November 2, 2002
THE ACCIDENTAL PRESIDENT:Getting High on George (Jason Gay, November 2, 2002, NY Observer)
He's a Republican, she's a Democrat. He's a little bit country, she's a little bit rock 'n' roll. He's the son of the 41st President, she's the daughter of the House Democratic whip. But the reason George W. Bush and New York filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi fell for each other-and became, in the Nov. 5 HBO documentary Journeys with George, the most incongruous cinematic couple since Dennis Hopper met Isabella Rossellini-was that they both knew what it meant to be laughed at.
The courtship began a couple years back, when Mr. Bush was the governor of Texas and Ms. Pelosi was a producer riding the Bush campaign plane for NBC News-"keeping the seat warm until Brokaw shows up." The girl had wavy brown hair and purple glasses, talked faster than a kindergartner high on Cocoa Puffs, spouted whatever was on her mind, slyly dated a Newsweek reporter and, finally, numbed by the lifeless grind of canned-s[p]it campaign events, began shooting her own video with a handheld camera.
The guy? He found the loudmouthed girl and her camera amusing, and though he never forgot she was The Enemy, he charmed her back, teased her about "Newsweek man" and served as her confidante when she found herself out of favor with her media colleagues after she herself got entwined in a press leak. In one of Journeys with George's best scenes, Mr. Bush tries to get Ms. Pelosi back in the good graces of her fellow reporters by putting his arm around her after the boys on the airbus shun her. "When they see me talking to you, they are going to act like your friends again," Mr. Bush says. "But these people aren't your friends."
It wasn't Tracy and Hepburn. But there was something.
The critics are undoubtedly right that George W. Bush is too stupid to be the leader of the Free World. But as Frank Bruni showed in his fine campaign memoir, Ambling Into History, the guy has some ability to charm and to relate to people who are considerably different from himself.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 2, 2002 10:41 AM