All eyes are on Minneapolis today as the images of the horrific Interstate 35W bridge collapse play on an endless loop on cable networks.
The rescue effort has shifted to a recovery effort there while here in Washington the political fingers are in the air and pointing, ABC News' Zach Wolf reports.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that the bridge tragedy should be a wakeup call and the White House is in the "Twilight Zone" when President Bush complains about appropriations bills. LINK
President Bush said Thursday in the Rose Garden that the federal government must respond "robustly" to help people recover and get the bridge built "as quickly as possible." But Democrats note that the White House has threatened to veto this year's transportation appropriations bill for being too expensive.
As Minneapolis continues to cope with the tragedy, the Republican National Committee's summer meeting gets underway there with a full schedule of speakers lined up for Friday.
First Lady Laura Bush was scheduled to be in town for the RNC meeting and education events but instead will make a visit to the bridge collapse site and an emergency operation command center at 11:25 am ET. The First Lady will meet with volunteers and first responders at the scene.
Mrs. Bush's remarks at the RNC meeting Friday have been scaled back to just a drop-by at 12:05 pm ET.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a John McCain supporter, is scheduled to deliver remarks at a 1:30 pm ET luncheon Friday.
After that, the gathering of Republicans hears from representatives of the GOP presidential campaigns including Ann Romney representing Mitt Romney at 4:10 pm ET.
Mike DuHaime, representing Rudy Giuliani at 4:30 pm ET, will speak about the Mayor's 12 Commitments to the American people and why Giuliani is the fiscal conservative candidate in the race.
Also on the schedule -- Van Hipper, representing Duncan Hunter at 4:45 pm ET and Ari Storch representing Sam Brownback at 5:00 pm ET.
The White House announced late Thursday that President Bush will travel to Minneapolis on Saturday.
Barack Obama continued to make headlines on foreign policy Thursday when he ruled out using nuclear weapons in Afghanistan or Pakistan involving civilians, but then seemed to think twice about his response and said "Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table."
ABC News' Jake Tapper writes that the response from Hillary Clinton indicates the rising stakes at play in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Clinton implied that the comments made by Obama were careless and unpresidential and said his comments earlier this week on military force in Pakistan were was inappropriate, further evidence that she is painting her challenger as unprepared for the job of commander-in-chief, Tapper reports. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3441342&page=1"target="external">LINK
This latest round in the Clinton/Obama foreign policy slugfest would probably get bigger play on television if not for the bridge collapse.
Mitt Romney told a New Hampshire radio station this week that the United States will be able to "pull back" troops from Iraq if the surge of troops proves successful, ABC News' Teddy Davis and Leigh Hartman report.
After Romney's pullback comments were posted to RedState.com Thursday afternoon, the Romney campaign made an effort to assure the conservative blog that the Republican presidential hopeful is on the same page as President Bush on the question of what a successful surge would mean for the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. LINK
Back to Friday's schedule... Romney is in Iowa for a 12:00 pm ET Bull Moose Club Luncheon at Raccoon River Brewing Co. in Des Moines.
Giuliani is in Ohio and West Virginia.
McCain is in Washington, DC then traveling to Des Moines in the evening with no campaign events scheduled.
Mike Huckabee continues his tour of Iowa with a blogger's conference call in Iowa Falls at 11:30 am ET, a national media conference in Iowa Falls at 12:00 pm ET, speaks at a Fair Tax Rally in Hampton at 1:30 pm ET, a campaign event in Clear Lake at 5:00 pm ET and a house party in Iowa Falls at 9:00 pm ET.
As for the Democrats….
Hillary and Bill Clinton attend two receptions in the evening in the Hamptons.
Barrack Obama is in Washington, DC with no public schedule.
John Edwards has no public schedule.
TiVO Alert! Chris Dodd appears on Fox News Channel's "O'Reilly Factor" at 8:00 pm ET Thursday night. Tune in for an interesting exchange between Dodd and O'Reilly on the liberal blogosphere.
Joe Biden is on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" at 7:00 am ET.
Bill Richardson continues his job interview process in Iowa to see if he's up to the job of President. First he stop in Pleasant at 10:45 am ET, Keokuk at 1:15 pm ET, Burlington at 4:45 pm ET and Wapello at 6:15 pm ET.
The YearlyKos Convention continues in Chicago with a morning keynote speech by General Wesley Clark at 9:00 am ET. The Democratic '08ers will be on hand Saturday to kiss the ring of the liberal blogers.
President Bush meets with the counterterrorism team at 10:55 am ET, has lunch with them at 12:00 pm ET and meets with the homeland security team at 1:05 pm ET at the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC.
POLICAL STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM:
ABC News' Jake Tapper "Presidential Race Goes Nuclear" LINK
ABC News' Zach Wolf "Blame Game Begin on America's Infrastructure Spending" LINK
ABC News Teddy Davis "Romney Talks of Troop Pullback" LINK
ABC News' Theresa Cook and Jason Ryan "Rove Defies Senate Subpoena LINK
ABC News' Sunlen Miller "Cindy McCain's Political Style" LINK
ABC News' Raelyn Johnson "Edwards Continues War on Fox News" LINK
POLITICAL VIDEOS ON ABCNEWS.COM
"Brownbackgirl" takes on her competitors in the latest viral video. LINK
Pakistan Responds to Obama
Pakistan minister calls Obama's recent foreign relations stance "irresponsible." LINK
Minnesota Governor on Bridge Catastrophe
Gov. Tim Pawlenty discusses the processes moving forward for Minneapolis. LINK
Minnesota Congressman Expresses Grief
Rep. Keith Ellison speaks to Congress about the tragic bridge collapse. LINK
Minneapolis Mayor on Bridge Collapse
Mayor R.T. Rybak discusses the devastation and his city's support. LINK
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