The Note: The Note

Dan Balz's must-read from Sunday's Washington Post. LINK

Ron Brownstein from Sunday's Los Angeles Times: LINK

Newsweek's Wolffe and Bailey on what they see as the President's strategy for 2006 to emphasize war. LINK

Bloomberg's Roger Simon has Stu Rothenberg saying that Democrats taking control of the House is "difficult, but not impossible" to imagine, while he sees the Democrats taking control of the Senate as "tough to imagine." LINK

Gina Glantz, a Democratic consultant who advised Howard Dean in 2004, believes "much of the criticism that Democrats direct toward Bush doesn't touch the daily lives of most Americans. 'People are not worried about spying or corruption' or the nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the U.S. Supreme Court, she says. 'They are worried about being in debt, paying the mortgage, health care and good schools for their kids. Bush will say to them: 'I am strong and will make your life better.' That is what people are interested in.'"

The Los Angeles Times' McManus on GOP Members of Congress' hopes for a good SOTU this election year. LINK

In his State of the Union preview, ABC News' Teddy Davis has NRCC Chair Tom Reynolds (R-NY) saying at Friday's pen-and-pad briefing: "Lobbying reform is not on the American people's tongues as far as what they want in action." LINK

SOTU:

On the front page of Sunday's New York Times, Robert Pear took a must-read look at the health care debate expected to be sparked by the President's speech framed through Clinton 1994 v. Bush 2006 comparison. LINK

While calling into Don Imus' program, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) said four years after President Bush's "axis of evil" speech, North Korea has four times as many nuclear weapons, Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons, and Iraq is in "chaos."

Mr. Bush's speech will address alternative use of energy sources and incremental initiatives in healthcare and tax reform during a time when only 43% of Americans approve of Bush's job performance and 52% approval of Bush handling war on terror, Boston Globe's Michael Kranish reports. LINK

The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller pens her "White House Letter" on President Bush's speechwriter William McGurn, who is on his twentieth SOTU draft and boasts that President Bush is easier to work with than some of his past copy editors. LINK

David Jackson of USA Today looks at how a SOTU speech comes together and explains the various ways a policy initiative can end up in the President's big speech. LINK

Jennifer Loven from the Associated Press also details how the SOTU address is crafted and reveals Bush's no-nonsense speech-prepping: "Bush himself is quick to spot any unsanctioned, last-minute alteration in the text. More often than not, he accurately identifies the staffer who demanded that the speechwriters include it, and then orders that the offending item be scrubbed." LINK

Bob Lewis of the Associated Press revealed on Saturday the purpose of Gov. Kaine's response to the President's address, which would "urge an end to Washington's poisonous partisanship and try to nudge his own party toward the center." LINK

According to Christina Bellantoni of the Washington Times, Kaine's rebuttal to SOTU will be "upbeat and positive." LINK

Samuel Alito for Associate Justice:

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