Poll numbers (Bush will be dismissive, and answer such questions with off-topic information.); Iraq's slip back into violence following the election (Bush will use his standard "Democracy is hard," along with an historical allusion to how long it took the colonists in America to get up and running.); Bush's weird relationship with the Saudis (Bush will talk about good progress in the Middle East and ANWR.); the economy ("The economy is strong," he will say in channeling Don Evans and marshalling the best stats.).
Also: Conservative dissent on tax caps; the federal marriage amendment; will Jews go to heaven?; if Tom DeLay is found culpable by the ethics committee, should he step aside as leader?; does he support the decision to rescind GOP-backed ethics rule changes?; did he lie to Harry Reid about not politicizing the filibuster debate?; is John Bolton an angry man?
And: Does he believe that those who oppose judges based solely on their Roe v. Wade stance are irreligious?; something about the Denver Three (and Scott McClellan's ability to see into the future).
Also: "Mr. President, if Mr. DeLay is so effective, why does your Social Security plan seem to be in a tailspin?"; and "Mr. President, you won the popular vote. You look at a county map of America and all you see is Red. Why are you having to devote months of your public time to trying to keep just one of your campaign promises?"
9. A reporter would be a hero if they got Bush on the record on: "Mr. President, if in the end, Congress passes add-on personal accounts -- a savings plan that is not funded with payroll taxes -- and put the system in complete solvency, could you claim you have reformed Social Security?" (There will be no Bush-negotiating-with-himself tonight, however.)
10. The most clever questions that the White House didn't prepare the President for (until now):
One that mentions Matt Dowd and Terri Schiavo; one about Ralph Reed, James Dobson, and the Jena Band; why Rod Paige is joining Chester Finn's think tank, and why so many states flail about NCLB; why he thinks Social Security is a greater problem than foreign energy dependence and why he hasn't spent his political capital pushing energy legislation; anything about rural poverty; has Vicente Fox crossed the line with regard to Manuel Lopez Obrador?
(There are others, but we are saving them for later!!!!)
11. Carl Cameron will ask something tough; the New York Times will ask something soft and overly intellectual; John King will ask the best question; Dick Keil will ask the longest question, and/but will make news.
12. The most telling post-press conference comments will come from: Hugh Hewitt, Fred Barnes, and Peggy Noonan.
13. Watch for: whether Bush will be in the same nicknaming, jokey, giddy mood as in the immediate post-election -- i.e., how soon and how much will he start insulting/mocking/man-flirting with the reporters when he calls on them.
14. Whether the reporters will be in the same respectful, solemn, we-are-talking-to-a-two-term-President-who-just-won-a-tough-reelection-campaign mood as they often have been since November, or whether they will be in a combative, what-is-up-with-this-imploding-second-term mode.
15. Although President Bush will NOT utter the words "The President IS relevant," the reporters in the room and the execs in the control rooms (and the people in their living rooms?) will be kickin' the tires on that one throughout.
And now, this: