A Republican close to the Vice President provides this reaction to ABC News' Jonathan Karl: "Nobody should fall out of their chair if they hear the Vice President discussed classified information with his national security advisor. The issue is if somebody disclosed classified information improperly or was not truthful to a grand jury." The Republican says, emphatically, nothing in the New York Times account suggests the VP did anything wrong.
That is true, but it certainly allows every television reporter standing on the North Lawn today to place Vice President Cheney squarely in the middle of Plamegate for the first time.
And that guarantees that all eyes will be trained on the federal courthouse in Washington, DC today, even though ABC News' Jason Ryan reports that the grand jury investigating the CIA leak case is not meeting. As you read this, stakeouts have already been stuck out, although the whereabouts of Fitzgerald and what might occur today is very much up in the air. Also, the Notion that target letters have already been sent out is something that we can't even be Cindy Adamsesque about.
Out in Wyoming, where he flew last night after some Western fundraising, Vice President Cheney has his regular intelligence briefing, a Hurricane Wilma briefing, and other meetings. Tonight, he attends an event at the University of Wyoming. He will travel back to Washington, DC tomorrow after regular briefings and will attend the tribute to Rep. John Dingell's (D-MI) 50 years in the House Wednesday evening.
ABC News' Karen Travers reports that Cheney will be in Washington, DC on Thursday and receive his regular schedule of briefings and will attend an evening closed press reception for Rep. Barbara Cubin. On Friday, Cheney travels to Georgia for fundraisers for former Reps. Max Burns and Mac Collins and meets with troops at Robins Air Force Base. The fundraisers are open press. Details for the Robins Air Force Base event are TBA.
Doing his best not to let the background noise interfere with his job, today President Bush speaks to the Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' Luncheon, meets with the president of the Kurdistan regional government (whether or not he answers a question from the pool in the Rose Garden is still unclear), and attends an RNC dinner to celebrate the Eagles' 30th birthday celebration. The event will bring in at least $1 million for the RNC. Approximately 250 attendees are expected and each couple contributed $15,000.
The day's single other must-read comes from the Washington Post.
To deal with what they consider the "darkest days" of the Bush presidency, White House advisers are studying the ways in which Reagan and Clinton withstood second-term scandals and they are pursuing a "twofold strategy": confront "head-on" problems such as the Iraq death toll, while "shifting attention" to other areas such as conservative economic policies, the Washington Post's Baker and VandeHei report. LINK
This line from the Baker-VandeHei story has us wondering if RNC honcho Ken Mehlman is laying the rhetorical groundwork for the Bush legacy to be undimmed even if the Miers nomination doesn't make it through the Senate:
"'If you look at Reagan who had two [failed Supreme Court] nominees, who lost control of the Senate and had Iran-contra, did he still have a successful final three years? Absolutely,' Mehlman said in an interview. So, too, will Bush, he predicted."