The Note: Bases Support, Splinter, and Close

WASHINGTON, May 13

NEWS SUMMARY

Things we wouldn't bet against (but we wouldn't bet the whole farm on some of these):

Secretary Rumsfeld handling the base closing process like an old pro; Ron Brownstein's big-think, what-it-all-means Los Angeles Times analysis of the Bolton nomination (see below); either side winning the filibuster fight; Bolton being confirmed; analysis of the current state of play of the Social Security fight that stresses intra-Republican differences over partisan fights; more Abramoff stories on the way; Leader DeLay not reading the coverage of his tribute dinner; the Nebraska same-sex marriage ban strike-down being the buzz of conservative circles today.

Yesterday, we wrote about how the war in Iraq does not dominate America's media the way it might. As can happen with The Note, we didn't explain ourselves well enough. What we meant simply was that the story does not get covered in certain media quarters commensurate with its importance.

But we should have made two other points clear. First, there ARE news organizations in America (such as, we say proudly, our own ABC News) that do cover Iraq day in and day out. Second, in addition to our ongoing gratitude to the troops, everyone in this country owes a huge personal and professional debt of thanks to those journalists from all news organizations who are willing to risk their lives every day to cover this important story.

The biggest political story of this day is surely going to be the base closing list proposals. We've received more than dozen announcements of news conferences by members of Congress already. (Sen. Obama has four pressers scheduled; Rep. DeLay has one [2:15 ET at Ellington AFB], Sens. Clinton and Schumer have a conference call . . . etc.)

Here's what we know at this writing: At 9:15 am ET, Congress will be given the list of bases. At 10:30 am ET, the DoD's press conference will start. (Watch it here: LINK )

As many as 10 percent of the nation's military bases will be slated for closure. The projected savings to the Pentagon, per Bloomberg quoting Don Rumsfeld: about $48.8 billion. Lots of local stories lede with Rumsfeld's assertion that fewer bases will be BRACed than originally thought, potentially saving their own communities. The commission, which will visit all the bases, can modify the Pentagon's wish-list, but it seven votes out of nine to do so.

President Bush speaks to the National Association of Realtors at the Marriott Wardman Park at about 10:10 am ET. At 2:30 pm ET, he says hello to the 2004 NCAA spring and fall sports champions. Vice President Cheney speaks at Auburn University's commencement ceremonies at 11:00 am ET.

At 10:00 am ET, Sen. George Allen (R-VA) holds a press conference with law types to chat about the legal precedents for filibuster reform. The Senate itself finishes the highway bill (or does it?) and maybe proceeds to floor action on the Bolton nomination.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman today speaks at a fundraiser for Otto Banks, an Democrat-turned-Republican candidate for the city council in Harrisburg, PA.

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