The Note

The Washington Times ' Steve Miller reports that the Democratic National Committee has hired two black appointees from Clinton's administration "in an effort to quell dissent that arose after a plan to fire 10 black DNC staffers was made public in late May." LINK "Alexis Herman, who served as President Clinton's labor secretary from 1997 to 2000, will serve as a peacemaker between the DNC and the Congressional Black Caucus after caucus members were rankled by the planned terminations, a CBC source said."

"In addition, Ben Johnson, who ran President Clinton's Initiative for One America program, has been named a vice chairman of the DNC."

The Chicago Sun-Times's John Barron attended the 40 year anniversary dinner/roast the paper threw for Robert Novak last night. LINK

National security politics: Discover the world: the New York Times front-page blarer that United States officials now believe that Saddam Hussein just might be alive sure got a lot of broadcast pickup for the last 1/2 of a news cycle. LINK

The AP's Ken Guggenheim reports: "The Senate Intelligence Committee held its first hearing Thursday on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, even as Democrats and Republicans remained divided about how to examine prewar intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons programs." LINK

USA Today 's Judy Keen reports that George W. Bush is unworried about claims that he exaggerated the threat of Iraqi WsMD "in part because he believes the search has barely begun, senior administration officials say." LINK Among the evidence cited by officials that the search is far from fully underway: "Only 157 of 578 'suspect sites' in Iraq have been inspected," and "Analysts have barely made a dent in 'tons and tons' of Iraqi documents."

Among the evidence that The Note is getting too long: Analysts have barely made a dent in tons and tons of pages of today's Note.

Ken Pollack has a New York Times op-ed piece urging people not to overreact to the fact that the WsMD haven't been found yet. LINK

Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post says exactly the same thing, and yet precisely the opposite (!) in his column in the Washington Post (and gets in jibes at George Will and the American people too along the way). LINK

Media:

And it's apparently a "No" from Dean Baquet of the Los Angeles Times, according to the New York Daily News' Paul Colford in a sizzling Hot Copy. LINK

Judicial nomination battles:

The formidable pairing of Nick Lewis and S.G. Stolberg produces as comprehensive a round-up of the pre-SCOTUS vacancy landscape as those of you who haven't been paying attention to this could ever hope to find — even if the DCCW continues to be, in the immortal words of Dana Carvey, "nah gonna happen." LINK

The AP's Jesse J. Holland reports that "The White House on Thursday reopened the door to possible consultations with Senate Democrats on a Supreme Court nomination if a vacancy occurs this summer, one day after President Bush's spokesman seemed to rule out the idea." LINK

The AP's Anne Gearan speculates that President Bush may be "relieved" if no justice resigns during the president's first term because of the "political imbroglio" that a "confirmation battle so close to his re-election campaign is likely to provoke." LINK

Bush Administration strategy/personality:

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