The Note: Consensus Reached

"The commissioner of internal revenue has ordered his agency to delay collecting back taxes from Hurricane Katrina victims until after the Nov. 7 elections and the holiday season, saying he did so in part to avoid negative publicity," reports the New York Times' David Cay Johnston in a story that is almost certain to be quickly turned into a DNC press release. LINK

In the forthcoming Sunday New York Times Magazine, Ben Wallace-Wells looks at Tony Snow's not-so-easy job as press secretary for an Administration "under siege."

"According to White House officials, Snow does play a bigger role than previous press secretaries did in helping to design the day's response to anticipated press inquiries. But Snow's more obvious success has been within the theatrical confines of the press room -- in deflecting damaging stories before they gain traction, in phrasing the president's position more eloquently and precisely than Bush himself is able to and in imposing the White House's line on the story of the day."

White House counselor Dan Bartlett, as part of his overall praise for his colleagues, credits Snow with pushing the President to speak to the NAACP in advance of the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Politics of Iraq:

John Broder of the New York Times explores the many different formulations Democrats have provided on the path forward in Iraq. LINK

"With less than two weeks to Election Day, both Republicans and Democrats appear to be fudging their positions to avoid alienating voters. Polls indicate that the public, hungry for a change, prefers the Democratic approach, unspecific as it is, to a continuation of the Bush policies," writes Broder.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman does the math and determines that the United States must withdraw from Iraq and refocus on Afghanistan to avoid going 0 for 2 in the current wars. LINK

Linguist George Lakoff takes to the New York Times op-ed page and writes of how "stay the course" rhetoric went from a positive to a negative for President Bush. Lakoff also warns the Democrats of the peril of staying their own course by offering no "language articulating a Democratic vision." LINK

New York Post columnist John Podhoretz urges President Bush to stop playing "smallball" in Iraq. LINK

Pelosi politics:

For the newspaper that covers the city where the would-be Speaker began her political education, the Baltimore Sun's Julie Hirschfeld Davis looks at Nancy Pelosi's "tough style of leadership." LINK

2006: landscape:

According to the latest Associated Press poll, " public attitudes about President Bush, the nation's direction and the upcoming elections." The results: "Middle-class voters are giving the Democratic Party its best chance to reclaim the House since 1994. Angry with President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress, 56 percent of likely voters said they would vote Nov. 7 to send a Democrat to the House, while 37 percent said they would vote Republican." LINK

When many members of Congress traveled to Europe in July of 2003 on official government business, they might not have disclosed their free meals from defense contractors and lobbyists representing corporations like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Notes the Wall Street Journal's Paltrow, in a piece whose timing and sourcing are almost as interesting as the question of whether it will have an impact on the midterms or not. LINK

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