The Note: A Time of Andy Card's Choosing

While appearing on CBS' "Early Show," Bartlett traded in "absolutely absurd" for "absolutely wrong."

To wit:

"If someone wants to jump to the conclusion that something nefarious was happening," Bartlett told CBS' "Early Show," "they would be absolutely wrong."

In this week's Time Magazine, Adam Zagorin and Mike Allen eat the Wasingtonian's dust and write that unpublished photos of Bush and Abramoff "suggest there's more to the story" despite White House denials that the President doesn't know Jack Abramoff. LINK

Perhaps it is absent any malice, but the White House's arguably tone-deaf stonewall on the question of Abramoff's White House visits has us smelling something like fear.

The Washingtonian and Time Magazine are both reporting about the existence of a (what would be a plastered-everywhere) photo of Bush and the admitted felon grinning and gripping in the EEOB along one of Mr. Abramoff's Indian tribe clients.

When ABC News first approached the White House about the alleged photo on Friday, the White House said the meeting happened but according to spokesperson Erin Healy, "Available records show that Mr. Abramoff was not in attendance."

Hmm. When asked to check more records and let us know whether Abramoff was there, Scott McClellan told ABC News' Jessica Yellin, "We have checked our records, and Erin's account is accurate -- the records indicate he was not at the meeting."

Strangely legalistic response from the Administration that vowed a change from Clinton era parsing. Makes us wonder, is it possible that "Everything they said was accurate but none of it was true?"

The Los Angeles Times on Rep. Ney's political past and his past relationship with lobbyists. LINK

DeLay:

A 30-second ad linking Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and pushing for his resignation will air in Houston today on KPRC-NBC and KRIV-FOX, per Ruth Rendon of the Houston Chronicle. LINK

"The ad says DeLay 'received tens of thousands in campaign contributions from indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates' and that 'he visited cliff-top Caribbean resorts, golf courses designed by PGA champions and four-star restaurants -- all courtesy of donors who bankrolled his political money empire.'"

Politics of spying:

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney in his must read has "one prominent Republican supporter of Mr. Bush" questioning Karl Rove's Friday effort to depict criticism of President Bush's NSA spying program as coming solely from Democrats: "A lot of Democrats? Democrats, Karl? Republicans, too?" LINK

"A number of Republicans have joined Democrats in challenging the surveillance program, pointedly reminding the administration that precedents established today will be in place whenever a Democrat returns to power."

More Nagourney: ". . . in an interview on Fox News on Sunday," Sen. McCain said he did not think the President had the legal authority for this operation, adding that the White House should seek congressional approval to alter the 1978 provisions if it thinks they are not working now."

The Daily News on Sen. McCain's "slam" to Bush's spying program. LINK

While appearing on NBC's "Today Show," White House counselor Dan Bartlett deflected a question about a critical legal analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service by saying that such a perspective should be expected from an institution that represents another branch of government. LINK

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