The Note: 'Both Hopeful and Precarious'

"In certain parts of Washington, parsing the Fed chairman's language -- known as 'Greenspeak' -- has become a sort of parlor game. But according to people close to Greenspan, that's a waste of time. There is nothing to figure out, they say, because Greenspan isn't saying anything. As his friend of fifty years, Charles Brunie, recalls, 'Before he took office, he said, 'If ever you think you understand me, you will be mistaken, because I plan to obfuscate.' I remember the word obfuscate.' Or as Greenspan's tennis partner and former Clinton aide, Gene Sperling, explains, 'When he's sending a vague or mixed signal, it is by design.' Or as Greenspan's old friend, the economist Milton Friedman, puts it, 'I don't think it's an accident, whether he's ambiguous or not.' According to sources at the Fed, Greenspan even takes pleasure in his obfuscation. Sometimes he will return from one of his speeches before Congress and order a video of his testimony, marveling out loud as he watches: 'What in the world does that mean?" Obstruction, then, is the name of the game.'"

Insiders: watch your e-mail and fax machines for the advanced text.

Civilians: Look for the April issue on newsstands.

Big casino budget politics:

If it is important to David Rogers, it should be important to you.

Writes Rogers in the Wall Street Journal: "Senate Republicans, in a return to the budget debates of the 1980s and '90s, are proposing almost $14 billion in Medicaid savings over the next five years while demanding that any new tax cuts in excess of $70 billion be paid by closing loopholes."

"Both the Medicaid and tax targets have frayed nerves, and were the subject of Senate leadership meetings yesterday, talks that included White House Budget Director Josh Bolten and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt."

"The aggressive strategy comes from the Senate's new Budget Committee Chairman, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, whose budget plan for the 2006 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 is slated to be released tomorrow. The final numbers could change, but the goal is to set the government on a path to cut the deficit to $229 billion by 2010 -- about what President Bush is seeking -- while also making more of an allowance for the cost of the war in Iraq."

"Mr. Gregg appears most determined to exact long-term savings from major government-benefit programs such as Medicaid. But he has also argued that the party leadership could attract moderate support if it were less aggressive in using budget rules to restrict Senate debate on new tax cuts."

The Washington Post's Dan Morgan takes a great look at how the President's decision to cut subsidies to cotton growers is touching off major troop movement in Republican politics among those who would try to defend them vs. the budget hawks who argue that the money would be better spent elsewhere. LINK


Former Sen. John Edwards heads to Milwaukee on April 2 to speak at the Wisconsin Democratic Party's Founders Day Gala. LINK

Following on the intrepid work of the 's ace political reporter Josh Gerstein, the New York Times reports on former Clinton fundraiser Peter Paul's expected plea deal with the government to resolve the Stan Lee Media case. As Gerstein pointed out yesterday and as the Times reports today, that makes it more likely Paul will testify in the David Rosen case. LINK

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