The Note: Questionable Figures

WASHINGTON, May 9

NEWS SUMMARY

Whatever happened to National Reporters Day? LINK

In the spirit of Congressman Goodling (and after feting our mothers yesterday), we'd like to restart the debate about the virtues of such a holiday.

It could be a day where political reporters can play the inside-the-Beltway game as well as any politician. We too would be able to downplay the kinds of things that affect our readers'/viewers'/listeners' lives in favor of the week's telltale Washington stories.

So think not so much about the solid and important jobs numbers from last Friday, a potential nuclear North Korea, improving gas prices, or Cold War redux. Instead, we focus your attention on the stories that may be reaching some climax among the Gang of 500 this very week.

We envision a National Reporters Day where we could pull aside the elected officials of our choice to satisfy our given curiosity for that news cycle. Today we'd like to get the answers to some of these:

For Sen. Reid: As your word choices begin to gain a reputation of its own, do you think that your public image will be more or less helpful in your negotiations with Sen. Frist over judges and with the White House over Social Security?

For Sen. Voinovich: Which phone call that you might have received during your overseas recess travel was the one that caused Senators Lugar and Hagel to hint that John Bolton's nomination will likely be moving to the Senate floor after Thursday's vote?

For Rep. DeLay: Which MOC will be assigned the task of taking attendance at Thursday night's gala? And what are the repercussions for those conference members not present?

For Sen./Dr./Leader Frist: If you don't pull the rules change trigger this week, will you be able to avoid being perceived as weak by those in your party who are actively seeking the change? Or will the compromise for which several editorial boards and opinion shapers seem to be clamoring put you in a place of strength as a leader who went to the brink of war and avoided it?

For John Edwards: All kidding aside, were you joking up at Harvard?

With the President overseas until tomorrow and blessed with a relatively light public schedule the rest of the week, the center of gravity this week lies somewhere between the Capitol building and the Senate office complexes, save for the brief intrusion of the EIA's weekly gas price survey numbers at 4:30 pm ET today.

Officially, the Senate will finish the conference report on the supplemental Iraq/Afghanistan spending tonight or tomorrow morning, and then resume deliberation of the highway bill, which will probably last the week. But unofficially, both parties plan to act as if the nuclear/constitutional option has already been triggered.

"The process leading to all 100 members deciding whether to restore the precedent of a fair up or down vote on judicial nominees could begin at any time," a senior Republican leadership aide says, even as Roll Call breaks news of the most concrete centrist deal floated to date.

Today is the four-year anniversary of the day the very first set of Bush appellate nominees was sent to the Senate. Sen. John Cornyn has an event at 11:00 am ET that mourns the Miguel Estrada episode, and Democratic Sens. Schumer, Leahy, and Kennedy will focus on the once filibustered-now-renominated Judge Priscilla Owen.

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