time

This hasn't been much of a presidential primary campaign, but even yellow-dog Democrats have to concede that it's a first-class soap opera. We haven't had sexy scenarios like this since Bubba was a boy. Published January 20, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

PRUDEN: Another grovel, not a rebuke

Where's a Porta-Potty when a few good men need one? This is the question Leon Panetta, the secretary of defense, ought to concern himself with, instead of trying to top Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, with over-the-top "outrage" over a Marine patrol taking a leak on the bodies of several freshly killed terrorists in Afghanistan. Published January 17, 2012