The Note: Elections Are About Choices

"In each case, to put it mildly, the connection is a stretch. In fact, in each instance, the Bush team is citing the Democrats to sell policies that reverse the strategies those presidents pursued. It's as if General Motors were using a testimonial from Ralph Nader to sell an updated Corvair."

And it gives Brownstein another chance to rail against war-time tax cuts.

Will the Fed's propensity to raise interest rates all year, as the New York Times' Edmund Andrews suggests they will, affect the president's ability to sell his agenda? LINK

Is there any White House reporter who hasn't yet digested Natan Sharansky's book? LINK

Matt Dowd and Joe Lockhart try to divine what will happen in a Bush second term for USA Today's Susan Page. LINK

"Education Secretary Margaret Spellings for the first time acknowledged 'errors of judgment' by the Bush administration in paying a prominent black pundit to promote its education policies, saying she has halted work on the contract," writes USA Today's Greg Toppo. LINK

Sunday's Washington Post had a Tommy Edsall/John Harris must-read on how the President's policies just might help build a GOP majority. There's a lot of blah blah blah back and forth about if the policies drive the politics or vice versa, but we think that that is beside the point. LINK

Social Security:

The Washington Post's Mike Allen writes that President Bush appears to have gotten the buy-in that he sought from congressional Republicans on his Social Security plan, even including some shaky members who may be looking at a credible Democratic challenge, and examines the playbook on Social Security that congressional Republicans are taking away from their weekend retreat, which "urges lawmakers to promote the 'personalization' of Social Security, suggesting ownership and control, rather than 'privatization,' which "connotes the total corporate takeover of Social Security.' Democratic strategists said they intend to continue fighting the Republican plan by branding it privatization, and assert that depiction is already set in people's minds." LINK

Yes, Mike, we Noticed you had verbatim quotes from all the closed-door meetings.

Note well that Mr. DeLay is now fully on board and that Rudy Giuliani was there to calm nerves.

Newsweek's Richard Wolffe, Tamara Lipper and Holly Bailey contextualize the Greenbriar meetings as reflective of "the extraordinary sight of congressional Republicans sniping at the re-elected President for allowing the Social Security debate to drift out of his control." LINK

Jackie Calmes' Wall Street Journal assessment of the state of the President's Social Security plan among Republicans includes references to Hillary Care, a SOTU preview, a sense that some, but not all, Republicans were cheered by the President's cheerleading in West Virginia, and these choice paragraphs:

"Some Republicans privately doubt that all members of their congressional conference understand the sensitive issues involved, such as the estimated $2 trillion transition cost for private accounts, future benefit reductions and possible payroll-tax increases for upper-income workers."

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