President Bush's current Africa trip hasn't produced the public-relations bonanza back home that Bush's strategists had been hoping for.
He has received favorable attention in the news media for his various programs to alleviate poverty and help African nations reduce disease such as AIDS and malaria. But the coverage has mostly been relegated to lesser status on the TV networks and the inside pages of the major newspapers, even though the president has received stirring receptions from the public and from African leaders throughout his trip.
One unfortunate fact, from the White House point of view, is that there has been a surge of other news stories that have crowded out the president's sojourn. They included today's coverage of John McCain's relationship with a telecommunications lobbyist, Barack Obama's victories in recent Democratic presidential primaries, Hillary Clinton's struggling campaign, turmoil in Pakistan, and the U.S. military's firing a missile at an errant U.S. spy satellite over the Pacific yesterday.
Bush is scheduled to return to Washington tonight. One consolation: Bush appears to have had a wonderful time and was buoyed by the positive reaction he got in Africa all week.
—Kenneth T. Walsh