The Note: 'Closer to 'Not' Than Yes'?

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson reminds readers of his Washington Post column that Obama was touting a plan to bring US combat troops home by March of 2008 when he announced his presidential bid on Feb. 10, 2007.

"His March 2008 withdrawal deadline -- which is up now -- would have undone the Anbar Awakening, massively strengthened al-Qaeda and increased civilian carnage," writes Gerson.

Gerson also promotes an article by former Bush adviser Peter Wehner on Commentary magazine's website which concludes that Obama is guilty of "problematically ad-hoc judgments at best, calculatingly cynical judgments at worst." Obama's mother gets New York Times write-up

The New York Times' Janny Scott profiles Obama's "idealistic and exacting" mother who believed, according to a friend, that marriage as an institution was not as important as having loved deeply.

MoveOn stirs free-media buzz for Obama:

In a move that is sure to generate lots of free media pick-up, MoveOn.org announced Thursday that it is holding a pro-Obama ad contest which will be judged by the likes of Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Oliver Stone.

Clinton wins backers in Pennsylvania:

Clinton will collect the endorsements of Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl on Friday, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer looks at the Clinton campaign's claim that Obama cannot win the general election: "They're conveniently forgetting something: The state's primary electorate differs greatly from the state's general electorate. The primary is closed to independents - one of Obama's strongest constituencies. Which means that Hillary has a structural advantage on April 22. It's a different deal in November . . ."

McCain plots November strategy:

Politico's Jonathan Martin looks at McCain plans to redraw the political map.

"Though still very early in the planning stages, McCain aides have begun eyeing between 20 and 25 states that could be competitive, a list that includes some places that are anything but rock-ribbed conservative. Next month, they'll make this case symbolically by sending the candidate on a different-kind-of-Republican tour into places where party members typically don't tread."

Next step for Romney:

The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reports that Mitt Romney intends to establish a new political action committee in the next few weeks to help elect Republican candidates.

House holds secret session:

The House of Representatives met in secret session Thursday night to consider changes to the nation's surveillance laws, closing off the chamber for the first time since 1983 at the request of the Republican minority.

Immigration:

"The director of an embattled federal immigration agency will step down from his position, leaving the agency in limbo as it struggles to wade through a flood of citizenship applications before the presidential election," reports the New York Sun. The kicker:

"Their job is to execute." --Barack Obama explaining during a Thursday press conference that while he will listen to the advice of the military, he – and not the generals -- will be making policy

Bookmark The Note at http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/TheNote/story?id=3105288&page=1

Interns for the ABC News Political Unit:

The ABC News Political Unit is now seeking three full-time summer interns in Washington, D.C.

The internship begins Monday, May 19, and runs through Friday, Aug. 22.

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