The Note: Cowboy and Indians

Overnight East Coast time, President Bush held a press availability in which he commented on the Karachi attack, saying: "Terrorists and killers are not going to prevent me from going to Pakistan," ABC News' Jessica Yellin reports.

"The bombing that took place prior to my trip is an indication that the war on terror goes on and that free nation's must come together to fight terrorism," he continued.

The President's "surprise" visit yesterday to Afghanistan served to underscore, the Washington Post's VandeHei and Lancaster write, that "nearly five years after Bush declared that he wanted Osama bin Laden, the initiator of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, 'dead or alive,' the al-Qaeda leader remains at large." LINK

With Bush's visit to Pakistan just days away, a Washington Post editorial urges the President to "stop banking" on Pakistani Gen. Pervez Musharraf and "start planning for the democratic government that should succeed him." LINK

Newsweek's Howard Fineman's online column provides a comparative analysis between George W. Bush's dichotomous view of the world and Bill Clinton's penchant to explain things in all their complexity. LINK

Of the three network newscasts last night, only CBS Evening News topped its broadcast with President Bush's unannounced visit to Afghanistan.

The New York Times' Bumiller on the President's visit to Afghanistan -- the first for a US president since President Eisenhower in 1959. LINK

Carl Leubsdorf of the Dallas Morning News analyzes the most pressing problems for the Bush administration, proposing a Gangland-style change in top-level White House staff. LINK

Politics of Iraq:

"Senior Pentagon officials said Wednesday that in the aftermath of a burst of sectarian violence in Iraq, it was unlikely that a decision would be made on a reduction in troop levels when top Army commanders meet with President Bush next week," writes the New York Times' David Cloud. LINK

"Officials also said it was possible a decision would be made but not announced immediately."

Port politics:

Members of Congress began to "coalesce" yesterday behind proposals that would allow Congress to reject foreign investments, reports the Washington Post's Paul Blustein, in a turn of events that "showed that the administration has only partially succeeded in quelling the political storm surrounding the approval of the deal by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States." LINK

The White House has undertaken another national security review of a Dubai-owned company's plans to purchase American assets -- this time, those assets are plants in Georgia and Connecticut that make components for use in military aircraft and tanks. But unlike with the ports deal, the Post's Weisman and Schmidt Note that the White House notified Congressional committees this week of CFIUS' investigation into this deal, as well as into a planned purchase by an Israeli company of a Maryland software firm. LINK

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) tells the New York Times that the comments he hears from constituents on the ports controversy range from "critical to dubious." Timesmen Hulse and Shane also write up the latest piece of string -- an unsubstantiated (and perhaps impertinent) Al Qaeda document from 2002 claiming the organization had infiltrated U.A.E. LINK

The Washington Times reports that some grass roots GOP organizations are content with the Presidents port deal. LINK

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