The Note: The State of Our Union Is . . . Confused

In Sunday's installment of "The Briefing: Behind the Headlines in Washington," the Boston Globe's Nina Easton had ACU's David Keene warning that if McCain failed to prevent a Democratic filibuster of Alito: ''he'd slam the door on conservative support for good, and McCain can ill-afford to do that." She also had McCainiac-turned-DLCer Mashall Wittmann saying that, in many ways, the conservative movement is coming to McCain. LINK


In a Sunday must-read, the Washington Post's Dan Balz, Shailagh Murray, and Peter Slevin reported that if the public mood "further" darkens over the Iraq war and the economy, GOP majorities in the House and Senate could be at risk. LINK

Jeanine Pirro's chances of winning New York's GOP nomination to take on Sen. Clinton may grow longer this week if opponent John Spencer receives the backing of the state's Conservative Party, as Frederic Dicker predicts in the New York Post. LINK

Politics of Iraq:

The New York Times' Eric Lichtblau leads his wrap of the Sunday shows with Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts telling "Face" that there is no evidence of pressure on Iraq data. LINK

The Washington Post's David Broder wrote on Sunday that a prominent Ohio Republican recently told him that President Bush is lucky he's not on the ballot this year and said that in the Buckeye State, it's the unresolved war in Iraq that is causing the President the most trouble. LINK

The IRS is trying to revoke the tax-exempt status of one of Southern California's largest churches after a guest sermon in October of 2004 slammed the Iraq war. The IRS believes the church was intervening in the election, while the church claims it is being targeted for its anti-war beliefs. LINK

The Army is being forced to offer a host of new incentives and benefits to keep its ROTC- and West Point-trained officers from leaving its ranks. LINK

The Washington Times says enlistment numbers are up and recruiting goals are largely being met, "a trend that bewilders and dismays those opposed to the war in Iraq." LINK

The Senate continues to hold up the nominations of numerous key deputies for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, reports the Washington Times. LINK

Politics of Katrina:

Oren Dorell of USA Today writes that at least 27 members of Congress have diverted money from their reelection campaigns to Katrina relief along the Gulf Coast, with some giving as much as $30,000 for hurricane relief. LINK


On Sunday, Tom Beaumont of the Des Moines Register profiled the January 2006 Democratic caucuses for governor in must-read fashion. LINK

Leonard Boswell's first post-surgical public appearance scored Tom Beaumont's Des Moines Register lede in his Jefferson-Jackson dinner writeup on Sunday. LINK

New Hampshire:

Turnout in the Manchester, NH mayoral election is expected to be similar to what it was in 2001, reports the New Hampshire Union Leader. LINK


"After nearly a year of inaction and delay on a number of issues dear to the telecommunications industry, lobbyists and committee staffers are registering their dismay with how Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) is running the panel," writes Roll Call's Emily Pierce.

Ben Pershing of Roll Call takes a look at Rep. Zach Wamp's (R-TN) "quiet, non-campaign" for Majority Whip, should the position be open.

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