The Note: February Sanity

The New York Times excerpts the Rove e-mails and ponders the particulars of just how involved the President and his aide were: "The White House has said Mr. Rove passed on complaints to the White House counsel's office, and perhaps to Mr. Bush, about prosecutors' failure to investigate voter fraud cases. He also pushed for the appointment of a former aide as the United States attorney in Arkansas, which outraged local officials and the state's senators because the prosecutor, J. Timothy Griffin, had limited experience." LINK

Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times examines the man who may be holding the pink slips, Fred Fielding. "In bringing Mr. Fielding back to the West Wing this year, Mr. Bush turned to the kind of consummate Washington insider he disdained when he first came to town, a Republican who remained prominent in the capital as presidents of both parties have come and gone." LINK

Politics of Iraq:

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Shailagh Murray report that Speaker Pelosi "still lacks" the 218 votes she needs to pass the Iraq bill next week, aides said, but they "insist she has the momentum." Pelosi met with Rep. Jessie Jackson, Jr., on Wednesday to appeal for his support. "And major events Monday to mark the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq could add pressure on lawmakers to find a way out" of the Iraq conflict. LINK

"Given Republican opposition, House Democrats can afford few defections next week and unity will again be crucial. In a nod to moderates, the committee added language committing Congress to 'fully the support of needs' of U.S. troops overseas. But the greater test could be holding onto liberal members who want a faster, more certain withdrawal," reports the Wall Street Journal's David Rogers on the House Appropriations bill for war funding.

The New York Times highlights Sen. Smith as being the only Republican defector in the Senate vote yesterday. More from Robin Toner and Jeff Zeleny: "The action in both houses threw into sharp relief the Democratic strategy of ratcheting up the pressure, vote by vote, to try to force the White House to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. But it also highlighted Republican unity in opposition." LINK

Washington Times on the Senate vote: LINK

Despite the outcome of the Senate vote, the Los Angeles Times sees "how much congressional support for the conflict has eroded in the four years since the invasion." LINK

The Los Angeles Times spotlights Sen. Murkowski as one of the many Republicans finding deciding how to vote on the war difficult. LINK

ABC News: "Iraq: Where Things Stand:"

In the fifth installment of the series "Iraq: Where Things Stand," ABC News will report extensively on how the country and its people are faring four years after the US-led invasion. On- and off-air reporters were dispatched to nearly two dozen cities and towns across the country, and ABC News commissioned an exclusive, national public opinion poll of more than 2,000 Iraqis. "Iraq: Where Things Stand" will begin airing across ABC News' broadcasts and platforms beginning Sunday, March 18. You won't want to miss it.

Bush Administration agenda:

"Republican critics of the No Child Left Behind law flexed their growing muscle yesterday as 57 GOP lawmakers, including the national party chairman, endorsed legislation that would undermine President Bush's signature education initiative," reports the Washington Post's Amit Paley. LINK

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