WASHINGTON, Nov. 30
Back by popular demand and because the President's Iraq speech at 9:45 am ET will likely blow all this away -- The Note's "Best of . . ." Awards.
But first, here's what we know about what the President is expected to say at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD:
ABC's Martha Raddatz reports that the President's speech will essentially be "the story behind the numbers." He is expected to get into the weeds of what it means for the Iraqi Security Forces to be "Level 1" versus "Level 2" ready.
The President is expected to explain that the real problem facing the ISF is logistics support -- food, fuel, maintenance, payroll systems.
Mr. Bush is also expected to address the most recent action in the Euphrates valley which US commanders believe has been successful in keeping insurgents/terrorists out of the area.
The White House released a 35-page "National Strategy for Iraq" at 6:35 am ET this morning.
The document characterizes "the enemy" as a diffused and sophisticated combination of "rejectionists, Saddamists, and terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida."
(Despite Secretary Rumsfeld's best efforts to banish the term "insurgent" from the American lexicon yesterday, the document refers to "insurgent" or "insurgents" 14 times).
ABC's Ann Compton reports that the document declares "no war has ever been won on a timetable and neither will this one."
The document declares "we expect, but cannot guarantee" a drawdown over the next year adding that "while our military presence may become less visible, it will remain lethal and decisive, able to confront the enemy wherever it may organize."
Following his speech at the Naval Academy, President Bush heads to Baltimore, MD for a Michael Steele fundraiser before returning to the White House for an Oval Office meeting with the Commander-in-Chief of the VFW.
If you're interested in reaction to President Bush's speech in Congressman Fitzpatrick's (R-PA) district, be sure to tune into World News Tonight at 6:30 pm ET.
As for our awards:
Best Two Must-read Newspaper Stories on Iraq Demonstrating Why the United States Still Has a Lot of Problems There: The Los Angeles report that the U.S. military is "secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq (complete with dishing Pentagon officials who are outraged and documents galore) LINK; and Finer, and Fekeiki in the Washington Post on the problems with getting accurate translations at town meetings. LINK
Best Economic Memo: Vikas Bajaj in the New York Times on why the economy is good and Goldilocks -- or not. LINK
Best 2006 Story: The New York Times on the New York State Legislature's most powerful Republican calling for Jeanine Pirro to drop her bid to run against Sen. Clinton in favor of a run for Attorney General. LINK
Best 2006 Stories Not About Jeanine Pirro (tie): Jessica Bruder's New York Observer look at just how damaging the Decker College story may or may not be for William Weld's candidacy. LINK
The Columbus Dispatch's Hallett, Niquette, and Andes on Mayor Coleman's decision to bow out of the Ohio gubernatorial race. LINK
Best Pushback to Such Addiction: The Washington Post editorial on same. LINK