Reopening Lady Liberty

May 8, 2009 2:05:07 PM PDT
So they're going to open the crown of the Statue of Liberty on July 4.

It's a nice gesture by the Obama Administration. But don't for a second think it's not a whole lot more than that. It's another in a long line of overt and subtle repudiations of Bush Administration mentality. Shut down Guantanamo, open up Lady Liberty.

Don't think they're not connected.

Anyway, the announcement came as a surprise. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, in town ostensibly to announce improvements on Ellis Island, instead appeared on another network's show and broke the news.

Seems a strange announcement to give a network an exclusive, but I suspect I'd feel differently if ABC's Good Morning America had gotten it. So I won't harp on that issue.

But you gotta feel a twinge of sympathy for Congressman Anthony Weiner of Brooklyn, who has led the charge to re-open the Statue to full public access. (The base was reopened several years ago.) Weiner was on his way to Ellis Island when he heard about the crown re-opening.

Was it a diss to the once-potential rival of Mayor Bloomberg? Especially during a week when the Mayor shows up at the White House with - of all people - Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich to meet with Pres. Obama about education reform?

I'm trying not to be cynical here, because the President has said he's not going to endorse anyone in the Mayoral election - even though the current Mayor is not a Democrat, and in fact, left the party to become a Republican so he could win City Hall in 2001. But for the second time in less than a month the President may arguably be playing politics with the Statue of Liberty. (The infamous, $328,000 flyover photo op with Air Force One was the first time. Oh, and by the way, the White House staffer responsible for it resigned today.)

It's a political blip, to be sure. But it's worth noting.

As for the re-opening - it might be advisable to line up early, because the wait is likely to take a while. Ten people at a time is the limit - and each group of 10 will be allowed in for only 15 or 20 minutes. They figure 30 people an hour might be able to tour the crown. Oh, and a park ranger will have to be with the group at all times.

We can hear it now, for those waiting: "Mommy, are we there yet?"

We'll have the latest on the re-opening, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, he's baaaaack. And it's the sound worth waiting for: Will there be thunderous boos or just normal jeers for Alex Rodriguez when he plays in his first Major League Baseball game of 2009 down in Baltimore, when the Yankees play the Orioles. The Manny Ramirez drug use scandal and his 50-game suspension is not taking the spotlight off A-Rod and his own steroid use; if anything, it's re-igniting the controversy surrounding the Yankees Third Baseman.

How will he react? We'll see. His team could certainly use his bat. Scott Clark leads our coverage tonight, and our Jeff Pegues is at Camden Yards for A-Rod's return, following hip surgery earlier this spring.

Did you see what the House in Tennessee approved today? Folks who have gun permits will be allowed to bring their weapons into bars and restaurants that serve booze.

I'm cancelling my trip to Nashville.

Also at 11, Tappy Phillips and 7 On Your Side have quite a confrontation with a local businessman who has been garnishing the wages of a worker who owes child support. Just one problem. The employer has been keeping the money. Charming.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather weekend forecast. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.