The Note: New Verse, Same As the First

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19

Friday is, for all Note readers, time to review our three rings -- week past and week future (and beyond):

Ring 1, Iraq: All the momentum in both parties continues to push towards opposition to the Bush plan, but there is only one commander-in-chief (not 536), and he is still in charge. Where this is headed, no one knows, but for clues for how far (and fast) Congress will go, watch closely the four Johns: Warner, Boehner, Edwards, and Murtha.

Ring 2, other legislative matters: Bush up (going for health, immigration, and environmentally "compromise" -- which will buy him a few moments of good press); Bush down (the Gang of 500 has never cared less about a SOTU, and Tony Snow claims it isn't even written yet!); Pelosi-Reid up (Six in '06 rocks in '07, and the Gang of 500 has never cared more about a SOTU pre-buttal); Reid-Pelosi down (Washington hath no fury like the Dingells scorned, the LAT/Bloomberg poll also says "only 25% of those surveyed believed Democrats have formulated a clear direction for the country; 58% said they had failed to.")

Ring 3, 2008: McCain up (keeps banking key endorsements); McCain down (no longer looks invincible for the general election); Clinton up (gets in the Iraq game); Clinton down (no one cheers for the frontrunner, and every loss stings); Romney up (Olive's party shows he remains the not-McCain leader); Romney down (Scot Lehigh's seminal, must-read, devastating Boston Globe column is like a bad penny LINK); Edwards up (jobless, anti-war candidate can continue to make Iowa inroads and drive Senate-bound rivals batty, while getting EJ Dionne wet kiss LINK and Los Angeles Times love on African-American Palmetto State support LINK); Edwards down (carelessness on the home buying front -- again!!! LINK); Giuliani up (more staff and money on board); Giuliani down (still too many non-believers); all other 2008 hopefuls down (the Big Six CW begins to occify); all other 2008 hopefuls up (hope springs eternal -- if you have $18 million by September).

While President Bush continues to practice his SOTU speech out of public view and heads to Camp David for the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) helpfully provide some sound on tape for those weekend curtain-raising stories as they offer that pre-buttal to the State of the Union at the National Press Club at 10:30 am ET in Washington, DC.

According to excerpts of his prepared remarks, Sen. Reid plans to address the President's decision to send additional troops to Iraq by saying, "The President's plan will receive an up-or-down vote in both chambers of Congress. It is the only way the American people can have their voice heard. Our hope. . . is that the President will hear the bipartisan chorus opposing escalation, and work with Democrats to find a new course."

"For over a year, Democrats have been proposing a better plan for Iraq - a plan based on what is in the best interest of our country both now and the future. A plan largely endorsed by the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group. The Democratic plan can be boiled down to three parts: change the military mission, redeploy the troops, and make Iraq's neighbors part of the solution.

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