The Politics Junkie: Which Bush Were You Watching?

TIME.com's Frank Pellegrini surveys politics in the papers as the GOP leaves Philly and goes away

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Leading with Bush's acceptance speech was easy for the gang of four — choosing the important part was hard. NYT's R. W. Apple plays to our apathy: "Introducing himself to a nation that barely knows him..." Story cedes W. his "hard choices" message, but snarks him on character attacks: "Mr. Bush has been successively moderate, conservative and moderate again, as the imperatives of the nominating campaign dictated." WP's Dan Balz prefers the civility angle: "a promise to 'change the tone of Washington.'"

USAT lede, as ever, stays out of it: "George W. Bush reached for the soaring lyricism of a poet and the earthbound values of the Texas desert..." Not so clunky yourself, Judy Keen. Mentions nicely that Gore camp bashed speech hours before it began. So much for "embargoed till delivery." WSJ's Jackie Calmes does WP with a macho tweak: "... vowed to be 'a president with a purpose' and to seize a 'unique moment' of prosperity..." Do we have a winner? You decide. Talk to you in October.

Sidekicks

NYT goes with a heart-cooling tale of campaign finance. "G.M., the nation's largest automaker, demonstrated that it had hardly abandoned the campaign finance arena, finding different ways to curry favor with current — and possibly future — Republican leaders." The palms they are a greasin'.

WP follows GOP to the train station with analysis: Republicans emerged from their national convention tonight believing that they can fight — and win — the November election on the Democrats' turf.

USAT still gazing rafterward with the scenic route: "Some 150,000 red, white and blue balloons clung to the ceiling of the First Union Center, waiting to float down in glorious celebration Thursday night..." The delegates, it boldly declares, are "pumped." Sort of a WP for the short-sighted.

WSJ finds short-timer on Gore's short list. Meet John Edwards, Gore charmer.

Cry for Attention

With the announce five days away, everybody's got list of six shortlisters and a "wild card" for Al's veep, teased by Gore himself and blanks filled in by "Democratic officials." So much for private and dignified, and so much for the wild speculation we love so much. Maybe he's going for a weekend "Survivor" thing.

SPOILER AHEAD: Ventura's not on it. The seven Gwarves:

Bob Kerry
Joe Lieberman
John Edwards
Evan Bayh
Dick Gephardt
Jeanne Shaheen
Colleen

NYT rules out Shaheen and Gephardt; WP gives Edwards, Kerry, Lieberman (yes, that's only alphabetical order) the front-run, as does USAT. WSJ has same top three in Edwards profile, and digs Gore (see above) for his own porous consideration process: "Not on the list are such widely rumored possibilities as Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and former Sen. Democratic Leader George Mitchell of Maine." Grab a bath and a meal, guys, and see you on "The Early Show."

The announcement, by the way, was in North Carolina.

Geographical Red Meat

In WSJ: Texans Love Texas, but Others Don't, and That Could Hurt Bush in Election

"They don't mind New York, but they don't want Texas." —David Hill, a Republican pollster in Houston, says of his clients. "When I start talking, people are peeking under the table to see if I have shoes on."

"It's not prejudice. It's envy," sniffs Texas Republican from North Dakota Dick Armey.

"They have to do something about it. They have to remind people that Texas is not, no pun intended, the bush leagues." —one GOP official, speaking of the Bush advisers.

"Don't mess with Texas." —new nominee George W. Bush

Jerry Ford, by the way, is getting better. I still say he looks great for 87.

Best Lede — Where Have You Gone, Dana Milbank?

WP's Kevin Merida on GOP diversity: "So it's over."

Well said.

"... when a journalist turns into a politics junkie he will sooner or later start raving and babbling in print about things that only a person who has Been There can possibly understand." —Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72