64 Days Until Inauguration Day
The New York Times ' Sanger and Weisman take a look at the shapings of the second term Bush cabinet and Note the increased control the president may have with White House loyalists heading up key agencies. Make sure to read Dr. Rice's possible early notification about her likely new job and concerns among some that dissension among top policy advisers is not always a bad thing. LINK
Note also: this is the kind of Washington who's-up-who's-down story that the 43rd President of the United States doesn't like one bit — the kind they just don't write in Austin or Waco or Tyler. (OK, actually, they DO write them in Austin, just not with such gusto.)
The Washington Post 's Mike Allen looks at the nomination of Dr. Rice as President Bush's way of gaining control over his war cabinet and reports that he had never really considered anyone else for the striped pants. "Republican officials acknowledged that the public is likely to learn even less about the inner workings of the war cabinet. They said the selection of Rice will also mean that fewer competing views will be available to a White House that brooks little dissent." LINK
Note Note: read all the way to the very end and see new job potential for Dan Bartlett and Nicolle Devenish … on second thought, it is too darn good not to excerpt in full right here:
"White House communications director Dan Bartlett is likely to shed some daily duties and assume an expanded portfolio, perhaps as Bush's counselor, a title that was retired when Karen Hughes left in 2002. If he changed roles, his likely successor would be Nicolle Devenish, communications director for the Bush-Cheney campaign. White House press secretary Scott McClellan will stay in his job."
The New York Times ' Stevenson on the official Roosevelt Room announcement of Rice and Hadley, which was, at times, "deeply personal" and on the John Bolton speculation for the number two spot at State being vacated by Richard Armitage (although Mike Allen says, in the words of Dana Carvey — as 41 — na ghanna happa). LINK
Elisabeth Bumiller on the "mind meld" that has occurred between the president and Dr. Rice and the expectation that the new Secretary of State will spend "much time" in Paris, Berlin, and London tending to those relations. LINK
Good thing for Dr. Rice that George F. Will is not in the Senate. In his column today, Mr. Will drums up some tough questions facing her when she heads to the Hill for confirmation. LINK
The Los Angeles Times ' Ed Chen writes up the president's expected nomination of his chief domestic policy aide, Margaret Spellings, to replace Rod Paige at the Department of Education. And Mr. Chen gets Senator Kennedy's approval to boot. LINK
Scott Shane of the New York Times leads his Stephen Hadley profile with a reminder about his taking the blame for those 16 words that ended up in the president's 2003 State of the Union address. LINK
ABC News' Ann Compton reports Senator Daschle was not included in the Congressional leadership meeting with President Bush this morning. Senator Reid was in attendance. The White House says this happened with Daschle's full consent.
"White House adviser Karl Rove topped the unofficial list of contenders for Time's 2004 Person of the Year, according to a panel assembled by the magazine on Tuesday to debate the question," reports Reuters. LINK