The Note

The Rocky Mountain News' Deborah Frazier reports that Sen. Hatch agrees with Senate Democrats that they have 40 votes against the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. LINK

The politics of gas prices:

Though gas prices have dropped around the country for the fourth week in a row, industry analysts warn that prices will likely jump again as the summer driving season picks up. LINK

The politics of Iraq:

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told the House Armed Services Committee that "the U.S. military could remain in Iraq for years, but with the passage of time it should be able to step back into more of a supporting role for Iraqi security forces," reports the Washington Post's Thomas Ricks. LINK

The New York Times' Thom Shanker Notes "Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said Tuesday that the Pentagon had underestimated the violent tenacity of an insurgency that formed after Baghdad fell, and he acknowledged that the United States may be forced to keep a significant number of troops in Iraq for years to come." LINK

The politics of national security:

"The House overwhelmingly approved a $417 billion spending bill yesterday that gives the Bush administration most of what it wants for the Pentagon in 2005, but a related House report warned that operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are "generating great stresses" on U.S. forces," report the Washington Post's Dan Morgan and Helen Dewar. LINK

The New York Times' David Sanger reports "President Bush has authorized a team of American negotiators to offer North Korea, in talks in Beijing on Thursday, a new but highly conditional set of incentives to give up its nuclear weapons programs the way Libya did late last year." LINK

The Washington Post's Peter Slevin reports the new terrorism statistics released Tuesday by the Bush Administration show that 625 people died in terrorist attacks in 2003, not the 307 first reported. LINK

The New York Times' Steven Weisman reports on the revised terrorist incident count writing, "the State Department announced Tuesday that the number of significant international terrorism episodes rose to 208 last year from 205 in 2002." LINK

Sens. Mike DeWine and John McCain make a case for intervention in Sudan on the Washington Post's op-ed page. LINK

Prison abuse scandal:

Probably not the headline the President was looking for: "Bush legal experts gave OK to torture" LINK

The Washington Post's Mike Allen and Susan Schmidt report that the White House on Tuesday backpedaled from an internal Justice Department opinion outlining a rationale by with torturing terrorism suspects could be legally defensible, "saying it had created the false impression that the government was claiming authority to use interrogation techniques barred by international law." The duo walks through the document dump of memos, detailing the decision-making process and debate within the Administration about how far the U.S. was willing to go in interrogating detainees. LINK

In attempt to quell the controversy over whether the Bush Administration condoned torture as a method of interrogating detainees, President Bush "ordered that all people detained as part of the fight against terrorism should be treated humanely even if the United States considered them not to be protected by the Geneva Conventions," reports the New York Times' Richard Stevenson. LINK

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