The Note: Issues and Answers


Most every day this week, anticipated political events will add data points to the hoopla-draped quest to divine the answers to two related questions: will President Bush's poll numbers rebound, and will his party keep control of Congress after the all-important 2006 midterm elections?

Today, we see if California Republican Congressman and the PCotPWaM Committee Bill Thomas retires, which he will make clear at a 12:30 pm ET news conference in Bakersfield, CA . (Will there ultimately be so many House Republican retirements that the party has trouble holding the majority?)

Tuesday, voters in a Houston-area primary determine if Tom DeLay wins the Republican nomination outright, or faces a run-off. (Will the DeLay-Abramoff scandals be an albatross for the GOP this year?)

Wednesday, the President makes another trip to the Gulf region to inspect Katrina damage and recovery. (Will Republican ability to reach out to African-American voters and the President's image of competence be repaired before November?)

Thursday, a cattle call of potential Republican presidential candidates begin speaking in Memphis to the regional party faithful -- and big-footed political reporters -- followed by a straw poll. (Will the White House be able to delay the starting gun on 2008, and how much will these would-bees run against the Bush-Cheney record?)

(And in a related must-read as sweeping as it is inconclusive, Adam Nagourney of the New York Times chatted with several Democratic House candidates around the country and reports the party still finds itself in a strategic search for a fine tuned message in 2006. LINK)

While he waits on pins and needles for a new ABC News/Washington Post poll due out on at 5 pm ET today, President Bush participates in a swearing-in ceremony for the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Edward Lazear at 10:00 am ET followed by a meeting with the "Academic Competitiveness Council" at 10:35 am ET.

AP and Reuters report President Bush is expected to use his first event to make some remarks about his proposed line-item veto legislation he is sending to Capitol Hill today. LINK

As the always ahead-of-the-curve Mark Z. Barabak hints in the Los Angeles Times, you are likely to hear more dissonance between the 2008 Republican presidential hopefuls and the Bush Administration on federal spending -- during that Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis at the end of the week -- than perhaps on any other topic. So, not a bad idea for President Bush to kick off the week with yet another call for line-item veto power.

Vice President Cheney does double fundraisers in the Sunshine State today. He will help raise funds in Boca Raton, FL for Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL) this afternoon and for the Collier County Republican Party later this evening in Naples, FL. We'll be listening carefully for his take on the Medicare prescription drug benefit in this senior-laden state.

Sens. Reid (D-NV), Conrad (D-ND), and Lieberman (D-CT) talk up Democratic budget priorities at a 2:00 pm ET press conference.

The Supreme Court will issue orders and anywhere from one to four decision today at 10:00 am ET.

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