The Note: Milestones, Watersheds, and Turning Points

"Some Democrats insisted they should set a concrete plan for withdrawal. 'Our soldiers have done their job,' said Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), his party's 2004 presidential nominee. 'Now it's time for the Iraqis to do theirs. We must immediately begin working with the new Iraqi government on a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by the end of this year.'"

In a somewhat insane Boston Globe op-ed, Scot Lehigh writes that Sen. Kerry's new position on Iraq might let him be part new Nixon and part Howard Dean. LINK

In a well-placed Wall Street Journal op-ed, Peter Wehner of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives seeks to rebut four commonly made criticisms of the President: (1) that the President misled Americans to convince them to go to war, (2) that the Bush Administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments, (3) that because weapons of mass destruction were not found, Saddam posed no threat, and (4) promoting democracy in the Middle East is a postwar rationalization.

Iraq's new leaders have vowed to fight corruption, reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK

"President Bush called the creation of a new Iraqi government a 'turning point' and a 'watershed event' yesterday, but conceded that progress in Iraq is slow going, and more pain and loss lies ahead for Americans," reports the New York Daily News. LINK

The Chicago Tribune highlights Sen. Durbin's response to President Bush's speech on Iraq in Chicago yesterday: " 'There was this feeling, some people predicted we would be greeting with parades and flowers in the streets,' he told reporters after Bush's speech. 'Yet it's gone on and on long after the president said our mission was accomplished.' " LINK

Politics of immigration:

In a must-read, the Washington Post's Charles Babington looks at criticism being directed at Speaker Hastert's "majority of the majority" policy and reports that "some GOP strategists predict that a bill will emerge from the House-Senate conference that will win most House Republicans' approval but will draw the opposition of most Senate Democrats and enough Republicans to kill it. Senators know the bill they are handling 'is not going to survive in conference,' said Charles Black, a veteran GOP adviser with close ties to the White House. A measure closer to the House version will emerge, Black predicted, 'and Senate Democrats will kill the conference report. And then who killed immigration reform?'" LINK

According to Time Magazine's Internetist Mike Allen, Rep. Mike Pence's (R-IN) immigration proposal, which encourages illegals to "self-deport" and return legally as guest workers, could gain the President's support in theory and seeks to bridge the chasm between the Senate and the House. LINK

Deb Orin of the New York Post on last night's largely "symbolic" Senate vote in favor of the President's National Guard plan. LINK

The amnesty bill signed into law by President Reagan in 1986 is informing the current immigration debate in congress, reports the New York Times. LINK

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) yesterday proposed an amendment in which illegal aliens who have proof they arrived before this year would have a chance to become a U.S. citizen, per the Washington Times. LINK

Scott Helman of the Boston Globe reports on the Bay State's push to reform illegal immigration by state GOP members. LINK

Dodd jumps in:

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