The Note: Behind the Locked Double Doors

Note, too, Bumiller's Woodward-esque portrayal of a Bush/McCain phone call on the torture amendment and her reportage on the Cheneys' weekend move to the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

All in all, Bumiller comes down squarely in the middle of things, setting the truth for scores of holiday party attendees, bureau chiefs, and network executives.

Under the headline: "Bush's Urgent Campaign: Save his Presidency," Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Dick Polman offered this dramatic language on Sunday: LINK

"He is plummeting in the polls, with still no indication that he has hit bottom. A solid majority of Americans now give him the lowest approval ratings since Richard Nixon - a verdict that seemed unimaginable when he was reelected one year ago - and, even more ominously, he is now judged by the majority to be an untrustworthy leader who lured the nation into war on false pretenses."

"So it's no surprise that the Bush administration is in campaign mode, employing all facets of the far-flung Republican communications apparatus, in a perhaps futile attempt to rebuild the Bush image, assail his critics as spineless flip-floppers, and defend his war to an increasingly skeptical electorate."

Bloomberg's Kristin Jensen and Richard Keil take a big-picture (and loooooooooooooong) look at Bush's leadership style and the state of his presidency. LINK

On Sunday, the New York Times' Rosenbaum bemoaned the politicization of governmental policies. LINK

Bob Novak's Sunday column included some rumors and gossip about Al Hubbard potentially replacing Andy Card as Chief of Staff. LINK

Reuters on the President's locked door mishap, with a priceless headline and photo. LINK

More Bush exit strategy puns from the New York Post: LINK

Bush in Asia:

Writing under a Beijing dateline, the Washington Post's Baker and Pan yawn at the President's Asia trip and write that the trip met the "low expectations" that the National Security Advisor predicted. LINK

The New York Times' Sanger and Kahn on the talk and actions (or lack thereof) between President Bush and his Chinese counterpart in Beijing this weekend. LINK

USA Today's lame and Peking duck Judy Keen wraps the "mixed results" of President Bush's Asia trip. LINK

Per the Los Angeles Times, some observers were disappointed that President Bush's second-term freedom agenda seemed to take a back seat to trade and economic issues during his visit to China. LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation:

Evan Thomas and Michael Isikoff of Newsweek point their fingers toward Richard Armitage as a potential Woodward/Novak source. LINK

"One by one last week, a parade of current and former senior officials, including the CIA's George Tenet and national-security adviser Stephen Hadley, denied being the source. A conspicuous exception was former deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage, whose office would only say, 'We're not commenting.' He was one of a handful of top officials who had access to the information. He is an old source and friend of Woodward's, and he fits Novak's description of his source as 'not a partisan gunslinger.' Woodward has indicated that he knows the identity of Novak's source, which further suggests his source and Novak's were one and the same."

Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell took Bob Woodward to task on Sunday. LINK

Rumsfeld took his name off the potential Woodward source list, per the Associated Press. LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

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