The Note

The New York Times reports that the Bush Administration may lend support to Israel's plan for a unilateral withdraw from the parts of West Bank and Gaza and would send three senior aides to Israel next week to look for answers to some questions. LINK

President Bush and the National Guard:

The Washington Post's team of Allen and Romano report that White House aides went through "an inch-thick file" of the President's Texas National Guard records and though they do not plan to release more from that batch, more documents are on the way. LINK

"Talk about making a mountain out of a molar," Notes the Washington Post's Dana Milbank as he writes about the White House's exuberance over the President's dental records. LINK

USA Today looks at the significance of President Bush's driving records in the context of his military career in the National Guard. "At the time Bush enlisted in the Texas National Guard, the Air Force typically would have had to issue a waiver for an applicant who had multiple arrests or driving violations. LINK

The New York Times' Bumiller states that the White House released the portion of Bush's National Guard file that had previously been blacked out, indicating that the President had been convicted of a misdemeanor, which was ultimately dismissed. LINK

Serrano and Chen of the Los Angeles Times Note: "The disclosure marked the third time this week that the White House had provided new details about Bush's service in the Guard in Texas and Alabama during the Vietnam War. The details came after Bush pledged on national television Sunday to 'absolutely' release all his records in an effort to end speculation that he did not fully complete his military obligation." LINK

The New York Times' Barstow reports that "at the Montgomery headquarters of the Alabama National Guard, officials have responded to growing scrutiny of President Bush's military record by searching through records for proof of his service". LINK

New York Daily News' DeFrank writes that a "downbeat political week for the President was made worse" as White House officials disregarded the cardinal rule of damage control: "If there's nothing to hide, don't behave as if there were." LINK

The economy:

The U.S. trade deficit hit a record $489.4 billion high in 2003, ABC News' Ramona Schindelheim reports. Schindelheim Notes that economists say the number, while higher than expected, could be reflecting the strengthening global economy. The deficit is 17.1 percent higher than in 2002.

Jim Morrill of the Charlotte Observer Notes the Dems attacks on Bush over outsourcing jobs overseas, offering comments from economic advisors and a laundry list of where each candidate stands on the issue. LINK

The Washington Times' Patrice Hill reports on the testimony yesterday by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, in which he said he supports renewing President Bush's tax cuts as long as spending is cut by $1 trillion. Congress should bring back the budget rules that required spending cuts to offset tax breaks but expired in 2002, Greenspan said. LINK

Big casino budget politics:

The New York Times reports that "a senior House Republican and several ranking House Democrats warned top Pentagon officials on Thursday that the military's proposed budget for next year faced a tough fight on Capitol Hill." LINK

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