The Note: Gradual Push-Me-Pullback

Justice Stephen Breyer is scheduled to keynote a Generation Engage event, which will be held in the newly-built Embassy of Sweden on the Potomac River in Washington, DC at 7:30 pm ET.

First Lady Laura Bush speaks at the press preview of the 2006 White House holiday decorations at 10:00 am ET.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) delivers 8:30 pm ET remarks to the National Black Caucus of State Legislators annual conference and reception in Jackson, MS.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) delivers the keynote address at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy's City of Justice Awards Dinner at the Center at Cathedral Plaza in Los Angeles, CA at 9:30 pm ET.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) gives the keynote address at a fundraiser for the Virginia Conservative PAC at a private residence in Alexandria, VA at 5:30.

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) meets with Robert Gates to discuss his nomination to become the next Secretary of Defense and holds a 2:00 pm ET photo op.

At 2:00 pm ET the Kennedy School of Government hosts a conference on energy and national security for the new members of Congress in Cambridge, MA at 2 pm ET.

The 9th Annual American Democracy Conference begins today at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. At 9:00 am ET, Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics delivers opening remarks before James Carville's keynote address. At 9:45 am ET Sabato moderates: "ReDEMption -- Analyzing the 2006 Midterms." The Hotline's Chuck Todd moderates "The 2008 Republican Presidential Contenders" at 11:00 am ET. At 12:15 pm ET, the Hotline's John Mercucio moderates "The 2008 Democratic Presidential Contenders."

Vice President Dick Cheney had a 9:30 am ET scheduled photo opportunity with the 2006 U.S. Nobel Laureates in the White House's Roosevelt Room in Washington, DC.

Politics of Iraq:

The New York Times' Sanger and Cloud report that when the Iraq Study Group presents its report next week, it will call for the gradual pullback of American forces in Iraq. LINK

More from the Washington Post: LINK

Senate Democrats are calling for a special envoy to help Iraq quell the violence in Baghdad, reports the New York Times. LINK

Tom DeFrank's New York Daily News analysis of Maliki snubbing President Bush yesterday includes this: "'Depending on what happens next,' said a gloomy Republican political operative, 'this could be viewed as the week the wheels came off.'" LINK

Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten and Solomon Moore write that yesterday's cancellation "hinted at diplomatic tensions between the two countries." LINK

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank sees a lot of meetings, lots of talk, and even a photo shoot, but no real answers on Iraq. LINK

Vilsack makes it official:

According to excepts of his remarks obtained by the AP's Mike Glover, Gov. Vilsak will say this morning: "I am running for president to replace the America of today with the hope of tomorrow and guarantee every American their birthright -- opportunity." LINK

Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson reports that Gov. Vilsack presented the always dapper Mark "Z." Barabak of the Los Angeles Times with a birthday cake. LINK

Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register discusses Gov. Vilsack's kick-off announcement tour with today's speech being representative of his planned campaign, "speak plainly and say what you believe." LINK

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