The Note





With apologies to Steve "!" Schmidt and Phil "Sunday's Best" Singer, we thus wade into the politics of Iraqi prison abuse.

Potential fallout:

1. American disappointment leads to a worsening of the all-important right track/wrong track number (and look how bad it is already in the new Dow Jones/General Electric poll).

2. Still murky timetable under which Mr. Bush learned of the investigations leads to further "what did he know and when did he know it?" questioning and -- perhaps -- (un)timely disclosures.

3. Loss of hearts and minds complicates June/July handover.

4. Attacks on John Kerry's vintage decrying of American military atrocities lose some of their bite.

5. Distracted White House communications team can't focus like a laser beam on the destruction of John Kerry. (Those mocking jokes don't write themselves, you know.)

6. Battling between Rumsfeld camp and Powell camp reaches a destabilizing crescendo.

7. The justification and support for the overall Iraq enterprise begins to crumble.

8. Critics of the international message policy are emboldened to speak out (NBC reported last night that Ambassador Tutwiler has not been happy with the effort.).

9. Investigations into abuses lead to plea bargains and more accusations.

10. Capitol Hill dam breaks on long-simmering GOP dissatisfaction with Administration secrecy and alleged failure to respect the responsibilities and prerogatives of the co-equal legislative branch.

11. Potentially enhances John Kerry's claim that he would play more nicely with other countries.

12. Bush stump lines about how happy the Iraqi people are that the United States is there and about the end of torture chambers (repeated as recently as last night) lose some of their intended resonance.

President Bush meets with the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba and King Abdullah of Jordan before holding a joint press avail with Abdullah and speaking on the National Day of Prayer at the White House today.

Sen. Kerry visits a classroom at Colton High School in California before delivering a major education address on the quality of teachers. Tonight he speaks at an AFL-CIO campaign kickoff event and attends a campaign fundraiser in Phoenix, Ariz.

Tomorrow night on ABC's "20/20," Teresa Heinz Kerry sits down with Barbara Walters to talk about life and the campaign. Tune in at 10:00 pm ET -- check your local listings.

The Senate continues debate of the FSC-ETI Jobs bill.

BC'04 Chairman Gov. Marc Racicot speaks about Kerry's record on national defense from Charleston, and former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani speaks about the war on terror at the Council on Foreign Relations this afternoon.

The politics of national security: the prison controversy:

The Baltimore Sun's Tom Bowman tick tocks the chain of the custody of the photos from the earliest days. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Chen, Hendren and Hook on the Pentagon's differing view of how the crisis was handled and what would happen in the wake of a Rumsfeld resignation. LINK

The trio have the most detail about timing of Rumsfeld and Bush Notifications, placing them in January.

The Washington Post's Mike Allen and Dan Balz examine Bush's appearances on Arab TV, during which he fell just short of apologizing for the prisoner abuse in Iraq. LINK

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