The Note: Comfort Level


Will Karl Rove's radio whispers and Dubai Ports World announcement of an operational takeover delay be enough to stem the legislative tide on Capitol Hill? If you have the answer to that question, you are all set for your weekend. If you don't, we suspect you will by Sunday evening.

President Bush will try to remind the country who's boss on national security issues when he delivers 10:00 am ET remarks on the global war on terrorism to the American Legion at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. At 1:15 pm ET in the Oval Office, the President meets with President Saca of El Salvador.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) makes his re-election debut at 10:30 pm ET when he addresses the California Republican Party winter convention at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA. (See more on that below.)

Hundreds of Teamsters will rally in 20 cities across the U.S. today against the agreement to allow Dubai Ports World to take over operations at American ports. A statement from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters says the union strongly opposes the $6.8 billion deal, and that it is "perplexed" by the Administration's "willingness to ignore the obvious increased security threats of opening our nation's ports to the UAE."

At the 2:30 pm ET status conference in the CIA leak investigation set to take place in Judge Walton's Washington, DC courtroom, two main issues will be on the agenda, per ABC's Jason Ryan: media subpoenas and access to intelligence materials requested by Libby and his defense team, including access to PDBs.

"The grand jury is also scheduled to meet but Fitzgerald has not been seen at the grand jury area since December 7, 2005. He may offer clues to the ongoing nature of the CIA leak investigation as well," adds Ryan.

In other Justice Department news, Jason Ryan reports, "A Washington, DC based defense contractor involved in the Duke Cunningham scandal will plead guilty this morning at the US District Court in DC. The man Mitchel Wade ran MZM, Inc. which funneled money to the former congressman who pleaded guilty last year. Wade is expected to plead guilty to bribery charges for improperly trying to influence Defense Department contracts." The hearing is set for 10:30 am ET with a noon ET press conference at the Washington, DC US Attorney's office to follow.

ABC's Luis Martinez reports, "Later today, the Pentagon expects to release it's quarterly Iraq Progress Report entitled "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq." This will be the third of these quarterly reports commissioned by Congress when it passed the emergency Iraq supplemental in early 2005."

Vice President Cheney presents the distinguished service cross to Bernard W. Bail, 1st Lt. of the Army Air Corps at 11:30 am ET in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for "extraordinary heroism" in connection with military operations on June 5, 1944 while serving as the group mission's lead radar navigator on a heavy bombardment attack against defended enemy coastal positions in the vicinity of Boulogno-Sur-Mer, France, in preparation of the invasion of June 6, 1944.

The Maryland State House Environmental Matters Committee, Maryland Senate Finance Committee and Maryland Senate Budget &Taxation Committee meet for a special 1:00 pm ET briefing on the control of the Port of Baltimore in Annapolis, MD. Witnesses include Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and representatives of the Maryland Port Administration.

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