The Note: A Time of Andy Card's Choosing

David Jackson of USA Today outlines how the Bush Administration will defend warrantless NSA wiretapping in speeches this week by President Bush, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Michael Hayden, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. LINK

The Associated Press picks up on Sen. Kerry saying that "Osama bin Laden is going to die of kidney failure before he's killed by Karl Rove and his crowd." LINK

Kerry also said: "We're prepared to eavesdrop wherever and whenever necessary in order to make America safer. But we need to put a procedure in place to protect the constitutional rights of Americans."

Following Sunday television appearances by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) on "This Week" and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) on "Fox News Sunday," the White House released a "Setting the Record" straight e-mail that defends the circumvention of the FISA statute by pointing to the President's inherent powers, defends the lack of briefings for the full House and Senate Intelligence Committees by pointing to the briefings of the Gang of 8, and that defends the Bush Administration's decision not to make use of the FISA court's 72-hour grace period by suggesting that the FISA Court did not provide the Bush Administration with the "speed and agility" needed to prosecute the war on terror.

The Washington Post's ed board thinks the Bush Administration's 42-page white paper justifying the NSA's warrantless wiretapping is even "more disturbing" than its shorter predecessors. LINK

Back from Antarctica, Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) tells the Union Leader's John Distaso that he began making telephone calls on the Patriot Act immediately after the holiday break." LINK

He said last week he expects to continue discussions "with Administration officials in the next couple of days" to try to break the logjam.

Sununu opposes "provisions giving law enforcement agencies expanded powers to search and seize a wide range of personal and business documents, from medical and financial records to library lending lists, with little opportunity for the targets of such probes to challenge the government in court."

Big Casino budget politics:

In the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Joel Havemann and (Washington Week favorite) Janet Hook had a GOP strategist saying the Bush Administration is "going for singles and doubles" in its budge proposals this year. ". . . things that would be helpful but don't cost much money." LINK

What's on the table, according to the Los Angeles Times duo?

More science and technology training, further tax breaks for the purchase of health care, beefed up health savings accounts, an across-the-board freeze on non-Homeland Security domestic agencies. And, of course, making permanent the tax reductions enacted in 2001 and 2003.

The New York Times reports that Republicans see a bright future with a college aid program which was added into a budget package late last month; meanwhile Democrats claim they were never consulted. LINK


Peter G. Gosselin of the Los Angeles Times on President Bush's plan to overhaul the healthcare care system while using past Reagan and Bush economic liaisons as advisors. LINK

The Washington Post reports today that Gov. Kaine says he would approve new spending for transportation only if he could be sure none of it would be diverted to other services." LINK

Lobbying reform:

Robert Novak swoons over Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) crusade to get rid of the scourge of earmarks. LINK

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