The Note: Comes in 3s

After all 50 governors signed a letter protesting a reduction in the overall size of the National Guard, many governors are still concerned that the proper funding and equipment is not in place to prepare the Guardsmen/women for their domestic duties when they return home from Iraq, reports Robert Pear of the New York Times. LINK

The Associated Press previews the immigration issues likely to be raised by several governors with the President and Defense Secretary today. LINK

Wal-Mart chief executive Lee Scott addressed the nation's governors at the NGA meeting yesterday. The speech was "directed at an increasingly important constituency for Wal-Mart: state leaders who have veto power over legislation aimed at forcing Wal-Mart to spend more on health care," writes the New York Times' Michael Barbaro. LINK

The Washington Post's Style section includes some gubernatorial color, including Gov. Romney's smile and Gov. Huckabee blessing the White House menu. LINK

The Washington Post's Dan Balz led his Sunday coverage of the NGA conference with governors of both parties challenging cuts in the National Guard proposed by the Bush Administration. LINK

Port security:


(If you expected The Note to report on the meaning of the flap, the delay, the brouhaha, the whole thing -- you expected wrong. Wake us when it's over.)

The White House agreed Sunday to a request by Dubai Ports World for a further review of a deal that would put the company in charge of six American ports, easing concerns from lawmakers who had threatened to block the purchase, reports Jill Lawrence of USA Today. LINK

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman on the same: LINK

In a must-read, Bob Novak reports that when the Democrats "first opened fire," Dan Bartlett responded to GOP warning signs by suggesting, "in the imperial style of this presidency," that he hoped Republicans could support the deal, but if they could not, it just would be too bad. That was followed by the president's rare session with reporters aboard Air Force One in which he threatened a veto." LINK

Bloomberg News' Jess Bliss reveals that in addition to the 45-day review beginning March 2, the company also agreed to allow P&O's North America-based executives to run the port operations. LINK

The New York Times' David Sanger (ahead of the story all weekend) writes the Dubai Ports World request for a 45-day delay "will leave President Bush in the politically delicate position of having to personally approve or disapprove the takeover." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Greg Hitt calls the delay a "face-saving way out of the controversy."

Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times delivers a near-must-read on the political calculations and machinations at play over the ports controversy. LINK

"Though the tensions were somewhat defused Sunday when the company agreed to a 45-day national security review, the problem continues to exact a steep political price from Mr. Bush, exposing divisions between the White House and Congressional Republicans in a critical election year and further weakening a president already reeling from a series of setbacks, from Hurricane Katrina to the war in Iraq," writes Stolberg.

And here's a line that will cause Josh Isay, Cathie Levine, and Stu Loeser to smile broadly: "Also on Monday, right after the big snowstorm, Mr. Schumer held the first of a series of news conferences. But hardly any reporters showed up."

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