Practicing Therapy That He Preaches
It's a rare politician who actually takes the policy medicine he prescribes, and luckily the pill that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid pushes isn't bitter. "Simply put," he once said, "music can heal people." That was 15 years ago, and while Reid's bid to make "music therapy" services available to frail, older Americans failed, he's become an addict himself. His preferred method of delivery: the biggest Apple iPod made. "He loves music," says aide Jim Manley. "And he loves his iPod."
And just because this old-school politician is 66, don't write him off as a sock hop twister. Far from it. On Reid's playlist is an eclectic group of balladeers and blue-collar, blues, and indie bands like Wilco, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr., and the Fruit Bats. "That's nice to hear," says a Wilco publicist. "Who knew?" While many of Reid's favorite artists share his political views--Springsteen especially--music really is the therapy for Reid. The Nevadan tells us this recent story. Restless on a Reno-to-Las Vegas flight, he was told by his wife to tune out by turning on his iPod. "I got off the plane feeling rejuvenated, ready to go."
Unlike other notable iPod-ers, like President Bush, Reid has also become a master of downloading from iTunes and file sharing. And he's getting into podcasts, putting two on his re-election website. "Now," says Reid, "if I could only get my picture on the cover of Rolling Stone."
Enough With "Speaker Pelosi"
Boy, you'd think having a chance at electing the first-ever female House speaker would have the Democrats bragging about "Speaker" Nancy Pelosi, but we hear there's an effort to stop that talk. Dems worry she's so liberal it will scare moderates away and energize conservatives going into the fall elections.
United 93 Pushes One Man to Tears
We caught Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his wife last Thursday at the Georgetown Loews for the 5:05 p.m. showing of United 93, where they sat in the front row. Our Chris Haines says Joyce Rumsfeld offered, "People have been telling us we have to see it." Afterward, it looked as if Rumsfeld--who pulled victims of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon to safety--had a tear on his cheek. "That," Rumsfeld says, "was really tough to watch." Of the issue on ordering United 93 shot down, the SecDef says it's not just the president who can make that order. He can, too. And, he adds, a week doesn't go by in which he isn't asked at least once to make that call on what normally turn out to be lost aircraft.
Social Security: Democrats' Turn
Social Security is baack! But this time Democrats are going to ride it, attacking the failed reforms pushed by President Bush. It's an old scare tactic, but it works. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who runs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, plans a "big discussion" about how the Republicans would use their re-election to majority power this fall to privatize the program. And at a time when many are worried about their economic security, Democrats say, they don't want their retirement benefits messed with.