"The question of whether the Mahdi militia simply lashed out or deliberately attempted to destabilize the new government is equally critical. The most important single test Maliki faces in the short run is showing he can establish order in the capital, make sure the MOI and MOD do not support Shi'ite violence, and that the militias are under control. So far, he is failing on all three counts -- along with a long-planned US effort to have Iraqi forces establish control once the new government was chosen."
6. David Sanger's must-read news analysis in the New York Times continues to explore the strategy shift from preemption to patience. LINK
Mr. Patient, President Bush, meets with Janez Jansa, the prime minister of Slovenia, at 10:00 am ET, he attends the swearing-in ceremony for Hank Paulson, the new Secretary of the Treasury, at 11:10 am ET, and he participates in a social dinner in honor of the Special Olympics and its founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, at 7:25 pm ET. Ms. Shriver turns 85 today.
Vice President Cheney delivers 12:30 pm ET remarks at a closed NRCC luncheon in Michigan. He delivers 7:00 pm ET remarks at a reception for Rep. Ron Lewis (R-KY). Rep. Lewis is being challenged by Democrat Mike Weaver, a state representative and retired Army officer, in a district that President Bush carried by 31 points in 2004.
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) delivers 9:45 am ET remarks to ACORN's national convention at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. Mindful of the way conservatives have used state ballot measures banning same-sex marriage to drive turnout, progressives are pushing ballot measures in six states (Montana, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, and Ohio) to raise the minimum wage, according to the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center. The federal minimum wage has languished at $5.15 minimum wage for the past nine years. If approved, the proposed constitutional amendment would increase Ohio's minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.85, with adjustments made annually thereafter.
While Sen. Clinton is in Ohio, Bill Clinton is in Africa, where he is launching a sustainable development initiative and working on behalf of his foundation's HIV/AIDS project. The former president is scheduled to have dinner with African heads of state in Cape Town, South Africa.
Karl Rove rallies "grassroots supporters" at 8:30 pm ET in Parker, CO at the Wildlife Experience Museum while RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman has a full day of closed press events in both Northern and Southern California.
Starting today, Rudy Giuliani is scheduled to campaign in five states over the next three days. He is slated to raise money for Sen. Mike DeWine (R) in Cleveland, OH today. Later this week, he campaigns for Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R) in Arkansas, Judy Baar Topinka (R) in Illinois, Sen. Rick Santorum (R) and Linn Swann (R) in Pennsylvania, and Bob Ehrlich (R) in Maryland.
The immigration field hearings continue today. At 11:00 am ET in Miami, FL, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. John Warner (R-VA), Sen. Graham, and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) will examine the contributions of immigrants to the United States Armed Forces at a field hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee field hearing. Gen. Peter Pace is testifying.