88 Doesn't Slow America's Anchor
"Hello, this is Walter Cronkite. " That voice! How is it that at 88, the legendary former anchorman still sounds and acts like the hard-working CBS newsman of old? Cronkite tells us he works at staying fresh. Just ask the educators at Arizona State University where he has been involved in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication since 1979.
Far more than just a big shot who lends out his name, Cronkite over the years has become a fixture at the school, hosting an annual awards luncheon and teaching students. "I always feel that I'm contributing something for goodness' sake to the next generation," he says. "Does it help me feel young? Well, maybe it does." But there's more: Cronkite helped out with a successful effort to make the 1,900-student school independent, eventually with its own campus in Phoenix. He even peeked at the applications for the school's first dean, figuring out who would win before the school's execs chose Christopher Callahan, 45, associate dean of the University of Maryland's J-school. "His involvement is unusual," says ASU Provost Milton Glick, "and speaks to the kind of person you have in Walter Cronkite."
On selection day, Cronkite called Callahan, a former AP reporter and Uncle Walter's first choice. "I know it sounds corny," says Callahan, "but it was thrilling."
Getting Votes on The 'Black Track'
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. gets that Democratic presidential candidates sometimes have to reach out to what Howard Dean bluntly called "guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks." But how to woo blacks, too? Have Bill Clinton campaign for candidates in black neighborhoods. "I'd put him on what I call the 'black track,' " Jackson tells us.
Such a Hot Job Nobody Wants It
Insiders tell us that Iraq can't fill its open ambassadorship to Washington. It should be a cushy job, certainly compared with life in Baghdad. But we hear there are no takers because the post might last just six months, or until the next government election. Further complicating things, many top candidates hold dual citizenship with Iraq and either the United States or Britain, and whoever takes the ambassador's job would have to give that status up.
But Who Translates For Translators?
One of the trickiest challenges for the U.S. military in Iraq is finding good translators. Here it gets help from Titan Corp., which hires local residents after making sure they're not security threats. Still, there are issues. Consider: Our man in Iraq met interpreter "Jack," a friend of America who speaks English well and nicely handles his job as the language liaison for U.S. and Iraqi troops. Here's the problem: Jack also teaches Iraqi troops anti-Zionist history. His lesson: Israel is bad and ought not to exist. He says the troops are "ignorant" on world affairs. "They don't think about the future. They have no understanding of Arab history. I try to tell them about history. I tell them about Palestine," he tells our reporter. But since he teaches in Arabic, U.S. troops haven't wised up to him.
A Wolfowitz in Sheep's Clothing
Has tough old Paul Wolfowitz, the hawkish architect of the Iraq-Afghanistan war, who now runs the World Bank, gone soft on us? Lately, he's been hugging AIDS babies in South Africa and cheering entrepreneurial women in Rwanda, both acts committed during a four-nation tour of Africa. He has even been bragging about his 45 minutes with Nelson Mandela, who gave him a lesson in selfless leadership. It's a far cry from his meanie media portrayal. "He's not easily labeled," says an aide. "As soon as you label him, you've got the wrong label."
Target Shooting at White House Limos
A recent wave of old White House limos being auctioned off got us thinking: How come no newer cars, say, Reagan's or Clinton's, have been put up for sale? Leslie Kendall, curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum, has the answer. The late-model cars are too stuffed with top-secret security gizmos to sell to the public. "It would be like giving the enemy your secrets," he says. Instead, he says, the cars are either mothballed or used by the Secret Service and military to test the effectiveness of presidential armor--and new armor-piercing ammo.
A Big Name in a Plain Package
Here's more evidence that what you see is what you get with President Bush. A Houston autograph collector has given former President George H. W. Bush 's library and museum at Texas A&M a full set of presidential signatures for display. Many are on cool documents: Rutherford B. Hayes 's on his Military Order of the Loyal Legion; Bill Clinton 's on a stamp from his 1986 gubernatorial inauguration; and old man Bush's on a limited-edition portrait of himself. W's selection: his John Hancock scribbled on a plain piece of paper.
This Rough Rider Liked It Easy
He led the "Rough Riders" up San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War, but now we're learning that Teddy Roosevelt shunned sassy horses. "He didn't like them wild," says William Seale of the White House Historical Association. And starting this week, we get even more about TR and horses when the association opens its new exhibit on White House horses. Roosevelt, who liked to ride in public, tried to bring dignity to his hobby, says Seale. He did that by instituting "Roosevelt's Rules" for riding with the president. Among them: "The president will notify whom he wishes to ride with him. The one notified will take position on the left of the president and keep his right stirrup back of the president's left stirrup." And: "Salutes should be returned only by the president, except by those in the rear." Says Seale of the strict rules, "It has nothing to do with snobbery. He just didn't want to do anything that would impinge on the dignity of the presidency."
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With Ilana Ozernoy, Julian E. Barnes and Suzi Parker
This story appears in the July 4, 2005 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.