Per Roll Call, Democrats are ready to fight Republican budget cuts in the court of public opinion, hosting events in their districts that will highlight how the belt-tightening will affect the needy. Says one Democratic aide: it's the political "gift that keeps on giving."
The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that Sen. John Sununu is one of seven senators that figures a pre-emptive slash of $125 billion over the next two years could help readjust the post-hurricane season budgetary balance. LINK
The Hill reports that the reliably Republican big business constituency is not exactly lining up behind the GOP's proposed cuts. LINK
In an op-ed in The Washington Times, Robert Goldberg says that the Republican Party is on the verge of abandoning its commitment to controlling spending and free market principles. LINK
The New York Times writes that as GOP leaders called yesterday for oil companies to take steps to increase fuel supply and lower gas prices, House Republicans continued to find it difficult "to move forward with budget cuts they hoped to showcase as evidence of renewed commitment to smaller government." LINK
The Hill writes that Republicans plan to make drilling for oil in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge a selling point for their budget plan, in response to "internal GOP polling that shows voters care more about gas prices than caribou." LINK
The new judge in the DeLay case gave money to both Republicans and Democrats in the Lone Star State, reports The Hill. LINK
As mentioned above, John Kerry is scheduled to give a speech on Iraq this afternoon at Georgetown University. In remarks prepared for delivery obtained by The Note, Kerry will offer this comment on the CIA leak investigation: "We don't know yet whether this will prove to be an indictable offense in a court of law, but for it, and for misleading a nation into war, they will be indicted in the high court of history."
On Iraq policy, Kerry will argue that the United States is entering a make-or-break six month period in Iraq, and he will detail the steps he thinks the country must take to bring troops home within a reasonable timeframe from an Iraq that's not permanently torn by irrepressible conflict.
According to an aide, Kerry will make it clear that the way forward in Iraq is not to pull out precipitously or merely promise to stay "as long as it takes." To undermine the insurgency, Kerry will say that the United States must instead simultaneously pursue both a political settlement and the withdrawal of American combat forces linked to specific, responsible benchmarks.
At the first benchmark -- the completion of the December elections – Kerry believes the US can start the process of reducing our forces by withdrawing 20,000 troops over the course of the holidays.
Expect a very personal assessment of where the country currently finds itself with regards to Iraq and how it got to this moment, says the aide.
In an appearance before a group of alternative-energy backers, Sen. Hillary Clinton called for fees to be imposed on oil-industry profits. LINK
Sen. Clinton's call for an energy revolution was written up by ZP Energy. LINK
Cindy Sheehan has taken aim at Sen. Hillary Clinton, telling the Associated Press that antiwar activists should withhold support for New York's junior Senator over her Iraq war position. LINK