Political News Summary: Feb. 11

We hate to identify an artist and professional via whose off-spring she is, but in this case, since Pelosi's mom is one of the president's most partisan critics in Congress, having just been elevated to the number two slot in the Democratic House leadership, we feel the need to point out that if the White House feels the need to lash out at the film, they are likely to go off the record and bring up that angle.

The film apparently shows the then-Governor yukking it up on his campaign plane, with no major embarrassment, but a stark contrast with the serious Commander-in-Chief we see now. We suspect the film's biggest impact will be on Al Gore, who will be amazed to see the warm bonhomie that existed on the OTHER plane between candidate and press jackals.

The New York Times , like lots of news organizations and interest groups, wants to plow through then-Governor Bush's official papers to see what kind of Enron stuff there might be. But (we'll donate $5 to the Enron employee fund if Karl Rove tells us we are wrong.), some smart adviser to 43 realized that putting the official papers at the presidential library of 41 would take them out of the Texas open records system, would makes it very easy to get access to them quickly.

The Times looks at the whole process issue: "On Jan. 16, an interim memorandum of understanding was reached … until May 20. That is when … (there will be) a ruling from the Texas attorney general that … will clarify whether Governor Bush, by transferring the records, effectively moved them from under the aegis of the state, and its public information law." ( http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/11/politics/11LIBR.html )

"Few in Austin care to bet how John Cornyn, the attorney general, will come down. The first Republican to occupy his office since Reconstruction and a member of the Bush- Cheney transition team, he ran on a platform of open government."

"Mr. Cornyn declined to be interviewed, but in his inaugural speech on Jan. 13, 1999, he not only thanked his 'friend' Governor Bush but also promised his supporters to 'vigorously enforce the laws requiring that government records and meetings shall be open to public view.'" (Editor's note: Cornyn is running for the Senate, and has already been embroiled in some Enron-related controversy.)

Along the same lines, the Boston Globe looks at the criticism of the administration's penchant for secrecy, and the badly misunderstood Judicial Watch. ( http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/042/nation/Bush_s_stance_on_secrecy_draws_a_number_of_critics+.shtml )

Former Nixon counsel John Dean writes an op-ed that Henry Waxman would be proud of — criticizing Vice President Cheney for blocking the GAO request for energy task force information, and spinning out the motives and political and legal possibilities in a way that that mostly assumes the worst. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/11/opinion/11DEAN.html )

Elizabeth Bumiller continues on her Monday White House Letter roll in the New York Times , this week going beyond the "presidents get good local coverage when they travel" cliché to explain how it's done for maximum effect, by cleverly getting a bunch of former Clinton staffers to reveal the tricks of the trade. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/11/national/11LETT.html )

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