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"'Whew"' Week in Washington Print E-mail
by Carolyn Barta    Sat, Oct 29, 2005, 01:18 PM
226177-199286-thumbnail.jpgIt's been an interesting week to be in the nation's capital. One political correspondent called it "Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue" -- the worse week of George W. Bush's political career, what with the Harriet Miers withdrawal and Scooter Libby indictment right after the U.S. passed the 2,000 casualty mark in Iraq. And all of this not long after major flubs on Katrina response. What's going on here?
Analysts say these kinds of political problems typically come in second administrations, i.e. Reagan had Iran-Contra and Clinton had the Monica Lewinski scandal during their second terms. One reason they occur is because second-term presidents and their staffs become insolated and arrogant.  That's why you're hearing so much TV talk about the need for "fresh people"in the administration as a way to rejuvenate.
Recall that Reagan sunk to a 37 percent approval rating after Iran-Contra but went out of office with a high level of popularity. What can Bush do to bounce back? Some say he's following the model set by Clinton after his impeachment scandal. That strategy: Focus on big issues and talk about the job he still has to do. So Bush was in Virginia yesterday delivering a speech to rally support for the war in Iraq, and this weekend is at Camp David trying to come up with his next Supreme Court nominee.
People tend to underestimate George W. Bush. His political obituary shouldn't be written yet. Besides, after the media knocks somebody out, the next series of stories almost invaribly is about the recovery.
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