When Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) called for the redeployment of all US troops from Iraq to the periphery as soon as "practicable" in the fall, he estimated that such a redeployment could be safely done in six months. Murtha's bombshell announcement took place on Nov. 17. To mark the passage of six months, he plans to hold a press conference in the House Radio and Television Gallery at 12:00 pm ET. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will also be on Capitol Hill today. He testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee at 10:00 am ET.
As for the full House, the lower chamber takes up the budget resolution at 10:00 am ET.
On the CIA leak investigation front, the grand jury meets at 1:00 pm ET. Consider yourself hopelessly ineligible for the Gang of 500 if you aren't up on the latest buzz and gossip.
The Washington press corps will get a look at the tanned, rested, and (some say) ready Gore at 6:30 pm ET when VIPs arrive at the National Geographic Society for the DC premiere of "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore's global warming film.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) signs the $2.85 billion housing bond component of his Strategic Growth Plan.
Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R-MA) will honor local EMS professionals who assisted in hurricane relief efforts at 2:00 pm ET on the front steps of the Massachusetts State House.
Former New England chairman of President Bush's re-election campaign, James Tobin, will be sentenced at 1:30 pm ET today for his role in jamming the phones of New Hampshire's Democratic Party during Election Day of 2002. LINK
ABC News/Washington Post poll:
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll offers warning signs for the governing party as it approaches the midterm elections, write Richard Morin and Dan Balz in the Washington Post. LINK
The news for Republicans is not good: As Rove suggested Monday at AEI, Iraq continues to be chiefly responsible for the sourness of the American public, leading to a wrong-track figure of 69 percent. The President's approval rating continues to drop, now down to a poll low of 33 percent. And on each of the 10 issues measured by the new poll, Democrats are favored.
Yet while only a third of the public wants the Republicans to maintain control of Congress, and a similar group says it will use the midterm elections to show disapproval of the President, Morin and Balz Note that Democrats have two reason to be cautious: The public is upset with incumbents in general, which could cut across both parties, and most of the support for the Democrats is driven "primarily by dissatisfaction with Republicans rather than by positive impressions of their own party." Still, Morin and Balz write that the survey suggests that "pessimism about the direction of the country… and disaffection with Republicans have dramatically improved Democrats' chances to make gains in November."
The Washington Post has the poll's full results: LINK
Politics of immigration:
In her must-read, the Wall Street Journal's Sarah Lueck writes: "As a practical matter, there is little hope of any deal between the chambers before November's congressional election. 'It's reality,' said one leadership aide. 'We passed the immigration bill that e could pass in the House. We'd like to do more, but we can't without Democratic support and that can't happen before November."
Lueck smartly Notes that the post-election "lame-duck" session of Congress "could be the best moment fort he White House to try to strike a deal."