The Note

Knight Ridder's Ron Hutcheson writes that the president's "no-compromise stance could soften in the face of growing domestic and international pressure for U.N. involvement." LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Greg Hitt and Jess Bravin look at President Bush's tactics in today's U.N. speech, pivoting to focus on stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction, a more likely crowd pleaser, instead of a multinational security force in Iraq, which is proving a much tougher sell.

The speech, which also talks up the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan and ending human trafficking worldwide, is a gateway for the president to push a resolution for a more defined role for the U.N. in returning sovereignty to the Iraqi people, writing a constitution and monitoring elections.

While the president appeals to the U.N. today, Senate Democrats yesterday went after L. Paul Bremer, the chief U.S. administrator for Iraq, at a hearing on the administration's request for $20 billion for Iraqi civil reconstruction, the Wall Street Journal 's Neil King reports. Bremer likened the Bush Administration's plan for post-war Iraq to the Marshall Plan. Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) called the proposal "eye-popping."

In the midst of the berating, Bremer told the the Senate Appropriations Committee that the request was the best guess by the administration for what was needed, and that he didn't expect to be asking for more cash — soon.

The Washington Post 's Jonathan Weisman and Juliet Eilperin look at the Bush Administration's request for money to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure before the Senate yesterday, taking a different snappy quote from Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.). LINK

It's not just Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee who are balking about the cash - Republicans are getting nervous too.

"'Look at the needs we have here at home with our own roads, sewers and water projects,' said Senator George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio). 'It's hard to tell people there isn't money for sewers and water and then send that kind of money to Iraq.'"

Not to mention how it's going to sell in a presidential election.

The Boston Herald's Andrew Miga and Elisabeth Beardsley report that Senator Kennedy "yesterday hotly defended his attacks on President Bush's Iraq war policies." LINK

The Boston Globe 's Tom Oliphant writes up the Bush-Kennedy exchange. LINK

Senators Feinstein and Kennedy question the administration's nuclear weapons program in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. LINK

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

The Boston Globe 's Peter Canellos has an interesting and very readable profile of the president, and he wonders if we'll see the president smile more often. LINK

Dick Cheney is raising money in New Hampshire today. LINK

"Paul Holloway, finance co-chairman of Republican State Committee, estimated yesterday the event will raise about $200,000 for Bush-Cheney '04. Holloway said the guests will pay $1,000 a person to attend the public fundraiser; for $2,000, guests will also be able to attend a private reception and have a photograph taken with the vice president."

"Within a few weeks, the Bush-Cheney '04 New Hampshire campaign team is expected to be announced. The Union Leader reported last month that Julie Teer, the current Republican State Committee communications director, is the front-runner to be the Bush-Cheney state director."

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