The Note: Compassionate Rebel/Conservative-in-Chief

WASHINGTON, May 18

Note that this is NOT a parody. This is a real memo.

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TO: President Bush

FROM: The Note

DATE: 5/18/2006

RE: A present so bright, we suggest shades

Karen Hughes hates when we give advice, so please consider this analysis.

As you fly down to the Arizona border this morning, you should ignore the polls. Your approval rating might be closer to ours than to Governor Lynch's, but the key to your mojo comeback, as Josh keeps telling you, is confidence.

You have never lacked for that, of course, but today is a particularly good one to remember the 1999-2004 glory years and recall just how much you can accomplish in this environment.

Everywhere you look, starting with your own schedule, it seems like yesteryear:

-- You have a compassionate-conservative photo up, where you can dress in rugged/sexy garb and act simultaneously tough and caring. Maybe throw a little espanol into your remarks too.

-- David Brooks is writing on the op-ed page of the New York Times about real-world compassionate conservatism, showing he knows almost as much about the Republican Party as he does about the Democrats. LINK

-- House Republicans are doing your bidding by muscling through tough votes on the budget. LINK

-- The press is filled with stories showing you signing tax cuts into law. LINK

-- David Sanger is taking leaks about shifts in your North Korea policy, and loving it. LINK

-- Bob Novak is explaining why the Republican Party is imploding, and loving it. LINK

-- You have a confirmation "battle" that the press is building up into a real fight, when your nominee is assured final approval.

-- "American Idol" is getting more "news" coverage than the war in Iraq.

If none of that cheers you up, Mr. President, try these (by popular demand): LINK, LINK, LINK

Make sure you know which line in your remarks are supposed to be the soundbite that makes the network evening news broadcasts.

And make sure you don't flub that line. (Sorry if that warning psyches you out.)

Good luck, sir.

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The President tours the Yuma sector border in Yuma, AZ at 2:10 pm ET. He is expected to be joined by Gov. Napolitano (D-AZ). He then receives a 4:25 pm ET briefing at border control headquarters and makes remarks at 4:45 pm ET before heading back to Washington, DC. (And be sure to tune-in to your network news programs at 6:30 pm ET to catch the President's one-on-one interviews with White House correspondents.)

"Gov. Napolitano supports the President's move to put National Guard troops on the border. Asked why the President is going to Arizona (and why Yuma), Tony Snow said yesterday that "it's a really good spot' and does not necessarily have anything to do with Gov. Napolitano but they are happy she is joining the President," writes ABC News' rainbow-lovin' Karen Travers.

Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) and Attorney General/congressional candidate Patricia Madrid (D-NM) hold a noon ET press conference in Albuquerque, NM.

Surveillance politics will be front and center today when the Senate Intelligence Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden to be the next director of the CIA. The hearing gets underway at 9:30 am ET, one day after the White House attempted to tamp down the tension in the hearing room by providing NSA surveillance briefings to the full House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

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