The Note: Learning to Use Irrationality As a Bargaining Tool

"The documents show that Mr. Abramoff hired Classic Heritage Tours in March 2000, months before the trip, which gave Mr. DeLay the chance to play three British Open-quality courses over four days in late May and early June 2000. The travel party included a member of a Louisiana Indian tribe that the lobbyist represented in Washington and the general manager of a Russian energy company that had helped host Mr. DeLay in Moscow in 1997. A prominent garment maker in the Marianas Islands was listed in early documents, but it is unclear if he ultimately made the trip."

The New York Times looks at how folks in the Marianas feel about Abramoff now. Some think he represented their best interests, other do not. LINK

Writes John Harwood in Washington Wire about possible new selections to the ethics committee: "Hastert faces slim pickings after recusal of two Ethics Committee members who had given to DeLay's defense, since only three dozen House Republicans haven't given or received funds from him."

DeLay talked about the pitfalls of pride and the need for humility in public life yesterday at the National Day of Prayer observance at the Capitol, the Washington Post's Mike Allen reports -- and also declared himself a sinner. (That's DeLay, not Allen.) "A television correspondent asked DeLay how he had chosen his topic, and the lawmaker replied, 'Humility is something I work on every day.'" LINK

Business Week's Eamon Javers writes that while the vast majority of congressional Republicans are publicly supporting DeLay, what's really got people talking -- particularly the business lobby -- is who'll succeed him, and how it will affect business interests.

Javers sizes up three possible front-runners -- House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (MO), House Education & Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner (OH), and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (NY), Noting that "[t]hey all scored a perfect 100% on the most recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce rankings for probusiness votes. Their differences are mostly stylistic."

Local lawmaker travel stories still get plenty of ink.

The St. Pete Times on Rep. Michael Bilirakis's Bellagio "fantasy." LINK

And the Palm Beach Post on Rep. Claw Shaw's trips. LINK

President Bush in Eastern Europe:

The Washington Post's Peter Baker reports that Russia isn't exactly thrilled with President Bush's remarks to the president of Latvia about the Soviet Union forcibly occupying the Baltic states in 1940, disputing the Notion that troops were in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia as part of a military action and saying rather that they were there because of an agreement -- the one between Stalin and Hitler. LINK

Peter Finn of the Washington Post gives a sense of what President Bush's visit means to the Republic of Georgia. LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva and Alex Rodriguez examine how President Bush's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin has changed. LINK

President Bush sat down for a pre-trip round of interviews with foreign television and print reporters yesterday afternoon, ABC News' Karen Travers reports.

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