When I first interviewed Howard Dean in early 2002, the Iraq war was still a glint in Dick Cheney's eye, nobody had heard of Meetup.com, and Dean's campaign organization numbered all of one. Beyond Vermont, he was virtually unknown: As we walked through downtown Boston, not a soul recognized him. He was also a more simple character then--just another earnest public servant embarking on a long-shot bid for the White House. Dean had been charming: blunt, as always, but in a disarming, comical way. Eventually I wrote a piece touting his strong record and provocative critique of President Bush.
Perhaps the most hopeful sign about the Medicare reform law President Bush signed this week is the fact that it has so many Republicans in a tizzy. "I didn't come here to create the largest expansion of Medicare in history," protests Arizona Representative Jeff Flake. "If we veer off the path of thelimited government of Ronald Reagan, it will be at our peril," warns Indiana Representative Mike Pence. But conservative critics give Bush and his allies far too little credit.
If a pregnant woman wears red underwear with a safety pin tucked into it, will it make her newborn child healthier? No self-respecting physician would say so. But the possibility may be worth considering, thanks to a phenomenon scientists call the "Latino health paradox."As you might suspect, people who don't have regular access to medical care tend to end up sicker than people who do, since it's through regular checkups that you're most likely to catch things like cancer or heart disease before they kill you.
When the history of this presidential campaign is written, one of the best chapters will be about how Howard Dean beat Tim Russert. It was roughly a month ago that Dean appeared as Russert's guest on NBC's "Meet the Press," and, by the time Dean was through absorbing Russert's jabs, he looked decidedly less than presidential. When asked about the balanced-budget amendment and the bipartisan proposal for Medicare drug coverage, Dean seemed to waffle. When asked to name the number of troops serving in the active military, Dean could muster only a vague guess.
Although President Bush has pledged $15 billion to fight global AIDS over the next ten years--an impressively generous sum, assuming his tax cuts don't swallow up the money before it's spent--he clings to a very specific idea about how AIDS-prevention money should be spent: on teaching abstinence. That's why he and his supporters constantly talk up the success of Uganda. Ten years ago, 15 percent of the country's population had AIDS. Today, just 5 percent do. And a major reason for the drop is an AIDS program that conforms to White House notions of propriety.
When Richard Gephardt unveiled his plan for near-universal health coverage in April, one of the sharpest rebukes came from fellow Democratic presidential candidate Bob Graham. "The problem I have with Congressman Gephardt's proposal is we tried that before," Graham said during an appearance on ABC's "This Week." "That is what President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton tried to do in 1993 and 1994.
SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN Just hours before the first bombs fell on Baghdad, the conversation taking place at a suburban Detroit restaurant was laced with ambivalence about the looming conflict. "[Saddam Hussein] is evil," said Dave Nona, an engineer and land developer. "He has caused a lot of hardship and misery to a good country and a good group of people. But that country has suffered a lot, especially in the last twelve years. ...
Given the White House's reputation for political savvy and tight spin control, its very public stumbling over Medicare has been fascinating to watch.
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE Right after New Year's Day, just over a week after his colleagues elected him Senate majority leader, Bill Frist again popped up in the news, not for any political deed but for trying to save the lives of those injured in a gruesome Florida car crash. It sounded too good to be true--except to anyone who knows Frist here in Nashville. The thing that first strikes you when you start talking to friends and former colleagues of the surgeon-turned-senator is that everyone has a different story about his penchant for small acts of kindness.
You didn't have to be a fortune-teller to see that the October meeting of the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention was going to be more controversial than usual. The panel, which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), had been gearing up for a few months to consider whether the federal standard for lead poisoning, set in 1991, should be even tougher.