The Note

The Note is stunned and/but finds this fascinating — despite the fact (or, actually, because of the fact) that this runs counter to our long-standing thesis that Rove is MORE powerful than even the chattering class believes him to be. (Dare we say: More powerful than the First Lady herself?)

Plus: we like the First Lady's blithely referencing the "chattering class."

And while we weren't there, we bet that that "smile" had more than a bit of Silver Fox in it. (Or would that be a Steel Magnolia?) LINK

and LINK

and LINK

Although we eschew the who's-up-who's-down gossip that makes the engine of the Gang of 500 purr, we hereby declare this the single most interesting thing in any newspaper in at least a week.

Here are all the things it could be:

A rare insight into a White House that rarely gives up intra-White House insight?

A deliberate shot?

A sign that some powerful people think Karl has (finally) flown too close to the sun?

Another example of a presidential spouse and chief aide having a fight? (Think Nancy Reagan and Michael Deaver.)

A reflection of concern in the Bush family about what's going on with him politically?

Or was it just a little off-hand joke? (Yes, right. An off-hand joke for a front-page interview in the New York Times . Okay, we can probably scratch THAT one off the list … )

Whatever it was, the words of political savvy First Ladies have meaning and import, and for those trying to figure out what is going on inside the Bush political machine, this sure does give some pause. Imagine if Laura Bush's First Lady role model — Barbara Bush — had said such a thing about John Sununu.

From NBC Nightly News on November 13, 2000:

THOMPSON: For Laura Bush, a much more influential role than anyone knew. When Gore surges in September, she's the one who gets her husband's campaign back on track, calling campaign strategist Karl Rove.

Mr. AUCHINCLOSS: And told him in no uncertain terms that they had to rethink everything, that it was going badly. Rove said, 'You're absolutely right.' And one result of that was that Bush rather reluctantly went on the "Oprah" show.

Let's hope for all our sake that this gets cleared up pronto.

Overall, Laura Bush's sit-down interview causes the paper to write that she "is moving into a new role as a prominent surrogate for her husband in his re-election campaign," as she also offers the following:

- a defense of her husband from Democratic charges that he went AWOL, calling such accusations "obviously political"; - a defense of the White House's use of intelligence on pre-war Iraq; - new insight into her husband's newspaper reading habits; - praise for Judy Dean, which sounds very genuine; - silence on the issue of gay marriage.

Michigan caucuses:

Polls/caucus sites open: 10:00 am ET; polls/caucus sites close: 4:00 pm ET. AP will begin reporting raw vote totals at 6:30 pm ET. We will receive partial results throughout the day with final results no earlier than 6:00 pm ET, and probably no later than 8:00 pm ET, according to the state party. Please note that while the Michigan Democratic Party calls this contest a caucus, for our purposes, it's a primary, in terms of how votes are cast and collected. There will be no Edison/Mitofsky (E/M) entrance or exit polls in Michigan.

Washington caucuses:

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