At the Credit Dauphine site there is a link to the Find-Whatever 'search
engine'. [The search engine hasn't changed since the beginning, but it
can't hurt to become familiar with it and check back occasionally for changes
or newly active hyperlinks.] It isn't a real search engine, but there
is a link on it that looks like this: <0> Click on it to
be taken to the Followers of Rambaldi website.
There is also an active link that goes to this article in the NYTimes.
August 5, 2001
After First 6 Months, Bush Is to Change Focus
By FRANK BRUNI
WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 — Midway through his first year, President Bush is planning a significant change in focus that includes renewed attention to issues like education and immigration and a vigorous discussion of values.
According to interviews with many administration officials, Mr.
Bush wants to
move beyond the conventional Republican agenda of tax cuts and energy production that mainly defined the beginning of his presidency and tackle issues and themes that strike Americans in a more emotional, personal way.
He hopes to put an extra emphasis on what he has called the "compassionate" nature of his conservatism with events and remarks this month, during a summer vacation in Texas, and with the initiatives he pursues when he returns to the White House after Labor Day. His aides, and Republican lawmakers who are up for re-election in 2002, hope that in the process Mr. Bush will improve his and his party's standing with moderates, independents and women.
The president's effort will also include a shift in the staging of his events, as aides look for ways to shove aside lecterns and put Mr. Bush in less formal settings, with small groups of voters. Administration officials and their allies have long bemoaned Mr. Bush's stiffness and, in some cases, clumsiness in front of a microphone, and they have worried that his public appearances do not demonstrate the warmth that they see in him, or his firm grasp of policy.
"We want to let the country get a glimpse of the real George W. Bush," said Nicholas E. Calio, the administration's chief liaison to Congress, adding that the administration also wanted Americans to "see the ease with which he understands and talks about issues."
"We've got to find a way to bring those elements out," Mr. Calio said.
As Mr. Bush pivots from his first six months in office to the rest of a year fraught with political dangers, the important adjustments that he and his aides are deliberating and making partly reflect his movement from old to new items on his legislative and political check list.
But these changes also underscore a recognition by administration officials that while the president is leaving for his summer break today with a seemingly solid job approval rating and several important legislative victories under his belt, he could be doing much better and has numerous political vulnerabilities.
In particular, Mr. Bush continues to battle many Americans' perceptions
of him as
someone who does not necessarily understand their problems or worry as much about them as he does about business. Polls suggest that most voters like and respect him, but that many find him, in a sense, ideologically aloof.
"That's one of the big frustrations," a Republican strategist
with close ties to the
administration said. The strategist then recalled the way Mr. Bush sought to sell himself during the presidential campaign.
"Remember the term `different kind of Republican'?" the strategist said. "They want to get back to that. So far, in fact and in perception, be it the tax cut or the pro-business regulatory moves, Bush is a fairly orthodox Republican."
So he will do less orthodox things over the coming months, his aides and allies say. He will push for a prescription drug benefit for elderly Americans and for a more accommodating approach to illegal immigrants, something he has already begun advocating.
He will talk more about values and possibly promote government initiatives to help parents protect their children from certain cultural influences and to reduce teen pregnancy through abstinence-based programs. He will exhort Americans to pitch in and help those who need it, instead of relying on the government to do so.
And while some of this is traditional music to socially conservative ears, the administration is looking for a broader audience and trying to accomplish more than solidifying its support on the right.
Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, said Mr. Bush had his work cut
out for him in
convincing Americans that he was a champion of their basic concerns, because many voters see his tax cut as a gift to the rich and believe he is sheltering corporations from environmental responsibility.
"He is perceived to be too much on the side of wealthy, big-business, monied interests, and it's really starting to permeate broad assumptions about him," Ms. Lake said. "This fall will be very telling."
One senior administration official said having Mr. Bush address issues like teen pregnancy and adoption would give voters "a glimpse of George Bush the man and the things he cares about" and would focus on "the commonality that he has with the others in the country."
Another official said this values- based discussion, occurring under the rubric "Communities of Character," was a way to "put some emphasis on his commitment to compassionate, activist government."
Mr. Bush will essentially begin doing that this month, with sporadic events during tripsfrom his ranch in Crawford, Tex. His aides have given the month a theme, "Home to the Heartland," and Mr. Bush on Friday offered a preview of how he will seek to position himself.
"We must help disadvantaged Americans find opportunity," he said, foreshadowing what he planned to discuss over coming months. "We must show that our welcoming society values the ideals and contributions of immigrants. We must challenge Americans to be citizens, not spectators, in the renewal of their neighborhoods and their cities."
Mr. Bush and his aides are also bracing for what they acknowledge will be one of the biggest — and perhaps most defining — decisions of his presidency, whether to permit federal financing for research on embryonic stem cells and under what conditions. He said today that he intends to make his decision before Congress returns in September.
In the process, he could reassure or alienate conservatives, and he could strengthen or surrender a claim to the center. Republicans who think Mr. Bush has tilted too far to the right see the stem cell decision as a critical opportunity for him to find a different political equilibrium.
Kenneth M. Duberstein, a former chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan, envisioned a way in which the coming weeks and months could, in his view, work powerfully to Mr. Bush's benefit.