The Note

The New York Times Notes the "early transfer of power" would not bring with it a "withdrawal of American troops, administration officials said. But if an Iraqi government could command broad support within the country, it could enable a significant draw down of troops before the American elections next November." LINK

The Washington Post 's Robin Wright and Daniel Williams report that the Bush administration "plans to support the creation of a reconstituted governing body in Iraq that will assume a large degree of sovereignty by next summer — and possibly end control by the U.S.-led occupation before the 2004 presidential election." LINK

And the AP out of Baghdad reports, "With rising U.S. casualties in Iraq now a factor in the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign, officials in Washington and Baghdad are looking at every option to advance America's political blueprint for a democratic and free Iraq by the end of next year." LINK

USA Today is chock full o' details on the Bremer visit, writing in Woodward-esque style, "In three private, top-level meetings at the White House on Wednesday morning, Bush made his impatience and frustration clear, telling chief Iraq administrator Paul Bremer he had to find a way to make the transition to Iraqi rule work faster and better." LINK

While the Paper of Record's ed board, under the headline "Iraq Policy in Crisis," says the "notion of short-circuiting the time necessary to draw up a workable constitution and conduct fair elections" in Iraq is "troubling" and "suggests that the Bush administration is in such a rush to bring American troops home that it has lost interest in laying the foundations for a stable democracy." LINK

Focusing on the CIA report, the New York Times shares the Philly Inquirer's judgment that the report is "bleak," and gets "one American official" to say the "warnings" spelled out in the report, which was "explicitly endorsed" by Ambassador Bremer, were a "factor behind Mr. Bremer's abrupt return to Washington for consultations this week." LINK

The New York Times on the agreement reached between the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks and the White House on "access to copies of the daily intelligence briefings sent to President Bush's desk shortly before the attacks." LINK

The Washington Post reports Democrats Max Cleland and Tim Roemer object to the agreement's restrictions "limiting what parts of the briefings can be seen and what parts can later be shared with the rest of the bipartisan panel" and including "White House review of much of that information." LINK

House of Labor:

It's the Unions versus Themselves as the Dean vs. Gephardt Civil War storyline continues and the battle promises no end soon.

There you had it, yesterday's McEntee-Stern marriage in the Chinese Room at the Mayflower Hotel with hundreds of guests and even a riser full of cameras (but no union mult!) standing by.

Please see the Dean section for more on this.

(By the way, we heard more than one person ask their neighbor during the McEntee speech, "Why isn't that guy running?" And we don't make this up, folks.)

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