The Note

"Enactment of the two pieces of legislation would enable Bush to claim that Washington's perennial gridlock on two highly controversial domestic issues has been broken by the first full year of Republican control of both the legislative and executive branches in half a century. Failure on either, or both, would reinforce Democratic claims that Bush is steering the country too far to the right to get things done."

According to the AP's David Espo, not many Democrats are buying into the GOP-backed Medicare prescription drug bill. LINK

While Bush was pressuring Congress to send the bill to him for his signature, Senator Kennedy was denying any pressure on him to deny Bush a pre-election victory, writes the Washington Times . LINK

USA Today 's Andrea Stone reports that the Democrats are planning on taking on the Medicare plan and could prevent the GOP's pass-it-by-Turkey-Day goal. LINK

The Washington Post 's Bill Brubaker writes that while drug companies' stock prices rose with the news that a Medicare agreement had been reached, Medicare's customers did not react as positively. LINK

Legislative agenda:

The New York Times ' Carl Hulse looks at the energy bill — particularly the provision about a gas additive good for oil companies. LINK

The Washington Post 's Dan Morgan and Peter Behr report on the development of an energy bill that may or may not pass. LINK

USA Today 's Kathy Kiely writes that "although leaders from both political parties say a new energy policy is urgently needed, approval is in doubt." LINK

ABC News Vote 2003: Louisiana:

The Los Angeles Times' Scott Gold looks at Louisiana's new Governor, Kathleen Blanco. LINK

Blanco's win, as written up by the Washington Post and the New York Times : LINK and LINK

Performing its post-mortem of the Louisiana vote, the New York Times quotes analysts who said "Mr. Jindal, who had never run for office, made a crucial political mistake in the final week of the campaign by not responding to withering attack advertisements." LINK

Gov.-elect Kathleen Blanco has begun the transition process, already beginning to map out health care, economic, and education plans, writes the AP. LINK

Blanco named Dale Atkins and Jim Bernhard Jr. as the co-chairs of her transition team. Blanco will take a short vacation while her team begins the transition work. LINK

Playing judicial politics: The Washington Post 's Darryl Fears reports that a recent reference to lynching has furthered the divisiveness in the partisan debate over Bush's nominees to the judiciary. LINK

Politics:

To run or to not run seems to be the question in the Sunshine State, according to Roll Call 's Stuart Rothenberg, as he reports on what's shaping up to be 2004's Roller Coaster race in Florida.

Christian Right, meet Christian Left. The New York Times on the formation of the Clergy Leadership Council, a left-of-center group seeking "to counter groups like the Christian Coalition of America and newly influential groups like the Family Research Council and the Traditional Values Coalition" and focus primarily on "electoral politics and partisan political organizing." LINK

(We are not so sure we agree with the "newly influential" part. Mr. Sheldon has been around for one long time … )

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

The Des Moines Register 's Tim Paluch reports on Senator Clinton's West Des Moines book signing on Sunday, where "a line of about 900 autogaph-seekers" greeted her. LINK

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