WASHINGTON: Despite the White House's initial efforts to discourage
the media from marking what it called an 'artificial anniversary,' the
White House acquiesced last week and engaged the media for coverage of
President Bush's 100-day anniversary in office.
The 100-day mark has been a staple of American presidencies since
Franklin D. Roosevelt and his famed 100-day plan. Ronald Reagan also had
a 100-day plan, focusing on the economy. Lyndon B. Johnson hailed it as
an effective way to capitalize on an all-too-short honeymoon.
The Bush administration originally tried to stress the first 180 days,
the time by which it hoped to have most of Bush's initiatives set in
motion. The media, however, refused to cooperate, with CNN and MSNBC
both branding news segments with logos reading 'The First 100 Days' soon
after the inauguration.
The president granted a slew of interviews to newspapers, wire services
and morning news shows last week, including The Washington Post, the
Associated Press, Good Morning America, The Early Show and Today.
Talking points were distributed to top Republican loyalists in
Washington, which included historical comparisons of the last five US
presidents' first 100 days and memorable moments from President Bush's
presidency thus far. (A portion of the latter appears in the
The centerpiece of the campaign was a bipartisan luncheon held Sunday -
the actual 100th day - in the White House. President Bush sent
invitations to all 535 members of Congress, and made his push for
bipartisan cooperation a major theme of the week.
Congressional Democrats also got in on the act, appearing on talk shows
and granting interviews on the failures of Bush's first 100 days. In
response, Trent Duffy, press secretary for the Republican National
Committee, mobilized local party officials across the country to meet
with editorial boards and specialty media. Duffy called the Democrats'
actions 'a delightful contrast showing voters that they're still stuck
in partisan bickering while Bush is holding a bipartisan luncheon. I
think that's a powerful contrast.'
BUSH'S FIRST 100 DAYS - WHAT THE GOP IS SAYING
'President Bush is a strong leader who is doing what he said he would
'The president's plain-spoken and straightforward leadership is helping
replace a culture of gridlock and cynicism with a constructive spirit of
bipartisan respect and results'
'The president's disciplined leadership and focus on results has led to
notable early accomplishments'
'The president has shifted the tax cut debate from a rancorous, partisan
debate over IF there will be tax relief to a bipartisan discussion of
HOW MUCH tax relief Americans will have'
'The president has made bipartisan education reform the cornerstone of
'The president put bipartisanship into action by meeting personally with
more members of the opposing party in the opening days of his
Administration than any other modern president'
'On foreign policy, the president has been decisive, measured and
'The president said in his Inaugural Address, 'Civility is not a tactic
or a sentiment. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism.' The
president is keeping his word to bring a new way of thinking to