COMMENTS: Poodle Off the Leash

It was not quite an obituary or even an end of an era--Tony Blair will hold office in Britain for six more weeks--but all three networks took the prime minister's announcement of a date for his resignation as an opportunity to survey Blair's decade in office. "I think that is long enough for me," Blair declared, "but more especially for the country." All three reporters quoted the nickname he earned for his dogged support for the President's war in Iraq: Bush's Poodle.

He was just 43 when he was first elected Britain's leader. NBC's Keith Miller recalled him as a "rock star politician" and the "face of Cool Britannia." ABC's David Wright (subscription required) credited his handling of the death of Princess Diana as his political coming of age. CBS' Elizabeth Palmer saw his role as an "idealist with a conscience" standing up to Slobodan Milosevic over Kosovo as a precursor to his unpopular decision to send troops to Iraq. Blair is only 53 now, Wright added, "far too young to retire" but after ten years, Palmer observed "much of Britain has fallen out of love with its prime minister."


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