The Note: The Note



There are most certainly some grand short- and long-term lessons to be drawn from (and implications that will derive from) the NARAL ad withdrawal, the Abramoff indictment, the Los Angeles Times Schwarzenegger story, and the multiple "The Situation Room" showings of yesterday's newsless interview with Bill Clinton.

But more most certainly, today is likely to be about Casey Sheehan and George Casey.

The war in Iraq is bigger than all of those things listed in Paragraph One, and wars don't take summer vacations.

There is really only one must-read newspaper story, today, and it is Peter Baker's tour de force news analysis piece on the politics of the war in the Washington Post. LINK

There is so much important analysis and reporting in this piece, we do not dare quote very much, lest you be tempted not to read it in full.

But check out this: "Pentagon plans call for increasing the 17-brigade U.S. troop presence this fall by a brigade or two, or about 10,000 troops, before bringing it down to about 15 brigades next spring and possibly to about 12 brigades by the end of 2006, according to officers familiar with the planning. The near-term increase would cover the constitutional referendum scheduled for Oct. 15 and national elections set for Dec. 15, a period in which U.S. military authorities expect violence to intensify, much as it did during the run-up to January's interim elections."

Seriously: read the whole thing. Then decide in your mind if you think President Bush will ever meet with Cindy Sheehan; then decide in your mind if you think the journalists in Crawford want the President to meet with her; then do some Google work to get a sense of the lay of the land in the Waco Metroplex; and then, and only then, focus on the events of the day there.

President Bush heads a couple of miles down the road today from his ranch to Broken Spoke Ranch. He will host the annual RNC appreciation luncheon/fundraiser for big (in terms of contributions, not girth) donors. Lunch is scheduled to get underway at 1:00 pm ET and it is closed to the press.

ABC News' Jon Garcia reports, "This year the event will raise more than $2 million from about 230 folks. All of those invited attendees have given more than $25,000 to the RNC this year and will include some Pioneers and Rangers. RNC says Chairman Ken Mehlman will introduce the president, who will attend without First Lady Laura Bush. Karl Rove will attend but is not expected to speak and it's unclear if Secretary of State Rice... will attend."

Garcia also points out that "the quickest, most direct, and usual route from Bush's ranch to the Broken Spoke will take the motorcade right by the makeshift tent city started by Cindy Sheehan and her supporters. We expect Bush to use the usual route, but we are keeping in mind there are alternate routes to avoid the drive by."

In other news, at 10:30 am ET, the group heading up the political opposition to President Bush's Social Security reform efforts, Americans United to Protect Social Security, holds a Washington, DC ceremony to kick off nationwide celebrations of the 70th anniversary of Social Security. FDR grandson James Roosevelt will be on hand for the festivities.

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