The Note: Winter's Tale

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:

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