The Note: Judged by the Results

WASHINGTON, July 11

The Note's four First Principles:

1. Focus on the future, not the past.

2. Take what we cover seriously; don't take ourselves seriously.

3. Zeleny, Zeleny, Zeleny.

4. Lede with the lede.

Thus: We finally figured out why superscribe Ron Fournier left the Associated Press. We can't say as much as we know, but we can say this: Fournier, who just got done writing a bipartisan book about the importance of community building in the Internet Age, has teamed up with political strategists from both sides of the fence and leaders from the Internet industry to create the next big thing in communications and community. It will all be clear to the world in the next 24 hours. Stay tuned.

After welcoming the President of Peru to the White House, President Bush makes 9:40 am ET remarks on the "Mid-Session Review" and its better-than-expected budget deficit projection at the White House, followed by a photo op with members of the National Council on the Arts in the East Room at 11:35 am ET. He then departs for Wisconsin, stopping at the Allen-Edmunds Shoe Bank in Port Washington, WI at 4:55 pm ET before attending a $1000-a-plate campaign fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green in Madison, WI at 6:50 pm ET. (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Greg Borowski and Steven Walters report on the double-edged sword of President Bush's visit to Wisconsin today.) LINK

Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman does his boasting of the aforementioned "Mid-Session Review" at a "newsmaker" event at the National Press Club at noon ET.

Joel Havemann of the Los Angeles Times has your must-read write-up of the Administration's budgetary sleight-of-hand and the Concord Coalition's Bixby proclaiming it is too soon for the White House to declare victory. LINK

As for the besting-(rigged?) expectations numbers: "When President Bush releases the traditional midsummer update on the budget today, he is expected to announce that federal revenue has soared above predicted levels and that the deficit is headed for a welcome decline from earlier estimates -- as much as 30%, or $125 billion, below the level projected just five months ago," writes Havemann.

The Democratic response comes from Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) at a press conference at 1:45 pm ET.

House Majority Leader John Boehner holds a pen and pad briefing at the Capitol at 11:30 am ET, followed by the weekly pen and pad briefing with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) at 12:30 pm ET.

Senate party policy luncheons take place today at 12:30 pm ET. GOP Sens. McConnell, Gregg, Bennet, and DeMint are expected at the stakeout cameras at about 2:00 pm ET to talk on the budget deficit news and Homeland Security Appropriations bill.

At 2:15 pm ET, Sen. Reid (D-NV) is expected to appear at the stakeout cameras for the Democratic response.

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf writes on the main Senate attraction today: "This morning we will see the Senate Judiciary Committee start its day exploring the Hamdan case and detainee policy with academics, former Bush administration officials, and two current government officials."

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