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Beirut Baby Clothes May Lead Post to Pulitzer

Barring a cataclysmic event, the Post’s Dana Priest and Anne Hull should walk away with next year’s Pulitzer Prize in public service for their series on conditions at DC’s Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The paper’s fortunes in this year’s Pulitzer awards, to be announced this month, are less certain.

Anthony Shadid may win another foreign-reporting award for his coverage of the Lebanon war. He told the grisly story from global politics to the baby clothes left after a Beirut bombing. He’s up against Wall Street Journal stories from China and LA Times coverage of Iraq.

The public-service award could go to a Post trio led by reporter Dan Morgan for “Harvesting Cash,” a series on farm subsidies. Gilbert Gaul and Sarah Cohen worked with him.

The Post has a big stable of columnists, and many have been nominated for the commentary prize over the years. They include David Ignatius for his op-ed pieces on international affairs, Marc Fisher for his Metro columns, and Gene Robinson for his columns on politics and race. None seems to have made the cut this year.

Word from inside the Pulitzer committee is that Ruth Marcus is among three finalists. Marcus covered the White House for the Post in the 1990s, then moved to the editorial page. Her columns, often written from a female perspective, range from her fascination with Anna Nicole Smith to her frustration with President Bush to her takes on parenting.

In “First Family Shakeup?” Marcus wrote a “letter” to Jenna and Barbara Bush from their father. The letter lists the foibles that landed them in the news, then explains why Bush has decided “to make a change in First Daughters.”

Jenna and Barbara are being replaced by their predecessor. ”Chelsea has graciously agreed to start on Friday,” the letter says.

Marcus is likely up against Joe Nocera of the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker.

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