The Note: The Turtle Is Back on the Fence Post

On the heels of a Pew poll showing rising voter anger, Republican congressional leaders have laid out an ambitious agenda for the coming months, "from health-care legislation to the most sweeping immigration changes in a generation." The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman Notes that Republicans will have "just 72 legislative days" to achieve their goals before the scheduled date of adjournment. "And they will have to overcome divisions in their own ranks to secure even the basics, such as a budget." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire reports that the GOP could face "do nothing" attacks in the midterm elections if headway is not made on budget, tax-cut, lobbying, and immigration legislation.

"'We have got to get some things done,' warns one House member, predicting 'panic' among fellow Republicans after spring recess."

Politics of immigration:

"Conservatives point to Dean for significance of border issue," reads the headline above Charles Hurt's Washington Times story looking at Dr. Dean's comments at the Monitor breakfast on Wednesday. LINK

The Washington Post's Al Kamen picks up on a Bush-like Dean telling the Christian Science Monitor breakfast: "Most of us weren't born in America at some point in our lives." LINK

"The Department of Homeland Security is asking Congress for access to Social Security data in its effort to crack down on illegal immigration by going after employers who accept counterfeit identity and work documents," the Wall Street Journal's Julie Kronholz reports.

Politics of trade:

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire reports that Citizens Trade Campaign, a group of labor, environmental and consumer activists, is organizing a PAC to "slam Bush trade policy with funds raised on the Internet, targeting Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, California, New York and Colorado."

Politics of national security:

The Wall Street Journal's ed board writes that Iran is a threat that can't be outsourced any longer.

In an interview with KRNV in Reno, NV, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he wants to find a diplomatic solution to the problem in Iran rather than stoking the "powder keg" in the Middle East. LINK

"In just a few months," said Sen. Reid, "this Iraq war will have lasted as long as World War II. We can't be throwing ourselves around militarily in Iran or anyplace else. We've learned in Iraq it doesn't pay."

Reid said he thinks the United States should be actively engaged in negotiations with Iran instead of leaving it to Britain, France, or Germany.

Sen. Reid's comments call to mind Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) saying.: "I don't see the viable military options when you're looking at Iran" while speaking at the American Enterprise Institute on Feb. 2.

Dean's Democrats:

Eleven states and the District of Columbia may have presented proposals to play influential roles in the 2008 nomination process yesterday, but yesterday's DNC Rules & Bylaws committee meeting was clearly all about the general election in November 2008.

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