Osama's been languishing seven months without a mention in a presidential speech. [...]
The president's silence on bin Laden has served a strategic purpose. Last year, nearly two-thirds of Americans said the war on terrorism could not be called a success without bin Laden's death or capture. That number fell to 44 percent in the March Washington Post/ABC News poll, and the question has since been dropped.
GOP pollster and wordsmith Frank Luntz said mentioning the chief Evil Doer "conjures up questions that nobody can answer," because the government doesn't know if he's still alive. "We're trying to declare a certain moral certainty," Luntz said. "The effort is to remove all gray areas, and this adds a gray area."
Bush, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said in a morning briefing, "is now supporting a bipartisan compromise on homeland security."
Keith Koffler, White House reporter for Congress Daily, was puzzled. "How many Democrats support this bipartisan bill?" he asked. "I'm not aware of any more than one Democrat."
"Well," Fleischer replied, "that certainly does make it bipartisan."
"So that's the new definition of bipartisan?" Koffler inquired.
"I think, frankly, that's the old definition of bipartisan," Fleischer rejoined. "I'd be shocked if all of a sudden the definition of bipartisan changed."
Naming Names, or Not
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