The Note

USA Today's Keen and Nichols call it "a major policy shift." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Chen writes, "By creating a panel whose inquiry, the official said, is expected to run past election day, Bush may be immunizing himself -- politically speaking -- against criticism over faulty intelligence and against allegations from some Democrats that the administration exaggerated Iraq's weapons capabilities to build public support for the war." LINK

Bob Novak writes that Bush's credibility has been hurt by the failure to find WMDs in Iraq and the White House revelation that the new Medicare plan will cost one-third more than the president predicted. Novak also Notes about bringing down Kerry: "It's not easy."

The Los Angeles Times' David Savage writes up David Kay saying that the failed arms search undercuts the president's first-strike policy. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

The New York Times' Kit Seelye leads her overview of the day with DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe saying on "This Week" that President Bush went AWOL during his time in the Air National Guard and RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie calling the charges "slanderous." LINK

USA Today's Susan Page also reports on The Macker vowing to go after the President's service record. LINK

The Washington Post's Eric Pianin reports that "As his reelection campaign heats up, Bush and his aides have reversed or fine-tuned a few of his most controversial actions, steps that might limit his political vulnerability this fall." LINK

The Bush-Cheney campaign is already mobilizing a grassroots efforts early, especially in the critical state of Florida. LINK

The New York Times' Jehl writes that intelligence officers "have reluctantly begun to acknowledge that a major overhaul could be in order after what may be two of the greatest intelligence setbacks in decades: the failure to anticipate the Sept. 11 attacks and the misjudgment of Iraq's weapons stockpiles." LINK

Read more on the Bush-Cheney campaign on LINK

Big casino budget politics:

The New York Times' Pear and Andrews report that the White House said yesterday that the CBO had grossly underestimated the cost of the Medicare bill and that President Bush will try to explain why today in the FY 2005 budget. LINK

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman details the $521 billion deficit in the FY 2005 budget. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Greg Hitt and John McKinnon Notice that President Bush is downplaying his plan to create a tax-preferred Lifetime Savings Account and a Retirement Savings Account.

Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times takes a look at Josh Bolten's labor of love. LINK

The budget which the Administration will release today highlights President Bush's campaign themes, writes the AP's Martin Crustinger. LINK

Republican National Convention:

Michael Slackman writes up the RNC hotel assignments for the delegates headed to Gotham this summer. LINK

Politics Live:

It's Monday. You're feeling sluggish. January was a long, cold month. You're longing for something new, something exciting, something that will break up these dark winter days.

The Note has a solution: Politics Live on ABC News Live. It comes right to your personal desk top every day at 1 p.m. Perfect timing for a little mid-day break over a little PB&J and cookies.

To watch a clip of yesterday's show, here's a link.

AOL subscribers, don't you worry, you can watch it too.

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