The Note: Strategy Of Necessity

WASHINGTON, June 22

The Senate convenes at 9:30 am ET. The plan: There will be 60 minutes of debate divided as follows: Warner 30 minutes, Levin 15 minutes, Kerry 15 minutes; following the debate Sen. Reid may speak up to 15 minutes, followed by the Sen. Frist for up to 15 minutes.

After the time is expired (approximately 11:00 am ET) the Senate will proceed to a vote on the Levin amendment, followed by a vote on the Kerry amendment, and then a cloture vote on DOD authorization bill.

A Senate aide working on the Kerry-Feingold amendment tells The Note that it looks like "about one third" of the Democratic caucus will support the amendment as of early this morning.

We wonder if this aide watched Tim Russert's comments this morning (The Note's Rule of 3 -- which prohibits us from ever leding with the same point for more than two consecutive days -- precludes us from telling you what Russert said, or from having an actual, explicit lede today. But keep yesterday's slow-motion-car-crash metaphor in mind while you read the New York Times Rutenberg/Nagourney must-read story on how the Hadley-Rove-Bartlett-Taylor strategy meetings earlier this month were a forum for the President's aides to argue that it would be a disaster to walk away from the war during an election year, leading to a fretful GOP lining up behind the President's message to offer a unified embrace of the war in Iraq, the fruits of which you see before you today). LINK

President Bush, who still would rather be both lucky and good than any of the alternatives, delivers remarks at 10:30 am ET in Budapest, Hungary. Pool reporter Karen Travers reports, "Bush will commemorate the 1956 Hungarian revolution and talk about the larger themes of freedom and democracy. Tony Snow called it a 'tone poem' and said it was not a heavy policy speech. Don't expect specific references to North Korea, Iran, or the upcoming G8 in Russia. Snow also said President Bush may make a comparison to what is happening in Iraq today and talk about how the Iraqis are learning democracy and its hard."

President and Mrs. Bush are scheduled to depart Budapest at 11:50 pm ET to head back home. The First Couple is expected to arrive back at Andrews Air Force Base at 9:00 pm ET.

The House debates the estate tax repeal and the line-item veto. House Majority Leader Boehner holds an on-camera briefing at 10:30 am ET. Fifteen minutes later, House Minority Leader Pelosi holds her weekly on-camera briefing at 10:45 am ET.

Vice President Cheney delivers remarks at 12:20 pm ET at the U.S.--India Business Council's 31st anniversary leadership summit in Washington, DC. The Vice President also speaks at 2:00 pm ET at the Philip Merrill memorial service. A busy Mr. Cheney also sits down with the fresh-from-Baghdad John King for an interview. Go deep inside CNN's "The Situation Room" at 4:00 pm ET.

Speaker Hastert holds a 2:15 pm ET news conference on immigration reform two days after he announced a plan to hold field hearings instead of moving ahead with a conference committee this summer.

RNC Chairman Mehlman and DNC Chairman Dean are both in Dallas, TX today to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Mehlman is up first at 1:00 pm ET, followed by Dean at 2:30 pm ET.

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