- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 27, 2001

Noble: George W. Bush, for his astonishing first week as president.Despite the chilly reception he received during his protest-lined inaugural parade, which, compounded by the wind blowing from the left-wing of Congress, established what might be a record political wind chill for an incoming president, Mr. Bush went right to the work of keeping his promise of establishing a warmer tone in Washington.

By the end of his first week in office, Mr. Bush had established personal relationships with well over 80 congressional leaders through a series of face-to-face meetings, given Sen. Teddy Kennedy a personal tour of the White House, instructed his White House staff to be "examples of humanity and decency and fairness," shared coffee with senior Democratic leaders including John Glenn and Paul Simon, given a friendly new (printable) nickname to Democratic leader George Mitchell, convened a "Reading Roundtable" with a group of professional educators, discussed campaign-finance for 45-minutes with Sen. John McCain, overturned U.S. taxpayer funding of abortions overseas, established punctuality within the White House for the first time in nearly a decade, and proposed major reforms in the education system, most of which have wide bipartisan support. Mr. Bush also attended the swearing-in of his secretary of education, Rod Paige, garnered bipartisan support for his tax cut plan, and discussed foreign policy with Secretary of State Colin Powell.

When Mr. Bush spoke in his inaugural address of "the angel who rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm," few anticipated that Mr. Bush may actually have been speaking of himself.

Knave: Outgoing President Bill Clinton, for his astonishing last week as president.

Despite the applause that Mr. Clinton received from his audience of true believers, the out-going president almost certainly set a presidential record for self-indulgent soliloquys and scandalous acts during his exit from the presidential stage. To paraphrase a line from Shakespeare, it is certain that nothing in his presidency became him like the leaving it.

By the end of his last week in office, Mr. Clinton had distributed pardons of such dubious value that even the editorial writers of the New York Times and The Washington Post were dismayed, made off with nearly $200,000 in White House accessories ranging from furniture to flatware, and delivered speeches of such exceptional self-indulgence that they held up a mirror to his narcissism. Mr. Clinton's last remark of his presidency was perhaps his most telling, "You gave me the ride of my life, and I've tried to give as good as I've got."

CORRECTION: In Helle Bering's column Wednesday, "Selling the rope?" Michael Armstrong was identified as the head of Loral Corp. Mr. Armstong was president of Hughes Space and Communications International, Inc. Both companies launch American satellites on Chinese rockets.


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