Better Halves

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 9, 2005 | Go to article overview

Better Halves


Byline: John McCaslin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Better halves

Who better for first lady Laura Bush to single out as guest of honor at yesterday's State Department conference celebrating International Women's Day than Condoleezza Rice?

"No doubt many young girls are dreaming of becoming secretary of state because of the example they see," Mrs. Bush observed. "I am proud that President Bush surrounds himself with smart, strong women."

Media microscope

Speaking of the State Department, James P. Rubin, former assistant secretary of state and chief diplomatic spokesman under President Clinton, was back in town yesterday opining how patriotism, propaganda and public opinion play into the war in Iraq.

Mr. Rubin was one of several high-profile panelists of The Week Opinion Awards and Forum, in partnership with the Aspen Institute. An earlier discussion, moderated by Aspen Institute President Walter Isaacson, addressed the hot-button issue: "Opinion Journalists: Serving What Master?"

(No, radio host Armstrong Williams was not on hand, but Peter Beinert of the New Republic, David Brooks of the New York Times, syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington and Ana Marie Cox of Wonkette.com each weighed in).

Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium was the venue for a dinner capping off the dialogue, albeit George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's "This Week," and Pat Robertson, founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, still found time to debate whether the press is out of touch with America.

Worth noting on the dinner guest list: Queen Noor, the queen of Jordan.

Drifting backward

For decades he's brought home the bacon, but outspoken Democratic Sen. Robert C. Byrd isn't popular these days with everybody in his beloved West Virginia.

Politics aside, West Virginia Republican Party Treasurer Hiram Lewis IV says it is upsetting to watch Mr. Byrd "destroy his credibility and become the basis of jokes over the national airwaves which, in turn, make West Virginia look like a backwards state."

He was referring, in part, to recent remarks made by Mr. Byrd (the senator insists his words were taken out of context) that some perceived as comparing Senate Republicans to "Nazis.

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