COVER STORY: Magazine editors cast their ballots for Bush

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The year 2000 was a coming of age for George W. Bush in more ways than one. Not only did he emerge battle-weary but victorious in the presidential election, he also was the big winner of Cover Story's celebrity run-offs. As Time's Person of the Year and one of People's "25 Most Intriguing People of the Year," "Dubya" scored 35 points with 27 covers, including multiple appearances on Time, Newsweek, Business Week, Advocate and tabloids such as Star.

America's next president turned up on the cover of Time 11 times and appeared 6.5 times on the cover of Newsweek-often in the same week. But Mr. Bush couldn't have done it alone. Many of the covers were shared with opponent Vice President Al Gore, who made a valiant effort and came in fourth with 26 points, including a notable appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone. One Newsweek cover even depicted Messrs. Gore and Bush as two halves of the same computer-generated face.

After a harrowing election, magazines turned their coverage to how President-elect Bush will run his presidency. According to Elizabeth Sporkin, the assistant managing editor at People who handles the annual "25 Most Intriguing" special issue, the magazine chose to highligh Mr. Bush because he was the winner. "We felt that ... the person who would be more intriguing would be the one who won the election." She added that the magazine didn't want to choose both candidates because of "overkill."

"It became very clear to us right after that Tuesday in November that whoever prevailed would become Person of the Year," said Time Managing Editor Jim Kelly. "The post-election campaign period said very interesting things about the candidates and how they operated. Bush did what no Republican has done since Ronald Reagan: unite the more conservative Republican wing with the more mainstream Republican wing."

While president-elects often have made it onto Time's cover with the Person (or Man) of the Year title, Mr. Kelly said the honor is not a giveaway. "We did Bill Clinton in '92, Reagan in '80, but we didn't do Bush's dad in '88-it was [Corazon] Aquino." Last year's Cover Story cover girl Jennifer Aniston ran a close race with Bush. The star of NBC's "Friends" scored 33.5 points to grab second place, with covers of US Weekly, People, Entertainment Weekly, Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal. It was a banner year for Ms. Aniston, as she became Mrs. Brad Pitt in a million-dollar July wedding that provided ample fodder for tabloids.

Other famous faces that graced the covers of top magazines included "Charlie's Angels" actresses Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu. The three heavenly stars landed at No. 3 with more than 30 covers between them. Lead features were included in Premiere, InStyle, Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide. Rounding out the top five with a collective 24 points, "Survivor" castaways garnered honors in Time, Newsweek and US Weekly as the first season of the series came to a dramatic close.

As for predictions for next year's Cover Story winner, Catherine Zeta-Jones has a head start on 2001 with her movie "Traffic;" the actress made headlines in 2000 with her marriage extravaganza to Michael Douglas in November, as well as giving birth to baby Dylan Michael Douglas. Then again, there's always "Survivor: The Australian Outback."

Contributing: Jon Fine


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