The Note: Thumbs on Both Sides of the Scale

Elisabeth Bumiller's "White House Letter" in the New York Times compares the staff turnover in the East Wing to the relative stasis in the West Wing which likely provided some chuckling over breakfast this morning in the White House residence. LINK

The Wall Street Journal editorial board Notes that with "judges being a key issue in the GOP base," it is due time that the 17 appeals court vacancies be filled before summer recess. Both Terrence Boyle, nominated to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Brett Kavanaugh, under review by the Judiciary Committee, deserve promotion without any case for a filibuster, the ed board continues.

Politics of Iraq:

Another day on the White House calendar which appears can be crossed off as lost to the facts on the ground in Iraq.

The AP on this morning's attack: "A suicide bomber attacked near a joint U.S.-Iraqi military base in northern Iraq Monday, killing at least 17 people and wounding as many as 30, the Iraqi military said."

Here's more: LINK

"American and Iraqi government forces clashed with Shiite militiamen in Baghdad on Sunday night in the most serious confrontation in months, and Iraqi security officials said 17 people had been killed in a mosque, including its 80-year-old imam," ledes the New York Times. LINK

Don Van Natta, Jr. of the New York Times has a Page One write up of that British memo describing a Bush-Blair Oval Office meeting in advance of the invasion of Iraq that will likely give enough talking points for both the DNC and Sen. Reid's "war room" to split up the releases today. LINK

The New York Times' Weisman writes up Secretary Rice's Sunday morning television statements that she will look very carefully into a report suggesting the Russian government may have passed American intelligence on to the Iraqis prior to the invasion. LINK

More from Bloomberg News: LINK

On Friday, three Republicans and three Democrats encouraged their colleagues to sign a "discharge petition" that would force a 17 hour debate on America's role in Iraq, reports Roll Call's Ben Pershing.

Medicare:

The Los Angeles Times looks at some language barriers non-English speaking seniors have encountered as they attempt to navigate the new drug program. LINK

2008:

During a Baghdad press conference on Saturday, Sens. McCain and Feingold debated war policy.

Per the Washington Post's Jonathan Finer, "Feingold said he believed 'a large troop presence has a tendency to fuel the insurgency because they can make the incorrect and unfair claim that the U.S. is here to occupy the country.'" LINK

More Finer: "Asked a question on a different topic, McCain quickly responded: 'I believe that premature troop withdrawal is not in consonance with what's going on the ground.'"

2008: Republicans:

Janet Hook looked at the '08 Republican race through the religious conservative lens for Saturday's Los Angeles Times. LINK

Sen. McCain's home state newspaper, the Arizona Republic, describes the 2008 hopeful as less of a maverick of late: "as he edges closer to a presidential bid in 2008, the Arizona Republican is very much exhibiting a party insider strategy, cozying up with many of the same movers and shakers who helped pave the road to the White House for President Bush." LINK

The Civitas Institute, "a conservative research and public policy organization," has Sen. John McCain winning North Carolina in a telephone poll on 800 voters. LINK

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