- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Born great?
"[President Bush] sometimes rose to the important occasions, exhibiting precisely the kind of poise and presence that had so often eluded him and challenging his detractors' assessments of him as the emptiest of suits and lightest of weights. …
"But there was and could be no occasion like the one he confronted when the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon killed about 3,000 Americans and laid siege to the country's sense of security. Of all people, George W. Bush needed to be the commander-in-chief and the communicator-in-chief and the comforter-in-chief, a national wellspring of strength and solace. …
"On the phone to me shortly after Bush's [Sept. 20] address to Congress, one of his lifelong friends, Joe O'Neill, mused, 'What is it they say? 'Some people are born great, some people grow to greatness and some people have greatness thrust upon them.' That's a paraphrase. With George, it's a combination.'
"He explained that Bush was born great in the sense that he was the son of a wealthy, talented man who became president: Bush had a propitious set of bearings, a better opportunity than most people to pursue big things. 'He did have that leg up,' O'Neill said.
"But Bush didn't maximize it for a good long while. Then, O'Neill added, 'After his years in the wilderness, he put together a package that was attractive enough to get him elected governor, and he did a damned good job. He grew in that job.' Even so, it wasn't a seat of greatness; it never confronted him with a test on that kind of scale. 'Now,' O'Neill concluded, 'we have a situation like this that really requires and demands a good leader."
Frank Bruni in his new book, "Ambling into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush"

Women vs. men
"If women want to marry up, they must find a man who has at least their level of education. … Getting married to a college sweetheart has become much more difficult for women. For white women who have graduated from college, the marriage market deteriorates rapidly after age 25. By the time they reach the age of 30, there are only half as many unmarried men of the same age and education available for marriage.
"Today young women are urged not to marry early; instead, they should get an education and start a career. This may or may be good advice, but if the goal is marriage, the suggestion creates some problems. As one study put it, in 1980, unmarried female college graduates between the ages of 25 and 29 faced five female competitors for every comparable man. Not very good odds. …
On the average, a man will marry a woman about two or three years younger than he, but this preference for youth will continue as the man gets older. By the time he is 60, he will marry a woman who is 45. … In Canada, for example, for every 100 women aged 40, there are only 60 men available, and that number would be smaller if you deducted from the total gays, perennial bachelors and those cohabitating with another woman."
James Q. Wilson in his new book, "The Marriage Problem: How Our Culture Has Weakened Families"

The real story
"The back story of 'All the President's Men' is nearly as compelling as the tale the movie told. Indeed, the very elements that brought down the Nixon White House compromise, backstabbing, misdirection, clashing egos threatened to scuttle the movie. Ultimately, of course, 'All the President's Men' was a triumph, a 137-minute classic that not only garnered eight Oscar nominations, but also helped to change the way Americans viewed the presidency. …
"'All the President's Men' may be the best marriage of Hollywood (sex) and Washington (power) ever made, but thanks to the Beltway side of the aisle, it was a stormy courtship. At first the Post people, executive editor Ben Bradlee in particular, rolled out the red carpet. But then they began to nitpick and whine about the movie. … [Lead actor Robert] Redford was stung. 'I found that newspaper reporters are among the most unperceptive I've ever come across,' he told "Rolling Stone" in 1976.
Steve Wulf in "On the Record" in Entertainment Weekly's Special Oscar Guide


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