The Note: With This Pen, I Do Veto

WASHINGTON, July 19

Five and a half years into his White House tenure, President Bush gets to try a new aspect of the job today.

At 2:15 pm ET, President Bush is expected to make remarks on stem cell research policy in the East Room where he is expected to explain to the American people why he plans to make good on his veto threat of the bill that passed the Senate yesterday aimed at expanding federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. (HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt attempts to lay the ground work in a USA Today op-ed. LINK)

Our suggestion: play the long game and focus less on the veto action itself and more on the President's speech, to get a sense of whether he has his philosophical and rhetorical mojo working (or not).

The next few months will determine control of Congress and, thus, the fate of the balance of the Bush presidency. If he is to win national security, immigration, budget, and social issue wars at home, he is going to need to be focused and impressive, not easy pickings for the Rich-Krugman-Dowd-Stewart axis.

If today's remarks make you think of the best work of Karen Hughes and Mike Gerson, bet on Tom Reynolds (and on Republicans to hold the House). If the remarks make you think of the passionless and defensive words that come out of a bureaucratic process, double down on Rahm.

At noon ET, Sens. Reid (D-NV) and Schumer (D-NY) plan to hold a pen and pad briefing to "detail the political accountability of the Senate's 63-37 vote."

The Associated Press wraps the Ralph Reed defeat, the pending Cynthia McKinney runoff, and the Taylor victory in Georgia yesterday. LINK

It is legislative advocacy day at the NAACP convention at the Washington Convention Center. Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) are all expected to address the morning session around 11:00 am ET. The group's annual conference concludes tomorrow with President Bush's tradition-bucking (or is it "tradition-embracing"?) appearance.

Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) preaches the Republican gospel on the war on terror, border security, and fiscal restraint to the Heritage Foundation at 12:30 pm ET in Washington, DC.

On global threats: "It's important to note [sic] what separates Republicans from Capitol Hill Democrats. Republicans recognize the threat and have constructed policies reliant on strength and purpose. Democrats have instead blundered towards an empty and cosmetic mindset that underscores a shared devotion to a weak and indecisive foreign policy forever queasy about America's role in the world," Rep. Boehner is expected to say according to excerpts released by his office.

On budget reform, Boehner is expected to say, "Unfortunately, there has been little desire from Democrats to join Republicans in exercising fiscal restraint. Minority Leader Pelosi recently spoke out against the practice of earmarking millions for home-state projects, yet she's bragged about nearly $500 million in earmarks in her own press releases."

For those who want to watch the Leader live on the Heritage website, here you go: LINK

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