The Note





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.

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

The Washington Times' Curl and Dinan say "calls for the ouster of Mr. Rumsfeld are likely to die quickly in the Republican-controlled Congress." LINK

Dueling world views on display on this morn's editorial pages:

The New York Times' editorial board thinks its time for Rumsfeld to go, writing "Mr. Bush should start showing the state of his own heart by demanding the resignation of his secretary of defense." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's editorial board chastises the White House for leaking the President's Rumsfeld reprimand, writing "the calculated leak amounted to putting blood in the water." You must read the last paragraph, which closes: "if Mr. Bush fires Mr. Rumsfeld, the voters may well conclude it is time to fire him."

The Washington Post's Mike Allen examines President Bush's apology yesterday, Noting that "A wide variety of officials in the administration had advised Bush to apologize on Wednesday when he gave interviews to two Arab television channels and were puzzled when he did not, senior U.S. officials said. An apology had been recommended in the talking points Bush received from the State Department and elsewhere, the officials said. Senior administration aides then made a push overnight for him to say he was sorry during his news conference with Abdullah, the officials said." LINK

USA Today's Bill Nichols has bullet points masterfully mapping out all of the moving parts on the apology and the calls for Rumsfeld's resignation. LINK

The Los Angeles Times reports from Baghdad that the President's apology has done little "to restore America's tattered credibility over the prisoner abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib detention facility." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Hook examines the President's leadership style and finds "some critics argue that his administration's tightly held process of setting and sticking by policy...has contributed to some of the problems it faces after the end of major combat in Iraq." Note the GOP Hagel, Kolbe, Shays comments at bottom. LINK

All three men are regular contenders for the LaHood Award, and have a good shot at getting Karl Rove's vote if they keep it up!

Attorney General John Ashcroft said yesterday that the Justice Department can prosecute civilian contractors for the killing or abuse of military detainees in Iraq, report the Washington Post's Dan Eggen and Walter Pincus. Not only can non-military and former military personnel face charges, Ashcroft decided, but also civilian contractors who commit crimes while working on behalf of the U.S. military can be prosecuted. LINK

The Washington Post's Robin Wright writes that the U.S.' moral high ground, both in the Middle East and with strategic allies, has been lost. LINK

The Washington Times' de Borchgrave says the photos were the last straw for International Fixer Extraordinaire Margaret Tutwiler, who is headed to the NYSE. LINK

Charles Krauthammer argues that in the midst of all the things the war on terror is about, there's one that's routinely overlooked: sex. LINK

The economy:

ABC News' Ramona Schindelheim reports that April jobs report showed strong job gains on top of even stronger March numbers. The economy added 288,000 new jobs in April, better than the median forecast of 150,000.

The March number was revised upward to 375,000 from 308,000 -- a surprise, given that past numbers are usually revised downward. In addition, Schindelheim Notes, the March revision shows the first gain in manufacturing jobs since June 2000.

More Schindelheim: Tallied up, the economy has added 1.1 million jobs since August 2003. The unemployment is at 5.6 percent, down only slightly from 5.7 percent -- the numbers have remained in this general vicinity since December. She cautions, however, that As always, "the headline numbers don't tell the whole story. There are still 1.6 million fewer jobs than March 2001, the start of the recession."

Alan Greenspan warned Thursday that "rising federal deficits may be the biggest threat to the nation's longterm economic stability," reports the New York Times' Andrews, who Notes the comments suggested growing alarm about the budget deficit, which is likely to run more than $400 billion this year and is widely expected to remain high even though tax revenues are now rising because of faster economic growth." (And somehow the word "'opaque'" isn't so reassuring...) LINK

The politics of Iraq:

The Wall Street Journal trio of Robbins, Calmes and Jaffe look at the "stark" personal, diplomatic and military questions facing President Bush and his Iraq policy, from increasing U.N. involvement to softening the military's image to deciding whether Rumsfeld should stay. Note Rumsfeld-watch here, too: "White House aides are livid over the Pentagon's handling of the prison abuses. Chief political adviser Karl Rove privately complained that Mr. Bush was 'blindsided,' aides said."

The New York Times reports "the military's reliance on civilians to serve as interrogators and translators in Iraq is now so great that many people are being sent abroad without complete background investigations or full qualifications for the positions, government officials and industry experts say." LINK

Tommy Franks talks about the war during a Vanity Fair fest, reports the New York Daily News. LINK

The Halliburton audit is growing, reports Reuters. LINK

The Detroit News' Maureen Feighan reports that there are some Spartans not happy about Dr. Rice's commencement speech today in East Lansing, Mich. LINK

The politics of national security: the new $25 billion request:

"Senior lawmakers in both parties, frustrated by several years of Pentagon secrecy about wartime spending, indicated yesterday that they will not give the Bush administration a free hand in the use of a new $25 billion installment for the war in Iraq," reports the Washington Post's Dan Morgan. LINK

The politics of national security:

"President Bush pressed by King Abdullah II of Jordan for reassurances on the boundaries and status of refugees in a future Palestinian state, promised Thursday to put his views in writing soon but stopped short of making the commitments sought by the king," reports the New York Times' Steven Weisman. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

USA Today's Susan Page writes that President Bush's poll numbers have dipped at "a crucial part of the campaign," when "nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are paying close attention to the campaign [and] Bush aides have said voters' impressions of the president and challenger John Kerry would begin to set in May and June." LINK

The Orlando Sentinel's Mark Silva reports on the Gallup Poll numbers, leading with this: "Public opposition to the war in Iraq is at an all-time high -- and support for President Bush's handling of the broader war against terrorism is at an all-time low -- after the deadliest month for U.S. troops and revelations about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American forces." LINK

As President Bush sheds the trappings (in every sense of that word) of the White House and hits the hustings again today, he will be campaigning in all Blue counties today. Vice President Gore's margin of victory for these three counties across Iowa and Wisconsin ranged from as much as 14.6 percentage points to as little as 7.4 points.

2000 results were as follows:

Dubuque County, Iowa: Gore 55.4% Bush 40.8%

Crawford County, Wis.: Gore 54.2% Bush 40.9%

LaCrosse County, Wis.: Gore 51.2% Bush 43.8%

The La Crosse Tribune looks at the BC04 grassroots efforts in Wisconsin LINK

The Tribune's Reid Magny does his homework and previews what the President will say, based on Monday and Tuesday's bus tour events in Michigan and Ohio. LINK

The Telegraph Herald of Dubuque, Iowa has a special section on the newspaper's Web site highlighting the President's visit. LINK

Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles the rural white voters who bucked the trend in 2000 and did not support George W. Bush -- the ones he's scheduled to visit today. LINK

On this Mother's Day weekend, President Bush might need to pick up more than a bouquet of flowers to thank his mother for her support and involvement in his re-election campaign.

First Mother Barbara Bush sent out a fundraising appeal to BC04 supporters this morning, an appeal for donations, written with "a mother's pride," that lists her sons' accomplishments in office and Notes the negative advertising from his opponent. "I've been particularly disappointed in the personal attacks," Barbara Bush writes.

And more Mother's Day-related campaign releases -- this afternoon, Karen Hughes -- "trusted advisor," political needler, and mother -- will bring her "unique perspective to the choice voters will face in November" to an online chat today on the Bush-Cheney '04 Web site at 4:00 pm ET.

Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times writes up the Bush Administration's further limiting of travel to Cuba and funding to promote democracy. Wallsten Notes the politics of the announcement, which "showed that Bush does not intend to let Democrats exploit exiles' complaints of administration inaction." LINK

The proposal came from a commission headed by Secretary of State Powell but Wallsten includes a recent comment by Powell's top aide, on the Cuba embargo:

"'Dumbest policy on the face of the Earth,' said Larry Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff, according to an account in the current issue of GQ. 'It's crazy.'"

AP writes that the Presidential commission recommended steps "to subvert" Fidel Castro's planned succession to his younger brother and to further restrict Cuban-Americans' access to Cuba. LINK

The New York Times' Marquis looks at the politics of the Cuba announcement: LINK

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick Notes "an annual address by President Bush marking the National Day of Prayer was broadcast Thursday night over several Christian television and radio networks as part of an evangelical concert, transmitting his message to a pivotal political constituency around the country." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:

The Washington Post's Lois Romano wraps Kerry's comments yesterday that Donald Rumsfeld should resign, Noting that in the midst of a campaign swing to California to talk about education, he "savaged the Bush administration over its handling of the discovered abuses of Iraqi prisoners, saying that 'as president, I will not be the last to know what is going on in my command.'" LINK

"Kerry's comments -- at the end of a western education swing -- come a day after more measured criticisms of the administration, and at a time when Democrats are increasingly concerned he is too tentative. Some strategists believe the presumptive nominee is allowing Republicans to define him on character issues before the public has gotten a chance to know him."

The Wall Street Journal's Jacob Schlesinger thoughtfully examines the fundamental question of whether John Kerry can convince voters he is commander-in-chief material, writing that "polls continue to show that Americans wonder about the likely Democratic challenger's toughness when it comes to handling a national-security challenge -- even as their concerns about President Bush's policies in Iraq grow." LINK

Cox News' Scott Shepard writes that "there are gnawing concerns within the party that it may have rushed too quickly to the altar" with Kerry. LINK

Ryan Lizza's masterful Campaign Journal this week deftly weaves together the key elements for Sen. Kerry: Mary Beth Cahill's inner circle (not necessarily Kennedy-esque...just MBC-esque), Shrum (a "discreet" center of power, not necessary a Cahill ally), Stephanie "Brassy" Cutter (with Wolfson's departure, Ginsberg's hire et. al.), the White Boys and more. LINK

The New York Times' David Halbfinger reports on. Kerry's proposal to spend $30 billion over 10 years to "recruit, coach, and reward better teachers." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Notes Kerry's proposal "risks conflict with teacher unions, a key party constituency whose leaders offered general praise for the plan but did not endorse its controversial details." LINK

The Los Angeles Times writes that records of FBI surveillance of Vietnam Veterans Against the War suggest Kerry "was only an occasional target of the spying activity." LINK

The New York Post's Orin on the GOP's automobile attack on Kerry. LINK

Don't forget to tune in tonight to ABC's "20/20" at 10:00 pm ET, when Barbara Walters interviews Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of the presumptive Democratic nominee. Asked about the criticism of her husband over Vietnam, Heinz Kerry takes a shot at the President and Vice President, saying, "I tell you, if someone went to war and came back and didn't throw their medals in and criticized my husband, I'd say you have a right. But to be criticized by people who evaded going to war, I don't think is fair game."

She also discusses comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam, and whether she or her husband make that comparison.

"John doesn't compare the two in the sense that we have a lot more communication and we see a lot more today than they did before they went… On the other hand, we were misinformed before going in too… And so, in that sense, there are similarities."

"Today, Iraq, although it was in terrible, terrible shape in terms of Saddam Hussein, had nothing to do with terrorism, nothing. Our first priority was terrorism. We have now made enemies of people who were our friends, and even our allies distrust us. And that's a terrible thing. I think terrorism becomes worse.

On her position on abortion rights, Mrs. Kerry details her own struggle when faced with the possibility of having to terminate a pregnancy.

"I'm pro-choice, because I'd like to have that choice myself… After Christopher was born, and I wanted another child very much, and I had had a very severe reaction to something, and I was on very heavy cortisone -- and I did not know I was pregnant… I told my doctor I think I'm pregnant and… he said well then if you're pregnant, you have to abort that baby…and I was very upset… I didn't want to have an abortion, but they gave me 15 days because it was early and the night before I was due to go in, I miscarried it. So God was very kind. But the point is, I'm glad I had a choice.

I presume that most women will look at a choice like that as a terrible choice. But they should be given the chance to make it as I was. That's all."

AP's Lolita Baldor previews tonight's "20/20" interview with Teresa Heinz Kerry, and her comments on abortion rights. LINK

The New York Daily News looks at the nice things Mrs. Heinz Kerry says about the current First Lady during the Barbara Walters interview. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry: the campaign report:

SAN BERNADINO, CALIF., May 6 -- Sen. John F. Kerry concluded a two-day, three-city education swing on Thursday, speaking to the Colton High School Yellowjackets in California.

Teresa Heinz Kerry, clad in a designer "John Kerry for President" scarf, and the Senator arrived an hour late to a joint Advanced Placement U.S. history and economics class to take three questions from an eager crowd of juniors and seniors.

Katie Extrom asked about Vietnam Veterans' criticisms of Kerry, to which the Senator replied, "That's politics. One of the people who was involved in it was involved with Richard Nixon and did the same thing back in 1971."

When asked by another student to name the three presidents he admired most, Kerry named five: Abraham Lincoln for "courage and steadfastness," Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt for "optimism," and John Kennedy and Harry Truman for their "sense of global leadership."

After ramping up his Cinco de Mayo mild criticism of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to hot on Thursday, Kerry introduced a celebrity supporter on stage for the presumptive Democratic nominee's education address.

Recognizing Sean Astin of "Goonies"/"Rudy"/"LOTR" fame, the Senator announced, "You all know him as Frodo from "Lord of the Wings," his real name is Sean Astin."

After locating "Wings" star Astin mouthing "Sam" from his seat, the rarely flustered Kerry corrected, "Sam! What am I saying? I'm sorry. Sam, Sam. And I watched ("Lord of the Rings") and I saw him carrying [Frodo] up the hill and I was thinking of the drama and the beauty of it all but you were extraordinary, man. Persevering. Thank you."

Kerry ended his time in the center of the Inland Empire with a pair of photo shoots for Vanity Fair and Ladies Home Journal, both strangely enough, at the scenic roadside Hilton in San Bernadino.

Kerry graduates from the education trail on Friday, speaking to the veepstakes rich Democratic Leadership Council where the group's chair, Sen. Evan Bayh, host state Gov. Janet Napolitano, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will gather for the national convention.

The candidate makes his third trip to Louisiana this election year on Friday, joining the Family Jambalaya Jamboree at the Governor's Mansion in Baton Rouge, and then heading to N'Awlins to mark Southern University's Commencement.

The Senator earns points this weekend, pulling off the campaign trail to celebrate Mother's Day with Teresa Heinz Kerry and her children at the Heinz family estate outside Pittsburgh.

Next week, the Massachusetts Senator heads south, fundraising in Louisville, Ky., and Little Rock, Ark.

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry:

In this week's Washington Wire, John Harwood looks in-depth at recent Journal-NBC polling figures, finding the Republican base is beginning to question troops' presence in Iraq . . . and that the gay marriage proposed ban has proved a mixed blessing, while the President "fares better in the culture war."

The Boston Herald's ed board admonishes Kerry for talking about Vietnam so much, but in the end scolds both campaigns, writing the "pointless rehashing" of what both candidates did 30 years ago doesn't help voters know who can better handle Iraq and protect the country. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

Washington Post polling director Rich Morin teams up with ABC News' own polling guru, Gary Langer, for a Post op-ed that tries to serve as a wakeup call for all the battleground state coverage, Noting that "this election's real battleground states will be different from those of 2000. And what's virtually certain is this: Covering the last election, like fighting the last war, vastly increases the chances we'll miss what really matters in this one." LINK

"If battleground states are presumed to have some mystical predictive power to side with winners, guess again. These 17 states (leaving off Tennessee, with Al Gore on the sidelines) have backed the winner 77 percent of the time since 1948. But the other 33 states have been on the winning side about as often, 70 percent of the time. The bottom line is that there are many ways to reach 270 electoral votes and no reliable way to predict how it will occur. After a season of monotonous renditions by the press and pundits that such-and-such state is a 'must-win,' it simply may not be so."

More: "Battleground journalism also does a disservice to the residents of the 33 unanointed states, home to two-thirds of voting-age Americans. For them, the campaign becomes merely the roar of distant thunder. 'Sit down, shut up, and watch Ohio pick the president,' we're telling them in effect."

National Journal's Insiders Poll declares Kerry's three best pickup opportunities (Ohio, Florida, and New Hampshire) and the three states that will be toughest for him to defend (Wisconsin, Oregon, and Minnesota). There's also an even insider split among the insidery insiders about how fair the press coverage has been for Kerry.

"If these states flipped according to these two lists and all else looked like 2000, President-Elect Kerry will have received 284 electoral votes to President Bush's 254."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Steven Walters rounds out the last day of Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle's KidsFirst program, in which he described his goals for getting health care for 53,000 children, increasing the number of low-income kids who eat school breakfasts, and curbing teen smoking. Details to come later, Doyle promises. LINK

Terry Neal and Travis Fox of take a (video) look at the Ohio economy and the perspective of voters in the first of a four-part series. LINK


In this weekend's New York Times magazine do check out the Jennifer Senior profile of Gov. Bill Richardson, which includes such nuggets from the Gov as:

''I don't think it's realistic for us to have a Southern strategy''...and "The Democratic Party needs to revitalize its outreach with Hispanic voters...We can't just appeal to them on immigration issues and civil rights and affirmative action." Some talk of Bill Clinton here, too.

The morning shows:

NBC and CBS led with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld under fire; ABC led with Brandon Mayfield. ABC's Barbara Walters previewed her 20/20 interview with Teresa Heinz Kerry. NBC's Lisa Meyers had an investigative piece looking at Kerry's shifting statements on the Vietnam War. On the "Rumsfeld under fire" front, Sen. John Warner appeared on ABC. Sens. Joe Lieberman and Saxby Chambliss appeared on NBC.

On ABC's "Good Morning America," Barbara Walters previewed tonight's Teresa Heinz Kerry "20/20" interview. Heinz Kerry tells Walters in the interview that when she was looking forward to a fourth child with her first husband, former Sen. John Heinz, she was told by her doctor that her child would be "a monster" because she was taking cortisone. Just before Heinz Kerry "made a choice," she tells Walters, "God was good to her," and she had a miscarriage. In tonight's interview, Heinz Kerry defends her husband against criticism "by people who evaded going to war." Asked if she has ever seen Kerry's medals, Teresa said: "Yes. Three medals, I think." Heinz Kerry flatly denies in the interview that her husband uses botox. She did, however, say Kerry is "too skinny" and that he should gain "about 20 pounds."

On the 34-year anniversary of Kerry's appearance on the "Dick Cavett Show," NBC's Lisa Meyers contrasted Kerry's shifting statements on the Vietnam War.

In 1971, Kerry was asked on the "Dick Cavett Show" why he agreed to go to Vietnam in the first place and Kerry said: "Because in 1965, voicing an objection, as I would have liked to have, at that point, would have been futile." Kerry was then shown saying on Meet the Press in 2001: "I believe it was a noble effort to begin with, I signed up. I volunteered. I wanted to go over and I wanted to win." In an interview, Kerry biographer Douglass Brinkley offered his opinion that there is a difference between those two statements and that it's not his understanding that John Kerry "ever thought Vietnam per se was a noble effort."

NBC also showed footage, originally aired on the Cavett show, that Kerry shot traveling on his swift boat in Vietnam and of huts burning. Kerry says on the tape that he put his camera down because he had a feeling that they were about to be ambushed. Meyers reported that according to Brinkley, Kerry filmed his experiences in Vietnam in order to bolster his case against the Vietnam War.

Pressed by ABC's Charlie Gibson to explain if the photos of abuse are exceptional or systemic, Senate Armed Services Chair John Warner said: "I do not possess any facts to lead to the conclusion that this is systemic."

On NBC's "Today Show," Sen. Saxby Chambliss said of Rumsfeld that "resignation is not an option at this point in time." Sen. Joe Lieberman concurred, saying he would feel "really guilty" asking a Secretary of Defense to step down "in the middle of a war."

On ABC's "Good Morning America," Kate Snow reported on the Rumsfeld story from the White House. George Stephanopoulos said not a single Republican has broken ranks but that he spoke to several Republican senators yesterday and "they are furious" at Rumsfeld, whom they view as "arrogant" and "contemptuous." Stephanopoulos said Rumsfeld is going to have to "eat crow" on Capitol Hill today because the people he will be facing are "so angry that he didn't tell them about these pictures." ABC introduced its Rumsfeld coverage with a graphic of today's New York Times editorial and the cover of The Economist, both of which call on Rumsfeld to resign.

NBC's Jim Miklaszewski introduced his package by reporting that Rumsfeld will apologize for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners when he testifies before Congress. CNN's Ed Henry, of "Heard on the Hill" fame, delivered his live shot for CNN's "American Morning" from the hearing room where Rumsfeld will testify today and said the Secretary of Defense will call for an independent investigation into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

On CBS' "Early Show," David Martin handled the Rumsfeld story from the Pentagon, Bill Plante handled duties from the White House. Bill Plante's package featured old video of Nixon, Reagan, and Bush admitting to mistakes.

The politics of taxation:

The corporate tax bill is getting increasingly pork-stuffed, reports the Wall Street Journal's Murray. See the pork roll at the bottom of the piece.

The politics of same-sex marriage:

The United Methodist Church examines the possibility of an official split between the left and the right over the issue of same-sex marriage, reports the New York Times' Goodstein. LINK

The politics of faith:

The Washington Post's Alan Cooperman reports that the American Life League, a Catholic anti-abortion group, is beginning a $500,000 print ad campaign against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for saying he did not agree with the idea of denying Communion to Sen. John Kerry because of his views on abortion rights as a Catholic politician. LINK

Environmental politics:

The Washington Post's Blaine Harden looks at how the Bush Administration's change in policy on protecting wild salmon could have become an issue for environmentally minded voters in Washington state. To paraphrase a Portland pollster, however: when there are economic and national security issues at stake, environmental issues just aren't that big a kettle of fish. LINK

The Boston Globe's Stephanie Ebbert reports, "As he introduced a new state policy to combat global warming, Governor Mitt Romney had a surprise for the environmentalists gathered along the Charles River Esplanade yesterday: Personally, he's not sure global warming is happening." LINK

Democratic National Convention:

The Boston Globe's Rick Klein reports that Boston officials have reached an agreement with AFSCME, "giving a boost to Mayor Thomas M. Menino's efforts to avoid labor troubles" at the convention. LINK

Republican National Convention:

Reuters on United for Peace's appeal of "an official ban on a rally in New York's Central Park to protest President Bush's policies the day before the Republican National Convention in August." LINK

Making votes count:

The Washington Post ed board is nervous about electronic voting machines. LINK


Al Hunt goes deep into Red vs. Blue America, writing there are "several demographic groups that are now up for grabs" including "suburban women, blue-collar workers, young registered voters and Catholics."

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET):

—8:30 am: The Labor Department issues April's employment numbers and revised March numbers —9:30 am: The Senate convenes for morning business and resumes debate on the corporate tax bill —10:00 am: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist delivers a commencement address at Howard University Medical School, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: Secretary of State Colin Powell addresses the American Foreign Service Association's Memorial Plaque ceremony at the State Department, Washington, D.C. —10:30 am: Sen. Joe Lieberman holds a news conference on bio-terrorism preparedness at Russell Park, Washington, D.C. —10:50 am: President Bush makes remarks at the Grand River Center, Dubuque, Iowa —11:45 am: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Meyers, Acting Army Secretary Les Brownless, Army Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker, and CENTCOM Deputy Commander Lt. General Lance Smith testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Capitol —12:30 pm: Sen. John Kerry addresses the National Democratic Leadership Council at the Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix, Ariz. —1:00 pm: Politics Live on ABC News Live and AOL —1:00 pm: National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice delivers a commencement address at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich. —2:00 pm: Secretary Powell meets with Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong at the Four Seasons Hotel, Washington, D.C. —3:00 pm: Karen Hughes hosts a pre-Mother's Day online chat on —3:00 pm: Secretary Rumsfeld, Chairman Meyers, Secretary Brownless, Chief of Staff Shoomaker and Deputy Commander Lt. Smith testify before the House Armed Services Committee, Washington, D.C. —3:30 pm: Rep. Tom Feeney and Lt. Col. Joe Repya criticize Sen. Kerry's national security credentials as part of the Bush-Cheney campaign's "Winning the War on Terror" tour, Oviedo, Fla. —3:45 pm: President Bush participates in a Q&A session at Cabela's Distribution Center, Prairie du Chien, Wis. —4:15 pm: The Federal Reserve releases its weekly conditions report of large commercial banks —6:25 pm: President Bush speaks at a rally at Copeland Baseball Field, LaCrosse, Wis. —8:00 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a Jambalaya Jamboree at the Governor's Mansion, Baton Rouge, La.