The Note

America Votes holds its "Election Action Day" tomorrow in battleground states.

The politics of national security: the prison controversy:

The New York Times' Bumiller and Schmitt tell readers "Washington was rampant with speculation over whether Mr. Rumsfeld, who was described by aides and friends as embarrassed and angry, would survive." More: "advisers said that Mr. Bush's dressing-down of Mr. Rumsfeld on Wednesday was not merely public relations. The president was uniformly described as furious at his defense secretary, even as his motive for authorizing his staff to leak the scolding to reporters was intensely debated." LINK

After his "Good Morning America" appearance today, ABC News' Kate Snow asked Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, about his colleagues urging Rumsfeld to "take the fall."

"There are great temptations when as we say here in Capitol Hill there is blood in the water and to blanket everybody. I take the very heavy responsibility I have, with a sense of calmness and fairness, and firmness as I'll conduct this hearing, give the Secretary a chance."

Warner also told Snow that he didn't know there were pictures of the alleged abuse at Abu Ghraib prison until last Wednesday, and saw them for the first time on CBS News' "60 Minutes" last week. He also said that the Taguba report "finally reached us here a few days ago."

He went on to say that today's hearing may be the first, but "there will be others."

Warner's GOP colleagues on the committee, Sens. McCain, Inhofe, Roberts, Allard, Sessions, Collins, Ensign, Talent, Chambliss, Graham, Dole, and Cornyn, will be watched closely during their turns in the questioning today.

The Washington Post's Bradley Graham and David Von Drehle focus on the demands for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign, and the divides within the Bush Administration that have gone public. LINK

"Behind the scenes, the White House was taking no action to build support for Rumsfeld in Congress -- because the administration does not think he is in genuine danger, one senior official said. This wait-and-see approach allowed Bush's aides to watch as events unfold. Some Bush advisers weighed the pros and cons of replacing the civilian architect of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny looks at the calls for Rumsfeld's resignation and the President's support for the Secretary of Defense. LINK

The Economist's latest cover calls for Rumsfeld's resignation. "Responsibility for what has occurred needs to be taken -- and to be seen to be taken -- at the highest level too. It is plain what that means." (You'll remember that back in February, the magazine ran a cover on "Why War Would Be Justified.")

The Defense Secretary's staff is described "as in 'full crisis mode' as it helped prepare testimony for the Defense secretary to deliver to the Senate and House Armed Services committees," reports the Washington Times' Scarborough in a piece full of hand-wringing about the Pentagon and its practices and plans. LINK

E.J. Dionne writes that getting rid of Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers isn't enough to fix what's wrong with the system -- the buck stops higher. LINK

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg examines the "partisan finger-pointing" in Congress, spurred by the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. LINK

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