The Note

TODAY SCHEDULE (all times ET)

FUTURES CALENDAR

NEWS SUMMARY

The President deals with baseball and fundraising.

John Kerry deals with jobs and surgery.

The nation deals with horrible new civilian deaths in Iraq.

The RNC gets litigious about 527s.

The AFL-CIO catches the media bug.

As does Al Gore (maybe) and the new liberal radio network.

OPEC TIGHTENS supply!!

41 gets emotional.

The White House begins to cast Bob Barnett-caliber stand-ins for the POTUS/VPOTUS murder board in preparation for their extraordinary, unsworn, still-unscheduled joint appearance before the full 9/11 commission.

"Thank you for that excellent question, Mr. Ben-Veniste. I think Vice President Cheney should probably handle that one … "

Note to Dan Bartlett: we know you are busy, so here are our ideas; we hope Karen Hughes doesn't object:

Ed Gillespie as Thomas H. Kean

Josh Bolten as Lee H. Hamilton

Ben Ginsberg as Richard Ben-Veniste

Vin Weber as Fred F. Fielding

Susan Molinari as Jamie S. Gorelick

Trent Duffy as Slade Gorton

Andy Card as John F. Lehman

Newt Gingrich as Timothy J. Roemer

Tom Ridge as James R. Thompson

And, of course, no one is qualified to play Bob Kerrey.

Never in the history of the Republic has an upcoming event been so obviously crafted to serve as the basis of a "Saturday Night Live" sketch.

Why the President and Vice President want to visit jointly with the 9/11 Commission is beyond us, but it should be quite a (private) spectacle.

Too busy to read the papers today? Here's all you need to know.

David Sanger of the New York Times finally figures things out — at the very end of his spicy and crispy news analysis:

"Ms. Rice's testimony will pave the way for interviews the commission tried to seal for months, with Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney themselves. As part of the same deal, they will answer questions in private and not under oath, but will permit questioning from all the commissioners and have dropped limits on how long they will testify."

"They will appear together, and thus presumably be able to correct each other's memories. And in the end, it is their performance — behind closed doors but likely to leak quickly — that may prove the most politically crucial."

Sanger is also part of the journalistic pound-of-flesh harvesting group, participants in that Washington ritual whereby an administration that has done a 180 has to stand there for a news cycle (or two) and be flayed by the Gang of 500 — usually via Owl Eyes blind quotes.

Sanger's:

" … (T)he pressure grows. And grows. And now people know that if you keep it on long enough, these guys will give way … ." (Note Note: Lynne Cheney will HATE that!!)

"'They wait until a gallon of blood has been shed,' one administration official said."

The Fanny Dooley dream byline of Allen and Eggen in the Washington Post have this: "'The president's aides finally realized that the most important element of this president retaining power was for him to remain president,' said the political adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Bush's inner circle does not like to discuss deliberations."

Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times has all this:

"You could make a case that one of Bush's greatest strengths, which is resolve in leadership, can also be a weakness at times: My way or the highway,' said a Republican strategist who works with the White House."

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