The Note: All of the People

WASHINGTON, Mar. 1

President Bush told Elizabeth Vargas in an interview yesterday that he has oodles (that's a paraphrase) of political capital.

So that isn't the problem, apparently.

But West Wing gallows humor dished to Baker and VandeHei --and Republicans spending more time worrying about a CBS News poll than attacking it -- spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E with a captial "T" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for "Plan.". So a "Plan" is the solution, it would seem.

The problem, actually, is figuring out -- a "Plan" for whom?

A quick survey of what Mr. Bush could do to solve his problems with just three of his many constituencies shows how tough things are.

What the American people want:

-- While in Pakistan, catch bin Laden and bring him home in a tiger cage on Air Force One.

-- Fix the Medicare prescription drug benefit to the point that Robert Pear has got to move on to a new topic.

-- Have a White House wedding for one of the twins (patterned after the Morgenstern-Gerard nuptials).

-- Kill the Dubai port deal via an abject mea culpa.

-- Lower gas prices and bring many, many troops home from Iraq.

What the Gang of 500 wants:

-- Replace Andy Card with co-Chiefs of Staff James Baker and Howard Baker.

-- Raise the gas tax two dollars per gallon and the top income tax rate on the wealthy to one percent higher than it was on Bill Clinton's last day in office.

-- Hold an open "American-Idol"-meets-Mondale-'84 casting call for a new veep (complete with long walks down Pebble Beach and post-meeting stakeout appearances by the "contestants"), after announcing in a primetime Oval Office address that you demanded Dick Cheney's resignation.

-- Lead a PowerPoint talk in the White House briefing room, going through all of the official photos of you and Jack Abramoff, explaining in excruciating detail what transpired between you two and any cute nicknames you remember doling out.

-- Kill the Dubai port deal via an abject mea culpa.

What the balance of House Republicans want:

-- Cut taxes, eliminate the deficit, and make no spending cuts that Democrats can use as campaign issues.

-- Raise your approval ratings into the high 40s so they don't have to decide whether to have you campaign for them or not.

-- Fix the Medicare prescription drug benefit to the point that Robert Pear has got to move on to a new topic.

-- Kill the Dubai port deal via an abject mea culpa.

-- Lower gas prices and bring many, many troops home from Iraq, but don't interfere with the market or cut and run.

Giving all three groups what they want (in addition to making over-estimating White House political aides happy), President Bush made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan while en route to India. After meeting with President Karzai privately, the two men held a press availability. Mr. Bush then headed to the US Embassy in Kabul to cut a ribbon and then back to Bagram Air Force Base to address American and coalition troops.

"It's not a matter of if they're brought to justice, it's when they're brought to justice," President Bush said in response to a question about the search for Osama bin Laden and his associates.

The AP has a Pakistani government minister saying that Pakistan's president will seek US support for international laws to prevent future "insults" to Islam

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