The Note: Witness for the Witness

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12

NEWS SUMMARY

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) got the fourth day of Alito hearings going already this morning. The day's objective is to conclude round three of questioning, go into closed session to review Alito's FBI record, and then to return and hear from outside witnesses.

ABC's Ed O'Keefe reports, "Senators will not be permitted to exceed 25 minutes in the third round and few of the Committee's 10 Republicans are expected to take their turn. Thus far, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) will take 20 minutes (though, it is still unclear how much of that time will be used for actual questions), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) will speak for 10 minutes, and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) is slotted for 10 minutes. Others, including Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), are also expected to request time."

President Bush travels to the Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast today—his 9th trip to the region since the hurricane hit on Aug. 29 and his sixth trip to New Orleans, LA. While in the Crescent City today, the President will participate in a small business roundtable at 12:05 pm ET. He will then helicopter to Bay St. Louis, MS to give remarks on Gulf Coast reconstruction at St. Stanislaus College at 2:25 pm ET.

The President finishes the day raising coin for the RNC at a closed fundraiser at the Palm Beach, FL home of Dwight and Martha Schar. Per the RNC, the event this evening "is a tiered fundraiser for the RNC and JCC (Joint Candidates Committee). It will raise $2.2 million for the RNC and $1.8 million for the JCC."

Former President Bill Clinton makes a HIV/AIDS announcement regarding antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs and rapid tests at 12:30 pm ET at his Harlem office on West 125th Street. Be sure to tune into "Nightline" tonight at 11:35 pm ET for Terry Moran's exclusive interview with Mr. Clinton.

While he's uptown, she will be midtown: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) attends the Children's Defense Fund's 2005 "Beat the Odds" Awards at 12:15 pm ET in the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center. Sen. Clinton plans to call for immediate action to aid local pharmacists and seniors who are "bearing the brunt of problems plaguing" the new Medicare prescription drug program. At 6:30 pm ET, she attends the Board of Rabbis Induction Ceremony in New York, NY.

The Austin Headliners Club roasts Karl Rove at its 50th anniversary gala event honoring President Bush (41) and Mrs. Barbara Bush in Austin, TX.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) discusses the ways in which he thinks his "Strategic Growth Plan" will plan for California's future needs by reducing traffic congestion, creating jobs, and improving air quality at 1:15 pm ET in Fremont, CA.

Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) holds a 12:00 pm ET news conference to announce his election reform initiatives in Santa Fe, NM.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) holds a 2:45 pm ET press conference on "honest government" in Omaha, NE. Reid is on a five-city tour.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds a 10:45 am ET press conference in H-321 of the Capitol.

Also at 10:45 am ET, Secretary Rumsfeld is expected to brief at the Pentagon.

L. Paul Bremer, the former director of reconstruction and humanitarian assistance for postwar Iraq, discusses "My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope" at the National Press Club at 6:30 pm ET.

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