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News Briefs

Bush Makes a Case for His Brand Of Health Care Reform

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- MILWAUKEE

America’s health care system is “in need of urgent reform,” President Bush said Monday as he laid out an array of principles that he said would provide greater patient choice, reduce costs and expand coverage.

“We must reform health care in America,” Bush said in a speech at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “We must build a modern, innovative health-care system that gives patients more options and fewer orders and strengthens the doctor-patient relationship.”

But the president offered few new specific ideas. Instead, he blamed lawyers for many of the ills in the system.

Most of the principles that he espoused here enjoy broad bipartisan support in Congress, including a patients’ bill of rights, but opinions diverge over how best to achieve those goals.

Among those who leveled a blast at Bush on Monday was Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who was the president’s key congressional ally on education reform.

“For senior citizens, the administration’s budget is just another broken promise. Its commitment to prescription drug coverage under Medicare is less than for new tax breaks, less than the Republican Congress supported last year, and far less than is needed to give the elderly the protection they need,” Kennedy said in a statement issued in Washington.

U.S. Men Sweep Halfpipe Medals

THE WASHINGTON POST -- PARK CITY, UTAH

A new definition of what’s cool about the Winter Olympics was created on a snow-covered Utah mountain slope Monday by a trio of America youngsters, who swept the gold, silver and bronze medals in the men’s halfpipe competition at the 2002 Winter Games.

Through their gravity-defying acrobatics, the U.S. snowboarding team gave the United States its first Winter Games medal sweep in 46 years, doubled the U.S. medal total -- from three to six -- and vaulted their country nearly halfway toward its all-time Winter Games medal total (13) on just Day 4 of these Games.

Afterward, the three described their feat in typical snowboard-ese.

Ross Powers -- at 23 a grizzled veteran of Olympic snowboarding -- won the gold medal, improving on the bronze he took at Nagano in 1998, when snowboarding made its Olympic debut.

“To have the guys up here is just awesome!” Powers said, flanked by silver medalist Danny Kass and bronze medal winner J.J. Thomas. “I’m not dissing on any other countries, but to have the three of us do well today where it really matters is huge for all of us.”

President Keeps Low Profile In Campaign Finance Battle

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- WASHINGTON

As the House battle on campaign finance reform legislation starts Tuesday, frantic Republican leaders are warning their troops that the future strength of the GOP is at risk if the bill passes.

But a key party warrior has been missing from the battlefield: President Bush, who has been keeping a low profile in the House’s pivotal debate on limiting special interest contributions to politics.

Bush is under pressure from House Republican leaders to change his posture and help their effort to kill or cripple the bill. If Bush stays on the sidelines, they warn, the bill is far more likely to pass, aided by substantial defections from Republican ranks.

But Bush has made no secret of his desire to steer clear of an issue that has bedeviled him since it was central to his presidential primary fight against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a leading proponent of the bill coming before the House.