The Note

The Los Angeles Times wraps up all the Sunday talk about Washington It Guy Clarke's book and testimony, leading with Dr. Rice's refusal to testify (despite her desire to do so) being called a "political blunder" by a Republican commissioner. LINK

But on Saturday, the Washington Post's Chuck Lane took macro look at presidential advisers refusing to testify publicly before Congress, and found the precedents. LINK

Time magazine's Michael Elliott and Massimo Calabresi take a long look at the role of National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice. LINK

Bush Administration vs. Clarke:

The Los Angeles Times' Ron Brownstein thinks it "highly unlikely" that the White House has been successful at completely discrediting Richard Clarke and surmises the political fallout of last week's drama thusly: LINK

"In this year's election, most Americans will probably judge Bush more on his response to Sept. 11 than his actions before then (partly because most Americans may believe Clinton also failed to act aggressively enough). But the White House attempt to shift the focus to Clarke's credibility is still unseemly, especially after the corroborating evidence the commission presented last week. Clarke isn't alone in his charge that the Bush team moved too slowly to grasp the terrorist threat, and even silencing him would not end the debate he has ignited."

"Mr. Clarke didn't back away from criticism. On NBC's 'Meet the Press,' he said the Bush White House was preoccupied with Iraq and deserves 'a failing grade' for its pre-Sept. 11 terrorism planning because 'they never got around to doing anything. They held interim meetings, but they never actually decided anything before Sept. 11,'" reports the Wall Street Journal 's Cloud and Cummings.

Despite the Bush Administration's barrage of criticism, the efforts to answer the charges by Dick Clarke haven't been successful yet, the Washington Post's Mike Allen wrote on Sunday. LINK

However, Vice President Cheney had some interesting — and not-so-flattering — things to say about Clarke in an interview with Time magazine. LINK

"He's taken advantage of the circumstances this week to promote himself and his book. I don't know the guy that well. I have had some dealings with him over the years, but judging based on what I've seen, I don't hold him in high regard," Cheney told John Dickerson.

Bob Novak takes an excellent look at Clarke's transformation from hard-line "super-bureaucrat" to lightning rod in the war on terror and the tug-of-war of partisan politics and national security policy. LINK

"The answer lies with personality rather than ideology, with personal relations rather than political strategy. Clarke is now painted as a miscreant by Republicans and as a martyr by Democrats, but he really is a super-bureaucrat accustomed to working behind closed doors who has been thrust into the public arena. Downgraded and disrespected at the Bush White House, he became an anti-Bush activist with his testimony last week."

Evan Thomas, Michael Isikoff and Tamara Lipper of Newsweek report on the Clarke testimony on 9/11, remarking that he came across as "a soulful truthteller" in the same relationship as John Dean to Nixon and Ollie North to Reagan. LINK

The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler on Sunday looked at how Clarke's criticism has reopened the debate over U.S. action in Iraq. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:

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