The Note: Questionable Figures

"Suddenly, the old Texas brio that carried him through years of smaller controversies is on the wane. The leader recognizes -- belatedly, some GOP colleagues say -- that the latest questions about his relationships with lobbyists are a problem threatening his career and the GOP majority he helped to build and sustain since coming to the House 20 years ago. Everywhere there are signs of a politician in retreat."

" . . . As explained by insiders, the DeLay survival strategy is to attack the critics, including questioning the motives of reporters and the funding sources of watchdog groups; leak data making it clear that Democrats engaged in many of the same practices; and relentlessly curry loyalty with his two bases outside the Capitol -- national conservative groups and Republicans in his district."

". . . . The long knives are out for DeLay now. He has a legal defense fund and he also has his share of enemies even within his own party. But whatever happens to him, it is safe to say that he won't go quietly and he won't go meekly," wrote the Chicago Tribune's Michael Tackett at the end of his Sunday look at DeLay's modus operandi these days. LINK

On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny, Mike Dorning, and Michael Tackett spearheaded their paper's look at the privately funded congressional travel -- and find that the Illinois congressional delegation and their staffs, with at least 835 such trips since 2000, have had quite a time, and in many cases didn't file reports or didn't realize they had to report on them. LINK

Bush agenda:

On Saturday, the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei and Peter Baker took a look at how world events are keeping President Bush from fully turning his attention to his domestic agenda. And, according to come critics and supporters, he's paying a separate price for not engaging on North Korea and Iran. LINK

In a news analysis on Saturday, the Los Angeles Times' Barbara Demick examined the options that the U.S. and its allies have to deter North Korea from testing nuclear weapons. The answer: there are none. LINK

On Saturday, the Washington Post's Mike Allen recounted the exceptionally un-politic way that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described President Bush on Friday, calling him a "loser" to a group of high school juniors -- and Reid's apology to Karl Rove. LINK

On Sunday, the Washington Post's Michael Dobbs took a look at the fight in Connecticut as education officials have refused to implement the standardized testing required by President Bush's No Child Left Behind law. LINK

Time on Laura Bush's mission. Humanize her husband . . . yes . . . but, there's more. LINK

2006:

The New York Post's Fred Dicker reports, "Aides to Gov. Pataki have privately told Bloomberg adminis tration officials to get the NYPD to drop its resistance to construction of a Freedom Tower at Ground Zero -- or risk losing the state's help with a West Side stadium." Everyone start your clocks and watch to see how long it takes City Hall and Albany to try and debunk this story. LINK

In a 90-minute interview with the New York Daily News, Westchester DA Jeanine Pirro attempts to separate herself (in a spirited fashion) from her husband's troubled past. We wonder if this story will give the White House some pause. LINK

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