TODAY SCHEDULE (all times ET)
Secretary Rumsfeld and his colleague appear on Capitol Hill today, before the Senate Armed Services Committee at 11:45 am ET, and the House Armed Services Committee at 3:00 pm ET, and you can expect lots of broadcast and cable coverage all day.
Also to be expected: the prison abuse controversy will be the top story in the news all weekend and into next week. (Quiz for Dan Bartlett: when does that drumbeat end and how?)
Plus: look for the first wave of media polls that will gauge where public opinion is on all this.
There is nothing that President Bush and Vice President Cheney hate more than the Washington culture in which the dominant media teams up with scalp-seeking Democrats to focus on personality and blame, rather than the hard work of solving problems.
Will a (wholly hypothetical) call for resignation by Sen. Warner or Sen. Lugar mean more than a (wholly hypothetical) Chafee or Hagel one? All we know is that the press spotlight will shine bright on the first GOPer to call for Rumsfeld to step down, and there are some likely candidates whose capacities to resist that "honor" are quite limited.
Mostly overshado wed -- but not to be overlooked if you want to keep your eye on the longer-term ball:
1. Today's employment number, showing that the economy added 288,000 new jobs in April, better than the median forecast of 150,000. The top line numbers are boffo for Bush re-elect, and you can be sure they will get bigger play on the presidential bus trip than the Rumsfeld follies on the Hill.
2. Buy yourself a Wall Street Journal for: a. the front-pager on the range of Iraqi decisions the President faces b. the editorial staunchly critical of the President for showing weakness on Iraq and challenging him NOT to fire Rumsfeld c. the best take yet on how John Kerry plans to substantively and symbolically try to clear the essential national security bar with voters
3. Teresa Heinz Kerry's must-see-TV star turn with Barbara Walters on "20/20" tonight -- already getting big advanced play because of the would-be First Lady's comments on abortion. LINK and LINK
4. Another POTUS bus trip to two states (Iowa and Wisconsin) that will be among the most battled over of the battlegrounds.
5. John Kerry's attempt to lay down a centrist marker as he keynotes the Democratic Leadership Council's desert gabfest.
6. AP poll numbers joining Gallups and WSJ/NBC in showing a lot of wrong track and job approval problems for 1600.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld testifies before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees today. Live coverage on ABC.
President Bush resumes his "Yes, America Can" bus tour in Iowa and Wisconsin today. He speaks at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, holds a Q&A session in Prairie du Chien, Wis. and holds a rally at Copeland Baseball Field in LaCrosse, Wis. First Lady Laura Bush introduces the President at all three events. They spend the weekend at Camp David.
Sen. Kerry addresses the National Democratic Leadership Council in Phoenix before heading to Louisiana for a Jambalaya Jamboree at the governor's mansion in Baton Rouge. Tomorrow he delivers the commencement address to Southern University in New Orleans, La, and on Sunday he travels to Pittsburgh and has no public events.
The Senate continues to debate the corporate tax bill.
Veepstakes watch: Sen. John Edwards speaks at the Ohio Democratic Party Dinner tomorrow night.