The Note

Tonight at 10:00 pm ET, tune into ABC to catch Barbara Walters' highly anticipated interview with Bush adviser Karen Hughes. Some highlights of the interview, as well as thoughts from Walters, who spoke with The Note about the book, "Ten Minutes from Normal," and Hughes' decision to leave the White House in 2002, and her potential return to the campaign trail this summer:

Hughes and Walters talk about her continuing influence in the White House and on the president, to whom she speaks regularly. She is getting more involved in the re-election campaign — the day that the campaign's first ads hit the airwaves, it was Hughes who did the morning show circuit to defend the use of 9/11 images.

"The president likes her and she is very good on air — she is strong but charming," Walters said.

Hughes tells Walters that "the president's been saying he wants to see me on television a little more." Laughing, she said Bush thinks she's "a good political needler."

Walters and Hughes also discuss life beyond politics, and Hughes describes her decision to pack up and move back to Texas in the summer of 2002.

"That's what so interesting about her — here's this woman who's worked her way up and has the greatest job a communications person could have," Walters said, but she gives it up to take care of her family. "Her son was deeply unhappy and there is a quote where a friend says to her, 'remember you can't do this again.'"

"The thrill and the great privilege competed with the shadow and the shadow was that I wasn't seeing my family very much," Hughes tells Walters. "I remember a friend of mine saying, 'It's not like you get to do this over again. You . . . you can't . . . you know, just wait and see how it turns out and try it again if it doesn't work out.' And . . . and that . . . it really hit me, because I thought, you know, "Wow, that . . . that's true."

Hughes also tells Walters about several critical events and decisions that she was involved in or responsible for

She describes her role in shaping the White House message right after 9/11 — a day she was not traveling with the president because her wedding anniversary is Sept. 10.

"I didn't realize that she was the one who right after 9/11 addressed the press and the public and that was the one who nailed down the White House message, saying "We're not going to say 'victim — we're going to immediately say that there's going to be action. She was the one," Walters said.

Hughes: "I remember thinking 'Action will be reassuring.' Because people will know how the government's acting."

The Hughes interview airs at tonight 10:00 pm ET on ABC — check your local listings.

Hughes gave her first newspaper interview to the Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater, telling him that the book offers insights about the political process — about the president, about the media and "the way campaigns are covered."

As for Dick Clarke's book and testimony last week, Hughes told Slater "I was sickened by it."

"The only people responsible for the terror attacks on Sept. 11 were al-Qaeda — not the government, not the Bush administration or the Clinton administration. It was al-Qaeda," she said. LINK

On Sunday, the New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller and Dick Stevenson looked at Karen Hughes' book as a preface to her return to the campaign. LINK

But might it echo a clash of the titans at the top not unlike we saw in the Democratic nomination campaign of a certain former Vermont Governor?

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