The Note: Economics 101

The Los Angeles Times looks at the massive task confronting prosecutors as they attempt to show lawmakers were bribed by Abramoff and his clients. LINK

Samuel Alito for Associate Justice:

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick analyzes the witness list put forward by Democrats for next week's Alito hearings and finds the nominee's character will be prominently investigated by Judiciary Committee Democrats. LINK

The AP on the possibility of a delay in the Judiciary Committee vote on Alito: LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan reports that Democrats claimed yesterday that if Alito wants to be confirmed, he must explain whether he would allow warrantless wiretapping of the kind practiced in a recently disclosed NSA program. LINK

The Boston Globe Notes that with just days before Judge Samuel Alito's confirmation hearings, top Democratic Senators came together on the Hill to discuss Alito's "centering on his deference to executive power." Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) wants to know, "is there any limit to executive power and authority that this nominee will recognize?" LINK

USA Today's Joan Biskupic's detective work on the unusually tight-lipped Supreme Court nominee indicates that his work under spitfire attorney Rex Lee during the Reagan administration offers clues to his positions. LINK

Politics of spying:

In what the New York Times sees as an indicator of a growing partisan division over domestic spying, Intelligence Committee chair Peter Hoekstra lashed out at Democrat Jane Harman yesterday, following her letter on Wednesday to the White House criticizing how Congress has been briefed on the program. LINK

The DNC is attempting to refocus attention on the domestic spying story by sending a web video (a tactic of which the Democrats are apparently growing as fond as their Republican counterparts) to its supporters in which they literally morph George W. Bush into Richard Nixon to hammer home their point about what they see as executive power overreach. You can check it out here: LINK

In addition to the video, the DNC delivered a FOIA request to the Department of Justice yesterday -- signed by 160,000 supporters -- seeking documentation concerning the decision to implement the warrantless spying program.

The power of the president in wartime moves to "center stage" when Sen. Specter holds hearings on the NSA's domestic spying and on Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, the Wall Street Journal's scholarly John McKinnon reports.

Politics of Iraq:

The Washington Post's Josh White on the way in which Congressman Murtha's recent comments to Nightline's Jon Donvan irked and "energized" Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. LINK

Late on Thursday, the RNC circulated Gen. Pace's comments in a typically aggressive move.

Murtha responded to Pace's criticism by saying "there is no greater honor than to serve and defend this great nation" while standing by his full-throated criticism of the Iraq-era US military.

The President's Q&A yesterday with officials from former administrations lasted only 5-10 minutes, reports the New York Times. During the unusual bipartisan interchange, which had "shades of the first days of Mr. Bush's presidency in 2001," Colin Powell was silent, a "silence that spoke volumes." LINK

(Make sure you read the part of the Albright exchange at least twice.) The Los Angeles Times runs down the questions asked and concerns raised at the gathering. LINK

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