The Note: 7/8th Full

The Washington Post's Reliable Source Notes that "ears perked up" at Brown University yesterday when Rep. Kennedy, a 38-year-old bachelor, disclosed that on the night of his late-night car crash a "female friend spent the evening at his place." LINK

The Abramoff affair:

David Safavian offered "insight and advice" to Jack Abramoff from his perch at the General Services Administration, according to his testimony. Here's the New York Times with more: LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation:

The Wall Street Journal ed board writes that Patrick Fitzgerald's case against indicted former VPOTUS aide Scooter Libby "is a lot weaker than his media spin."

Big Casino budget politics:

Per the Wall Street Journal's David Rogers, "A $92.2 billion wartime spending bill taking shape in Congress has been cut substantially since passing the Senate last month but still provides at least $2 billion more in Katrina aid than the White House first requested."

The economy:

"In his toughest comments yet about the risks of inflation, Mr. Bernanke said consumer prices were rising faster than he would like. He gave short shrift to evidence of a slowdown in hiring, and he conspicuously avoided repeating his earlier suggestion that the Fed might consider a 'pause' in its two-year program of steady interest rate increases," writes Edmund Andres of the New York Times on the comments that sent the markets downward. LINK

More from the Washington Post: LINK

Rep. Jefferson:

Roll Call reports that Rep. William Jefferson's seat on the Ways and Means Committee could be in jeopardy as Democrats meet in a members only session today.

Separation of powers:

Susan Page speculates in a USA Today cover story that Congress is beginning to stand up against what she calls the "greatest expansion of presidential powers in a generation or more." LINK

2006: landscape:

In a must-read for the front page of the Wall Street Journal (for those of you who aren't otherwise paying attention), Jackie Calmes reports that "expectations are growing that Democrats could capture at least one house of Congress, ending one-party dominance of the nation's capital and crippling President Bush for his final years." LINK

With last month's AP-Ipsos poll that said 73 percent of the electorate thinks the nation is on the wrong track, AP's Rob Tanner writes that "the old adage" that "all politics are local" has vanished during this primary season. LINK

Bloomberg's Catherine Dodge does the 'Bush-still-welcome-as-fundraiser-in-chief' thing. Dodge Notes: "Some lawmakers have failed to show up by his side as he raises money in states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland. Polls show that voters are unhappy with Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, energy prices and budget issues, and Democrats are looking to link Republican candidates to his record." LINK

2006: House:

Adam Nagourney of the New York Times travels through the vulnerable Democratic seat in IL-08 (McSweeney v. Bean), the vulnerable Republican seat in PA-06 (Gerlach v. Murphy), and the open seat in NY-24 (Meier v. Acuri) and finds an unusually early intensity to the campaign season in which national issues are the dominant topics of debate. LINK

2006: Senate:

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Carrie Budoff reports that Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) will address the Pennsylvania Environmental Council tonight in a move to show up opponent Bob Casey, Jr. LINK

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