Saying the M Word

For Elton John, sorry seems to be the hardest word. But for George W. Bush the hardest word has always been "mistake." His difficult relationship with the M word stretches back many years and is bound up with his view of leadership, politics, the media and, yes, his ego.Until now.

Stirred, Not Shaken

Andy Card's face told the story. After five years as chief of staff--twice the tenure of most of his predecessors--his eyes were puffy and his skin looked gray.

Spring Cleaning?

With spring, comes cleaning. But Washington's political junkies are still wondering if new chief of staff Josh Bolten will take his broom through the White House.Bolten is certainly reviewing the administration's operations before he formally begins his job next week.

Fast Chat: Home Cooking

Cris Comerford is the first woman to become executive chef at the White House since the Kennedys turned the job into a high-profile statement of personal style.

Loyal to the End

Andrew Card liked to say that his job as White House chief of staff was to figure out the difference between want and need. Staffers could get to see the president if they really needed the face time with Bush.

Is Anyone Listening?

The banner hanging over President George W. Bush read united to victory. But as Republicans listened to Bush slog through his familiar pep talk at a $2,500-a-head fund-raiser last Thursday night, the party faithful knew they were anything but united.

The Corrosion of War

For months, the White House has tried to argue that President George W. Bush "gets it" about the war in Iraq, that he understands why a growing number of Americans don't share his optimistic assessments about the war.The president started building his new image late last year, when he partly conceded making mistakes in the handling of the war.

Politics: Fallout From the Dubai Debacle

Dick Cheney was on the phone. It was almost two weeks after Rep. Peter King of New York first called the White House with his concerns about a Dubai company's taking over some operations at six U.S. ports.

Bush's Message

President George W. Bush would like you to know that he has a plan for Iraq. And he'd like you to know that many times over. Bush's aides see repetition as a virtue, since they believe that nobody pays much attention to the daily flow of news.

No Safe Harbor Here

It was talk radio's Michael Savage who first alerted the president's inner circle to the supposed Arab takeover of America's ports. One of Bush's closest aides tuned in to "The Savage Nation" just before Valentine's Day, to hear the shock jock's angry caricature of how a Dubai company was going to manage terminals at six major U.S. ports.

Broccoli and Nukes

It was the worst-kept secret in presidential travel. After weeks of rumors, President George W. Bush finally stopped in Afghanistan as he made his way to India and Pakistan—his first visit to the country that was once the central battlefield in the war on terror.Like Bush's Thanksgiving Day trip to Iraq in 2003, the details of the president's trip to Kabul were closely held until the very last moment.

Stormy Waters

It takes a lot for President Bush to beckon reporters to his cozy conference room on Air Force One for a chat. But on Tuesday, Bush did just that, calling the press to the front of the plane to defend his administration's approval of a deal that would hand over control of six major U.S. seaports to a company, Dubai Ports World, controlled by the United Arab Emirates.The deal has sent members of Congress into open revolt, including, most notably, the Hill's top two Republicans, Bill Frist and...

Gatekeepers

For two days, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has offered up a wink-and-nod defense over the handling of Dick Cheney's shooting accident. McClellan has never criticized the vice president or his staff directly.

Picking His Pockets

The day after his state of the union address, President George W. Bush was where he loves to be: campaigning onstage in Red State America. Not just any stage, but the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, where he was singing his grand new song about high-tech energy research and thousands of new math teachers.

'I'm With Boehner'

In May 2001, just months into his first term, President George W. Bush invited House Republicans to the White House to negotiate No Child Left Behind—his top legislative priority at the time.

Tale of Two Presidents

The State of the Union was a tale of two presidents. One was gracious about his opponents, seeking common ground for the sake of the nation's future. The other accused his critics of being isolationists, pacifists, protectionists and unpatriotic.

The Bush Battle Plan

For any White House aide, it should have been an easy crowd: a group of pro-Bush business lobbyists at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a short walk from the West Wing.

Fog of Secrecy

National security often operates in a twilight zone of intelligence, eavesdropping and spy satellites. But it's rare to find a national-security debate that lives in a twilight zone as bizarre as the National Security Agency wiretapping affair.

The Oval: The Ties That Bind?

Members of Congress aren't the only ones moving to distance themselves from former superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty Tuesday in a bribery and corruption probe that has sent official Washington into a tailspin.

The President: Now, Time to Dig Out

Two days after his re-election victory, President Bush mapped out a strategy for 2005 to reporters in a White House auditorium. "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital," he said, "and now I intend to spend it." His goals: Social Security, tax reform, the economy, education and the war on terror.

Politics: Plans (and Hopes) for the SOU

The White House is crafting a State of the Union agenda to help it relaunch after a dismal 2005. The focus: a domestic package to shore up GOP support in next year's elections, says a senior adviser who declined to be identified because the discussions are ongoing.

The Vet Strategy

CORRECTION APPENDEDA few days after last year's presidential election, Ladda (Tammy) Duckworth was piloting her helicopter north of Baghdad when she saw a ball of fire at her knees.

Into Dangerous Waters

Once again, it seems to be test-the-boundaries time in East Asia. A Japanese Coast Guard plane discovered a Chinese satellite-tracking vessel 12 miles off Okinawa on Friday and warned the ship away.

Better Luck Next Time

The news only worsened as the day wore on. After a series of private soundings and informal head counts in the Senate, it was clear to Harriet Miers that her chances of sitting on the Supreme Court were increasingly slim.

A New Money Man

When Ben Bernanke left his post at the Federal Reserve last spring to become President George W. Bush's top economic adviser, his work pals didn't give him much of a send-off.

The Gathering Storm

The White House counsel's office is home to some of the best, brightest and busiest conservative lawyers in the country. Among their duties: vetting the responses of Supreme Court nominees as the hopefuls navigate their way through the Senate.

Yet Another Gulf War

The members of the world's most exclusive club gathered in the Oval Office in a state of disbelief. Between them, they could draw on decades of experience of hurricanes and floods, at home and overseas, yet Nos. 41 and 42 could only shake their heads at the severity of Katrina's destruction. "Isn't it unbelievable," former presidents George H.W.

BUSH: RIDE'EM, COWBOY!

During his monthlong departure from D.C., President Bush will cycle without the secrecy that normally surrounds his long weekend rides. The idea: to "demonstrate the importance of physical fitness," says White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.But friends who have joined the biker-in-chief say he's an aggressive cyclist. "That goddam bicycle riding he's doing is crazy stuff," says a family friend who asked not to be identified because he was discussing the president's private life. "He's...

POLITICS: FLAP OVER THE FRIST FLIP

Sen. Bill Frist's decision to break with the president over stem-cell research annoyed Bush's aides. "He's changed his position on this before," said one senior Bush adviser, who declined to be identified so he could speak freely.

The Oval: It's Summer Vacation

What does the president do with his leisure time in Crawford, Texas, when he's not clearing brush or riding his bike? One idea might be an hour or two in front of the TV to watch the new 13-part drama "Over There" on FX.Created by Steven Bochco, whose credits include "NYPD Blue" and "Hill Street Blues," "Over There" is being sold as the first TV drama about the current war in Iraq.

Pages