The Note: Searching For Light

USA Today's Jill Lawrence reports that the USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll conducted this past weekend shows President Bush with a 57 percent job approval rating, and majorities saying that the war in Iraq was worth it, things are going well, and democracy will succeed there. The outlook for Social Security is slightly less sunny; 44 percent say they approve of the President's plan, while 50 percent say they disapprove. LINK

Poll results: LINK

Chris Christoff of the Detroit Free Press frames President Bush's visit to the Detroit Economic Club to talk Social Security as a sort of split screen with Gov. Jennifer Granholm's state of the state address, where she'll talk about the state economy and education. LINK

Coverage of President Bush's budget and what it means to Michigan as he heads to Detroit today focuses largely on the cuts in programs that the state would face.

The Free Press' Ruby Bailey writes that the state could lose more than $1 billion in Medicaid money over a decade, and Detroit and other cities would lose public housing money under President Bush's budget. LINK

So does Deb Price of the Detroit News, who Notes the "unexpected bright spot" of the possibility of more money for road construction and repairs among the other effects on the state. LINK

Bush vs. Reid:

We realize that the White House began its "let's stick it to Harry Reid" campaign in earnest yesterday, but we wonder if it's just a tad too early for the Senate Minority Leader to be so publicly offended. It's a long congressional session, this stuff has only just begun, both sides are just starting to throw down on the budget and Social Security, and, well, we can't think of an instance in which crying foul has ever called off the dogs before. Is this being done to prod Reid to react, thereby forcing/allowing Frist to use the nuclear option on judges?

That said, perhaps this is a feint, because Reid is a fighter. Literally, the guy is an ex-boxer. And you might have known this, but he has a closer relationship with Karl Rove than most Democrats. (Or, at least, he did). The two men have even broken bread together. Anyway, we've read enough Nevada history to know what happens to folks when Harry Reid gets pissed off.

This threatens to spill from an inside baseball into a real test for both parties -- and the President. If nothing intervenes, this could leave permanent marks and impact the President's second term in a major way. It might be good politics to attack Reid so personally, but it does not accord with the President's vow to restore civility. And we g-g-guarantee it won't help him with tax reform, on which he and the minority leader might have found some common ground.

We await a read-out from last night's White House dinner.

Tony Batt of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes that Reid angrily denounced the attacks against him, Noting that among the points listed is a criticism against Reid's family for benefitting from lobbying -- his son-in-law is a lobbyist. The White House, Batt writes, doesn't deny the similarities between the Daschle and Reid strategies. LINK

Reuters has Reid on the Senate floor reading from the 13-page e-mail "hit piece" that RNC sent out about him, asking why the President isn't putting his money where his mouth has been in terms of political civility. LINK

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