The Note: Winter's Tale

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.

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