John McCaslin

We got a chuckle out of White House reporters - and even President Bush - being "harassed" by cicadas while waiting to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base this week.

Despite his tight ring of security, the neatly dressed president couldn't escape all the pesky bugs.

"As he ascended the steps of the plane, a lone cicada took a run at (Bush's) head, just missing to the rear at 11:52 a.m.," wrote pool reporter Jim Lakely of The Washington Times. The scribe continued:

"Your pool scampered back into the plane, dodging the scores of cicadas clumsily twirling around us in the wind . . . . Air Force One landed in Youngstown, Ohio, at 12:44 p.m., and there were no cicadas in sight, save one that a presidential press aide smuggled as a stowaway.

"Much fun was had by all during the 10 minute wait for (Bush) to deplane as the poor Maryland immigrant bug was placed on nearly every shoulder and/or head in the pool. (White House Press Secretary) Scott McClellan felt the ugly critter's legs on his neck, too, thanks to a mischevious colleague."


"Were they listening to the same speech?" Editor & Publisher wonders after scanning the editorial pages of the nation's largest newspapers after President Bush's address Monday night on the future of Iraq at the U.S. Army War College.

Editors at USA Today called it "the most detailed and convincing description of the president's Iraq policy to date, as he ticked off steady, incremental gains that are overshadowed by daily news reports of soldiers dying and prisoners abused."

The New York Post opined, "Bush's plan is not just a way forward for Iraq - but for the U.S.-led global war on terror."

The Chicago Sun-Times wrote that the speech "reminded Americans that considerable progress has been made, despite tremendous difficulties, and if success is not quite near, then at least it is in sight in the coming year ...

"It is a shame that the three networks failed to carry his speech, because in a little more than half an hour, he clearly summarized both the enormous task we face and the progress we have made in shepherding that nation from dictatorship to democracy."

The Chicago Tribune agreed: "President Bush made it forcefully clear that neither he, his nation nor its most loyal allies will cut and run."

But, as E&P's Charles Geraci observes: "Despite the praise from some papers, many others viewed the speech as an utter failure."

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.