Fast Chat: Close Listener

Chris Matthews tends to show little patience for politicians on TV, but as he writes in his new book, "Life's a Campaign," he's learned a lot from them. One of the big lessons? The power of listening. NEWSWEEK's Susannah Meadows took note. I would not have expected you, the hostus interruptus of " Hardball, " to have an appreciation for listening.It was the way Bill Clinton got girls, and he taught it to his wife as a way to get...

How Hillary Won Over the Health-Care Industry

She was persona non grata in the early 1990s, when the then-first lady's dramatic health-care reform package went down. These days Hillary Clinton is winning raves among health-care-industry groups—and attracting their campaign dollars.

Evangelicals and the Vitter Effect

By now, Washington has grown accustomed to its sex scandals. In the capital, obsessed with Iraq and the coming presidential election, the news that Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter\'s phone number had turned up in possession of a D.C. escort service created a relatively modest stir. The press dutifully pointed out Vitter\'s hypocrisy; a devout Catholic who has been an outspoken moralist, he was a vocal crusader for President Clinton\'s impeachment during the Monica Lewinsky scandal,...

What Really Happened That Night at Duke

They spent a year accused of kidnapping, assault and rape. Now, though, the three Duke lacrosse players were told they were 'innocent.' The inside story of the infamous evening.

Why Can\'t Mike Huckabee Catch Fire?

Mike Huckabee is in an unusual situation for a politician. He doesn\'t have to pander to his base. A former Southern Baptist preacher, he starts his 2008 presidential bid well to the right of his party\'s most serious contenders. His long-held pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-gay marriage agenda would seem to be music to the ears of conservatives unhappy with the fact that social-issue moderates like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and (at least until recently) Mitt Romney are hogging the headlines. So...

Hillary's Religious Roots

If Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush have anything in common, it is a deeply rooted wariness of outsiders. Both the president and the woman who hopes to succeed him have always relied on a small, closed circle of friends and advisers who have been with them for years. So it's not surprising that there are so many familiar faces on Clinton's new campaign team. Ad maker Mandy Grunwald, pollster Mark Penn, strategist Ann Lewis and others are loyalists from Bill Clinton's White House.There is...

Return To The Top

Serena Williams proved Friday night what we already knew: That when she\'s playing her best, no one can touch her. In a breathtaking performance, she stomped on, whipped, flogged—the thesaurus sure is fun in moments like these—the No. 1-ranked Maria Sharapova to win the Australian Open . Unseeded and ranked 81 at the start of the tournament, Serena\'s own number zoomed up to 14 by its thrilling end. Sharapova retains the top slot in the computer, but last night was its own verdict.It\'s...

The Duke Case: Standing Down

The three Duke lacrosse defendants just got more good news. District Attorney Mike Nifong, who'd once called them hooligans, has asked to be recused from the case, suggesting a special prosecutor be appointed to take over.The pressure on Nifong to step down has been building. In December the state bar accused him of disparaging the defendants and misleading the public about evidence. Then the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys--his own colleagues--urged Nifong to recuse himself "in...

In Scandal's Shadow

Last April, Duke lacrosse star Reade Seligmann huddled with his dad at a Durham, N.C., law firm. A stripper hired to perform at a team party on March 13 claimed several players raped her. In a lineup, she'd identified three of them as her alleged assailants. Seligmann now awaited a call from the prosecutor that would tell him if he was one of the players she'd singled out. He felt certain he would be cleared. The call came. Reade, 20, was being indicted for first-degree rape, kidnapping and...

Shattering The Quiet

I was one of the reporters who converged on the peaceful Pennsylvania countryside after the shooting of 10 Amish girls. When there's a tragedy, journalists struggle to report what happened while still respecting the feelings of a grieving family. But as a hundred news trucks choked the small roads, the contest between public interest and privacy was thrown into high relief. The Amish boarded up the schoolhouse windows to keep our greedy eyes from the space where their children had been lost....

Coach Danowski

They'd been favored to win the national championship last year, before they hired two strippers and a scandal was born. After sitting out the end of last season, the Duke Lacrosse team returned this fall to a new coach and 6:30 a.m. practices. John Danowski talked with Susannah Meadows about his team.I'd hug guys if they made a mistake. They didn't like it. They weren't used to that. But when I was getting frustrated with some of the guys who weren't going to make the team, this kid walked by...

Lara Logan

Lara logan has spent the last five years reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan. Before that, she was in Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Kosovo, the West Bank and Gaza, and Burundi during the coup. On a recent morning in New York, just back from Baghdad, she cheerfully ticks off all the wars she's covered, like a college kid proud of maxing out her Eurail pass. She even cracks up talking about the time she drove over an explosive device in Afghanistan, got tossed out of the truck and landed in the...

Botched

Chuck Schumer got right to the point. On Thursday afternoon, the New York Senator, who\'s leading the Democrats\' efforts to win back the Senate, called John Kerry and let him have it. The Massachussetts Senator\'s supposed \"botched joke\" about the president's handling of Iraq had become a feast for Republicans—sucking up tons of airtime and knocking Democrats off message in the crucial remaining days before the midterm election. Kerry\'s attempts to fight back, by calling the Republicans...

Tragedy In Amish Country

In his years as a taxi driver, Bob Potts had driven his "FriendlyTransportation" cab all around his home of Lancaster County, Pa. The Amish weren't among his regular customers. When they couldn't walk, they usually took their familiar horse-drawn buggies, which Potts often passed on the roadside. In some ways, the Amish and non-Amish in the area were neighbors in proximity only. They lived alongside one another, but two centuries apart. The Amish, whose beliefs require them to live simply,...

Outpouring

Since the Oct. 2 shooting of 10 Amish schoolgirls, sympathetic people have responded with an outpouring of donations to help the community in Nickel Mines, Pa., pay hospital bills and for a new school. Since last week, three Mennonite groups with close ties to the Amish have been receiving those donations. Now the Nickel Mines Accountability Committee has been organized to administer the money. Herman Bontrager, normally the CEO of Goodville Mutual Insurance Company, is a volunteer spokesman...

Murder on Their Minds

For months Eric Harris had been writing in his journal about murdering all the people who'd ever snubbed him. "Everyone is always making fun of me because of how I look ... well I will get you all back," he wrote five months before his killing spree through Columbine High School. A week later, he wrote about how hard it was going to be to wait until April to get his revenge. But then, for a brief moment, he considered calling off his plan. "If people would give me more compliments, all of this...

Doubts About Duke

The order had come, signed by a judge, requiring that the Duke lacrosse team give DNA samples. The prosecutor was trying to identify the three players who had allegedly raped an exotic dancer at the house rented by three of the team's co-captains on the night of March 13-14. All 47 players had gathered in a classroom near the lacrosse field to hear their lawyer, Bob Ekstrand, tell them what they needed to do. Ekstrand was about to tell the players that they could appeal the order as...

Exclusive: Battle Lines Are Drawn Over Duke Rape Charge

Attorneys for members of the Duke University lacrosse team are presenting their fullest accounting yet of what happened the night a stripper says three players raped her. The timeline--illuminated by photos from one partygoer's digital camera that NEWSWEEK has viewed--offers a preview of the defense strategy should indictments come as expected early this week.At 11:02 p.m. on March 13, a group of partygoers, sitting on couches around the edge of the room awaiting the arrival of two strippers,...

A Troubled Spring at Duke

A few--but only a few--facts are clear and uncontested. On the night of March 13, members of the Duke University lacrosse team, at the time ranked second in the nation, crowded into a small house rented by three of their captains to watch two exotic dancers perform. What happened next is very much a matter of dispute. There are at least two different scenarios, with vastly different implications for everyone involved.According to the affidavit of a Durham, N.C., police officer, one of the...

Politics: Using Sign Language

Though K. T. McFarland is poised to jump into the New York Senate race, she says she's not ready yet to discuss the issues or the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. She doesn't have to: the naval relics on her kitchen wall--displayed last week on the front page of The New York Times--do the talking for her, artfully signaling to pro-military voters that she's one of them. And challenging Clinton's defense resume is exactly how Republicans hope to sap her presidential candidacy. A decoding...

Fast Chat: Thank You, Academy

Long before he was nominated for best director for "Capote," Bennett Miller made another film about an oddball writer with a squeaky voice. Released in 1998, "The Cruise" is a documentary tribute to Timothy (Speed) Levitch, an eccentric Manhattan bus-tour guide who speaks in florid poetry about the city that enthralls him. With its rich footage of New York, including the World Trade Center, the small cult film practically disappeared after 9/11. But the success of "Capote" has chest-pumped...

Halfway To Heaven

The 5,000-acre tomato field in southwestern Florida sure doesn't look like heaven. Bulldozers scrape the land flat while clusters of Porta Pottis signal an undeniable earthiness. But soon a massive cathedral will rise from this barren spot. Reaching 100 feet in the air behind a 65-foot crucifix, the Oratory will anchor Ave Maria, a whole new town and Roman Catholic university 30 miles east of Naples. Ground was officially broken last week, and the plan is to build 11,000 homes--likely drawing...

Cut, Thrust and Christ

When you believe the end of the world is coming, you learn to talk fast. On a Friday afternoon the debate team from Liberty University, Jerry Falwell's fundamentalist Baptist college, is madly rehearsing for the tournament about to begin. This year's topic: should the United States increase diplomatic and economic pressure on China. They may just be practicing, but you wouldn't know it from the menacing mosquito-buzz rising as all 20 debaters read their speeches at once, as fast as they can....

Where's the Wit?

The failure of Ana Marie Cox's first novel, "Dog Days," starts at the bottom, with the heroine's shoes. In the opening scene, Melanie Thorton, a low-level presidential campaign staffer, wears a pair of "strappy" Charles David sandals with a heel "thin and wide, like an upright graham cracker." The shoes, we are told, cost $350, and were a reward she gave herself though they are now causing her pain.If you're trying to knock-off "Sex and the City"--which Cox desperately is, with her single women...

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