The Note: With No Apologies to Bill Safire

14. The third most-likely Republican 2008 presidential nominee is

a. Rudy Giuliani.

b. Newt Gingrich.

c. Someone not on anyone's list right now.

d. Anyone who can raise $20 million by June 30, 2007.

15. The Bush Administration official most likely destined for political stardom in 2007 is

a. Josh Bolten.

b. Secretary Rice.

c. Secretary Paulson.

d. Gordon Johndroe.

You gotta play to win. The answers are here: LINK

President Bush has departed for Estonia for the first leg of his second overseas trip in as many weeks, but all eyes are on the Wednesday meeting with the Prime Minister of Iraq in Jordan.

The Baker/Hamilton led Iraq Study Group convenes in Washington, DC at the Ronald Reagan Building (with stakeouts galore) today and tomorrow to debate the initial draft report of its recommendations. Leon Panetta will be class pet.

The hand recount requested by Democratic challenger Larry Kissell in North Carolina's 8th congressional district gets underway today. Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC) led by 329 votes after the machine recount was completed.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) signs copies of his book, "HOME: The Blueprints of Our Lives," in Cambridge, MA and Manchester, NH.

Potential presidential candidate Mayor Michael Bloomberg meets with community leaders and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly about the police shooting over the weekend in which a groom was killed and two of his friends wounded. After the meeting, Bloomberg and Kelly will hold a Q&A at approximately 11:45 am ET. (Let the "Bloomberg vs. Giuliani handling of police shooting" comparison stories flow.)

At 10:30 am ET, First Lady Laura Bush receives the official White House Christmas tree at the North Portico of the White House.

The Capitol Christmas tree will be set up on the west front of the Capitol at 10:00 am ET.

Be sure to check out our look at the week ahead in politics below.

Politics of Iraq:

David Sanger of the New York Times breaks some news on the ISG, reporting that their draft report "urges an aggressive regional diplomatic initiative that includes direct talks with Iran and Syria but sets no timetables for a military withdrawal." LINK

On "Good Morning America," former President Jimmy Carter said to ABC News' Robin Roberts that everybody is waiting for the report and that his "guess is that President Bush will take their advice as much as he possibly can." Carter said he agrees with any call for direct U.S. talks with Iran and Syria over Iraq: "This is one of the most counterproductive policies that I've ever known,. . . . not to talk to the people who disagree with you unless they agree in advance to everything you demand."

Bloomberg News reports that Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former U.S. national security adviser, said it would be "a gimmick'' for the Defense Department to increase the number of troops in Iraq temporarily before beginning to withdraw them. LINK

The New York Post's Geoff Earle reports on Sen. Trent Lott's (R-MS) call for a change in circumstances as Iraq reaches a "critical point." LINK

Incoming freshman lawmakers are making a visit to Iraq one of their top priorities, reports Christina Bellantoni of the Washington Times. LINK

Democratic agenda:

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