Martha Brant

West Wing Story: The Two Faces Of George W.

I'm confused about the Bush administration's image management leading up to yesterday's speech: Is George W. Bush an Eastern establishment businessman or a Texas populist who's gonna kick some corporate butt?Last weekend, we followed our president to Kennebunkport, Maine, where he spent his birthday weekend with his parents and much of the Bush clan.

G8 Bear It

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police called it Operation Grizzly. Their mission: protect the G8 summit from terrorists, protesters and, it turned out, bears.

This Time, We Have A Winner

George W. Bush isn't known as a details guy, but when it comes to exercise he's a micromanager. For the presidential fitness challenge last weekend, Bush not only chose the course for the three-mile run at Fort McNair in Washington, but he also picked out the T shirt design and even the color.

West Wing Story: Wooing Europe

They might as well have called President George W. Bush's trip to Europe and Russia this week a victory tour. At least that's how he and his staff seem to be viewing it.They have some reason to be smug: Bush's historic Reichstag speech got a better-than-expected reception from Berlin's parliamentarians.

West Wing Story: A Delicate Balance

When Karen Hughes asked President Bush about sharing his weekly radio address with his wife some months ago, he replied, "What do you need me for?"They agreed that Laura Bush would be the most effective in getting out the message: condemning the Taliban's treatment of women.

West Wing Story: His Mind On Education

If there is one issue George W. Bush is truly passionate about it's education. He seemed relieved to take a break from the Middle East this week to talk about a topic he knows very well and believes has crystal clear solutions.Between meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday and Jordanian King Abdullah II today, he has been flying around the Midwest to talk about "accountability" in schools and remind voters in key states like Michigan and Wisconsin of the education-reform...

West Wing Story: D.C. United

In the Bush White House, there is one sure thing that will block your way to a bigger and more powerful job: wanting it.Or at least acting like you do. That's why when top aide Karen Hughes announced her resignation last week it set in motion an almost comedic routine among likely beneficiaries who denied any interest in carving up her territory.Chief strategist Karl Rove had the funniest act.

West Wing Story: Bush's Tears

For all his cowboy swagger, President Bush is a crier. "Nobody grieves harder than I do when we lose a life," he told reporters at his recent press conference. "It breaks my heart when I see a mom sitting on the front row of a speech and she's weeping, openly weeping for the loss of her son.

West Wing Story: November's In The Air

Press Secretary Ari Fleischer brought props to the daily White House briefing yesterday. He brandished the blue, bound volume of the National Energy Policy report from the podium."This is the report, and people can read it for themselves," he said. "I hope people will read it, and they'll see that of the recommendations that are in here, there are many that were supported by the environmental community."His defensiveness was understandable.

West Wing Story: Church And President

"America is a nation guided by faith," a fired-up President Bush told a crowd of Chinese university students during his visit to Beijing last week. "Ninety-five percent of Americans say they believe in God, and I'm one of them." It was the closest he'd come to a public testimonial about his faith since he was campaigning in the Deep South.

West Wing Story: When In China...

After George W. Bush gave a speech extolling U.S. values and freedom on Friday, he fielded questions from students at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He was open and engaging as he called on several Chinese students to ask about anything they wanted--from Taiwan to crime, it turned out.

West Wing Story: A New Gop?

Karl Rove is not big on regret. When pressed to come up with something that has disappointed George W. Bush, the top White House strategist can think of only one thing: as president, he can no longer use e-mail.Rove assessed the first year of the Bush administration on Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative think tank.

West Wing Story: 'Tis Not The Season

The White House has decided that its doors will stay closed to public tours--even for the holidays. Nobody at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is more upset about this decision than the First Lady, who often refers to the mansion as the "People's House." Of course, there were always sections that were off limits to the public.

West Wing Story: Down-Home Diplomacy

Even before President Putin arrived in Texas on Wednesday afternoon, George W. Bush was extolling his beloved home state. Bush gave his Russian counterpart an impromptu art tour of the Oval Office, pointing out the various landscape paintings he personally picked out to remind him of home.

Bush's New War Room

This time, the White House was ready. Last Saturday morning, Osama bin Laden released a videotaped message denouncing the United States and the "unjust, ferocious campaign" against Afghanistan.

West Wing Story: Eminence Grise

There is a lot of frightening stuff happening at the White House. So much so there's even a scary new lexicon that has crept into the West Wing: "aerosolized" (when anthrax particles are small enough to get into the air); the Orwellian-sounding "Domestic Consequences" group (which deals with the economic fallout of Sept. 11); the "evil one" and the "evil-doers" (how the president refers to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda respectively).The "Office of Homeland Security" has raised the most hackles...