The return of Jeff Gannon

Published February 23, 2005 2:18PM (EST)

We had mixed feelings when we read last week that Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert was done talking to the press. On the one hand, we'd heard quite enough from him. On the other, his every utterance had that sort of can't-help-but-look attraction of a car accident on the side of the road.

Gannon/Guckert has made it easy on us: He's back. A week ago, he said he had talked to his lawyers and decided not to say anything further in the press. Now he says he's talked to a publicist about how to get the "widest audience possible" to hear his story.

In a new interview with Editor & Publisher, Gannon/Guckert says he hopes to be back at the White House soon -- this time as a trophy guest of someone or other at the April 30 White House Correspondents' Dinner. "I have every intention of attending this year's [dinner]," Gannon/Guckert said. "Dont you think I could? I'm sure someone is going to ask me or offer me the opportunity to go. It is a great publicity event."

Controversial guests are part of the game at the Correspondents' Dinner; Paula Jones and Betty Currie were both guests -- of Insight magazine and the Washington Post, respectively -- at the 1998 dinner. Gannon/Guckert told E&P that he has attended two previous Correspondents' Dinners, and he boasted of meeting John Kerry, Al Franken and cast members from "The West Wing" at them. Gannon/Guckert is not a member of the White House Correspondents Association, which sponsors the dinner, so he couldn't have gone to the dinners unless someone invited him. He wouldn't tell E&P who had that honor.

When he's not checking his mailbox for an invitation to this year's dinner, Gannon/Guckert says he's working on a journal about his White House experience and eyeing a career as a public speaker. He's also thinking about a return -- if you can call it that -- to journalism. "I still think, despite the bad things being said about me, I am a journalist," Gannon/Guckert told E&P. "I have been one for two years and have written about 500 articles. I paid a big price for the privilege to call myself a journalist."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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