The Note: Follow My Lead, Oh, How I Need


The Republic faces a number of challenges, but it is becoming more true -- rather than less true -- that the politics of 2007 and 2008 are being shaped by exactly one issue.

Senate Democrats, per a must-read Washington Post tone poem, are closely watching their Republican counterparts on Iraq. LINK

But also:

Clinton is closely watching Obama on Iraq. LINK

Bush (and Cheney) are closely watching Rep. Boehner to see if he goes squishy on Iraq.

Doves are closely watching Pelosi -- later today headed to the White House to team up with the President -- to see if she goes squishy on Iraq.

Biden, via some spicy New York Observer quotes about Clinton and Edwards, is trying to get people to closely watch him on Iraq. LINK

Edwards, with some spicy quotes of his own, is closely watching Clinton watching Obama on Iraq. LINK

Sharp Republican strategists -- watching Sen. McCain, Romney, and Giuliani hug Bush's policy -- wonder when one of them will have the nerve/sense/guts to deviate on Iraq.

The Republican National Committee is watching Obama's new troop withdrawal plan on Iraq. (Thus begging the question: will the RNC try to open up Illinois' Junior Senator on this issue -- as they would a Clinton, or even a McAuliffe? Or are they deliberately going easy on him so that they don't neuter his ability to cause Clinton trouble?)

On "Good Morning America," Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), whose solution to The Problem is partition, told ABC News' Diane Sawyer, "I'm not exploring. I'm in. And it's the start of a marathon."

The Biden campaign has launched its website this morning at">LINK. At about 10:00 am ET, on the site's front page, the Senator's video statement will launch. Then, later in the day, Sen. Biden plans to hold a press conference call at about 2:15 pm ET before heading to New York City to tape the "Daily Show." (He'll also work in some Senate Foreign Relations Committee business this morning with former Secretaries of State Albright and Kissinger appearing as witnesses. The hearing was scheduled to get underway at 9:15 am ET.)

President Bush, whose solution to The Problem is a surging David Petraeus, delivers remarks on the economy at 11:05 am ET at Federal Hall in New York City. Mr. Bush later appears in a taped interview on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" at 4:00 pm ET.

And/but the President's schedule again seems to indicate awareness at 1600 that even a big economic speech in the financial capital of the world won't knock The Problem out of the headlines.

ABC News' Jessica Yellin reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her Iraq CODEL meet with the President at the White House at 3:50 pm ET. White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino tells Yellin, "Yesterday afternoon the President had a good phone conversation with Sen. Reid and Speaker Pelosi and they agreed to put together a bipartisan War on Terror working group."

The group's first meeting will be next week, adds Yellin. Will this meeting produce comity? Results? Agreements about agreements? Could it be the start of a beautiful, bipartisan friendship? Stay tuned for the body language. Hint: no stakeout appearance by the Speaker would be a good sign for those who want a deal.

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