The Note: The Bounce of the Live Cat

Politics of Zarqawi: the '08ers weigh-in:
While appearing on CBS' "Early Show," Sen. McCain was asked if the killing of Zarqawi would make it possible for US troops to come home sooner. "I think it makes a difference in the long-term," said McCain while adding that he "never believed" the US could draw down its troops as quickly as "some have speculated."

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) reacted to the killing of Zarqawi on FNC yesterday. Asked if it represented a turning point, Romney said: "Well, I think it is significant. But I think it would be premature to suggest they'll disappear. They'll keep on fighting."

Asked about when US troops can leave Iraq, Romney said: "I think we'll see, hopefully, the kind of stability returning to Iraq that will allow our troops to, perhaps, pull back. Perhaps go into Kuwait or other places and surrounding areas to respond, if needed. But I'm very hopeful that the direction that you're seeing in these last several weeks is a direction which would lead to our young men and women being able to return home in the not too distant future."

Politics of Iraq:

"Senior administration and military officials now acknowledge that there is little chance the United States can reach the milestone of reducing American troop levels in Iraq to 100,000 by December, a goal that earlier in the year had seemed within reach," reports the New York Times. LINK

Iraq prime minister Nouri al-Maliki lays out his strategy for a democratic Iraq in a Washington Post op-ed. LINK

Rep. Jefferson:

"With an eye toward charting the high road on ethics," writes The Hill's Josephine Hearn, House Democrats will vote on ousting Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) from the Ways and Means Committee next Thursday. LINK

Kornacki of Roll Call Notes that these developments could highlight tensions between the Congressional Black Caucus and Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who released the kickstand two weeks ago when asking Jefferson to relinquish his coveted committee seat "in the interest of upholding the high ethical standard of the Democratic Caucus."

The Los Angeles Times on same: LINK

Estate tax politics:

The Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins and Robert Guy Matthews report that Dr./Leader/Sen. Frist hopes to persuade Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to support a compromise on estate-tax repeal that would tax only the estates of the wealthiest Americans.

"Yesterday afternoon, Ms. Cantwell, Ms. Landrieu and other Senate Democrats met in Mr. Frist's office to discuss a deal. Ms. Landrieu, who voted against the full estate-tax repeal, 'does think there is room for a compromise,' her spokesman said."

Per the Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum, Frist vows "this won't be the last time this year the Senate votes on" the repeal of the estate tax, even though his counterpart, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), calls the bill "an absolute farce." LINK

The New York Times explores Leader Frist's decision to bring the estate tax repeal to the floor without having first locked up the votes. LINK

The Washington Times on the death of the death tax repeal: LINK

After the estate tax repeal unsurprisingly failed yesterday, Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) told the Los Angeles Times' Richard Simon what the nation has been thinking of the Republicans' recent initiatives: "The conservative base will appreciate the fact that we are trying." LINK

Politics of same-sex marriage:

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