The Note

"'Restoring a balanced budget is an important priority for this administration,' he said, 'but a balanced budget is not a higher priority than winning the global war on terror, protecting the American homeland, or restoring economic growth and job creation.'"

The Wall Street Journal 's Mary Lu Carnevale Notes that newly minted White House press secretary Scott McClellan "provided no details about how the president would achieve … a major reduction in the budget shortfall, or precisely how long that would take" in his briefing yesterday.

In the midst of his own money issues, Senator Joe Lieberman (D) took the opportunity to slam the president. "'Everyone knows what is really responsible for these deficits,'" he said. "' … the unfair, unaffordable, and ineffective Bush tax cuts.'"

The Washington Times ' James Lakely threw in this statement from Lieberman: "' … [T]hey are hiding behind the war and homeland security to excuse their own fiscal irresponsibility.'" LINK But the Fed will do its part for the economy, according to Chairman Alan Greenspan's Hill testimony yesterday, write the Wall Street Journal 's Greg Ip and John D. McKinnon, Noting that Greenspan promised to keep interest rates low even if the economy shows signs of improving.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board urges deep breathing, Zen moments and understanding to cope with the deficit projections.

Note to the Journal ed board: why would you possibly suggest that the level of defense spending should be pegged to the percentage of GDP? We'd like to think you wrote that for some other reason than to just make Bill Clinton look bad.

And why are you (farm bill aside) criticizing Kent Conrad more than, say, George Bush, for new Medicare spending plans?

The Washington Times ' Stephen Dinan and Amy Fagan report that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay "drew a line in the sand" yesterday, saying Republicans will shut down any bill that doesn't force Medicare to compete with private insurance by 2010. The competition issue is the biggest thorn in the negotiations, demanded by House conservatives but not in the Senate version. LINK

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

No G8 in Manchester:

"President Bush has chosen Sea Island, a posh resort community on the Georgia coast, to host next year's meeting of leaders from the world's major industrial countries," the AP reports. LINK

"The Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, N.H., was also under consideration as a possible host site, an owner told the New Hampshire Sunday News late last month."

The AP's Bill Kaczor reports, "The first aircraft designated 'Navy One,' used to fly President Bush aboard an aircraft carrier to greet sailors returning from the war against Iraq, made its final landing Tuesday." LINK Roll Call 's Jennifer Yachnin reports that gay members of Congress are hoping Vice President Cheney becomes their ally on the issue of gay marriage.

"Seeking to stir opposition to a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage, the House's only three openly-gay Members are attempting to gain unlikely allies by appealing to a pair of GOP favorites: states' rights and Vice President Dick Cheney."

"In a 'Dear Colleague' letter sent to Members on Friday, Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) cited statements made by Cheney during the 2000 vice presidential debate, in which he said marriage should be regulated by individual states rather than the federal government."

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