Fox, CNN gear up for the mother of all media wars
The story of W
With President Bush's legacy in mind, White House insiders say they're collecting little stories that could help a biographer pen W's story. Who'll get the job? Bushies are soliciting for authors.
The media's God police go crazy every time President Bush mentions Jesus or is around others who do. It happened last week when Bush was introduced at a Nashville prayer breakfast as a "brother in Christ." A Washington Post scribe, for example, practically had a heart attack. Turns out Bush rarely invokes Jesus's name, and an aide says that's on purpose. "We don't want to single out any religion." One official even researched how many times Bush has mentioned Jesus as prez: 17, mostly in Easter and Christmas messages. He has referred to "God," adds the official, in more speeches about Muslims than about Christians. For the record: In Nashville, Bush didn't mention Jesus.
Bush aides are chuckling over a new bumper sticker that pokes fun at France's refusal to join the president's pressure campaign on Iraq. "Texas," it says, "is bigger than France."
Iraq's Saddam Hussein had better think twice before hiding in a cement bunker in the event of war. We hear that the Air Force's famous 1991 bunker-buster bomb that could drill 100 feet deep has been upgraded and might reach as far as 300 feet down.
Target: sex slaves
President Bush, for the first time lending White House support, this month plans to join opponents of international sex trafficking by announcing steps to punish countries like India. At a February 20 summit called by Shared Hope International, Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson will push for international sanctions.
Egged on by a California think tank, Congress is considering probing state pension systems that invest in companies that do business with terrorist nations. The Claremont Institute says there are 400 companies in countries known to sponsor terrorism that are popular among pension managers. How serious is the threat? We hear that Wall Street fund managers are pressuring lawmakers to back off.
They laughed in Rep. Dick Gephardt's office when the Center for Public Integrity released its report on the wealth of the Democratic presidential candidates. His assets were pegged at between $134,022 and $614,000--last on the list. And even at $134,022, it's high, say associates. "He's got three student loans and a [daughter's] wedding to pay off," says one associate. Worse: After years of studying Wall Street, he recently made his first investment in several mutual funds. When? Right before the market tanked, slashing his investment in half. The positive side: Unlike the millionaires running for president, he can honestly call himself Joe Six-pack.
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With Mark Mazzetti, Margaret Menge and Richard J. Newman