The Note: And the Benny Goes to . . .

Rep. Harold Ford gets several paragraphs in Dick Stevenson's New York Times write-up of the Bush blitz. LINK

Knight Ridder's Tim Funk previews Vice President Cheney's own Social Security town hall meetings and media blitz, and offers second-day treatment of a Cheney interview with the Charlotte Observer, Noting that "The Vice President's office offered the interview to The Charlotte Observer in what appears to be part of a strategy to avoid the national media and speak more directly to voters through local and regional media outlets." LINK

(Note the clever use of the word "appears.")

Funk's Observer interview with Cheney: LINK The Washington Post's Robert Samuelson is so unimpressed with making the Social Security system a major investor in Wall Street. LINK

Paul Krugman fears the upcoming trustees' report will be slanted. LINK

Bush agenda:

We are thoroughly mystified as to why the Washington Post buried Peter Baker's story on the return of Karen Hughes to the White House (!!!) to "take on a specific and particularly important assignment involving international affairs" on page A21. LINK

Reward yourself and read to the end for this kicker: "But some advisers said there will be no turf war. 'She's just going to take a role that only Karen can take on because of her particular history,' said one. 'That's not the sort of thing that gets into territorial things.'"

The Washington Post's Rick Weiss explains the details of the EPA's Clean Air Interstate Rule LINK

Which the New York Times' Michael Janofsky calls "one of the most ambitious efforts to control soot and ground-level ozone." LINK

Karl Rove's speech to Chester County, PA GOPers last night sounds similar to the speech he made at CPAC. From the write-up, it's hard to detect any news. LINK

A Financial Times op-ed says: "Thanks to Karl Rove and his fellow disciplinarians, the number of Republicans willing to criticize President George W. Bush or his policies in public can usually be counted on one hand. But every now and then, someone breaks the code of omertà, thus qualifying for Observer's Profile in Courage award. The latest winner is John Whitehead, the former top Goldman Sachs banker, deputy secretary of state in the Reagan administration and currently chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is responsible for rebuilding in New York after the September 11 attacks." LINK

"Whitehead was honoured on Wednesday at the New York Democracy Forum dinner, organized by the Foreign Policy Association and the National Endowment for Democracy." His speech was eloquent and gracious but the sting came in the tail. After lamenting the loss of respect for the US in the rest of the world in the first Bush term, Whitehead said he admired the president's inaugural speech promoting democracy and combating tyranny. He then turned to the nomination of John Bolton, the hard-boiled rightwinger, for US ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton, declared Whitehead, was not the right person for the job."

Big casino budget politics:

The Washington Post's hard-charging Shailagh Murray details the transportation bill the House passed yesterday, Noting that many lawmakers wanted a bigger bill than the $284 million measure, and the White House veto threat unless a provision allowing Congress to reconsider state funds before 2009, when it expires. LINK

More from the Los Angeles Times' Richard Simon. LINK

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