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Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Jenna, Barbara and other Bushes

June 20, 2001

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Random comments on people in the news:

LAURA BUSH: Anyone who had ever met her could have told you that the wife of the 43rd president would be a magnificent first lady. And magnificent is what she is.

Few Americans would have blamed her if she'd ripped into the mass media for their outrageously overblown coverage of her daughters, Jenna and Barbara. It was news, no doubt about it, when the 19-year-old sisters violated underage-drinking laws back home in Texas. But the lead story on the "Today" show? The cover of People?

The first lady must have been nearly as steamed at the media for their reckless coverage as she was at the twins for their reckless behavior. As she always does, though, the ex-librarian maintained her dignity, her poise, her sense of humor and her admirable sense of privacy.

THE BUSH TWINS: Why don't we cut Jenna and Barbara a break? It's not easy being first daughters and they've only been first daughters for a few months. They'll get the hang of it.

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Here's a young woman who could tell us a thing or two about the difficulty of growing up in the glare of the public spotlight. Not so long ago, Capriati was the next big thing in the world of women's tennis only to crash and burn before she was out of her teens.

But she's been on the comeback trail for several years, and she re-emerged as one of the top players in the game in 2001 by winning the Australian and French opens.

Maybe it's a coincidence, but Capriati's return to tennis prominence seemed to begin in earnest around the same time that she stood up to the media scandalmongers and declared that she would no longer answer their redundant questions about her troubled youth. From that moment on, she was able to concentrate on tennis.

TONY BLAIR: OK, we all know that Bill Clinton was Blair's political role model when he set out to become British prime minister, that Clinton and Blair were pals, and that Blair does not agree with the conservative philosophy of Clinton's successor.

That said, Blair deserves a round of applause for putting aside his personal preferences when it comes to American presidents and standing up for George W. Bush during the president's visit to Europe. Blair made supportive comments when Bush was attacked for his views on missile defense, and he defended the president against suggestions that he's out of his league in the company of other world leaders.

Bush told reporters that he considers Blair a friend. Apparently he is.

GEORGE W. BUSH: No matter what his critics say about him and they say plenty, to the point that you'd think they were getting paid by the word the president somehow stays focused on the task at hand. There is no shortage of politicians who would be snarling at reporters and whining to anyone who would listen if they were subjected to a fraction of the criticism and ridicule that Bush faces on a daily basis and yet he goes about his business as if none of it meant a thing.

One reason he can do that, of course, is because none of it means a thing. Another reason is that he knows exactly who he is and what he is capable of accomplishing. He'll deal with the critics by proving them wrong.




Bill Thompson is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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