The Note: Border Crossing

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28

NEWS SUMMARY

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the only way to cover government and politics in the modern era is through the Perils-of-Pauline-approval-ratings fate of the President of the United States.

So every problem in the world -- from mega to pissant -- is laid at the doorstep of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Will Chairman Thomas feel slighted in some conference committee? Will Lara Logan have a hard time getting a meeting with Dan Bartlett? Will the Iranian president have a cow? Will Howard Fineman have a good time at the White House holiday party?

President Bush: you are in charge of ALL that.

But there's more.

While you were all off admiring your relatives' new high-definition TVs and recognizing for the first time in your life that stuffing is a carb, the Googling monkeys were hard at work, making sure we were ready (and, thus, you were ready) for the sprint to the New Year.

So, as always, what you need to know about the known knowns, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns:

Iraq: All eyes on Wednesday's presidential address, with a focus on just how much the White House press corps believes what the President says about the status of trained Iraqi troops.

Also: read these two paragraphs of pure (partisan-but-reflective) gold by Harold Meyerson to understand the media mindset about the politics of Iraq:

"But if the Democrats' silence is driving Rove batty, it's making their own supporters a little crazed as well. The Democratic base clearly supports withdrawing the troops; in Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district, that position probably commands nearly unanimous support. . ."

"But it's not 1969. There is no silent majority to be rallied in support of the war, just a frustrated minority. The streets are quiet. Demonstrators are decorous. The audience for Dick Cheney's hatchet jobs has dwindled. The president's credibility is reaching Nixonian depths. The Democrats have been pushed to the brink of opposing the war, but there -- on the brink -- they totter."

Immigration: Time magazine nails it: "In the end, though, it's unlikely that Bush will ever consummate his flirtation with the anti-immigrant right. It's too big a departure from his history, and too many Big Business G.O.P. donors need their cheap labor. 'Bush decided to give these guys' --the immigration hard-liners-- 'their rhetorical pound of flesh,' says a Republican official close to the White House. 'In return, he wants a comprehensive bill, which is what he has always wanted. He's just going to lead with a lot of noise about border security.'"

The President is also responsible for the prescription drug benefit (Note the New York Times editorial re-endorsement! LINK); Jack Abramoff; Patrick Fitzgerald; tax reform; and deciding what to say about Social Security in the State of the Union speech.

Go to it, Mr. President, and don't forget to go online to shop today!!!

But first, POTUS shines the presidential spotlight on border security and immigration reform today at 4:40 pm ET when he delivers remarks on the topics in Tucson, AZ. The President will then head up to Phoenix, AZ to deliver his current stump speech for Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) reelection campaign at 7:35 pm ET. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will be appearing with the President at all of his Arizona stops today.

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