- The Washington Times - Friday, February 1, 2002

Reno leaves hospital

Former Attorney General Janet Reno, a Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, was discharged yesterday from an upstate New York hospital where she spent the night after fainting during a speech.

Joking that at least she didn't have a mark on her face, like President Bush sported after a recent fainting spell of his own, Miss Reno said she had briefly lost consciousness before and did not believe the incident in an overheated auditorium would affect her campaign, Reuters reports.

"It got progressively hotter and I thought I had to sit down and I exited, gracefully or ungracefully," said the 63-year-old Miss Reno, who has Parkinson's disease.

Miss Reno was kept overnight at Strong Memorial Hospital for observation.

Hospital spokeswoman Maureen Whitsell could not say whether the incident was related to the former attorney general's Parkinson's disease, but dizziness, poor balance and trembling are some of the symptoms of the disease, which affects the central nervous system.

Miss Reno, speaking with reporters briefly as she left the Rochester hospital in frigid temperatures, said the physicians who treated her "say it seems to be a simple faint."

"I think it was really the heat that just got me in the corner," she added.

Seconds before collapsing, Miss Reno told the audience, "If you will excuse me, I'm going to have to sit down." She then fell hard to the floor behind the podium, appearing to hit her head.

Genuine affection

"It will take a lot more than Dick Gephardt's tepid address on Tuesday night to interfere with the bond that is developing between President Bush and the American people," New York Times columnist Bob Herbert writes.

"Mr. Bush was supposed to have been a man of generally low wattage who needed a map to navigate a simple declarative sentence. But he got everybody's attention with a masterful speech soon after the September 11 attacks, and since then he's drawn high marks and admiration for his handling of the war on terror," Mr. Herbert said.

"'Saturday Night Live' continues to mock him mercilessly, but Mr. Bush's ratings in public opinion polls are extraordinary. And those sky-high approval ratings seem to reflect a genuine affection for the man, warm feelings that run much deeper than those shown his father in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War.

"The Democrats are faced with the simple fact that most Americans like their president, and are rooting for him.

"Mr. Bush, in turn, has exhibited a sense of command and a comfort level with the presidency that was lacking before September 11. You don't hear many jokes anymore about Dick Cheney being in charge."

Simply staggering

"State of the Union addresses are usually reviewed in terms of 'eloquence,' or 'drama,' or how the overnight polls register the public's reaction. But for sheer seriousness, for the depth and scope of the information imparted, the president's State of the Union the other night was, simply, staggering," says former presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan.

"I'm not sure everyone fully noticed, but about five minutes into it George W. Bush laid the predicate for what will no doubt prove a costly war marked by high casualties, some of which, perhaps many, will likely be civilian," Miss Noonan said in a column in the Wall Street Journal.

"That is what he was saying when Mr. Bush asserted that North Korea has weapons of mass destruction aimed at the West, that Iraq continues to hide its WMDs, that old allies such as the Philippines are increasingly overrun by those who want the West dead, that the Mideast and Africa are the home of similar and connected terror movements.

"The president was blunt in unveiling what will perhaps be known as the Bush Doctrine. And that is that the United States will no longer hope for the best in the world and respond only after being attacked; we will, instead, admit and act on the facts of the WMD era and actively search out our would-be killers wherever they are and whoever supports them and shut them down dead. The Clinton model of inadequate response based on ambivalent feeling is over; likewise the Bush I model of cat-herding coalitions and anxious diplomacy is over, though coalitions are nice, especially when everyone agrees to do the same thing at the same time in the same way.

"This is about as big as presidential statements get."

Berry's letter

We're not sure, but when you write a personal letter to The Washington Post, is it appropriate to use your taxpayer-funded employer's letterhead?

A draft of a letter from Mary Frances Berry, who chairs the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to The Post was written on stationery of the University of Pennsylvania, where she is a professor.

Miss Berry was a little concerned, according to the letter, about last week's item in The Post's Reliable Source column concerning rejection of an article for the commission's magazine, Civil Rights Journal.

The item noted that a book review written by Christopher Foreman Jr. was killed, apparently because it made reference to a book by Abigail Thernstrom, a conservative commissioner colleague of the liberal Miss Berry and, not incidentally, her chief nemesis.

The Reliable Source reported that commission staff director Les Jin, "who is known at the commission to consult closely with Berry about executive decision," insisted that Miss Berry was "not involved in this one."

Miss Berry apparently wanted to make sure the good folks at The Post were convinced. She began the Jan. 31 missive to the newspaper by letting them know she did not expect any action from them. But she did say that "[Reliable Source columnist Lloyd] Grove was told by our press representative that I had nothing to do with any of this."

She just wanted to keep her name clear of any controversy, apparently.

'Late' show

"Appearing Wednesday night on CBS's 'Late Show with David Letterman,' NBC's Tim Russert referred to 'the late Newt Gingrich, the late Speaker Newt Gingrich,'" the Media Research Center reports.

"Concerned that viewers might think Gingrich had really passed away, after an ad break Letterman assured his audience that Gingrich is 'not dead, we just confirmed that,'" the MRC's Brent Baker writes.

"Russert's reference to Gingrich came as the NBC News VP and Washington bureau chief began to recount a humorous tale about how after Russert had prayed as a Catholic to God for a Buffalo Bills Super Bowl victory, and yet the Bills still lost to the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Brokaw joked to Russert that God is a Southern Baptist.

"Russert started his anecdote: 'I have been to four Super Bowls. The last was at the Georgia Dome. The Bills were playing against the Dallas Cowboys. I was on "Meet the Press" I brought the program down there, interviewed the late Newt Gingrich, the late Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Sam Nunn the former senator.'

"After the commercial break, when Russert had left the set, Letterman cautioned: 'I want to clarify a couple of things here. We talked this over and he said "the late Newt Gingrich," Tim Russert referred to him as "the late Newt Gingrich," meaning former Speaker of the House and he's not dead, we just confirmed that.'"

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