The Note: Reasoning Adroitly and Speciously . . .

"So far this year, Mr. Bush has done 10 times as many closed-press fundraising events compared to 2002. he has also not appeared at a signle major Republican rally, unlike four years ago, when he did 32."

There are "serious cracks in this once-solid wall of support," Notes the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz. LINK

Michael Abramowitz of the Washington Post writes up President Bush's Tuesday accusation that Democrats are "genetically disposed" to raise taxes. LINK

"In a White House with a Fox News all-spin sensibility, officials don't think they need to change the strategy as much as they need to change their slogan," writes New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd in her look at President Bush's decision to stop using "stay the course," but offering no change to America's strategy in Iraq. LINK

Dick Morris uses his column in The Hill this week to advise President Bush to divert attention from Iraq and focus on North Korea as a winning campaign issue for Republicans this year.

Morris writes: "Bush needs to distract the country from Iraq, and North Korea offers the best way to do so. Americans are justifiably scared by the prospect of a nuclear North Korea and Bush's efforts to assemble a global coalition to press Pyongyang have shown that Rice has learned how to play the game and win. But the president needs to bring the issue to public attention and use it to save himself from two years of subpoenas and hearings by making the next two weeks about Korea." LINK

The Way to Win:

Conservative radio and TV host Sean Hannity, who calls Mark Halperin "a great American," has added a new book to his book club: The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008. LINK.

It should be Noted, of course, that Hannity called Donald Rumsfeld the same thing yesterday, and also that Bill O'Reilly called Halperin "gutsy" last night on The Factor.

To buy your own copy of The Way to Win, by Halperin and John F. Harris, click here now: LINK

Politics of Social Security:

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery on Democrats using President Bush's comments about reviving Social Security reform efforts to their partisan advantage. LINK

2006: House:

Bob Cusack of the Hill reports that the NRCC has devised its "Final Push List" of 29 Republicans and 4 Democrats that are most susceptible to being unseated. The List, Cusack Notes, contains all the expected suspects and even some from districts that voted heavily in favor of President Bush in 2004. LINK

The AP's Devlin Barret looks at fears on the part of the New York GOP that the coattails of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Sen. Clinton might carry Democratic House candidates to victory in the Empire State. LINK

2006: House: AZ-01:

Federal authorities in Arizona have opened an inquiry into whether Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) introduced legislation that benefited a military contractor that employs his father, law enforcement officials told various news organizations on Tuesday.

The officials said the inquiry was at an early stage and that no search warrants had been issued, suggesting that investigators had yet to determine whether there was a basis to open a formal investigation or empanel a grand jury.

Rep. Renzi is running for re-election against Democrat Ellen Simon in a race that had been considered likely Republican prior to the most recent revelations.

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