Matt Bai

Bush's Man For The Job

When President Bush decided he wanted to give Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge the new job of director of homeland security, a cabinet-level position, the White House didn't engage in a long courtship.

Senator No's Last Stand

In the last few years, it was possible to think that Jesse Helms had gotten soft in his old age. The senator who sometimes sounded like he wanted to build a Chinese wall around the United States got teary at pictures of starving Rwandan children.

In Memory Of The Lost Ballots

If there's a fraternity of presidents, then George W. Bush must feel like the pledge who's getting hazed. First, Bill Clinton burst back into public last week, proving in Harlem that he--and not Bush--is still The Man to minority voters.

Mccain's 'Mooseketeers'

For the other politicians pushing campaign-finance reform, the trip to East 20th Street in Manhattan a few weeks ago was a great photo op. To John McCain, however, the visit to Teddy Roosevelt's boyhood home was more like a pilgrimage.

A Cowboy Takes L.A. To School

It felt like fight night inside Holman's Methodist Church in South Los Angeles. Hundreds of surly teachers, furious and frustrated over their spurned demand for a double-digit pay raise, had packed the church just after Thanksgiving to blast the city's new school superintendent, Roy Romer.

A Final Farewell

Washington's premier power hostess brought the giants of politics, media and business together one last time today-to say a painful goodbye.Some 4,000 friends, relatives and Washington Post Company employees-including Vice President Dick Cheney, former President Bill Clinton, and a host of senators, governors, mayors, Supreme Court justices, former cabinet officials from both parties, and the cellist Yo-Yo Ma-packed the National Cathedral to celebrate the life of Katharine Graham, the longtime...

The Steel Behind The Smile

When Tom Daschle first came to Capitol Hill as a congressman in 1979, his colleagues teasingly called him "Landslide." He'd been declared the winner in South Dakota by 14 votes; it took a full year for the state Supreme Court to certify the election.

Out Of The Box

Being mayor of New York has got to be one of the four best jobs in the world, Michael Bloomberg is saying. The billionaire baron of media and finance goes on to list them, in no particular order: president of the United States (that one's taken), secretary-general of the United Nations (also taken), president of the World Bank (taken by a close friend, no less) and, finally, "the one Rudy Giuliani has." That job just happens to be coming open this year--which, from Bloomberg's perspective, is a...

The Gun Crowd's Guru

Look at John Lott's 31-page resume, and you'll see that he got his Ph.D. from UCLA by the time he was 26. At 31, he was chief economist for the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Mccain And Nra Likely To Square Off

Lock the doors, close the shades and take cover. It appears that John McCain and the NRA are headed for a high-noon showdown. In a letter sent late today to most congressmen and senators, the National Rifle Association's chief lobbyist, James Jay Baker, attacked Americans for Gun Safety, a new group that has been working closely with McCain to close the so-called gun-show loophole.


It's opening night at the Banshee, a new Irish pub in what used to be a deserted warehouse in downtown Scranton. At the polished cherry-wood bar, local pols and union reps sing along to a folk band playing "When the Breakers Go Back Full Time," a wistful tune from Pennsylvania coal-mining days.

Massacre At The Office

The last time Michael McDermott got a break was last March, when a former co-worker offered to help get him a job at Edgewater Technology, an Internet consulting firm. "He was extremely bright and extremely personable," that colleague told NEWSWEEK. "I recommended him to the company." It was a fatal mistake.

The Cool Cajun To See

You never know where a conversation with John Breaux is going next. One minute he's discussing George W. Bush, and then he remembers that when Bush recently called his mobile phone, Breaux was unloading garbage at a dump in suburban Washington. "I've had the White House call me at the trash dump," Breaux says, straight-faced, in his Louisiana drawl. "I do some of my best work there." This reminds him of the time his dog locked him out of his pickup truck at the dump by stepping on the automatic...

Plotting Bush Ii

For a couple of guys who are about the same age, George W. Bush and Andy Card don't have a whole lot in common. Card is a self-described "swamp Yankee" from Massachusetts who wouldn't know an oilfield from the surface of Mars.

What The Court Should Have Said

The wonderful thing about the U.S. Supreme Court--the reason it inspires such reverence--is its aversion to politics and chatter. Justices do not appear on "Meet the Press" or host "Saturday Night Live." Most of us, buying breakfast foods in the local Safeway, would be oblivious to a Justice Breyer or a Justice Kennedy standing next to us, filling a cart with Special K.

Wild Times Under The Dome

No one watching TV should be fooled by the genteel old capitol in Tallahassee, with its stately marble steps and candy-striped awnings. The real business these days gets done in the newer concrete tower next door, where partisan politics is played as hard as anywhere in the country.

Clouds Over The Sunshine State

By 4 p.m. on Election Day, Al Gore's emergency phone bank in Texas was calling thousands of Democrats in Palm Beach County, Fla. The ballot there was "confusing," the callers said. "Do you believe that you may have voted for the wrong candidate for president?" More than 2,000 people thought about it and said, yeah, they might have.

Rescuing Big Brother

Even at 4:30 in the morning, Florida was all sunshine for Al Gore. On Labor Day he and Joe Lieberman showed up for a predawn rally in Tampa to find 1,000 admirers gathered outside a firehouse.

At War In Long Beach

By the time Pat Buchanan arrived in Long Beach, Calif., the Reform Party convention had already split into two separate conventions, like parallel universes in some hard-to-follow sci-fi movie.

The Ricky Martin Factor

Before last week, Emilton Cortez didn't think much of Republicans. As part of a nightly focus group watching the convention, the 28-year-old Puerto Rican American scoffed at white delegates grooving to black pop singer Brian McKnight. (The focus group, conducted by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, was sponsored by MSNBC and But then George W.

Behind The Fist Fights

The Reform Party convention now unraveling here in Long Beach isn't just the only good theater of this election year--it's also a rare double feature.In the main hall of the convention center, supporters of Pat Buchanan are ready for Buchanan's stirring acceptance speech on Saturday.

'I Have Strong Opinions'

Don't tell Lynne Cheney she's combative. Not unless you're looking for a fight, anyway. "I hate the words 'strident' or 'combative'," she says, having just heard both used to describe her. "If I were a man, people wouldn't say those things.

Prepping A New Kennedy

Morning finds Max Kennedy aboard the towering aircraft carrier named after his Uncle John F. Kennedy, which has rumbled into Boston Harbor. "She's your ship," says the captain, rushing onto the main deck to greet RFK's ninth child, who is visiting with his wife and kids. "Make sure they show you everything." Kennedy tours the decks and poses for pictures with sailors.

Dodging The Yogic Fliers

Pat Buchanan is outraged that he'll be barred from the debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush if he wins the Reform Party nomination. "If we are excluded," he said recently, "then the American democracy is, in some sense, a fraud." There is, however, one man who's more than willing to debate Pitchfork Pat: John Hagelin, a quiet quantum physicist who champions the power of Transcendental Meditation.