The Note: If Cher Could Turn Back Time

WASHINGTON, May 20

NEWS SUMMARY

If you want to attend the Gang of 500 brunch this Sunday at Lauriol Plaza, here's what you need to bring:

-- a well-honed appreciation for thumb-sucking about Senate traditions, including a love for the themes of generational change, pan-regional alliances, staff expertise, and the virtues of bipartisan deals. (Basically, you need to be -- or be able to channel -- David Rogers.)

-- a certitude that the President can't possibly find a way to pass Social Security reform with personal/private accounts. (Unless he does.)

-- a longing for the mythical Washington of yesteryear. (At a strength that, at a minimum, rivals Norm Ornstein's.)

-- no fewer than 200 words of your best Howard Fineman imitation explaining the cosmic significance of Bill Frist's trip to South Carolina today. (Hint: the first thirteen words should be "To win the nomination, Frist has got to be the candidate of the . . . ")

-- your own annotated copy of the DNC's aggressive Thursday press release attacking Bob Novak for attacking Howard Dean and an essay assessing the quality of points made by Novak's original piece and then the release.

-- a vague understanding of, and familiarity with, the issues in the David Rosen trial, and a sense of the odds that he will be convicted on at least one count. (6-1, if you are wondering.)

-- a belief that The Note's bond with its readers can be measured by the sheer number of filibuster haiku we received. (To say nothing -- we repeat -- nothing about the quality . . . )

-- a strongly held view about whether the President is more likely to have to veto the cloning bill or the highway bill. (The answer, we bet, is neither.)

-- a certainty that many momentous things are happening in politics and government while everyone is distracted by the filibuster battle. (We will reveal them next week in this space, but -- hint -- the Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House already knows what they are.)

With no sign of a filibuster compromise breakthrough -- and the talks seemingly on hold for the weekend, except for some phone work -- you have plenty of time to master the list above and make your brunch reservation now.

Today's schedule is surprisingly meaty.

President Bush delivered remarks at the 2nd annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast at 8:30 am ET. He meets with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen in the Oval Office at 10:55 am ET, and meets with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at 1:15 pm ET.

Karamanlis meets with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-IN) at 9:30 am ET, and with Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) at 11:05 am ET.

First Lady Laura Bush arrives in Jordan. She travels to Israel on Sunday, where she will meet with the wife of Israeli President Moshe Katsav. In Cairo on Monday, she will meet with the wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist delivers the commencement address at the University of South Carolina medical school at 9:00 am ET

The National Clergy Council and the Christian Defense Coalition hold a news conference on the "misuse of the filibuster" at 10:00 am ET.

Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) speaks to the NARAL Pro-Choice America Summit at 10:00 am ET.

Reps. Dave Weldon, Charles Boustany, and Michael Burgess hold a news conference on alternatives to stem cell research at 11:30 am ET.

At 8:50 am ET, Treasury Secretary John Snow delivered remarks at the American Bar Association taxation meeting.

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