The Note: Mincing and Parsing

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) attends a series of committee hearings today, including an Environment and Public Works hearing on protecting the Great Lakes, an Armed Services Committee Hearing to examine military strategy and operational requirements, and a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on public health and medical preparedness.

The former First Lady will also attend the Speaker's 12:00 pm ET luncheon honoring Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at 12:00 pm ET in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) swore in Mary Dacey White as Associate Justice of the Lynn District Court at 9:00 am ET. He announces $516.5 million in Commonwealth Capital funds to support smart growth across Massachusetts at 10:30 am ET.

DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) holds an 11:00 am ET press conference at the DNC to discuss the GOP's "lack of a message" and to release a memo to reporters about the GOP in "disarray."

The American Ireland Fund holds a 6:00 pm ET national gala honoring Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) for their commitment to the peace process in Ireland at the National Building Museum. Participants include Ireland's Ahern and American Ireland Fund President Kingsley Aikins.

First Lady Laura Bush and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings participate in a helping America's youth/striving readers event at 10:20 am ET. Mrs. Bush delivers remarks at the Ayenda Afghan Children Initiative benefit dinner with Amb. Said Jawad and Mrs. Shamin Jawad of Afghanistan at the Embassy of Afghanistan this evening.

Former House/Senate candidate Paul Hackett joins fellow veterans Jon Soltz and Paul Rieckhoff at a 10:00 am ET press conference to announce which candidates the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America PAC is endorsing for the 2006 election cycle. Tonight, IAVA PAC holds a Washington, DC fundraiser with Wesley Clark and Bob Kerrey scheduled to attend.

The legislative action arm of the Family Research Council holds a 12:00 pm ET press conference at the National Press Club to announce plans to hold the first annual "Washington Briefing: Values Voters Summit" in Washington, DC this September. FRC pledges to bring together "thousands of values voters" just prior to the midterms so they can hear from " potential presidential candidates, elected officials and pro-family leaders."

FRC is also releasing a poll showing "significant discontent" among "values voters" who were "so decisive" in 2004.

Poll position:

There are two new sets of data striking fear into the collective heart of the majority party.

Proving the point that it's Iraq -- not a burned-out Andy Card -- that represents the most significant problem for President Bush, this morning's NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Iraq continues to be the elephant in the room and the largest contributor to President Bush's anemic 37% approval rating (his lowest approval rating ever in the poll). LINK

Fully 57% of the poll's respondents feel less confident that the war will end successfully (compared with 50% in December), while 50% say the war has weakened America's standing in the world and 44% say it has increased the threat posed by Iran. Says Republican pollster Bill McInturff, the poll shows the Iraq war "is enveloping this presidency."

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