The Note: 'Both Hopeful and Precarious'

The New York Times' Glen Justice writes on the new $2 million Progress for America ad buy and another AFL-CIO success at convincing a company to leave the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security LINK

The Times' David E. Rosenbaum explicates the mystery of the trust fund. LINK

Bush agenda:

The Washington Post's Peter Baker takes a look at the progress made recently in the Middle East that gives President Bush's foreign policy a little more momentum as he heads today to the National Defense University to talk about his plans, and the massive amount of work that's left to do. LINK

"How much the president influenced events driven by indigenous forces on the ground remains a point of debate here and in the region. Some diplomats, analysts and intelligence officers with long experience in the region worry that the Bush team is celebrating too soon and overestimating its ability to steer the change it is helping to set loose. Reforms have been announced in the Middle East in the past only to prove hollow in reality. And the U.S. government has rarely built the sort of sustained effort that many believe will be required to ensure that genuine change takes root."

AP curtain-raises the speech itself, Noting President Bush's return to his inaugural theme that the spread of democracy is the best way to fight terrorism. LINK

The Washington Post's Jim VandeHei wraps President and First Lady Laura Bush's visit to Pittsburgh yesterday to talk up their plan to help at-risk youths. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Ed Chen calls the President Mrs. Bush's warm-up act. LINK

USA Today's Mimi Hall looks at the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to make sure the agency is portrayed positively in a theater or TV show near you. LINK

Chairman of the (Fed) Board:

Duck and cover: One of those glossy men's mag A-bombs is about to hit official Washington.

In this case, the "A" stands for "Alan."

GQ's Wil Hylton has written a non-loving profile of Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan in which he accuses the Chairman, with some evidence, of being, a, well, a political hack -- but not necessarily a partisan one.

Tracing Greenspan's political career from obscure Randian disciple to Nixon economist to Ford political adviser (sort of) to mysterious, Andrea-Mitchell-loving, tennis-playing, naked-bathtub-loving Fed Chair, Hylton suggests that Greenspan's political instincts do not always lend themselves to the advancement of Republican causes.

To wit: Greenspan's famous "deal" with Bush 41. There's an amusing exchange in the article with Nicholas Brady, who seems to admit that Greenspan agreed to lower interest rates if "the president would tackle fiscal policy . . . He just plain didn't do what he said he was going to do." According to Hylton, Brady does a Class A Emergency Dial Back after those remarks.

Fans of the Chairman's will find Hylton's profile to be gosh-darned mean and will probably dispute his account of history, but the article is certain to be be widely e-mailed and widely referenced in the days ahead -- after it is released in NY/LA on March 22.

Hylton's account is characterological and eschews an in-depth discussion of policy issues -- and certainly doesn't even attempt to answer the question of whether the Chairman has done a good job.

A telling excerpt:

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