The Note: Focused on Winning

WASHINGTON, Mar. 13

Did you know that if Don Evans replaced Andy Card as White House chief of staff that peace would break out in Iraq, fuel prices would plummet, and the deficit would be eliminated?

We did not know that either.

But not everything is as it first appears.

Here's what we do know:

The President's talking about Iraq but thinking about Iran.

The staff of Sen./Leader/Dr. Frist is talking about the straw poll but thinking about The Speech.

Protectors of New Hamphire's first-in-the-nation status are talking about candidate visits but thinking about network anchors.

Sen. Feingold is talking about censure but thinking about, uhm, something else.

Sen. McCain's strategists are talking about the President but thinking about Rangers and Pioneers.

Elizabeth Dole is talking about Katherine Harris but thinking about someone else.

Howard Fineman is talking about Rudy and thinking about why Rudy did so badly in the straw poll.

Attendees of the Inner Circle are talking about The Landslide but thinking about Sir Sheek-a-lot.

The Note is talking about 2008 but thinking about 2007.

The DCCC is talking about retirements but thinking about retirements in districts they could actually win.

Bob Novak is talking about the budget but thinking about basketball.

The White House staff is talking about today's Iraq speech but thinking about next week's.

In any event, in the first of (another) series of speeches on the war in Iraq, President Bush makes remarks on the global war on terrorism at 1:15 pm ET at GW's Marvin Theatre.

The President's speech will examine the threat from improvised explosive devices and the President will talk about ways the US is working to combat IEDs.

ABC's Jessica Yellin reports the audience will be comprised of 300 members of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (a friendly pro-war group headed by Clifford May) and other guests they invited for the 30 - 40 minute speech today.

A Senior Administration Official tells Yellin that the President will go further than previously in acknowledging how anxious Americans are about the war.

President Bush provided a preview in his Saturday radio address. "Amid the daily news of car bombs and kidnappings and brutal killings, I can understand why many of our fellow citizens are now wondering if the entire mission was worth it," Bush said.

The SAO kept hitting the theme that we "can't imagine people not being concerned or frustrated" by Iraq, reports Yellin.

More SAO: "I can't believe that only 70% of Republicans think Iraq is on the brink of civil war. That's all they've been told for the last three weeks. . . It's incumbent on the Administration to give evidence and facts that there probably will not be a civil war."

The big speech of the series will be next Monday -- to coincide with the third anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, adds Yellin.

USA Today on President Bush's triple Iraq speech efforts. LINK

Earlier in the day, Mr. Bush meets with the prime minister of the Slovak Republic at 9:45 am ET. He participates in a photo op with the intel science talent search finalists at 10:50 am ET.

Vice President Cheney makes 1:30 pm ET remarks at a luncheon for John Gard, the speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly. Gard is running to succeed Rep. Mark Green (R-WI) as the US Representative from Wisconsin's Green Bay-based 8th congressional district. Rep. Green is leaving his seat to run for governor of Wisconsin.

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