August 20, 2002


A List of Guests Throws Light on the Bush Style (ADAM NAGOURNEY, August 19, 2002, NY Times)
There are many ways to judge how different President Bush is from the man he succeeded in the White House. One is where this president chooses to spend his vacation: on the dry and secluded flatland of his ranch near here, a cultural world away from the white-wine swillers of Martha's Vineyard, as Mr. Bush put it last week in a tart put-down of the island where Bill and Hillary Clinton spent their summers.

But an equally revealing contrast came in the form of a list, issued by the president's aides Friday night, of the 160 friends, family members and supporters who have enjoyed overnight stays in the White House in the first 20 months of this Bush administration.

If Mr. Clinton's overnight list spoke volumes about his presidential style--from the glamour of his guests to the ignominy of the use of the Lincoln Bedroom as a fund-raising tool--the Bush list, like his choice of this sleepy furnace of a town as a getaway spot, suggests just how low-key and unostentatious Mr. Bush has sought to appear. [...]

Mr. Clinton's guests recall ambling evenings filled with an assortment of dignitaries, intellectuals and celebrities, often going late into the night. It was not unusual to see Mr. Clinton lead guests to the White House mess for a late-night snack and for some intense discussion on any one of a number of weighty problems.

By contrast, Mr. Bush keeps his nights short and simple: dinner by 7, coffee on the Truman Balcony and bed by 10, with a decided preference for smaller groups than was common under Mr. Clinton. The evenings are notable, a few of Mr. Bush's guests said today, for their lack of pretension or gravity. Several said that except for the agents outside the room, they could have been having dinner in almost any dining room in America.

"Anyone who puts on airs and tries to get puffed is going to get punctured mighty quickly," David Sibley, a Republican former Texas state senator and a close friend of Mr. Bush's who has stayed both at the White House and at Mr. Bush's ranch here, said by cellphone as he headed for church this morning. "Whether it's his house in Dallas or it's the White House, they are very much the host and hostess."

Overall this is a nice assessment of the very different lifestyle that the Bushs have brought to the White House, but what's with the "sought to appear"?
Posted by Orrin Judd at August 20, 2002 2:03 PM
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