WASHINGTON, Feb. 8
President Bush was scheduled to have met with King Abdullah of Jordan in the Oval Office this morning. (King Abdullah will be making the rounds on Capitol Hill as well. Leader Pelosi hosted a breakfast for him with some House Democrats and Sen./Dr./Leader Frist will have a photo opportunity with the King.)
Later today, the President delivers remarks on his budget priorities in New Hampshire and signs the "Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005."
ABC News' Jessica Yellin reports that, while in New Hampshire, the President will argue that the economy is strong, that spending restraint is important, and that performance assessments make a difference. The Note also predicts he will tease Judd Gregg and Tom Rath from the podium, John Sununu privately, and Mike Dennehy not at all.
(Performance Assessments are the Office of Management and Budget's system of stars and slashes that rates how effective are various federal programs. You can check it out here: LINK)
The audience for the President's speech will be the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire which is a combo of big (over 50 employees) and small (under 50) companies. The President will also talk competitiveness, energy, health care, and the deficit. But the focus will be the budget. (The New Hampshire Union Leader has more for you: LINK)
(Note Note: For a visual lesson in what it looks like to be the President versus what it looks like to want to become president, we urge you to compare President Bush's New Hampshire appearance today -- taking place in the same location -- with that of Mark Warner's appearance on Friday evening at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's annual fundraising dinner.)
Americans United, a liberal umbrella group, is expecting "hundreds of protestors" at Veteran's Park on Elm St. in Manchester, NH from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm ET. At a press conference Monday afternoon, Americans United unveiled a television ad to air on WMUR during the President's visit Wednesday morning. The ad, which says it's "time for a change" while urging people to support the Democrats' version of lobbying reform can be viewed here: LINK
ABC's Ann Compton reports that Mrs. Bush has departed for Rome and then the Olympics in Turin. "Most of the members of the presidential delegation to the Olympics have accepted rides over with Mrs. Bush including athletes Dorothy Hammil and Kerry Shrug, and presidential pals Brad Freeman and Roland Betts." (Note: That means that Elisabeth Bumiller apparently allows her two best sources to fly on the same plane, unlike, say, the two people who know the recipe for Coke.)
"Mrs. Bush does two Vatican press interviews (with Vatican Fox News contributor and with Telepace in Rome) following her meeting with the Pope tomorrow."
All eyes on Capitol Hill will be on the body language between Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) at 2:00 pm ET today when the two testify on lobbying reform before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. The other witnesses include Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN).
The grand jury investigating the leak of former CIA operative Valerie Plame's name is scheduled to meet at 9:30 am ET.
Mark McClellan goes before the Senate Finance Committee at 10:00 am ET to discuss the Medicare prescription drug benefit.