WASHINGTON, Jan. 8
From the second floor of Lauriol Plaza, to the Waterfront Café in Boston, to the cablers' assignment desks, to the mind of Brit Hume, to even (read: "especially") the palatial, high-tech offices of The Note: everything is in suspended animation until midweek, when President Bush delivers his long-awaited, sort-of-delayed speech on a new plan for Iraq.
Expected Wednesday (or Thursday), the nationally televised talk will determine the future of everything.
We could make informed guesses about what the President will say; about the likelihood that the broadcast networks will give the Democrats live time to respond; about what Democrats not named "Lieberman" will have to say about the plan; about the obvious body language that Republicans who "support" the surge-with-benchmarks will display; about the Old Media's relative interest in Republicans who "support" the President compared to those heretics who do not; and about what the first wave of public opinion polls will say about adding tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of millions of dollars to Iraq.
In fact, almost anyone reading these words could make the same informed guesses -- whether their name is "Dan Bartlett," "Bill Kristol," "Paul Krugman," "Mark Salter," "Don Imus," or "Blogger R."
But why ruin the political week by giving it all away on a Monday?
In yet another sign that their shared relationship with reality is closer than had previously been thought, Democrats who had hoped to focus on their domestic agenda in the opening weeks of Congress have concluded that Iraq will get top billing (to say the least) for awhile, and they plan on aggressively confronting Bush Administration officials this week on Topic A, while still voting (except during big football days) on their non-Iraq agenda.
Read all about the strategizing in this must-read story by the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman. LINK
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) unveils his plan to end the Iraq war in a 10:00 am ET speech in New York City. When Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) speaks at the National Press Club tomorrow, he's going to call for action on Iraq before the surge can begin. And unlike Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Kennedy believes Congress does have the power to stop any surge.
In advance of the floor debate tomorrow, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 9/11 commissioners Lee Hamilton and Tim Roemer, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), and Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) hold a 2:15 pm ET press availability on the implementation of the 9/11 commission recommendations today at 2:15 p.m.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act. President Bush meets with House and Senate leaders from both parties at 1:20 pm ET to discuss his signature education initiative.
Also marking the occasion, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings addresses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at 10:00 am ET in Washington, DC, while Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) delivers an address on education at the Center for American Progress at 10:00 am ET in Washington, DC.
Prior to his education-related meeting, President Bush meets with the president of the European Commission at 11:10 am ET.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) unveils his health-care plan today at 2:00 pm ET in Sacramento, CA, as USA Today takes a front page look at steps states are taking to expand health-care coverage. LINK