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Trumping Holiday Cheer?

The president's appearance in TV ads urging Americans to get on planes and return to "normal activities" shows how much the Bush administration wants to reassure Americans of their security. Yet projecting images of life as usual remains removed from actually living life as usual in the nation's capital.

Annual tours of the holiday-decorated White House (see story, page 2) have been canceled, and despite the building being an obvious terrorist target, the effect of shutting down the tours ripples negatively across Washington, with tourism greatly reduced.

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In a hopeful sign, the lighting of the national Christmas tree, which was to be a ticket-only event, now includes the public - but only after passing through metal detectors. Public tours of the Capitol will resume, but with more limited access. Road restrictions, National Guard troops around Capitol Hill, and the continued closure of Pennsylvania Avenue still provide would-be visitors with a less-than-welcome picture.