Breaking Bread—and Egg Nog—with Scribes

Hosting an endless round of holiday parties at the White House.

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President Bush and the first lady join 7-year-old Malik Lawson, whose mother is serving in Iraq, and other children of military parents in a White House holiday celebration, just one of many seasonal parties the first couple will participate in through the end of the year.

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It's a tradition that presidents often consider a tedious duty—hosting the seemingly endless round of holiday parties at the White House. Among the 26 events that President and Mrs. Bush will host this season, for an estimated 20,000 visitors, are two media get-togethers Thursday evening, to accommodate hundreds of journalists eager to munch on the president's canapés and drink his eggnog. Guests at all the parties get to shake hands with the first couple and have their pictures taken with them. But the supposedly hard-bitten journalists seem to take a special delight in getting VIP treatment in the glittering East Wing. As for Bush, aides say he is willing to briefly set aside his complaints about news coverage and make nice with his antagonists, all in the spirit of peace on Earth.