The Note

More Orin: "Now the successful operation against Saddam's sons poses problems for Democratic presidential wannabes since more and more of them have been painting the Iraq war as a failure, as if copycatting anti-war contender Howard Dean. Rep. Dick Gephardt (Mo.) was in San Francisco claiming that 'we're losing the peace' in Iraq yesterday — just as freed POW Jessica Lynch was returning home and word was out about the deaths of Uday and Qusay."

Politics of national security: As part of a campaign to intimidate its critics, the Bush White House is seeking to drum him off the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said yesterday. The White House brushed off Durbin's accusations, the Chicago Tribune's Mike Dorning reports. LINK

In a 45-minute floor speech, Durbin alleged a pattern of news leaks from anonymous White House sources, including a story that he had aired classified information in a speech and should be forced from the committee. He also pointed to the disclosure of Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife as a CIA operative as further evidence of the administration's retaliation campaign. Durbin voted against the resolution authorizing war in Iraq and is calling for an investigation into the bad intelligence on Iraq.

"'That is not the way the White House operates. That is not the way the White House press office operates. That is not my style,'" White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Sarita Chourey writes in the Hill that Democrat Durbin "defended himself against charges he leaked sensitive information" after "accusations that he disclosed classified information on Iraq after CIA Director George Tenet briefed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week." LINK

John Marshall's column in the Hill explores President Bush's relationship with the intelligence community. LINK

California recall: Michael Finnegan and Allison Hoffman jump ahead of Kevin Shelley's office and report that the Los Angeles Times survey of county elections officials came up with a total of 1.1 million verified signatures, well above the threshold needed for the Secretary of State to certify the recall. LINK

Their story also includes:

1. Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante declaration that he will set an election date within 24 hours of certification.

2. The potential chaos a recall will cause election officials in terms of preparing voting equipment, voter guides (in multiple languages), and training poll workers all within a very very limited timeframe.

3. Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante strangely alluding to the Commission on the Governorship chaired by State Senate leader John Burton. The Lieutenant Governor says the Commission with guidance from the California Supreme Court will have to determine whether or not it is appropriate for replacement candidates to run on the recall ballot.

What Mr. Finnegan and Ms. Hoffman do not include is the possibility of a very high level communications operative for Governor Davis leaving his day job at the Capitol to help shape a recall election strategy. Hmmmm …

Maybe once that person is in place, Rene Sanchez of the Washington Post won't perceive Governor Davis' challenges to be so daunting … but then again, maybe. LINK

Mr. Salladay and Ms. Marinucci team up for the San Francisco Chronicle's coverage of how California 2003 may look very much like Florida 2004, palm trees and all. LINK

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