WASHINGTON, Sep. 26
The political class -- the Gang of 500, plus the 33,000 people who aspire to be Gang members -- (stupidly) believes that two questions are currently shaping the contours of the midterm environment:
1. Is the leaking of the National Intelligence Estimate linking the Iraq war to failures in the war on terror a paradigm-shifting moment for the Daddy Party?
2. Is Bill Clinton's Wallace-Rorschach outburst a paradigm-shifting moment for the Mommy Party?
The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne says "yes" to (1). LINK
Slate's John Dickerson says "sorta yes" to (2). LINK
The planet earth's Dick Morris says "sorta no" to (2). LINK
The New York Post's John Podhoretz says "potentially yes" to (1) and sees great political danger for the President in the NIE and urges the Administration to declassify the document and begin a vigorous defense against it that includes a more robust argument than the NIE doesn't show the complete picture. LINK
The New York Post editorial page, while denouncing the leak, concurs with Podhoretz on (1) that a strong White House defense is needed. LINK
(The Note wonders if (2) has overshadowed (1) in a way that helps the President, and if Sen. Roberts of Kansas is going to push for a pre-election NIE release.)
Most masterfully, however, the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg says "dunno to (1) and (2), but isn't it all intriguing??!! And you would be smarter to focus on Question (3), which is how the Bush-Cheney Campaign will take (1) and (2) and put them in a stew with everything else and make this a Daddy Party election no matter what."
It is a must read. LINK
Taking some time physically off of the campaign trail (but still thinking about November every waking moment), President Bush signs the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 at 9:45 am ET.
At 10:20am ET, he meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the Oval Office followed by an 11:40am joint press availability in the East Room. At 1:30pm the President signs the US-Oman Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act.
At 6:05 pm, the campaign trail comes to Mr. Bush, when the President attends an Iowa, Arkansas and Wisconsin fundraiser at a private residence in Washington, DC.
Vice President Cheney headlines an NRSC fundraiser at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.
First Lady Laura Bush campaigns for Ohio congressional candidate Joy Padgett, the Republican hoping to succeed Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), at 12:30 pm ET in Granville, OH.
The National Security Network formally launches at 10:00 am ET at the National Press Club.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) joins Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Sen. George Allen (R-VA), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Susan Colins (R-ME) for an 11:00 am ET meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in S-219 of the US Capitol.
Sens. Lieberman and McCain will take questions from the press following the meeting.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) holds two photo opportunities with Talabani at 12:00 pm ET and 2:00 pm ET.
House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) holds a pen and pad only news conference at 10:30 am ET in the US Capitol. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) discusses the "do-less-than-do-nothing" Republican Congress at 12:30 pm ET at the US Capitol.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) participates in a forum on the human, financial, and global standing cost of the war in Iraq at 2:00 pm ET in the US Capitol.