The Note: Courage Mounteth with Occasion

We Noted, with sadness for us but happiness for her, that Pam Stevens, the assistant White House press secretary who handles our world, is leaving her post to become a senior adviser to the Secretary of State, to help her with the real world.

And coming into the White House to deal with all those TV requests is Katie Levinson.

The creative, hard working, and spunky Ms. Levinson -- well known to all broadcast types and politicos -- worked for the Republican National Committee from September of '03 through the election, and previously toiled for MSNBC, Hill and Knowlton, and Nutmeg State stalwart Rep. Christopher Shays.

Leader DeLay:

We know enough about journalism and the separation of Post and Times reporting staffs to be reasonably confident that, say, Jennifer Palmieri didn't orchestrate two more front-page investigative stories about Tom DeLay, but both stories mention DeLay's trip to Moscow prominently, and we do get the strong sense that some committee somewhere, some career employee somewhere, maybe some colleague of DeLay's, is dishing out the scoops to (admittedly very talented) investigative reporters.

The Washington Post's R. Jeffrey Smith and James Grimaldi unravel the complicated relationships among various business interests who paid for yet another foreign trip for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, this time to Russia in 1997. DeLay reported that the trip was sponsored by a Washington non-profit, the National Center for Public Policy Research, but in fact the more than $57,000 in travel funds seem to have been fronted by a company, Chelsea Commercial Enterprises, which was registered in the Bahamas and lobbied in support of the Russian government. During a six-day trip to Moscow, the duo report, DeLay played golf, met with religious leaders and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, and had dinner with Russian business leaders and two registered lobbyists for Chelsea -- one of whom was the radioactive Jack Abramoff. LINK

The Times leads with the arguably unremarkable fact that DeLay's PAC and campaign accounts paid his wife and daughter handsomely, but the story Notes that both did seem to have legitimate, salary-deriving functions. LINK

Write Mike Forsythe, Kristin Jensen and J.D. Salant in Bloomberg News:

"One of the surest paths to riches in Washington is to have these five words on a resume: `Office of Representative Tom DeLay.'"

"Eleven lobbyists who once worked for the Texas Republican and House majority leader helped bring in at least $45 million in fees for their firms in the past two years. By comparison, former aides of House Speaker Dennis Hastert lobbying during that period helped bring in about $2.1 million."

"Along the way, Delay's former assistants have aided clients such as ChevronTexaco Corp., Wyeth and Reynolds American Inc. in achieving legislative victories. They have also given DeLay the kind of Washington-insider clout he once criticized when Democrats were in power."

We wonder if Gigot will read that piece.

NB: USA Today's poll showing DeLay with a 27/31 percent fav/unfav

Congress: the judicial nominations:

The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman looks at the fight revving up between Senate Democrats and Republicans over the judiciary, culminating yesterday in another round of Democrats calling their colleagues across the aisle extremists who are trying to undermine judges in light of Sen. John Cornyn's comments on the floor Monday. LINK

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