Rank these items from "most likely" to "least likely" to play a decisive role in determining the identity of the next president of the United States:
A. This paragraph from the New York Times' Steve Weisman news analysis about the Bush budget and the opposition party: "[I]n practice, Democrats know that the only way they can find the revenue to restore the administration's proposed spending cuts would be to cut back on military spending, delay their stated intentions to balance the budget or rescind the Bush tax cuts in future years. They are not especially eager to do any of these."
B. The "logic" of John Podhoretz's Rudy-is-The-Man New York Post op-ed. LINK
C. CBN's muckraking David Brody unveiling (the first of many) Rudy Giuliani golden oldies (this one from a July 2005 "Hannity and Colmes"):
Alan Colmes: Now, Roe versus -- now, you are pro-choice. How important is it to you as a pro-choice Republican to have a pro-choice on the court as someone... Giuliani: That is not the critical factor. And what's important to me is to have a very intelligent, very honest, very good lawyer on the court. And [John Roberts] fits that category, in the same way Justice Ginsburg fit that category. I mean, she was -- she maybe came at it from a very different political background, very qualified lawyer, very smart person. Lots of Republicans supported her. I expect, and listening to Senator Nelson, I expect that John Roberts will get support from a lot of Democrats.
D. Governor Romney's Wednesday Detroit Economic Club speech.
E. Judith Nathan telling Harper's Bazaar: "What people don't know is that Rudy's a very, very romantic guy. We love watching 'Sleepless in Seattle.' Can you imagine my big testosterone-factor husband doing that?" LINK
G. 41's (teary?) West Coast Reaganesque remarks this evening.
H. The ability of each of the Big Six to break $20 million gross from 1/1 through 3/31.
I. The thesis of the Boston Globe's Peter Canellos, who writes in must-read fashion that the Democrats have opened to "huge crowds and intense national interest" while GOPers are suffering from a lack of someone the base fully embraces. LINK
J. The Senate Republicans' filibuster gambit on Iraq.
While the gentlemenly Leaders Reid and McConnell work on a solution to the Senate Iraq impasse, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans hold their weekly policy luncheons at 12:30 pm ET, at which Democrats will wonder why the press isn't siding more with them, and Republicans will eye the exits and wonder how committed George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are to winning back the majority in 2008.
Floor debate breaks on the Senate between 12:30 pm ET and 3:30 pm ET for those lunches, followed by an intelligence briefing. Then, in theory, the chamber resumes consideration of a bill that would address President Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq. How and when the impasse ends is anyone's guess at this writing.
Meanwhile, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) joins Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), an Iraq war vet, and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) for a 10:15 am ET press conference to discuss recent legislation they introduced calling for redeployment for all combat troops from Iraq by March 2008.