It seemed like another sleepy August day in Washington until Sen. John Warner R-Va., dropped some big news in the laps of political reporters and called for President Bush to announce on Sept. 15 that he will start to withdraw U.S. troops in Iraq.
ABC News' Dean Norland reports that Warner said the President should set the timetable, not Congress, and if a first withdrawal of troops by Christmas is a success, a date and time would be set for a second contingent to be redeployed. LINK
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in Crawford Thursday that he doesn't think the President feels any differently about setting a specific timetable for withdrawal in Iraq – and we all know how fond he is of that idea.
Johndroe said repeatedly that the White House is waiting for the report from Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker before making decisions about the way forward.
Shifting to domestic politics…Friday is a big day for Mitt Romney.
Romney, who enacted a health insurance law in Massachusetts that in effect moved toward universal health care, will formally lay out his plan for the nation's health care system in a 12:00 pm ET speech before the Florida Medical Association at Westin Diplomat resort and Spa in Hollywood, Florida
ABC News' Matt Stuart reports that Romney's plan is expected to draw largely on the plan he spearheaded in Massachusetts during his time as Governor. Expanding on his stump speech, Romney will emphasize that a "one size fits all" policy will fail and urges a state-by-state approach is the way to go.
Romney regularly underscores his belief that universal health care must come from the private sector rather than from a broad government agency, Stuart reports. In Friday's speech, he's expected to suggest a system of de-regulation of the insurance markets and removing tax discriminations against those who purchase insurance individually.
Romney likes to say that should he win the Republican nomination, he'll welcome a debate about health care with Hillary Clinton, who led the famously failed effort at universal health care during her husband's presidency in the 1990s.
After the health care speech, it's off to Indiana for Romney where he delivers the 6:00 pm ET keynote address to the Indiana Republicans' Midwest Republican Leadership Conference in Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It was this same conference in 1997 where then-Gov. George W. Bush wowed conservatives with his agenda (but got mixed reviews for his skills as an orator). Bush's appearance launched him to the top tier of the hottest Republican prospects for the White House.
Rudy Giuliani travels to Buffalo, NY for a fundraiser which is expected to raise between $40,000 and $50,000.
John McCain has no public schedule.
Mike Huckabee attends a 10:00 am ET coffee fundraiser in Indianapolis and makes 12:00 pm ET remarks at the Midwest Republican Leadership Conference.
RNC Chairman Mike Duncan speaks to the group Friday at 2:00 pm ET. And shadowy Fred Thompson does the same at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday at 6:00 pm ET.
As for the Democrats….
Hillary Clinton spends her day in New Hampshire with no public campaign events. Her husband, former president Bill Clinton, does a little fundraising at a reception Elizabeth Frawley Bagley (frmr. ambassador to Portugal) and her husband host in Nantucket.