The Note: Winter's Tale

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24

NEWS SUMMARY

You don't need to be some sort of mythical half-Alexis-de-Tocqueville-half-Joyce-Brothers beast to read the body language of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi -- and thus to understand what their visceral take on George W. Bush means for the next two years of American politics.

But it will help if you inhale Ruth Marcus' must-read op-ed in the Washington Post if you want to understand that single most important dynamic shaping Iraq policy, the legislative agenda, and the 2008 race.

Writing under a "The Knee-Jerk Opposition" header, Marcus smartly keys off of the dead-on-arrival attitude that Democrats have about Bush's health care plan LINK, but the larger points are these:

1. The Democratic leaders hate the President and don't trust him.

2. Despite their lipservice to working together on other things, as long as Iraq dominates our politics (and fuels more hatred and distrust) NAFTA-like bipartisan deals (on tough stuff like entitlements, health care, and immigration) will be impossible.

3. The Democrats (openly) and the Republicans (increasingly openly) consider the Iraq war to be over politically.

4. As the fair-minded and non-hyperbolic Dan Balz of the Washington Post writes this morning, George W. Bush is tyring "to revive his presidency against what may be the greatest odds any chief executive has faced in a generation."

5. Republicans and Democrats in Congress would vote by secret ballot to end the Bush presidency today if they could by a margin of, oh, 500-35.

6. Under the American system, the President has about two more years to serve.

Add up 1 through 6, and you will pardon us for not being overly excited about President Bush's trip to the battleground state of Delaware today to participate in a tour of DuPont Experimental Station at 10:20 am ET.

He then makes remarks on energy initiatives at 11:00 am ET in Wilmington, DE -- and we predict that the President will not be able to hide the fact that he is no more fired up about this jaunt than we are.

The President then meets in the Oval Office with the incoming commander for NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan at 1:10 pm ET.

Vice President Cheney's interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer airs between 4:00-6:00 pm ET and 7:00-8:00 pm ET, at which time he will tell Blitzer in no uncertain terms (and several times) that he isn't going to discuss an ongoing criminal matter. (Note suggestion to Wolf: try this, "You recently suggested that Scooter Libby is one of the more honest and honorable people you know. Do you feel the same about Karl Rove.")

After a morning show romp, Sen. Obama was scheduled to be on hand for the beginning attends the Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting on the Iraq resolution at 9:00 am ET. Sen. Obama presides over the Senate at 5:00 pm ET.

This is day three of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) online chats with voters on her 2008 campaign website. Mrs. Clinton logs on for discussion at 7:00 pm ET, at which point she will express her delight at being there (but not in a Peter Sellers sort of way).

This is probably the biggest Hillary Clinton news of day: The Des Moines Register's Beaumont offers up the still developing details of Sen. Clinton's big Iowa trip this weekend and includes this delicious nugget: "Clinton aides also inquired about attending the Iowa Democratic Party's central committee meeting in Des Moines on Saturday morning, state party officials said." LINK

And be sure not to miss the Union Leader's John DiStaso reporting that Sen. Clinton will make her first Granite State visit on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4 before returning to New Hampshire in March for the New Hampshire Democratic Party's "100 Club" dinner. LINK

United for Peace and Justice holds a news conference to respond to President Bush's State of the Union address and to discuss plans for a January 27 anti-war march in Washington at the National Press Club at 9:30 am ET in Washington, DC.

Brookings holds a discussion entitled, "State of the Union 2007: President Bush Faces a New Congress" at 10:00 am ET.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at the annual winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors at 10:30 am ET at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. The conference began this morning at 9:00 am ET and will run through Friday, January 26. Other speakers at the event include: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) who speaks at 12:30 pm ET, and then at 2:30 pm ET Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) and House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) both deliver remarks.

Reps. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), and Maxine Water (D-CA) join actress Susan Sarandon at a press availability following a closed-door meeting with Iraq war veterans on the state of Veteran Affairs Department healthcare at 11:30 am ET at the Rayburn House Office Building. Another subject of the meeting is the "Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act".

Senate Budget Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and House Budget Chairman Sen. John Spratt (D-SC) hold a news conference on the new deficit projections in the Congressional Budget Office's January Budget and Economic Outlook at 2:00 pm ET in the Rayburn House Office Building.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee met this morning for a full mark up on the bipartisan resolution regarding Iraq.

The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of Michael Astrue to be commissioner of Social Security at 10 am ET.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaks at the National Press Club on poverty and other urban issues beginning at 1:00 pm ET.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) was scheduled to deliver a speech entitled "Official English: The Key to a Successful American Future" at an event organized by ProEnglish at the National Press Club.

The Senate resumes consideration of a bill (HR 2) that would increase the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour.

The Libby trial:

While everyone else focuses on Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, the New York Sun's Josh Gerstein smartly highlights Ari Fleischer's grant of immunity and back channel to David Gregory. LINK

(We wonder if the President -- and his men and women -- knew about how Fleischer handled this.)

The New York Times' Lewis on the Libby defense which seems to be in part centered on the idea that the White House was using him as the scapegoat to protect Karl Rove. LINK

ABC News' Jason Ryan on Libby thinking he was a "scapegoat" for Rove. LINK

New Hampshire:

"'It is not acceptable for Nevada to go before New Hampshire,' Gov. John Lynch told me in a phone interview yesterday," writes Roger Simon of Politico (carried in the New Hampshire Union Leader too LINK) as he reminds us all that the calendar is far less set than many want to believe. LINK

More Simon: "[New Hampshire Secretary of State] Gardner will not allow Nevada to go first, no matter whether Nevada calls its contest a caucus, a primary or a ring-toss."

"That is where the DNC miscalculated. I talked to a DNC source, who asked not to be identified, who said the DNC assumed that because Nevada was going to be a caucus, and since New Hampshire has always allowed the Iowa caucus to go first, New Hampshire would extend the same courtesy to Nevada."

"It won't."

And ponder this: If California moves its primary up to February 5 and early voting (which could account for 40 - 50% of primary ballots cast in the Golden State in 2008) begins on January 7, how will Secretary of State Gardner react to actual primary votes being cast that early?

Bush sells SOTU in Delaware:

"Police officials said they expected little impact from the president's visit on area roads," reports the Wilmington News-Journal. LINK

Be sure to check your bus route: LINK

(Should you run into traffic problems, you can share them here: LINK)

Delaware's congressional delegation was unmoved by the President's appeal to give his troop surge plan time to work, reports Andrew Tangel of the Wilmington News-Journal. LINK

The Wilmington News Journal's Jeff Montgomery explains the work going on at DuPont that attracted the President for his first post-SOTU stop. LINK

"DuPont is working with other companies to produce ethanol from cornstalks and other cellulose-bearing 'biomass,' rather than from corn or other food grains. The company also is pushing development of another alcohol fuel, biobutanol, that is more easily transported and offers more miles per gallon. Currently, grain-based ethanol is more expensive to produce than gasoline and provides less energy."

The News Journal also provides a little history on presidential visits to the First State. LINK

SOTU: morning shows:

ABC News' Stephanopoulos reported that Democrats "had a meeting early yesterday where they discussed how they would take their cues from Nancy Pelosi. And she was very very disciplined on when she got up and when she didn't. Whenever the talk was about the President's strategy on Iraq, she stayed sitting -- even when Vice President Cheney got up. The minute they talked about the troops, she practically jumped out of her seat -- other Democrats followed."

NBC's Meredith Vieira describing the president's body language on the new political reality in Washington, "Not exactly like a dog with his tail between his legs, but obviously no posturing either."

CBS' "Early Show" focused on the slim legislative chances of President Bush's various proposals, though Harry Smith did praise the President for his "gracious tone" vis a vis Pelosi, calling it "the moment of the night."

SOTU: health-care initiatives:

The Washington Post's Wesiman and Fletcher Note regarding health care that President Bush proposed the "first real tax increase of his presidency" but "senior Democrats for the most part responded with icy disdain." LINK

On the domestic agenda, the New York Times' Toner and Pear write, "President Bush delivered a domestic agenda to Congressional Democrats on Tuesday that was, in large part, modest and a reiteration of past proposals. Where he did break ground -- on health care -- his initiative was quickly dismissed by leading Democrats and seemed unlikely to form the basis of bipartisan action." LINK

According to Roll Call's John Stanton, President Bush's new health care proposal is dead-on-arrival with the Democratic Senate, and as one Democratic aide put it, the plan will be easy to paint as "this year's Social Security privatization. Drop it in the dumb file."

Boston Globe: "Health plan takes narrower approach, analysts say." LINK

SOTU: ledes and headlines:

New York Times: "Bush, Pressing Modest Agenda, Insists US Must Not Fail In Iraq" LINK

Wall Street Journal: "Long Odds for Agenda."

Washington Post: "Bush Urges Congress, Nation to Give His Iraq Plan a Chance." LINK

Boston Globe: "President urges unity on Iraq." LINK

Arizona Republic: "Iraq war trumps Bush's domestic plan" LINK

SOTU: political analysis:

In news analysis, the Washington Post's Dan Balz describes President Bush's address as two speeches in one, the one with domestic initiatives delivered by the president with little emotion and the Iraq and terrorism one where the president came alive.LINK

Susan Page writes in the USA Today about how the President lost his swagger from a year ago. The once confident Bush lost his boldness from the '06 SOTU and delivered a more "constrained" speech. LINK

McClatchy's Steven Thomma writes that President Bush's proposals were "mostly familiar, and on energy, notably (sic) small-bore. There's little prospect that either he or the Democrats will shed their mistrust of each other." LINK

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times sees the poetry in President Bush paying attention to climate change on the same day that Gore was nominated for two Oscars. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook writes that on the domestic front, the President is "following, more than leading . . ." LINK

SOTU: GOP dissension:

ABC News' Marcus Baram reports on the GOPers who were not siding with Bush last night following the speech. LINK

SOTU: Republican '08er response:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told ABC News in a post-speech interview: "This strategy ought to be given a chance, because the consequences of failure are immense, and we'll be back again some day," McCain said. "This is going to be long and hard and tough."

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) reacted to President Bush's health-care proposals by issuing a statement saying: "I am especially encouraged by the President's initiative to help states find new solutions for individuals to buy health insurance. I believe the states are our best laboratories to find the best policy innovations to our health insurance crisis. As Governor, my state found a way to get all of our citizens covered without a tax increase and without a big government takeover."

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Fox News: "I thought the speech was a very good one and I thought it did what the president had to do, which is to get us kind of beyond Iraq, meaning there are a lot of other things we have to concentrate on."

On Hot Soup, Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) expressed disappointment with President Bush on infrastructure. ". . . I was disappointed that the President has still failed to address the crumbling infrastructure of our highways, bridges, airports, and water systems. We have neglected the infrastructure for too long."

SOTU: Dem '08er response:

Sen. Clinton reacted to the State of the Union with a statement saying: "The President finally acknowledged the problem of global warming and the need to develop alternative energy sources, but he did not offer a real plan to deal with climate change or to put us on a path to energy independence. The President finally addressed the need to deal with the health care crisis, but offered a proposal that does nothing make health insurance more affordable or accessible for the millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans. The President called for No Child Left Behind to be reauthorized this year, but has failed to ensure the funding needed to fulfill the promise of this landmark law. And instead of charting a new course in Iraq, including the political solution desperately needed, so that we can begin to bring our troops home, the President continued his defense of failed strategy and his escalation plan in Iraq."

On "Good Morning America," Sen. Obama told ABC News' Robin Roberts that what struck him most was "the lack of enthusiasm on the Republican side, not just the Democratic side, for the President's approach to Iraq."

While appearing on CNN's "American Morning," Sen. Obama said President Bush "talked about health care and energy. It's not how I would approach them but they are serious proposals and the Democrats should take a look at them and consider them."

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), talking to Harry Smith, said that President Bush "has not made the case" for his war strategy, but that the president "deserves a lot of credit" for his work fighting AIDS in Africa.

John Edwards reacted to President Bush's health care proposals by saying that the President's proposal "offers much more help to a family making $300,000 than one making $30,000. The time for patching up our health care system has ended. We need universal health care in this country and we need it now." On Iraq, Edwards reiterated his contention that "President Bush's decision to adopt the McCain Doctrine and escalate the war in Iraq is terribly wrong."

Gov. Richardson's office put out a statement saying that the governor "agreed that the nation must dramatically improve vehicle fuel efficiency but" criticized the President's plan by saying that it does not "provide enough specifics. It also leaves too many loopholes to achieve the kind of improvements necessary to wean the country off foreign oil and reduce vehicle emissions." On health care, Gov. Richardson "applauded the President for addressing the healthcare crisis facing the country but" said he believes the proposals "don't go far enough to help the tens of millions of Americans without health insurance." And on Iraq, Gov. Richardson "reiterated his opposition to the President's" strategy and said he "believes the United States can and must get" its "troops out of Iraq by the end of 2007."

Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) reacted to the President's Iraq ideas on Hot Soup by writing: "The brightest minds on Madison Avenue couldn't sell the President's Iraq policy. His own military advisors, the Iraq Study Group, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle -- and most importantly the American people -- aren't buying it. It is up to Congress to fulfill their Constitutional responsibility to send a message that this policy is not good for the nation."

SOTU: color:

Kate Zernike of the New York Times has all the colorful details from the competing guest boxes across the House Chamber to Speaker Pelosi's change of clothes during the day so as to create better contrast for the television cameras against the brown leather chair. LINK

"Pelosi kept her lips pursed and seemed to set the tone for her Democratic colleagues throughout the speech," per the Boston Globe. LINK

ABC News' Ed O'Keefe and Karen Travers team up for a look at "All the President's Guests." LINK

SOTU: op-eds and editorials:

Bob Novak sees a "stumbling" President Bush in front of a "feisty and belligerent" Democratic Congress. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's ed board praises President Bush's health-care proposal writing that "because the tax deduction would apply to payroll as well as income taxes, the benefits would be large even for low-income earners. So a family making $60,000 would wind up with a tax savings of $4,500, which would offset the cost of acquiring coverage in many states. Meanwhile, a young person making $40,000 could buy a high-deductible plan for, say, $1,000 and actually get a tax break of $2,250 for doing so. The Treasury estimates the new deduction would add at least five million Americans to the ranks of the insured, but our guess is that would be higher given the incentives all of this would provide for new private insurance products."

The New York Times editorial board appears unpersuaded. LINK

Boston Globe's Peter Canellos writes that the President "seemed to be reading from former President Bill Clinton's script from 1995," where he toned down his rhetoric "to implicitly contrast his reasonableness with the increasingly outspoken attacks by Democrats." LINK

SOTU: energy initiatives:

The Los Angeles Times' Richard Simon suggests there are contradictions in Bush's alternative energy plan. LINK

Phillip Clapp, President of National Environmental Trust, calls Bush's proposal to increase alternative fuel per year by produce 35 billion gallons of alternative fuel mostly through ethanol per year by 2017 a "pipe dream," reports Boston Globe's John Connelly. LINK

SOTU: Louisiana response:

Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D-LA) was "disheartened" by President Bush's decision not to mention the effort to recover from Hurricane Katrina is his State of the Union.

Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), who plans to challenge Blanco's re-election bid in the fall, "said the speech was the president's chance to recommit the federal government's efforts in rebuilding the Gulf Coast," per the Associated Press. "He said he hopes Bush will remember the area's plight and provide the resources necessary to move forward."

Politics of Iraq:

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, the new U.S. Commander in Iraq, will not promise success. Could this be another blow to the Iraq situation for President Bush? ABC News' John Hendren has more. LINK

To merge or not to merge the anti-surge resolutions? That is the question Timesmen Zeleny and Hulse appear to be hearing in Senate hallways as they nicely curtain raise this morning's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the resolution. LINK

Bush Administration agenda/personality:

White House chief of staff Josh Bolten chats with Politico's Mike Allen about the challenges and opportunities the White House sees in working with a Democratic Congress and predicts the President will sign an immigration bill this year. LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

Providing talking points for both parties, the Associated Press reports the latest Congressional Budget Office numbers indicating that a budget surplus is possible by 2012, "although that would require President Bush's tax cuts to expire at the end of 2010."

"The estimates also understate the ongoing cost of the war in Iraq, but provide a basis for majority Democrats on Capitol Hill to work to match Bush's vow to balance the federal budget in five years."

Democratic agenda:

In the Q&A in the forthcoming Sunday New York Times Magazine, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) discusses his new book, "Positively American," and explains why he is supporting Sen. Clinton over Sen. Obama.

"I'm supporting Hillary," Schumer tells the magazine. "I've worked closer with Hillary and, on experience, I would have to give her the edge. I think she's terrific. When you see her work up close, she is really smart, she asks the right questions and has a good sense of how to balance things."

Schumer tells Deborah Solomon that President Bush called to congratulate him after Democrats took back the Senate. "Look, to his credit, he was gracious. He said: 'I never expected you to do this, but congratulations. You did an amazing job.'"

Roll Call's Jennifer Yachnin reports on the efforts of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to consolidate her power in the caucus and "prevent the resurgence of largely autonomous chairmen that dominated the House chamber during the previous Democratic majority."

2008:

In a must-read, the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut and Shailagh Murray capture Sen. Clinton remarking on the "very crowded rotunda" when she was inadvertently blocked by Sen. Obama (for about two minutes) from being able to walk to her next interview in the Russel Rotunda where the networks were conducting post-SOTU interviews. LINK

As of last night, Obama had been booked on all the major morning news programs, while Clinton declined to appear. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), another 2008 contender, had been scheduled on several programs, but was bumped, according to a senior Democratic Senate aide. LINK

2008: Republicans:

The National Review Institute hosts a conservative summit entitled "Claiming the Future" with renowned conservative thinkers, authors, and policymakers this weekend, January 26-28 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC.

Some of the conservatives scheduled to appear at the summit include: former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, White House Chief of Staff John Bolton, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol.

The events kicks off with a Friday night cocktail reception honoring John Bolton at 6:00 pm ET and a "Night Owl Session" on the state of conservatism with Kate O'Beirne, Kathryn Lopez, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham and Mona Charen.

On Saturday, Gingrich's speaks at 8:00 am ET, Jeb Bush's delivers remarks at 12:00 pm ET and Romney delivers the dinner address at 7:00 pm ET. On Sunday, Snow addresses the summit at a time tbd but likely sometime in the morning and Huckabee speaks at 10:00 am ET.

All speeches, workshops, and events are open to the media.

2008: Republicans: Romney:

Headlined "Romney talks tough on Iran," the Boston Globe's Thanassis Cambanis and Scott Helman report that the former governor's efforts to lobby Massachusetts to divest pension funds from companies that do business with Iran help "strengthen ties to American Jews." LINK

The AP on Romney's call for economic sanctions against Iran "at least as severe" to those against South Africa during apartheid period. LINK

2008: Republicans: Giuliani:

Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin of Politico examine Rudy Giuliani's history from his aborted 2000 run for the Senate and wonder if history is repeating. LINK

(And now you can get the entire leaked 140-page Giuliani playbook online at politico.com.)

The New York Times follows yesterday's New York Post report that Rudy Giuliani plans to sell the investment bank division of his consulting business as he prepares for a White House run. LINK

2008: Republicans: Brownback:

CBN's fast-moving David Brody has an interview with Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) in which the Kansas Republican calls into question Romney's credentials as a social conservative.

"At times he's said different things on these issues," Brownback told CBN. "I think that's all going to come out during a long campaign." LINK

2008: Democrats:

Roll Call's Erin Billings examines the challenge faced by new the Democratic congressional leadership as they try to avoid the distractions that will come with a Senate full of presidential candidates. One Senate Democratic aide said, "With the New Hampshire primary about a year away, we could be looking at only a few months before presidential interests completely over take party priorities."

The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman takes a look at the 2008 Democratic hopefuls jockeying for airtime before and after Bush's speech. LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton:

In the Forward, E.J. Kessler has Democratic strategist Steve Rabinowitz, a Clinton supporter, saying that while "sexy guy" Obama and Sen. "Biden -- 'an extremely well-known quantity' to Jews -- among others, would get 'a piece' of Jewish largesse, 'it just won't compare to what" Sen. Clinton "gets.'" LINK

2008: Democrats: Obama:

On "Good Morning America," when ABC News' Robin Roberts asked Obama if his lack of foreign policy credentials will be a vulnerability in the presidential race, he mentioned his college major in response. Watch the video: LINK

"Well actually my experience in foreign policy is probably more diverse than most others in the field," replied Obama. "I'm somebody who has actually lived overseas, somebody who has studied overseas. I majored in international relations. But ultimately what foreign policy is about really is judgment. And having a sense -- first and foremost -- of the strengths of America and the American people and being able to talk with them about what our values and ideals are and how we project them in the world and then also having an understanding of what that world beyond our borders is like and that's something I feel very confident about."

On his current poll position: "When your name is Barack Obama, you're always an underdog in political races. . . Obviously, the Clintons -- collectively -- have been on the national scene for a very long time."

The Early Show's Harry Smith, without mentioning subsequent debunkings, asked Sen. Obama this morning to comment on reports "from an on-line site" that the Senator had attended a madrassa as a child, adding that the story had been covered "by other cable news outlets."

Sen. Obama replied by saying, "CNN did a great job - sorry to mention your competitor - but they went to the school I attended in Indonesia and shows it's an ordinary public school. These kinds of attacks will be out there and unfortunately they get repeated," Obama told Smith, "and fortunately good journalists show they were complete fabrications."

On his "Political Punch" blog, ABC News' Jake Tapper commends CNN for taking the "unusual step of "actually reporting about the school in Indonesia where" Sen. Obama was educated from ages 6-8 to see what kind of school it was. LINK

The New York Times' Bill Carter takes a look at the CNN vs. Fox battle over the Obama madrassa story. LINK

In an op-ed piece in the Hartford Courant, the legendary Jules Witcover compares Sen. Obama to JFK. LINK

2008: Democrats: Edwards:

John Edwards is enlisting the help of 80,000 people to get the attention of Congress. In today's Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill, Edwards has a full page ad with the names of 80,000 supporters calling on Congress to stop President Bush's already escalating troop levels in Iraq.

Steve Kornacki writes in the New York Observer that Edwards may have an advantage in running because he does not cast daily votes. He just has to defend that one famous vote, Iraq. LINK

2008: Democrats: Richardson:

Wasting no time after Gov. Richardson announced his presidential candidacy, the New Mexico state GOP has begun their attacks, saying of Gov. Richardson that he comes off as a "carnival huckster" and that he would be a " 'sound bite' commander-in-chief."LINK

Dean's Democrats:

When Republicans were in control of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, DNC Chairman Howard Dean said that divided government was good for America.

But now that Democrats have captured control of both the House and Senate for the first time since 1994, Dean's view of unified control has improved.

In a fundraising solicitation sent to DNC supporters Tuesday evening, Dean wrote, "We took back both houses of Congress, but there's one important house left -- and it sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

Political potpourri:

Roll Call announced Tuesday that deputy editor Charlie Mitchell will become the editor next month when Tim Curran leaves Roll Call for the Washington Post.

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