- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2002

Tony Blankley, a Washington newspaper columnist and television commentator since he left his job as press secretary to Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, yesterday was named editor of the editorial page of The Washington Times.

He succeeds Helle Bering Dale, who resigned to become deputy director for International Studies at the Heritage Foundation. The appointment, made by Wesley Pruden, editor in chief of The Times, is effective July 1. Deborah Simmons will continue as deputy editor of the page, a position she assumed last year.

"We applaud the wonderful job Helle did for The Times in the last 11 years," Mr. Pruden told Times staffers gathered around him as he stood on the copy desk. "She leaves with our thanks and applause ringing in her ears. Now I am delighted to announce that Tony Blankley, known to many of you, will succeed her. Tony knows Washington better than most, and he knows where all the bodies are buried. He may have buried a few himself."

In his brief remarks, Mr. Blankley promised to retain the momentum of the page. "I intend to make a case that the Republican and moderate Democratic members of the House and Senate will pay attention to," Mr. Blankley said. "I bring along an understanding of how politicians read or don't read editorials. We intend for The Times editorial page to remain that must-read in town."

After the September 11 attacks, America faces a whole set of new issues, he said. "Some of the old debates have become stale and antiquated."

Mr. Blankley will focus on a trio of regular topics in future months. "We must pay attention to the reorganization of the government to counter terrorism; the intersection of morality, law and bioengineering; and the effect of the global economy on sovereign governments, particularly our own."

He has a substantial history in politics and journalism. A former deputy attorney general of California, Mr. Blankley came to Washington in 1980 to join the staff of President Ronald Reagan, serving as speechwriter, senior policy analyst and deputy director of planning and evaluation for six of the eight years of the Reagan administration. From 1990 to 1997, he was press secretary and general adviser to Newt Gingrich.

Mr. Blankley is known inside the Beltway and beyond for his commentary, bolstered with fierce academic arguments. He holds an undergraduate degree in political science from UCLA, a law degree from Loyola University and a certificate in international law from the University of London.

Deft at quick takes, predictions and big-picture overviews, Mr. Blankley has always maintained an even-tempered perspective. His sound bites, he once said in an interview, "are my poor man's poetry." In the past five years, Mr. Blankley has been both analyst and newsmaker in newspapers and in broadcast media. He is a weekly commentator on "The McLaughlin Group" and a regular contributor to news analysis on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, CBS and ABC.

Mr. Blankley has been a weekly columnist for The Washington Times for three years, was a contributing editor and columnist for George magazine and a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.

Born in London and a naturalized American citizen, Mr. Blankley and his family moved to Los Angeles after World War II. Young Tony found work as a child actor in television and films, first encountering Mr. Reagan when both appeared at a 1950s-era USO performance. In years that followed, he volunteered to work on all of Mr. Reagan's campaigns for governor and president.

Mr. Blankley and his wife, Lynda Davis, are parents of three children and live in Great Falls, Va., where they share an 11-acre farm with a congenial menagerie of horses, sheep, goats, rabbits, peacocks, dogs and cats.

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