What Are You Doing Here?

Judging by the photos on the walls of his vast office, the new Treasury secretary has a gentler approach to the world than, say, Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Last Word: Henry Paulson

He's been called the first treasury secretary with real clout since Bob Rubin, and arrived in office with the gilded pedigree that adorns former Goldman Sachs CEOs.

For a Few Hours Last Week, I Had the Whole Calvin Coolidge Vibe Going. But Today, I'm Feeling Kind of Zachary Taylorish.

Which one of his predecessors does President Bush see when he looks in the mirror? One minute he's a Harry Truman, the next he's George Washington. On a trip to Mount Vernon yesterday to celebrate Presidents Day (and Washington's 275th birthday), President Bush revived an old joke from the 2000 campaign. "I feel right at home here," he said. "After all, this is the home of the first George W."Back in the summer of 2000, as he was struggling to establish some gravitas, Bush liked to crack the...

Campaign Trail Highs. And Lows.

Barack Obama stepped into the concrete pavilion in Chicago to the roar of some 7,000 hometown fans and the Tina Turner anthem of "Simply The Best." If the Illinois senator is the pop star of politics, Sunday night's rally was arena rock.

The 'Lame Duck' Label

On Tuesday, President Bush popped in for a surprise visit to the Sterling Family Restaurant, a homey diner in Peoria, Ill. It's a scene that has been played out many times before by this White House and others: a president mingling among regular Americans, who, no matter what they might think of his policies, are usually humbled and shocked to see the leader of the free world standing 10 feet in front of them.But on Tuesday, the surprise was on Bush.

A New Tone

For the all the hype generated over energy policies and health-care proposals, last night's State of the Union Message ended up being less about what President Bush said than how he said it.

What Bush Will Say

For all the hype, the State of the Union speech has a disappointing history. Few presidents have ever delivered a memorable address. Despite a few rhetorical flourishes that stick—41's "thousand points of light," for example—most are just laundry lists of promises soon broken or forgotten.

More Political Science

Last summer President Bush invited several scientists to the Oval Office to revisit one of his earliest--and most contro-versial--decisions: to fund, but strictly limit, stem-cell research.

A Tale of Two Speeches

Presidents don't typically deliver two major addresses during the month of January—especially not less than two weeks apart. But the deteriorating situation in Iraq has denied Bush the luxury of laying low at the start of the year, developing the domestic policy goals that he hoped would be the legacy of his second term.

Iraq: Friends at War

War itself is a foreign concept to many solons of Capitol Hill; a small number--perhaps as few as 25 out of 535--have come under fire in combat. John McCain and Chuck Hagel are obvious and visible exceptions.

A Stagger, More than a Surge

After all the hype, all the leaks, and all the punditry, what more can the president say on Wednesday night that hasn't been said already?The answer, according to senior Bush aides, is quite a lot.Take the idea of a "surge," for instance.

'Where Mistakes Have Been Made'

Everything was meant to signal change. The long internal debates with advisers. The meetings with outside experts. The talk of a new way forward.Even the setting was intended to put the president in a fresh light.

'Surge' Strategy

He was caught just like a rat." Those were the simple, happy words of Ray Odierno three years ago, after units of his Fourth Infantry Division cornered Saddam Hussein in Tikrit.

From Watergate to Monicagate

To understand Gerald Ford's place inside the Bush administration, you need to turn the clock back six years.Before 9/11, and before Iraq, there was an inexperienced Texas governor who won the presidency — after a few legal hitches — on a relatively simple pledge: to restore honor and integrity to the Oval Office.In late 2000, President-elect Bush and his team in Austin, Texas, saw themselves as something of a restoration.

Bush: Sneaking Into Iraq

The journey started with a brief e-mail: "U reachable?" asked the senior Bush aide in June. He invited me to meet at a local diner. "We're going to Baghdad," he said, sipping a Diet Coke. "Want to come?" There was just one condition, he explained. "You can't tell anyone.

Doing Business

President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin recently agreed to a long-delayed trade deal to allow Russia to proceed with entry to the World Trade Organization.

The Odd Couple

It's not Reagan-Thatcher. And it's certainly not Clinton-Yeltsin. But the Bush-Maliki relationship is now the single most important one of the Bush era. Both leaders desperately need one another for their political survival and their place in history.So how come there's so little electricity when they meet?After their third face-to-face meeting in six months, President George W.

Adjust the Course

You could be forgiven for thinking there was something big in the works. President Bush is holding a three-way summit in the Middle East. Washington's political insiders are swapping leaks about forthcoming studies on Iraq.

The Architect's Faulty Specs

President Bush knew he was in for a rough night. As he settled down in front of the TV in the White House residence to watch the election results, the numbers were already grim.

Vietnam: Focusing on the Future

Until now, Vietnam has symbolized two strands in President Bush's political life: a war he didn't fight in and a comparison he wants to avoid. But this week the country becomes not just a metaphor but a reality, as Bush visits Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for the first time.

Accidental Tourist?

"Stay the course" may have been the slogan that killed the GOP and President Bush in 2006. But Bush still has the capacity to change, and the political sense to know that he needs to adapt to survive the last two years of his presidency.Take the start of his current weeklong trip to Asia.

Turnout Wasn't Enough

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman was the man who built the Bush turnout model. He started building a grassroots machine in Iowa in the 2000 campaign, then took it nationwide to win in 2004 as Bush's campaign manager. 2006 was shaping up to be an even more successful turnout for the GOP, but it wasn't enough to hold on to the House or the Senate.

White House Blues

The last time George W. Bush lost an election was three decades ago, when he ran for Congress in west Texas in the middle of the oil boom of the 1970s. Bush likes to tell the story of how he asked one voter how come he failed to win his support in that race.

A GOP Balancing Act

Bob Corker needed to add some flair to his flagging campaign. The GOP candidate should have been running a simple Senate race in conservative Tennessee. But he was trailing by several points last month, so the White House and party leaders stepped in.

Stealth Campaigner

To hear White House officials tell it, President George W. Bush is as popular as ever on the campaign trail.They point to his calendar, which so far this year, has included roughly 70 appearances on behalf of the GOP and its candidates.

Clinton Comeback

When Hillary Clinton and John McCain traded rhetorical blows over North Korea last week, some pundits hailed the exchange as a taste of 2008: a titanic clash between the early front runners in the next presidential election.They forgot that the real titans of modern politics have yet to leave the stage: two relatively young, two-term presidents who show no sign of stepping out of the national debate on domestic politics and foreign affairs.

'Seduction of Christians'

David Kuo was a rising star among social conservatives: he wrote speeches for Ralph Reed, served as a policy adviser to John Ashcroft and counted Bill Bennett as his mentor.

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