The Note: CGI Friday

Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times Notes the tweaked presidential stump speech highlighting taxes and points to the use of that GOP standard in many television campaign ads across the country. LINK

"'Taxes have always been a good message in ads for us,' said Carl Forti, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. 'We're on the air in 18 districts now, and 8 of them are on taxes.'"

The Washington Post's Michael Abramowitz reports that while in Florida yesterday, the President zeroed in on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) – the Ways and Means chair-in-waiting -- telling Bloomberg News yesterday that he "cannot think of one" of Bush's first-term tax cuts that merits renewal. LINK

The Los Angeles Times: LINK

Just a reminder from President Bush's June 2006 Rose Garden press conference when he put forth the two pillars of the GOP midterm messaging. LINK

PRESIDENT BUSH: "Pulling out of Iraq before we accomplish the mission will make the world a more dangerous place. It's bad policy. I know it may sound good politically; it will endanger our country to pull out of Iraq before we accomplish the mission. . . " ". . . I think the Democrat economic policy of raising people's taxes isn't going to work either. I know they'll couch it in all kinds of language, but really what they're saying is we're going to raise your taxes."

Joseph Curl of the Washington Times wonders if Tony Snow might be responsible for President Bush's approval ratings boost. LINK

GOP agenda:

Despite progress on tribunals, the Wall Street Journal's Wirey John Harwood reports that chances are waning that Congress will make progress on wiretaps, the minimum wage, or small-business health coverage.

In what he describes as a "significant breach" in the tight alliance between Republicans and the drug industry which remains a major source of financial support for House and Senate campaigns, the Wall Street Journal's David Rogers reports that Republican leaders "gave their reluctant blessing to a pre-election deal that tacitly recognizes the practice of individuals' bringing cheaper prescription drugs for personal use into the US from Canada."

"Asked if he was pleased with the deal, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R., Ill.) said bluntly. 'No. But it looks like that's where we're going."

The Wall Street Journal's ed board challenges Dr./Leader/Sen. Frist and others to call Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) on "the deadly consequences of further delay" in approving Andrew von Eschenbach's nomination to be FDA Commissioner.

Politics of torture: On "Good Morning America," ABC News' George Stephanopoulos explained the McCain/Bush deal on detainees thusly:

"We've all been in fights when we can't really remember how it started and we really wanted it to end."

More Stephanopoulos:  "Both sides gave something, both sides got something, and they want to close ranks before the election."

And still more:  Democrats "took a pass" on this.  "They can't really fight it either. . . Sen. Reid basically signaled that he's not going to fight it."

The Washington Post's R. Jeffrey Smith and Charles Babington report that yesterday's deal "could help settle an intraparty fracas that worried GOP leaders in the run-up to the November elections." LINK

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