The Note: What if Hillary Clinton Said "Jose"

"Mayor Bloomberg held a 90- minute round-table discussion here yesterday with more than a dozen top labor leaders - while insisting once again that he harbors no national ambitions," writes David Seifman of the New York Post of Bloomberg's trip to Miami. LINK

NY1's Monday night coverage of the trip emphasized the Mayor's tarantella of respect with Jeb Bush, leaving one to ponder a possible self-funded indy ticket that would ruin the best-laid plans of John Weaver and Patti Solis Doyle.

Politics of Iraq:

"The depletion of major equipment . . . has left many military units in the United States without adequate training gear, officials say. Partly as a result of the shortages, many U.S. units are rated "unready" to deploy . . . raising alarm in Congress and concern among military leaders," writes the Washington Post's Ann Scott Tyson. LINK

David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times briefly explains how the Iraq Study Group came to be. LINK

"A few members of the Iraq Study Group have made political contributions since they joined the bipartisan committee," writes the Hill's Bob Cusack, highlighting Leon Panetta's $500 contribution to Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), while also Noting it is not clear what rules the ISG gave itself in terms of partisan activities. LINK

GOP agenda:

For Nightline, ABC News' Jake Tapper looked at the least-active Congress in recent history, on track to meet only 241 days in 2 years (the 1948 'do-nothing' congress met 254 times). Watch the video: LINK

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports that tomorrow's bill on abortion anesthesia may well be that last of it's kind for years as Democrats will seek to "avoid confrontations over hot-button social issues that divide their caucus, and focus instead on military and pocketbook issues." LINK

The Washington Post's Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin preview the House vote on a Senate offshore drilling plan that would open up new are in the Gulf of Mexico, Noting Democratic Leaders refusal to take a position on the issue and the possibilities of future offshore drilling legislation. LINK

Roll Call's Erin Billings reports that incoming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is forming a "strategic communications center to help Republicans redefine their vision and argue their case for a return to a GOP majority."

Democratic agenda:

The New York Times' Kirkpatrick looks at the rise to powerful chairmanships among members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Notes the dilemma many face in both promoting an agenda with broad appeal within the Democratic caucus and an agenda geared towards the needs of the people they represent -- a more liberal electorate in overwhelmingly African American districts. LINK

"It is so much power that Representative Charles B. Rangel, the New York Democrat set to be chairman of the pivotal Ways and Means Committee, said he hesitated to speak about it publicly. 'I don't want to scare the hell out of people,' Mr. Rangel said, 'that blacks are now in charge of the committees and so, therefore, watch out.'"

Note the raising of the reparations issue, and Rangel using female pronouns to refer to the Lord -- surely warming Chairman Emanuel's heart.

After it raises the minimum wage, the Democratic controlled Congress may pursue legislation requiring employers to provide paid sick days for employees. The New York Times' Steven Greenhouse has the story. LINK

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