The Note: Mistaking Obstructionism for Progress

"NEWSWEEK has learned that in a closed-door interview with Senate intelligence-committee staffers last week, Stuart Cohen, former acting chief of the National Intelligence Council, a panel of senior intel analysts, said Bolton had visited his CIA office to demand that the council's top Latin America expert be removed from his post. Sources say the expert, who can't be identified because he serves undercover overseas, tangled with Bolton about the draft of a speech Bolton made in 2002 claiming that Cuba was pursuing a germ-warfare program. A Senate intel-committee report last year quoted another WMD analyst from the State Department as saying that Bolton had also tried to have him transferred because he raised questions about the same speech. (Neither analyst was reassigned.)" LINK

A group that supports Bolton's nomination, Move America Forward, is running a TV ad supporting him and knocking Democrats who oppose him, the Washington Post's Brian Faler and Dana Milbank report. The spot is set to run in Rhode Island as a nudge to Sen. Lincoln Chafee to vote for Bolton. LINK

Sure, he's controversial, writes the Washington Post's editorial board, but "[s]o far, there is no compelling case for denying Mr. Bush his choice." LINK

Iraq:

Writes Eric Schmitt in the New York Times, "Interviews with more than a dozen senior American and Iraqi officers, top Pentagon officials and lawmakers who have visited Iraq yield an assessment that the combination of routing insurgents from their sanctuary in Falluja last November and the Iraqi elections on Jan. 30 has given the military operation sustained momentum, and put the Bush administration's goal of turning Iraq over to a permanent, elected Iraqi government within striking distance." LINK

41, 42, 43:

Newsweek's Holly Bailey takes Note of the buddy-buddy-buddy relationship that reared itself among the Presidents Bush and Clinton during their trip to Rome for Pope John Paul II's funeral, and goes so far as to call the current President "positively Clintonesque" in his Air Force One gabfest with reporters. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

AP reported Sunday that former President Bill Clinton will spend at least two years working as the top United Nations envoy focusing on tsunami relief and accountability for the money pledged by countries and individuals. Clinton is expected to make his first public appearance as special envoy on Wednesday, when he will meet with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and hold a news conference. LINK

Stem cell politics:

The Washington Post's Matthew Mosk and John Wagner take a look at the filibuster over a stem cell research bill that's threatening to hold up work in the last day of Maryland's legislative session. LINK

On Sunday, the Boston Globe's Alan Scher Zagier took an in-depth look at the intra-party fight among Missouri Republicans over legislation to ban therapeutic cloning for embryonic stem cell research. LINK

2008: Republicans:

The marriage of Arthur Finkelstein to his long-time partner and his Stop Hillary Now got lots of press this weekend, which leads us to think, conspiratorially, that somewhere, some fundraiser for Mr. Finkelstein's group didn't dream up publicizing all this as a way of letting donors know that the 527 was open for business . . . but that's just a thought.

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney actually had a brief conversation with Mr. Finkelstein. LINK

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