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Pat Buchanan and a federal prison

October 28. 2012 6:45PM

George McGovern once brought red roses to a cool lady.

I was reminded of this in reading of the death last week of the former U.S. senator and presidential candidate.

McGovern was poles apart from Union Leader Publisher William Loeb, although the latter's poking of candidate Ed Muskie in 1972 in New Hampshire actually helped McGovern win the Democrats' nomination.

Loeb's advice to readers in the general election that year, Nixon v. McGovern, was: Hold your nose and vote for Nixon.

Nackey Loeb was as strong a conservative as her late husband, but when McGovern ran again, in 1984, he tried a soft approach, asking Mrs. Loeb if he could come visit her at the newspaper. He showed up with bouquet in hand and the two seemed to thoroughly enjoy each other's company.

Mrs. Loeb was like that. As a relative of hers remarked last week, upon the passing of Nackey's brother, Robert Scripps, he was 'a lot like his sister; he was modest and unassuming, had a great sense of humor and cared deeply about a free and independent press.'

That was certainly Mrs. Loeb. The school she founded, the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, Inc., has helped students of all ages gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for a free press.

The school will bestow First Amendment honors at its annual fundraising event next month. Columnist and TV commentator Pat Buchanan, who helped Nixon and later Ronald Reagan capture the White House, will be the featured speaker at the Thursday, Nov. 29, program at the Capital Center for the Arts in Concord. See for more information.

Not everyone appreciates the free flow of information that responsible news media help to promote.

Up in Berlin two weeks ago, the federal government announced a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new federal prison.

Politicians like U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Charlie Bass joined with Charles Samuels Jr., the boss of the federal prison bureau. But the public wasn't invited and neither was the news media allowed in. They were kept in a separate room and given a hand-out release and photo.

Reporters were told it is against federal 'policy' to let the press cover a publicly funded reception for a publicly funded prison.

Shaheen and Bass at least spoke with the media after the event, but Prison Boss Samuels couldn't be bothered to do so.

Questions come to mind:

Why announce a ribbon-cutting ceremony and then close it?

Is a ribbon-cutting even the right message for a prison? Wouldn't a door-locking be more fitting?

Write to Joe McQuaid at

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