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
And check out what how one panelist/incoming Nightly News anchor rejected that suggestion: "Henry Hopkins was never Person of the Year. Karl Rove is an operative," said NBC's Brian Williams.
Al Kamen looks around to find out who would swear President Bush in on Jan. 20 should Chief Justice Rehnquist be unable to do so. LINK
The Washington Post 's Helen Dewar talks to Republican leaders who are confident Senator Arlen Specter will be approved as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. LINK
"I'm for Arlen. Nobody in the meeting was against Arlen," said Orrin Hatch according to the Los Angeles Times ' Simon and Curtius. LINK
The Washington Post 's Babington reports that Tuesday night House Republicans proposed changing House rules "to allow members indicted by state grand juries to remain in a leadership post, a move that would benefit Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) in case he is charged by a Texas grand jury that has indicted three of his political associates." LINK
Today's Republican tussle will feature Senator Dole vs. Senator Coleman for the NRSC post when all bluffing stops and secret ballots are cast. LINK
In an interview with the AP, incoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid made his recommendation for the new leader of the Democratic Party, "I think Vilsack, if he's willing to spend the time and energy and effort, would be a real good person to be the head." LINK
"With speculation heightening that Gov. Tom Vilsack could become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the governor brushed off questions from Iowa reporters Tuesday about the race for the high-profile job."
"'I'll be happy to visit about this when and if it becomes an appropriate conversation to have. We're not there yet,' he said," reports the Quad City Times. LINK
A couple of more daily (or really as news allows) DNC chair tidbits for you. Former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman is whipping up support for her candidacy to head the Party in Little Rock this week and the Daschle-backed Leo Hindery is expected for a series of meetings in our Nation's Capital today.
Supporters of some candidates are musing about a "national chair"/"general chair" model that might team an elected official as CEO/spokesperson with a COO who runs the building, something Democrats have tried (successfully?) in the past.
The Wall Street Journal 's Gerald Seib endorses Gov. Mark Warner to lead the Democratic revival. How would one do that, you should ask?
"The first step, [Warner] says, is to get to the center on social issues — gun rights and abortion in particular — so they don't overshadow everything else."
If this isn't the high-water mark of Warner '08, we wonder what will eventually constitute that.
Adam Nagourney used to call page B5 home. He and his New York Times colleague Ray Hernandez appear on that page in New York regional print editions to deliver Howard Wolfson's "announcement" that Hillary Clinton will be seeking reelection to the United States Senate in 2006. But, as most of you no doubt realize, it's really a story about 2008. LINK
"Mrs. Clinton's advisers said the most obvious complication would be questions about whether she would promise to serve out another term; such demands would be particularly insistent in the intense news media environment of New York. Her husband, in running for another term as governor of Arkansas in 1990, vowed to serve out his four-year term. But Mr. Clinton broke that pledge in 1992 to run for president."
"Mrs. Clinton's advisers said she was unlikely to borrow her husband's model for dealing with the pledge. Instead, they said, they were looking at the model of another governor who was recently elected president: George W. Bush. When he ran for re-election as governor of Texas in 1998, Mr. Bush was forthright about the possibility of leaving for the presidency. 'I don't know whether I'll seek the presidency or not,' he said at one debate, telling voters that 'if that bothers you when you go into the voting booth, then make that part of your consideration.'"
So, Senator Clinton reaffirms her decision to run for re-election. Again. Once more. And there isn't anyone on the record saying she shouldn't run, although a certain "Crossfire" host seems awfully (and uncharacteristically) humminah/humminah/humminah. But we do wonder what qualifies as "an adviser to Senator Clinton" at this point.
With a Little Rock dateline, Ken Bazinet of the New York Daily News takes a look at the library opening as Senator Clinton's launching pad for a 2008 presidential run … or not. LINK
And there are supportive quotes from PJ Soles, Julia Stiles, and Jennifer Aniston. Or, rather, PJ Crowley, Julia Payne, and Jennifer Palmieri.
John Kerry's return home from the political battlefield appears to have been far less controversial than his return from that other battlefield more than three decades ago.
Todd Purdum of the New York Times does his usual stellar job with atmospherics including offering up the Senator's first day back lunch menu of shrimp, broccoli, green beans, and rice (Communist cuisine, it might have been pointed out in a different context). Purdum also gives play to the warm welcomes from his colleagues and staff and a look ahead to Kerry's expected first floor speech on raising the debt ceiling. LINK
The Washington Post 's Mark Leibovich (who has the Chinese lunch menu too) paints a picture of Senator John Kerry's return to his day job. Seems like a normal day for the junior Senator from Massachusetts — one without make-up, Secret Service, and reporters. LINK
Senator Kerry did have some time for his hometown TV affiliates. The AP's Mary Dalrymple writes those up and Notes the encouragement Senator Kerry is seemingly receiving from his Democratic colleagues. LINK
Al From and other Democrats are seeking ways to bring religion to the party reports The New York Times ' David Kirkpatrick, who may just soon add the "religious left" to his beat. LINK
Note to Mr. Kirkpatrick: a there's big difference between having a pro-life Dem speak about being pro-life at a national convention and having pro-choice Republicans speak about (heavily vetted) other stuff at a national convention.
Paul Farhi of the Washington Post acknowledges a new dilemma facing conservative talk radio hosts whose favored politicians are leading the country, leaving less "us-v.-them" for them to talk about. LINK
There might be a new governor-elect of Washington today, but probably not.
You may be wondering, what is the power of a presidential phone call? The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times on possible momentum for intelligence reform in this lame duck session: LINK and LINK
The New York Times on Porter Goss laying down the law at the CIA: LINK
An Alabama freelance writer is suing Kitty Kelley for plagiarism, reports the New York Times ' Ed Wyatt. LINK
The New York Post 's Fred Dicker found out that Gov. Pataki is not yet done publicly bashing Arthur Finkelstein's comments about the role of the "Christian right" in the presidential election. LINK
We (HEART) this Los Angeles Times correction: "The Inside Politics column in the Nov. 8 California section contained an item about an election night celebration that said several local prosecutors appeared to have made frequent trips to the open bar. It was a cash bar." LINK