We Can't Handle the Truth?

By Al Kamen
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The same publication may at times use different cover stories in different parts of the world -- usually because reader tastes vary widely. So the Oct. 2 edition of Newsweek's cover in Europe, Latin America and Asia features a jihadi fighter on the cover, headlined "Losing Afghanistan." The lead: "Five years after the Afghan invasion, the Taliban are fighting back hard, carving out a sanctuary where they -- and Al Qaeda's leaders -- can operate freely."

U.S. readers were spared that depressing blast. Instead, the Newsweek cover here was of photographer Annie Leibovitz and her three adorable children, headlined "My Life in Pictures." The lead said: "In her new book, Annie Leibovitz, our most famous photographer, places celebs side by side with surprisingly personal images of love and loss. An exclusive."

In a week when Afghan President Hamid Karzai is meeting with President Bush , the Taliban was moved inside? Well, gotta know your readers. Besides, if you have an "exclusive" . . .

Pick a Number, Win a Prize

For months now, Democrats have been thinking they're going to take over the House next year. But Republicans, buoyed by a modest Bush bump in recent weeks and sharply falling gas prices, now hope to close the gap. Pundits and pollsters are backing and filling, trying to interpret the trends.

Loop Fans can help! Yes, it's time once more for the In the Loop Congressional Election Contest! Republicans hold 55 of the 100 Senate seats. In the House, it's 231 Republicans, 201 Democrats and one independent, with two vacancies.

To win, guess what the new lineup will be in the Senate and the House after the Nov. 7 election. Count Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), if he wins his Senate bid, as a Democrat. Count Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) running as an independent, as a Democrat if he wins.

Send your guesses to intheloop@washpost.com .

You must include your home, work or cell phone numbers to be eligible. Administration officials and Hill folks may enter "on background." Hurry! Entries must be submitted by midnight, Oct. 10, four weeks before the elections.

The top 10 winners will receive, in addition to bragging rights and mention in the column, coveted, official In the Loop T-shirts. Don't delay. Close enough might be good enough.

Thinking Ahead on the Hill

Polls or not, some folks on the Hill are anticipating Democratic gains. This job posting recently popped up on the House intranet, available only to House employees:

"House Science Committee is seeking experienced Science Policy Professionals for possible expanded Democratic committee staff in the 110th Congress. Desire to build a nonpartisan staff of experienced and highly motivated professionals. Good communication skills and ability to work effectively with a team of credentialed and experienced existing committee staff more important than past Party affiliation."

RHIP, Mr. VP

Health and safety rules in Washington have for years warned residents never to get between Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and a camera.


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