Newsweek leads with a piece on "dissent in the bunker," with Defense Policy Board member Newt Gingrich saying, "'I am very proud of what [Operation Iraqi Freedom commander Gen.] Tommy Franks did-up to the moment of deciding how to transfer power to the Iraqis. Then … we go off a cliff.'"Says Gingrich, "'The real key here is not how many enemy do I kill. The real key is how many allies do I grow … And that is a very important metric that they just don't get.'" LINK
A memo obtained by Newsweek suggests that Vice President Cheney's top foreign policy aides were receiving direct intelligence from the Iraqi National Congress last year on Iraq's WMDs and ties to terrorism. LINK
Is Colin Powell headed to the World Bank? LINK
The New York Times reports a deal on North Korea is in the works, Noting "inside the administration, there is active debate over how much time is available to Mr. Bush for negotiations. Many American officials suspect that North Korea is dragging out the talks, perhaps hoping Mr. Bush will not be re-elected. But more likely, they say, North Korea wants to build as many nuclear weapons as possible now, perhaps betting that at least some can be hidden from inspectors." LINK
ABC News' Ramona Schindelheim Notes that even the Bureau of Labor Statistics called last week's report about falling unemployment inconsequential, saying unemployment "was essentially unchanged from October." The job creation and loss numbers, which come from a better survey, asking businesses about payroll gains and losses, is considered more reliable.
The Wall Street Journal 's Greg Ip looks at the disappointing-though-touted unemployment statistics, and predicts that as a result, the Fed will likely keep the Federal funds rate to 1 percent, though whether interest rates remain low is still a mystery.
The Wall Street Journal ed board argues that extending unemployment benefits, which House Democrats are pushing for, would only provide a disincentive to take the jobs that will be created by the recovering economy, keeping the jobless rate artificially high.
The politics of steel:
"The elimination of U.S. steel tariffs could have an impact on global talks aimed at cutting world-wide industry subsidies and overcapacity, say U.S. steelmakers and others watching the negotiations," the Wall Street Journal 's Tejada reports.
In an op-ed column in today's Wall Street Journal , Pascal Lamy, the EU trade commissioner looks at the ramifications of the Bush Administration's tariffs on steel: "The sad fact is that this abuse has undermined the case for trade defense measures, such as safeguards. As the name implies, properly and transparently used, they are a vital safety valve for the system. And surely the EU and U.S. are the parties with the strongest interest in having effective disciplines ensuring free and fair trade around the world!"
A steel mill closing in Cleveland is being torn down and sent to China, the Journal reports, solving problems on both sides of the Pacific: "In the U.S., there are too many steel mills. In other countries, there aren't enough."
Bush Administration strategy/personality:
The Washington Post 's Alan Cooperman reports, "H. James Towey, director of the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, has stirred up a pot of trouble by suggesting that pagans don't care about the poor." LINK
ABC News Vote 2003: The city by the bay: