No thanks, Oprah tells Bush

2002-03-30 12:41

Washington - US television celebrity Oprah Winfrey has rebuffed an invitation from the White House to join a US delegation planning to go to Afghanistan to celebrate the return of Afghan girls to school, the Chicago Tribune reported on Saturday.

"Given her responsibility to the show, she isn't adding anything to her calendar," a representative of Winfrey's Chicago-based production company was quoted by the paper as saying. "She was invited, but she respectfully declined."

As the result, the White House postponed the trip that also was to feature some of the administration's top women, including Bush adviser Karen Hughes and possibly national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, the report said.

According to the paper, Bush's political advisers are concerned that some key voting groups, while supportive of the war on terrorism, may be growing weary of the constant talk of killing and brutality.

The 'Oprah strategy' was devised to dampen the images of global violence, the paper said.

White House strategists are particularly worried that women voters may have growing concerns about the constant news of war as crucial midterm elections approach and Bush begins preparing for an expected re-election campaign in 2004, according to the paper.

The Taliban government in Afghanistan, toppled last year with help from a massive US-led offensive, had banned girls from attending school. - AFP