Amazing contrast between today’s NYT and today’s WaPo treatments of Jeb Bush’s wife, Columba. And surprisingly, it’s the NYT that does the puff piece, so puffy as to be a whitewash. And it’s the Post that does the journalism.
In the very long NYT article, you get down about 2/3 of the article — a long way from its front-page start — before you read this sympathetic portrayal of smuggling:
But Mrs. Bush also found the public spotlight searing. Returning to the United States in 1999 from one of her regular trips to Europe, Mrs. Bush lied to customs officials about her overseas purchases: She said she had spent only $500, but receipts were found for $19,000 in clothes and jewelry. A spokesman for Mr. Bush said at the time that she had underreported the goods because she did not want Mr. Bush to know how much she had spent. (Mr. Bush is known among his friends as frugal with his own clothing, at least.)
The episode only increased Mrs. Bush’s reluctance to deal with reporters, and her desire to withdraw from public scrutiny.
And then it’s back to all her charitable works and home making — which, oddly, doesn’t include cooking as the article mentions, literally in passing, “Mr. Bush usually made the family dinners, because she rarely cooks.”
Contrast this to the Post, which leads with this,
In 1999, Columba Bush, the famously private wife of then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was detained and fined by federal customs officials for misrepresenting the amount of clothing and jewelry she had bought while on a solo five-day shopping spree in Paris.
The incident left the Florida first lady deeply mortified and her husband politically chagrined. Jeb Bush said the first lady had misled customs officials because she did not want him to know that she had spent about $19,000 on the trip.
“The embarrassment I felt made me ashamed to face my family and friends,” Columba Bush said in a July 1999 speech to the Central Florida Make-a-Wish Foundation, not long after the incident. “It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
The ordeal did not stop her from spending freely, however. Less than a year later, she took out a loan to buy $42,311.70 worth of jewelry on a single day, according to records filed with the state of Florida by Mayors Jewelers.
That purchase was part of a pattern by Columba Bush of borrowing to buy tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry at a time from the South Florida store over a 14-year period.