The Note: The Deck's Stacked

The Washington Post chronicles the Hoyer/Murtha battle and the long road ahead for Speaker-elect Pelosi. LINK

In his New York Post column, John Podhoretz seems to see the Democratic disarray and dissension as a sign of a healthy political party at work. LINK

Bush overseas:

ABC News' Karen Travers reports, "President Bush was only in Vietnam for a few hours today before he was asked about the war here over three decades ago and the comparisons to the war in Iraq today." LINK

"'We'll succeed unless we quit,' Bush said of Iraq. He stressed that the war there is part of a greater struggle and it will be long."

"Bush was asked about his impressions of being in Vietnam: '[H]istory has a long march to it. And that societies changed and relationships can constantly be altered for good,' he said."

"The President said one of the most poignant moments for him and the First Lady on their drive into Hanoi was passing by Truc Bach Lake, where Sen. John McCain's plane was shot down in 1967."

"'He's a friend of ours, he suffered a lot as a result of his imprisonment and yet we passed the place where he was literally saved in one way by the people pulling him out,' Bush said."

The New York Times explores the inevitable Vietnam/Iraq comparisons for President Bush. LINK

Politics of Iraq:

Bloomberg News reports on James Baker's engagement with Syrian officials as part of the Iraq Study Group's work, perhaps suggesting "the Iraq panel will recommend that President George W. Bush reverse current policy and engage in talks with the leadership in Damascus." LINK

Bush Administration:

The Bush Administration is preparing to ask Congress for a record-setting $127 billion to $160 billion in funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, reports USA Today. LINK

2008:

McCain begins his 2008 branding of the Republican Party, and it looks a lot like Reagan's, the Washington Post Notes in its must-read coverage. And Note there was nary a mention of President Bush. LINK

The New York Times looks at Sen. McCain's double-hitter efforts (Federalist Society and GOPAC) to "reinforce his standing with conservatives." LINK

The Washington Times reports on McCain's urging Republicans to lick their wounds and get back on the battlefield. LINK

Your New York newspapers have all the details on the next phase of Rudy Giuliani's exploration of a possible presidential bid - determining if there is serious money to be raised for his candidacy. (Note that the New York Daily News reveals the name of the midtown Manhattan restaurant where Giuliani's newly formed finance committee met with the former mayor on Wednesday.) Thirty to thirty-five people met for several hours over a working lunch "to get organized from a finance committee stand point as Mayor Giuliani tests the waters including testing the waters of financial viability," said Roy Bailey, a founding partner in Giuliani's firm and the leading organizer of the Giuliani's exploratory finance committee. Participants included money men Bill Simon (the 2002 California gubernatorial candidate with whom Giuliani was meeting on the morning of 9/11/01), former South Carolina GOP Chairman Barry Wynn, Tom Hicks, T. Boone Pickens, and others. LINK, LINK, and LINK

The Boston Globe reports that Gov. Mitt Romney and his advisors will meet at a location not disclosed to the Globe, to discuss all things presidential, with Charlie Black saying the Governor would be wise to start raising real money real soon. LINK

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