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Time to Focus on Iraq

Dina Powell Blocked

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Steven R. Weisman writes in the New York Times: "Opening a new battle with the White House, Senate Democrats on Wednesday abruptly blocked the approval of President Bush's nominee for a top public diplomacy job, charging that the administration had injected partisan politics into the drive to improve the United States' image overseas.

"The nominee, Dina Powell, the White House personnel director, had been expected to win broad approval to become deputy under secretary of state for public diplomacy, to be the second-in-command to Karen P. Hughes in charge of repairing the United States' reputation, especially in the Muslim world."

And what ever happened to Hughes? Weisman writes: "Committee Republicans say they have been told that Ms. Hughes, who left the White House as a close adviser to President Bush in mid-2002 to be with her family back in Texas, will not be ready to start until fall because she wants to wait until after her son starts college."

Energy Talk

Michael A. Fletcher and Justin Blum write in The Washington Post: "President Bush issued a vigorous call yesterday for the enactment of his energy plan, arguing that it offers a balanced approach for securing the nation's energy future while warning that 'tempers will really rise if Congress doesn't pass' the measure."

Here's the text .

On CNN, they called it "a case of bad timing for the Bush White House."

Said Dana Bash : "The president argued long-stalled energy reforms would help consumers and the environment. . . . But Mr. Bush's critics revived their charge his main goal is to help the oil industry where he once worked, seizing on word the official who set climate change policy, Phil Cooney, traded his administration job for a post at Exxon-Mobil."

United Nations Snub Watch

The New York Times reports that organizers of a celebration in San Francisco to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations were worried that they would get snubbed by President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Yesterday, they got word that the administration is sending (drum roll please) Ambassador Sichan Siv, the United States representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

White House Picnic

The Associated Press reports: "President Bush, frustrated that some of his legislative initiatives are stalled in Congress, was all smiles Wednesday evening as he hosted a congressional picnic where jugglers and a merry-go-round turned the South Lawn into a carnival. . . .

"Bush arrived at the picnic in shirt sleeves and no tie. Vice President Dick Cheney came wearing a navy blazer, which he quickly shed as he disappeared into the crowd, followed by a man wheeling a unicycle."

Porn Star Watch

George Rush and Joanna Molloy write in the New York Daily News: "Porn star Mary Carey kept her word that she would keep her clothes on during the fat-cat GOP fund-raiser Tuesday night in Washington, but the Republican Party took no chances.

"With President Bush the guest of honor, the GOP made sure the evening remained PG by assigning a handler to the triple-X actress."

Correction

My June 9 column incorrectly reported that Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto contributed to President Bush's campaign. Cavuto was a donor to the 2002 President's Dinner Committee, a joint fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Here's a record of Cavuto's contribution.

Thanks to L. Brent Bozell III of the Media Research Center for calling this to my attention.

The First Pets

How in heaven's name did I miss this?

Today show anchor Al Roker last Friday broadcast an interview with the president and first lady -- exclusively about their pets. Here's the text ; here's the video .

The fur wasn't exactly flying.

Roker on Barney: "He's got the top security clearance, doesn't he?"

President Bush: "He does, Barney, plus he knows a lot about policy."

Roker: "Really?"

President Bush: "Yeah."

Roker: "He's a wonk."

President Bush: "He's a wonk." . . .

Roker: "Do you guys ever talk baby talk to the pets?"

Laura Bush: "I do to Beazley a lot."

President Bush: "I will never admit it."

Roker: "Does he talk baby talk?"

Laura Bush: "No, not really."

President Bush: "Well-- "

Roker: "Uh-oh."

President Bush: "Of course everybody talks baby talk to their pets."

Roker: "Sixty-three percent of people admit to kissing their dogs."

Laura Bush: "We kiss ours."

Roker: "Yeah? You're a part of that group?"

President Bush: "I wouldn't say on a regular basis. But yeah, I've been there."


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