The Note: The Silver State of the (Political) Union

William Blum, the "Rogue State" author whose work Bin Laden recommended yesterday, is scheduled to speak to "Students for Peace and Justice" at Miami University of Ohio on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 pm ET.

SOTU:

Bloomberg's Runningen and Keil deliver a must-read story on the President's health care proposals to be fleshed out in the State of the Union. LINK

"Former Bush economic adviser R. Glenn Hubbard said he is briefing Republican leaders in the House and Senate and their staffs on his recommendations, which are shaping up as central elements of Bush's 2006 domestic agenda."

"The president said yesterday that he'll aim to make health savings accounts more widespread, seek price disclosure for medical services and make health insurance more widely available to the 45.8 million Americans whom the Census Bureau said were uninsured in 2004."

USA Today's David Jackson sees President Bush's Sterling, VA remarks on the budget deficit not justifying tax increases as setting the tone for his econ-heavy State of the Union speech. LINK

Close observers of the passing parade will have Noticed that Time's Mike Allen cleanly broke the story of Kaine's SOTU response gig last month. Newsweek, trying to parlay its ultra-success with its fabled presidential campaign inside-look tick tock books into more coin, is working on a book on Allen's reporting career, and The Note has an exclusive excerpt:

"Mike Allen was at it again. The tireless Time magazine reporter was closing in a story, but he was, as always, worried he would get beat. Allen had been at Time for only a few weeks, and he felt he had something to prove. After seemingly successful stints at the New York Times and the Washington Post, Allen was regularly compared by colleagues behind his back to basketball's Larry Brown, the peripatetic coach who switched jobs as often as David Wade switches metaphors."

"Back on Dec. 8, Mike was phoning around for news nuggets before going on MSNBC's 'The Situation with Tucker Carlson' when a well-known Democrat mentioned that party leaders were so fractured over Iraq that they were going to have to turn to Kaine for the SOTU response because they couldn't all agree on anyone else. Only a few people knew, so the source insisted Mike make the plan sound vaguer than it was. But Gang of 500 members who were still awake got the message."

"'I'll give you a little breaking news here,' Mike slyly told Tucker. 'There's a lot of people in the party that wanted Congressman Murtha to do the Democrats' response to the State of the Union. It's been decided he cannot do that because they don't have a unified position. So, Tucker, I would look for a new Democratic face, perhaps the governor-elect in Virginia, Tim Kaine.' For anyone who missed that, Mike used the same construction three days later on NBC's 'Meet the Press': 'Democrats are trying to find someone to respond to the State of the Union address. A lot of people obviously wanted Congressman Murtha.'"

"That produced a story in the Washington Times four days later saying that 'Virginia is abuzz over rumors' about Kaine, based on the TV mention. After the 'ask' was formalized after Kaine's inauguration this weekend, an official involved in the decision elaborated on the Kaine logic: 'He a D who was elected from a red state running on middle-class issues and a values platform---exactly the kind of person Ds need to showcase to independents.'" Mike had been right all along. It felt good."

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