The Philly Inquirer's Landay reports that as Bremer went to the White House a "new, top-secret CIA report from Iraq" warning that "growing numbers of Iraqis are concluding the U.S.-led coalition can be defeated and are supporting the insurgents" hit the desks of senior U.S. officials. The "bleak" report "cautions that the U.S.-led drive to rebuild the country as a democracy could collapse unless corrective actions are taken immediately." LINK
As the New York Times ' Stevenson Notes "American officials have grown increasingly impatient with the Governing Council.'" LINK
The Wall Street Journal reports "heated debate has erupted over how fast the process can move and still produce a democratic government that respects human rights" with one "senior Bush administration official saying 'Faster is better.'"
While the Los Angeles Times adds "some U.S. officials have even raised the question of whether it would be preferable — following the model used in Afghanistan — to create a transitional government with more authority that would allow the U.S.-led coalition to more quickly reduce its role." LINK
Turning to matters financial, the New York Times reports "Congress is on the verge of passing a record authorization bill to let the Pentagon spend more than $400 billion for the next year." LINK
The New York Post 's Blomquist has Senate Intelligence Committee Democrat Evan Bayh calling his side's leaked memo on pre-war intel investigation strategy "unfortunate because it had a tone of pre-judgment." LINK
The politics of steel:
The Wall Street Journal 's Neil King and Carlos Tejada write that the Bush Administration is considering trying to broker a compromise between steel producers and the U.S.' trade partners after yesterday's sucker punch by the WTO that called steel tariffs illegal and brought the risk of trade retaliation.
The steel industry, which has fought for the tariffs to support prices while the dollar is weak overseas, realizes that the tariffs probably will be ratcheted back, if not dropped entirely, King and Tejada report. So they're pushing compromise — and certain Very Important People in the White House appear to be listening.
"The Bush economic team has backed the idea that the protections should be lifted in some fashion. There are also indications that Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser, has had a change of heart about the tariffs as well. Mr. Rove was an influential voice in the initial decision to impose the tariffs in March 2002, but now sees them as more of a liability than a benefit, said one person familiar with administration thinking on the issue."
The New York Times ' business section nicely examines the intersection of politics and trade in looking at the choices facing the president, Noting the original steel tariff horse-trading that went on to get farm state support for fast-track trade authority "is threatening to backfire." LINK
The Washington Post 's Greg Schneider reports on the steel industry's "historic transformation" and hope for continuing tariffs. LINK
Walter Shapiro writes that Bush's decision "to protect the domestic steel industry from foreign competition is beginning to look like a textbook example of how not to choose politics over principle." LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:
A new Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans (55%) have a favorable view of Vice President Cheney and just one-third (33%) hold an unfavorable view.