Whether you have a Lauriol Plaza brunch scheduled, a POTUS bike ride on the docket, or just plan to attend a boring Super Bowl party, once again, The Note is here to equip you with what you need to gab knowingly about the three (still) enduring rings of American politics.
Ring 1 -- Iraq:
The White House, lulled into a false sense of reality by Democratic squabbling over the non-binding Senate resolution and confirmation of its military bigs, apparently still doesn't realize that the war is politically over. The National Intelligence Estimate, the CBO report, and Dr. Howard Dean's manifest oats-feeling in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Teddy Davis all tell the current chapter of the tale. LINK
Ring 2 -- other legislative business:
The latest proof (as if any more were needed) that next week's Bush budget will be deader on arrival than, say, a vintage '80s Reagan budget: Robert Pear's Medicare/Medicaid story in the New York Times. LINK
Ring 3 -- 2008:
The Big Three in each party (Rs: McCain, Romney, Giuliani; Ds: Clinton, Obama, Edwards) are going at it with January, 2008 intensity. They are competing ferociously over money, endorsements, money, policy, money, travel schedules, staff, money, and money. Must-reads to get the point: the New York Times' Healy and Zeleny on fundraising among the Democrats' Big Three, with enough spinnin' and spittin' to keep insiders buzzing through lunch. LINK And the New York Post's Haberman and Dicker on Empire State jockeying. LINK
The super delegate festival (a/k/a: the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting) gets underway in earnest today, with marquee speeches at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC.
The day begins at 9:00 am ET with a speech by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) followed by words from DNC Chairman Howard Dean.
Then 2008 presidential hopefuls deliver back to back speeches beginning with Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.), former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY).
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) attends a George Mason University College Democrats rally in conjunction with Students for Barack Obama at the George Mason University Fairfax Campus at 1:00 pm ET.
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE), Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), and former Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) speak on Saturday.
Each candidate has been asked to keep their remarks to no longer than seven minutes.
"The long-awaited National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq will be released today," reports ABC News' Jonathan Karl. "The full classified report will be sent to Capitol Hill, and, in a shift from previous practice, a summary of findings will be declassified and publicly released."
At 12:30 pm ET, the DNI will post that summary of findings on its website.
ABC News' Karen Travers reports that NSA Stephen Hadley briefs on camera at 3:15 pm ET.
ABC News' Ann Compton reports that an NSC source tells her "the underlying intel in the NIE was used to formulate the President's new strategy, it's further, clear evidence why a new strategy is necessary. It paints a picture of a very serious and complex situation on the ground. It also says that rapid withdrawal would only lead to further deterioration."