The Note: Mystery Training

Running a thorough review of the GOP 2008 hopefuls, Paul West of the Baltimore Sun writes that "The eagerness with which GOP contenders are carving out space between themselves and the president is matched on the other side by an apparent Bush effort to keep the president's most prominent supporters and advisers away from the '08 race for as long as possible." LINK

John Dickerson of the Slate discusses the Memphis SRLC Noting that "as the front-runner, John McCain has the most to lose. The press and activists have high expectations, and we'll all be watching him very carefully." LINK

According to the Tennessean's Bill Theobald, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) says he was snubbed by the SRLC because of his views on immigration. The Tennessee Republican party says it's because he isn't considered to be a presidential contender in 2008. LINK

CBS's Steve Chaggaris acknowledges that the SRLC straw poll isn't very significant, but Notes it gives potential candidates an opportunity to "make their case" to campaign donors that they have a real shot in 2008. LINK

Port politics:

John Podhoretz writes in his New York Post column, that much like when he had to withdraw Harriet Miers' nomination in the face of Republican revolt, President Bush may emerge the victor from the demise of the Dubai ports deal by taking the issue off the table long before the midterm elections. LINK

The Washington Post's Peter Baker calls the port deal collapse a "singular failure" for President Bush but he's not so sure that Democrats can capitalize. LINK

"By turning against Bush," writes Baker, "some GOP strategists believe Republican leaders may have saved themselves a worse fate." Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio tells Baker that Bush has "no political capital" but he thinks Republicans in Congress "may have made chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what" by breaking with the President.

On, GOP uber-strategist Rich Galen argues that Republicans in the House and Senate running for re-election win because they now have an excellent counter-argument when their Democratic challengers accuse them (as they most certainly will) of being Bush clones: "I have two words for my opponent: Dubai Ports." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire writes that the deal's demise "crimps Democratic plans to use 45-day review hammering Bush's party." LINK

The Washington Wire has a Port of Seattle official saying that Americans are "xenophobic" about globalization, but they "like their '$1.98 underwear at Wal-Mart.'"

"The outcome did nothing to solve the underlying issue exposed by an uproar that has consumed the capital for weeks. A vast majority of containers that flow daily into the United States remain uninspected and vulnerable to security gaps at many points," writes David Sanger of the New York Times. (And Note how high up he plays the sell vs. transfer language.) Catherine Dodge and Richard Keil of Bloomberg report that the failied port deal, "marks another setback for President George W. Bush, exposing deteriorating relations with fellow Republicans and underscoring a perception of incompetence stemming from the government's response to Hurricane Katrina." LINK

USA Today reports the effects of the port deal are still unknown, but Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) predicts, "damage from the quashed deal 'will reverberate in the Arab world.'" LINK

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