The Note: MEDICARE.GOV

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13

NEWS SUMMARY

President Bush participates in a roundtable about the Medicare prescription drug benefit at 10:10 am ET in Springfield, VA.

ABC News' Karen Travers reports that the President does not plan to make formal remarks today. Rather, he will simply be talking with seniors about prescription drugs in a roundtable setting. He will impress upon them why it's important for seniors to enroll now. The prescription drug benefit will be available in three weeks, starting on January 1, 2006.

Which means: watch the President's eyes closely to see at which precise moment he gets bored with the topic and the format. The over/under among the White House senior staff is seven minutes.

It also means: it's never too early to game out the TV advertising campaigns for 2006 congressional candidates.

Mr.Bush's event has a policy purpose (to make more seniors aware of how to sign up for the right Medicare drug plan for them) and a political one (reap for the GOP the benefits of this lavish new entitlement, passed with Republican votes and signed into law by a conservative Republican president).

The White House is convinced that if sufficient numbers of seniors sign up for the program that the media will tout it as a success and millions of individual voters will look favorably on the Republican Party as their health care saviors.

So fast forward to next fall, and fill out today's Note quiz.

Which party's candidates are more likely to use each issue below in their 2006 campaign TV advertising:

Prescription drug benefit:

Republicans _______

Democrats ________

Iraq war:

Republicans _______

Democrats ________

President Bush:

Republicans _______

Democrats ________

Opposition control of Congress:

Republicans _______

Democrats ________

Supreme Court:

Republicans _______

Democrats ________

Deficit/government spending:

Republicans _______

Democrats ________

Taxes:

Republicans _______

Democrats ________

Immigration:

Republicans _______

Democrats ________

Values:

Republicans _______

Democrats ________

Fill out your answers and send them to us before midday, when the President hosts a luncheon for Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) to celebrate his 50 years in the House of Representatives.

The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq holds the first of three days of parliamentary elections for Iraqi nationals residing in the US. The main voting centers are located in Chicago, San Diego, Nashville, Washington, and Detroit.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivers a speech on "Iraq and Democracy in the Middle East" at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC at 1:00 pm ET.

Lynne Cheney holds a 9:00 am ET discussion about the Iraqi elections with fourth- and fifth-grade students at W.W. Burrows Elementary School at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, VA. She then delivers remarks to fifth-grade students about the Iraqi election at Fort Belvoir Elementary School in Fort Belvoir, VA.

A Ways and Means subcommittee on oversight holds a 3:00 pm ET hearing on Katrina in Longworth 1100.

ABC's Tom Shine reports that Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) will "camp out" on the Hill today until he gets the money he says Mississippi needs to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Lucky for him, Mississippi's own Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), chairs the money committee on the Senate side and he has found a way to pay for the new money that won't make the Bush Administration very happy: by tapping unspent Iraq reconstruction money.

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