- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2001

Not fit to print

The Washington Times featured a photo and staff-written story on the front page. The Washington Post played a picture at the top and center of its front page, with a staff story and another picture on the front of its Style section. The Los Angeles Times ran a picture at the bottom of its front page, with a staff story and another picture inside. The New York Times was another story altogether.
The newspapers were covering the christening Sunday of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan by the former president's wife, Nancy, and speeches by such dignitaries as the president of the United States.
Unlike the other newspapers mentioned here, the New York Times miffed, perhaps, that a recent poll shows the public ranks Ronald Reagan as the greatest president in American history went to great lengths to play down the story yesterday.
In fact, the so-called newspaper of record declined to publish any story whatsoever about the event at Newport News, Va., although on page A14 it did run a three-column wire photo of President Bush and a shipbuilding executive watching as Nancy Reagan broke a bottle of champagne across the hull.
The headline on the caption said: "Bush Remembers Crash Victims." The caption said: "President Bush offered his condolences yesterday to relatives of those killed Saturday in the crash of a National Guard plane. He attended a christening of the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan in Newport News, Va., near the base where the victims had been stationed. With him were former President Ronald Reagan's wife, Nancy, and William Fricks of Newport News Shipbuilding, builder of the carrier."

Hard to figure

After President Bush's budget speech to Congress last week, CBS News conducted a poll that found overwhelming support for the president's program, including his tax cut. However, the network declined to report the results on its "Evening News."
Brent Bozell, chairman of the Media Research Center, issued the following statement yesterday: "The CBS News poll showing 88 percent of Americans who heard Bush's speech approved of his proposals, and 67 percent supported the Bush tax cut, has never aired on the 'CBS Evening News.' Instead, White House correspondent John Roberts has reported information from other polls less favorable to Bush. This is not journalism. This is using the network television airwaves to oppose President Bush."
However, the results of the survey were not squelched entirely. Fox News has aired the CBS findings at least twice.

Gore vs. Clinton

The tension between Al Gore, Bill Clinton and their followers "has only escalated" in recent days, the New York Times reports.
"Mr. Clinton, for one, was described by friends as still furious at Mr. Gore's pollster, Stanley B. Greenberg (who was Mr. Clinton's first pollster in the White House) for recently suggesting publicly that Mr. Clinton was detrimental to Mr. Gore's prospects," reporter Richard L. Berke writes.
" 'He heaps withering scorn on Stan,' one friend said of a recent conversation with Mr. Clinton. 'It's like a blowtorch. I was surprised at how hard-edged he was. He feels that Gore didn't prosecute his legacy.'
"Mr. Clinton also unleashed his venom at William M. Daley, his former commerce secretary. After Mr. Daley told the New York Times recently that Mr. Clinton's conduct was 'terrible, devastating' and 'rather appalling,' the former president wrote a several-page letter to Mr. Daley expressing his deep disappointment, people who know both men said."
As for Mr. Gore, he held a "thank you" dinner for more than two dozen of his biggest presidential campaign contributors at the Manhattan home of financier Steven Rattner on Tuesday night. Mr. Clinton was not invited.

NAACP honors Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton joined top black entertainers at the 32nd NAACP Image Awards in Universal City, Calif., where he was honored by the nation's largest civil rights group.

Mr. Clinton entered the Universal Amphitheater to a standing ovation from the crowd, the Associated Press reports.

NAACP President Kweisi Mfume presented Mr. Clinton with the President's Award and credited him with improving the lives of blacks during his eight years in office.

"What really matters is our common humanity," Mr. Clinton told the crowd. "When we forget it, we suffer. When we remember it, we prosper."

Comedian Chris Tucker hosted the awards show, which is scheduled for broadcast Friday on Fox.

In one segment, Mr. Tucker sat beside Mr. Clinton in the audience and joked that the former commander in chief is so popular among minorities that some call him the first black president.

"That's why I went to Harlem, because I think I am the first black president," Mr. Clinton responded, referring to plans for his new office in New York.

First 'toe-dipping'

President Bush hasn't been in office for much more than a month. But in Iowa, home to the nation's first presidential caucuses, it's never too early to start thinking about the next election.
That helps explain what Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, was doing in downtown Des Moines on Saturday night, McClatchy Newspapers reports.
In what Democratic activists describe as the first "toe-dipping" of the 2004 presidential campaign, Mr. Edwards delivered a half-hour speech at a Drake University Law School dinner attended by about 400 people, including some of Iowa's best-known lawyers and state Supreme Court justices.
Mr. Edwards' address was filled with populist rhetoric about what lawyers and elected officials can do to help "ordinary people," who he said are pitted "in a war" against big corporations and special interests.
He made no mention of the 2004 presidential campaign but that wasn't necessary, political observers said.
"He's sending a signal just in being here," said David Yepsen, a Des Moines Register columnist who has covered Iowa politics for the past 26 years. "I call this a 'deal-me-in' visit. He's not sure he wants to play, but he wants to be at the table."

Likely civil rights pick

A former assistant U.S. attorney who aggressively prosecuted gang members and gun crime in Boston is expected to be nominated to head the Justice Department's civil rights division.

Ralph F. Boyd Jr., a Boston lawyer who headed a major-crimes unit and worked on a federal firearms-prosecution program, is President Bush's choice for assistant attorney general in charge of the division, a Justice Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press last night.

If confirmed, Mr. Boyd would be the third black tapped by Mr. Bush for a top Justice Department post under Attorney General John Ashcroft, whom some Democrats implied is a racist during his confirmation hearings.

Mr. Boyd could not be reached for comment last night.

He interned at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., and while in law school worked with a group of law students who represented indigent criminal defendants.

Bipartisanship

Reporters seeing partisanship in a committee's party-line vote last week on a tax cut bill were rebuffed yesterday by the White House.
"I do think … that if you look around, you'll see the tenor is changing," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.
"I fail to see the lack of bipartisanship," Mr. Fleischer said. "I see everything bipartisan."
Asked for proof of this new statesmanlike demeanor, Mr. Fleischer said: "I think you're seeing that even the calls for investigations, I think, are diminishing."


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