The Note: Obama's Gamble


So Democrats got Donald Rumsfeld yesterday, but sorry, no Karl Rove today. (Surely nobody keeps records of these sorts of things, but this has to be a record -- who can keep track of the number of simultaneous stand-offs between the executive and legislative branches? Can't Vice President Dick Cheney -- that member of both branches -- mediate?) "Bush's move sets up a possible court showdown between the White House and Democratic lawmakers, who have also sought to force other Bush aides to testify and demanded documents it says the White House is not releasing," AP reports.

Evil, free-spending Democrats are about to something horrible with taxpayer dollars -- provide health insurance to poor children (!) by raising taxes on cigarettes. Republicans held (mostly) firm in the House yesterday, meaning the president appears to have the votes to sustain his promised veto, but is this really the type of budget battle they want to have with Democrats?

Forget Petraeus: The real Iraq verdict that could change the political equation in Congress could that of Sen. John Warner, R-Va., Bloomberg's Nicholas Johnston reports. "His impact will be all the greater because Warner has been known throughout his three-decade Senate career as an establishment Republican who unflinchingly supports presidents of his party," Johnston writes. If Warner flinches, watch for as many as 20 Republicans to run for his cover.

The kicker:

"It would be amusing if it wasn't such a dumb thought." -- Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, defending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to allow a vote today on Iraq strategy, even if many Republicans use the vote for political cover.

"If we had that one to do over again we would probably approach it differently." -- Clinton strategist Mark Penn, admitting a rare mistake in how the campaign handled the last dust-up with Obama over David Geffen, in the New York Observer.

Next up: The Republican presidential debate Sunday, August 5 in Des Moines, to be broadcast as a special, 90-minute edition of ABC's "This Week." Submit your questions for the candidates here.


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