The Note: The New Abnormal

President Bush meets this morning with the presidents of the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. CAFTA is on the agenda. A photo-op at 10:40 am ET precedes the meeting, and a statement on CAFTA (unclear at this writing if it comes with question time) follows at 11:35 am ET.

At 10:00 am ET, the House Ways and Means committee holds its first Social Security hearing: Larry Lindsey, Robert Pozen, Michael Tanner and others testify. The President's tax reform commission hears today from Glenn Hubbard.

The Senate Appropriations Committee's treasury subcommittee continues a hearing on Amtrak appropriations. At 10:00 am ET, the Commerce committee holds a public hearing on video news releases; guests include Barbara Cochran of the RTNDA; FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and Judith Turner Phair, president and CEO of the PR Society of America. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin testifies on NASA appropriations at 2:00 pm ET. Also at 2:00, Secretary of State Rice testifies before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly news conference at 10:45 am ET. At 10:10 am ET, Speaker Dennis Hastert and Republican Policy chair John Shadegg introduce Shadegg's health care "choice" bill, which aims to use the forces of the market to help cut costs for uninsured Americans. Hastert appears at 1:30 pm with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Washington D.C.'s Anthony Williams to tout their Saving America's Cities work group.

Sen. John McCain has an immigration-themed day. He joins Sen. Edward Kennedy for a news conference at 1:30 pm ET and delivers what's billed as a major policy speech on immigration at the National Immigration Forum's annual Keeper of the American Dream Awards dinner at the Mayflower this evening.

Elsewhere in Washington, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a full day of events related to private sector fundraising for the tsunami reconstruction effort and its progress. The highlight: a 1:00 pm ET session with former Presidents Bush and Clinton.

Star Wars Episode III premieres in the District tonight at the Uptown Theatre at 7:00 pm ET.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean (who, in case you didn't know, travels in coach), is in Oklahoma City tonight for a fundraiser benefiting the state Democratic Party, even while his staff beats the Abramoff drum on his behalf. LINK

Bolton:

Chafee's a reluctant yes vote and explains it to his local paper by saying, hey, Bush picked the guy, not me. LINK

Sen. Murkowski's constituents can catch Barry Schweid's AP story in the Juneau Empire. LINK

"One of their targets, however, Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., told The Associated Press on Tuesday he reluctantly would vote for Bolton. Two other Republican fence-sitters, Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, said they too were inclined to vote for him."

"A fourth Republican, George Voinovich of Ohio, playing it close to the vest, declined to tip his vote in advance."

The Wall Street Journal's Yochi Dreazen says, "Earlier this week, Mr. Bolton met with Mr. Voinovich and Ms. Murkowski, according to two people familiar with the matter.

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