WASHINGTON, Sep. 20
Pending: a (likely) torture/interrogation deal; a(n unlikely) immigration deal; and savvy reconciliation of the spirit and substance of the New York Times/CBS and Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times polls.
While we work on those, you read this:
President Bush hits the Sunshine State campaign trail. The Commander/Campaigner-in-Chief attends fundraising events for congressional candidate Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) in Tampa, FL (where he seeks to replace his father in Congress) at 1:10 pm ET and for gubernatorial Charlie Crist (R-FL) at a Republican Party reception in Orlando, FL at 5:35 pm ET.
Both fundraisers are open press, and alert reporters will be listening closely to see if there are hints of a new presidential election stump speech.
First Lady Laura Bush and Sebba Musharraf, wife of President Pervez Musharraf , start their morning at 10:15 am ET launching a website on Pakistani culture at the Kennedy Center. At 7:00 pm ET the First Lady accepts the IRI Freedom Award at the J.W. Marriot Hotel in Washington, DC.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with NATO foreign ministers in New York while her friend, former President Bill Clinton, continues to host the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.
Clinton holds a 9:30 am ET press conference with Sir Richard Branson -- part of the process by which the CGI commitments head towards the billions-with-a-"b" level . LINK
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace hold a Senators-only briefing on Iraq at 4:00 pm ET in the Capitol.
Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), and other allies highlight border security accomplishments at 2:30 pm ET in the Capitol.
Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Jim Ramstad (R-MN), and representatives from the Betty Ford Center discuss the treatment of mental health disorders at 10:00 am ET in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC.
At 12:30 pm ET Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), explain the "Compromiso Demócrata con el Pueblo Latino (The Democractic Agenda: A New Direction for Latino Families) at the Capitol in Washington, DC.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) join the Campaign for America's Future at a 11:00 am ET conference call to release a new report on the gap in Medicare's prescription drug coverage.
Democrats on the Ways & Means Committee plan to release their own report today that analyzes coverage and premiums in stand-along private drug plans.
As far as policy prescription goes, the "Democratic Prescription for Change" calls for requiring Medicare to "use its bargaining power to negotiate lower drug prices" and using the savings to "fill the doughnut hole." The Democratic plan would also "waive the late enrollment penalty" and create a Medicare-sponsored option for the sake of simplicity.
The AP has Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) saying: "As this report shows, the opportunity to purchase plans that fill the hole is a mirage. Beneficiaries are no more able to afford expensive, full-coverage plans than minimum wage Americans are able to afford a Mercedes." LINK
Sens. Sam Brownback (R-KS), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Barack Obama (D-IL) and Mike DeWine (R-OH) talk up the Darfur Peace Act at 11:00 am ET.