WASHINGTON, May 5
Today, with the help of many people who have worked at home to advance the cause of Bill Clinton's Democratic Party, George W. Bush's close friend and ally Tony Blair will face the voters in the British elections.
Although Blair is widely expected to secure a third term, ABC News' Claudine Weinbrenn reports, his majority in Parliament is likely to be reduced from the landslide victories he won in 1997 and 2001.
Per Weinbrenn: "In recent weeks the election campaign has been dominated by the issue of Iraq, and Blair's decision to go to war could cost his party votes. Polls close at 2200 local/1700edt with the first results due at 2345 local/1845edt. It will not be clear who has won until early on Friday. To gain a majority, one party needs to win 324 seats out of a total 645. At the end of the last Parliament, Labour had 410 MPs, the Conservatives 164 and the Liberal Democrats 54. Four newspaper polls on Thursday have given Labour a lead of between three and six points over the main opposition Conservative Party."
The Washington Post's Glenn Frankel and Dan Balz offer their overview: LINK
(The Brits will also be much in the news today because of the explosion at the consulate in New York -- a whodunit that remains unsolved at this writing. LINK)
As Washington Post Anglophile Balz reports in a separate story with his supercalifragilisticexpialidocious "London" dateline, people with names such as "Penn," "Shrum," "Hicks," "Trippi," and "Greenberg," have been working overtime between bites of naan to help keep New Labour from becoming old. LINK
The Bush-Blair tie, of course, has been built largely around fighting terror and the war in Iraq, but those two chaps now clearly like each other for more than just their lack of wobbliness and their shared toothpaste brand. LINK
We'll leave it to the ladies of "The View" to figure out if there is something about the Bush-Blair friendship that has worked to improve the Bush-Clinton relationship (or maybe vice versa), but it's clear that a smart host(ess) could put together a roomful of people of whom both 42 and 43 are fond.
So while they might not see eye-to-eye on the White House chef, Sidney Blumenthal, or The Note, here -- based on a combination of intense reporting and something we think we overheard while in line for a table at the Palm -- is our exclusive list of those rare few who are FOGs and FOBS (or, at least, people they both like):
1. Tony Blair
2. George Herbert Walker Bush
3. Ron Fournier
4. Paula Zahn
5. Silvio Berlusconi
6. John Breaux
7. Bob Dole
8. Mike Huckabee
9. Richard Daley
10. Colin Powell
11. Paul Begala
12. Laura Bush
13. Norm Mineta
14. Mary Matalin
15. John King
16. Willie Mays
17. Jack Martin
19. Tom Wolfe
20. Chelsea Clinton
(Did we get any wrong? And what are the key ones we are missing? Send us your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org)
And now, in the best tradition of Monty Python, for something completely different.
This is another list: Gary Walters, Bob Kerrey, Jimmy Hoffa, Carl Cameron, Richard Riordan, Maureen Dowd.
While he waits for returns from his War Room, President Bush delivers remarks on the National Day of Prayer from the East Room of the White House at 9:00 am ET. He meets with the President of Nigeria in the Oval Office at 1:35 pm ET.
Senior administration officials hold a briefing on President Bush's upcoming trip to Latvia, Netherlands, Russia and Georgia at 1:30 pm ET.