The Note: (Not) Cutting the Deck

WASHINGTON, June 20

Could it be that the Democrats' inability to come up with a consensus "anti-war" position is more of a midterm problem for them than HarrietMiersDubaideficitsKatrina--earmarksimmigrationgasprices is for the Republicans?

After all the private meetings (including just endless ones in the Senate caucus), Democrats remain united in their disunity, defensiveness, and distraction.

Tucker Eskew's Third Rule of American Politics is this: If you are spending time denying your opponent's accusations repeating your opponent's own words in your denials, you are losing.

Today, Bill Frist and Karl Rove put the football down and dare the Charlie Brown Party to try to kick again.

Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) plan offer an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill today that sets a deadline of July 1, 2007, for U.S. troops to be redeployed out of Iraq. Highlighting Democratic division on this issue, the amendment comes one day after Democratic Sens. Reed and Levin proposed a non-binding resolution calling for the President to begin re-deploying troops this year.

On Imus this morning John Kerry said his amendment (with Feingold and Boxer) "provides the only opportunity for success" and sets more than enough time to do "what has to be done" to get American troops home and get the Iraqis to stand up on their own.

Kerry went on to say that "this Administration wants to have a fake debate. . . cut and run, cut and run, cut and run, cut and run. . . They found their three words"

"My plan is not cut and run. . . Their plan is lie and die," Kerry added.

President and Mrs. Bush departed the White House at 7:00 am ET en route to Vienna, Austria for a US/EU summit. They are not expected to have a public schedule for the remainder of the day. ABC News' Karen Travers reports the US and the EU countries will focus on enhancing cooperation in promoting democracy in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, set priorities for the countries' counterterrorism cooperation, and initiate a new area of cooperation on the enforcement of intellectual property rights in third world countries.

"America's problems with Iraq are casting a long shadow over President Bush's meeting with European Union leaders this week, writes the AP's Jahn. LINK

The Senate convenes at 9:45 am ET and continues to debate the Defense Authorization Act of 2007. ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports the Senate will likely debate and vote first on whether it should be criminal to avoid parental notification laws by crossing state lines where abortions are concerned, and then on whether or not to raise the minimum wage as amendments to the Defense Authorization Act.

The Senate will recess from 12:30 pm ET to 2:15 pm ET for some luncheon action.

Sens. Kennedy (D-MA), Clinton (D-NY), Durbin (D-IL), and others push for an increase in the minimum wage at a 3:30 pm ET press conference.

A bipartisan group of Senators (Feinstein, Snowe, Durbin, and Chafee) are expected to unveil legislation to close the SUV loophole and raise the average fuel economy for all vehicles at a 11:30 am ET press conference.

Also at 11:30 am ET, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) holds a pen and pad briefing with reporters.

At 1:00 pm ET, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) plans to join college students to call on Republicans to reverse potential interest rate hikes on student loans.

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