The Note

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8

Things to watch for in the coming hours, days, and weeks:

1. The House ethics committee report on the Foley scandal. Does it get dumped out with the trash this Friday? Will the outgoing and incoming majorities work equally hard at trying to move beyond it quickly?

2. The planning conversations and intimations between and among Beth Myers, Patti Solis Doyle, David Bonior, Terry Nelson, and David Plouffe to try and avoid five top-tier presidential contenders "announcing" their candidacies in the same news cycle. (Don't forget to watch for those "I've decided not to run" announcements too.)

3. President Bush's job approval rating on that pre-Christmas day he delivers his "way forward" in Iraq to the country. The drumbeat and thumb-sucking begins.

4. LA-02 and TX-23

5. Secretary of State Bill Gardner's New Year's Eve toast for any clues on how the Gang of 500 plans to spend the holidays next year.

As for what else to watch today, President Bush met with bicameral/bipartisan congressional leadership at the White House this morning. ABC News' Jessica Yellin reports that at the end of his meeting with congressional leaders this morning, President Bush took no questions. He thanked the leaders for a "constructive conversation" on Iraq and promised to have "an open door policy" in the future so that Democrats feel welcome to come and talk with him. The President also thanked Speaker Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Frist for their service.

Mr. Bush plans to hold a closed meeting at 10:50 am ET with members of the Blue Dog Coalition at the White House. At 1:15 pm ET, the President welcomes President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to the White House.

First Lady Laura Bush visits the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC at 11:45 am ET.

At 10:15 am ET, Democratic Senate leaders Reid, Durbin, Schumer, and Murray hold a pen and pad press briefing "to discuss the close of the Do Nothing 109th Congress."

The AFL-CIO kicks off its "Organizing Summit" with remarks from its president, John Sweeney, at 11:25 am ET at the Hyatt Regency in Capitol Hill. At 12:15 pm ET, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Rep. George Miller (D-CA), and Sweeney participate in a rally in support of the Employee Free Choice Act. At 7:00 pm ET, former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) receive the Paul Wellstone Awards. The event will run through Saturday.

Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) holds a press conference with Apollo Alliance president Jerome Ringo and United Steel Worker president Leo Gerard on clean energy at 10:00 am ET at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is spending the night in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola to highlight the success of faith-based initiatives in prisons around the country.

Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) holds a press conference regarding minority-owned businesses in Iowa at the state capitol in Des Moines, IA at 2:30 pm ET.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) kicks-off "Conversations with Kirkland" at 4:30 pm ET at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) is in China.

At 2:00 pm ET, Gov. Huckabee (R-AR) presents the "Jermain Taylor Day" proclamation to Middleweight Boxing Champ Jermain Taylor in Little Rock, AR. Gov. Huckabee hosts a reception for the "Farm Family of the Year" at 3:00 pm ET.

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