- The Washington Times - Monday, December 10, 2001

Still beating
"Life is not fair: Saddam Hussein still has a job, and I'm unemployed. You know damn well it's not fair."
But what better consolation for the nation's 41st president, who uttered those words at a panel discussion this year on the 10th anniversary of the Persian Gulf war, to watch his eldest son, President George W. Bush, pick up where he left off.
Former President George Bush and his wife, Barbara, were guests of honor Saturday night at the Georgetown home of former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray, toasting the publication of a new book, "Heartbeat: George Bush in His Own Words," compiled and edited by Mr. Bush's longtime aide and speechwriter Jim McGrath.
The former president, says Mr. McGrath, speaks often of what he calls "heartbeat," a simple code word referring to personal bedrock values: service, duty, honor, friends, faith and, particularly, family.
In his own words, Mr. Bush said: "I'm not sure if they knew the real George Bush, I would have been re-elected president. But it's funny how such differences of opinion maybe it's other public figures, too but I am convinced that the American people didn't know my heartbeat. And I can't blame anybody but myself for that."
Upon further reflection, he added: "Now that my political days are over, I can honestly say that the three most rewarding titles I've held are the only three I have left a husband, a father, and a granddad."
Dozens of well-known faces came out on a rainy night to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Bush back to town: his former White House press secretary, Marlin Fitzwater, his former transportation secretary (now his son's White House chief of staff), Andy Card, and his former campaign aide (now his son's senior White House aide), Mary Matalin.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was also on hand, as was former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, and more than a dozen media personalities, including former CNN anchor Bernie Shaw. Former presidential daughter-turned-presidential sister Doro Bush Koch was also there to greet to her mom and dad.
In compiling the book, Mr. McGrath sifted through 7,521 of Mr. Bush's public papers encompassing 1,459 days in office, 1,520 presidential speeches, remarks and toasts, and official transcripts from 273 news conferences and exchanges with the White House press corps.
In his own words advice, no doubt he's offered his son, particularly of late Mr. Bush said politicians most often do the "easy things, the popular things. But it's the tough things that tell you about character and honor and leadership. Anyone can demagogue, but presidents must make decisions.
"The presidency is not a popularity contest. I think you elect a president to say what America needs to hear, even when it's not what people want to hear. In the campaign you hear all kinds of quick fixes, all kinds of political rhetoric, but a president must make decisions and lead."

Walter's Washington
Whether it's the Oscars, Emmys or award banquets in Washington, presenters and honorees can't resist breaking the three-minute rule intended to keep podium remarks pithy and on point.
This past week's 16th Olender Foundation Awards at the Kennedy Center, hosted by Washington malpractice lawyer Jack Olender, was a case in point.
When the popular former D.C. Mayor Walter Washington arrived on stage to accept the America's Role Model award, he promised to keep his acceptance remarks "contained" and "on point."
Fifteen minutes later, Mr. Washington still stood at the podium reminiscing, one funny tale after another of his mayoral relationship with Washington's powerful leaders, Lyndon B. Johnson included. During the turbulent 1960s, he recalled, Lady Bird Johnson, whose colorful flower plantings still blossom throughout the city, assigned him to beautify Washington's alleys.
"He got as many laughs as Jerry Lewis did last year," says Mr. Olender, "only his material came from real life."

Getting even
Uh oh, it's almost that time of year again for the Media Research Center's 2002 Dishonor Awards, roasting the most outrageously biased liberal reporters of the year.
This year's distinguished panel of judges and presenters includes Rush Limbaugh, William F. Buckley Jr., Ben Stein, Bob Novak, Steve Forbes, Lucianne Goldberg and Michael Reagan, among others.
For those who don't believe there are still Clinton cronies out there yearning for the days of scandal and disgrace (Bring Back Bubba Award), or others still crying in their beer over Al Gore (We Won't Move On No Matter How Many Florida Recounts Award), the center will present proof an audio-visual extravaganza of this year's most outrageously biased reporting.

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