The Note: Reckless Cautiousness

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14

President Bush, who hasn't dominated a news cycle since his State of the Union address, attempts to keep the 2008 race at bay, show he can still bag foreign policy wins (North Korea), poo-poo the Iraq debate in the House as noise not related to the mission at hand, and grab the proverbial reins at his 11:00 am ET news conference -- his first of the year -- in the East Room of the White House.

Words and phrases the President should probably avoid: "I don't pay attention to Congress," "pardon," "Democrat Party," "Dick Cheney and I believe," "he seems like an articulate fellow, but...."

ABC News' Jessica Yellin reports that "the President is expected to make an opening statement in which he will say that he has talked to Petraeus this morning and is expected to make comments on Iraq -- including the House debate -- and on North Korea."

Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid plan to lead a group of bipartisan bicameral congressional leaders to the White House for a 3:30 pm ET meeting with President Bush. Happy talk therein? Stakeout after? You make the calls.

Mitt Romney (R-MA) continues his announcement tour today traveling to South Carolina. The former governor delivers 11:00 am ET remarks at Seawell's Fairgrounds in Columbia. His event scheduled for 4:30 pm ET at Hopkinton Town Hall in Hopkintown, NH has been postponed due to the wintry weather travel delays.. Words and phrases Romney should probably avoid: "Ted Kennedy," "Massachusetts Miracle," "my faith teaches me," and "as Kevin Madden told me to say."

The House of Representatives meets at 10:00 am ET to continue its consideration of the Iraq war resolution. Things to Note so far:

1. White House and minority leadership pressure might keep Republican defections below the CW levels.

2. Democrats seem to be paying no price for not allowing a vote on an alternative.

3. The questions of what the Senate does next -- and what the House does next -- are more important than this.

As if on cue (and to throw the ball back into the court of the Clinton and Obama camps), Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) holds a conference call at 10:30 am ET to announce a "comprehensive proposal to enact his plan for Iraq."

Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) appears tonight on CNN's "Larry King Live" at 9:00 pm ET. Words and phrases Giuliani should probably avoid: "Mario Cuomo," "life begins," "open book," and "NRA."

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) participates in a panel of corporate leaders at Alliance of Communicators for Sustainable Development host a Legislators Forum on Climate Change at 2:30 pm ET in the Russell Senate office building. Sen Joe Lieberman (I/D-CT) is on the panel also. Words and phrases McCain should probably avoid: "Iraq" and "dirt."

Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) join Rep. Henry A. Waxman, at an 11:30 am ET press conference to announce the introduction of the "Access to Life-Saving Medicine Act" at the Rayburn Office Building in Washington, DC. Words and phrases Clinton should probably avoid: "it requires 60 votes," "we are winning," "I know how to stand up to the Republicans," and "you would have to ask Ann Lewis about that."

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) was scheduled to take part in a 9:30 am ET discussion with the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, DC on the release of their report on the prison population forecast.

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