The Note: The Big Shift

He's making news: "Over the next several months, we will bring home about 3,400 combat support forces" from Iraq, the president plans to say, per advance excerpts released by The White House. "By November, we will bring home a Marine battalion that is now serving in Anbar province.  And in February of 2009, another Army combat brigade will come home. This amounts to about 8,000 additional American troops returning home without replacement.  And if the progress in Iraq continues to hold, General Petraeus and our military leaders believe additional reductions will be possible in the first half of 2009."   On that other war: "I am announcing additional American troop deployments to Afghanistan. In November, a Marine battalion that was scheduled to deploy to Iraq will instead deploy to Afghanistan. It will be followed in January by an Army combat brigade." 

Meanwhile, on the Hill: "A bipartisan group of 16 senators is promoting an energy proposal that includes allowing oil drilling off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, if their governors and legislatures approve, and spending $20 billion on an effort to move away from gasoline-powered vehicles within 20 years. Four more senators are expected to sign on this week," Gannett's Faith Bremner and Doug Abrahms report.

The Kicker:

"Well, uh, it's the bleh-bleh-bleh-bleh." -- Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., asked his opinions of the last eight years of George Bush.

"Looking back now, the whole swimsuit thing . . . you don't have to do that any more, thankfully. You had to turn and do a couple of revolutions in front of male judges and have your butts compared to one another's. . . . I don't recommend that part." -- Sarah Palin, recalling her days in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant.

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