Blair lässt Bush für Kerry rechts liegen

--- UK-Premier Tony Blair würde trotz seiner permanenten Treueschwüre an Bush anscheinend doch lieber Kerry im Weißen Haus sehen: Blair would like to see somebody else occupying the White House. Or at least that's the buzz in the political talking classes here. For the record, Blair has struck a strictly neutral pose. He easily deflected a reporter's question about his preference at a news conference last week, saying that the choice of president is for the American people alone. But in a delicate political minuet, an envoy from Blair's left-of-center Labor Party had just been in the United States on a semiprivate visit, meeting with Democratic leaders and activists in New York. The message being delivered was that Labor's traditional friendship with the party was intact and that Blair stood more than ready to cooperate with a Democratic administration should John F. Kerry win the November election. At the same time, Progress magazine — independent, but considered the favored mouthpiece of Blair's "modernist" wing of the Labor Party — came out with a lacerating editorial criticizing President Bush's style and handling of the presidency and concluding that "those who recognize that American leadership is both vital, and a force for good in an uncertain world, will wish John Kerry well on 2 November."