Rock the Vote's 12th annual awards dinner -- complete with red-carpet entrance -- begins at 6:00 pm ET, honoring former President Clinton; Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL); and the Black Eyed Peas. Former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe and former Congressman Jack Kemp chair the event, featuring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and hosted by Amber Tamblyn, featuring Mya and a performance by Nikka Costa.
Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist, Washington Capitols owner Ted Leonsis, and the Chicago Tribune's great Clarence Page are among the dozen contenders facing off in the "Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest" at 7:00 pm ET.
Russell Crowe promotes "Cinderella Man" on the "Late Show with David Letterman."
Bush agenda: international:
The Washington Post's Robin Wright curtain-raises the meeting today between President Bush and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, who will be looking for U.S. cooperation in a joint crackdown on a Turkish rebel group in northern Iraq. In a meeting with Post editors and reporters, Erdogan underscored Turkey's support for the new Iraqi prime minister, Ibrahim Jafari, and talked about the need for cooperation between the two countries on the insurgency. The U.S. will look to push Erdogan on the country's ties to Syria and Iran. LINK
Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times leads her news-of-day piece on Bush and Blair with the joint denial of the "fixed" intelligence accusation in the Downing Street memo. LINK
Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post re-caps the Bush/Blair presser, and Notes with fabulous understatement, "While sensitive to Blair's domestic problems, Bush often stops short of meeting the prime minister's political needs." LINK
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank looks at the comments and controversy surrounding the finally posed question about the Downing Street memo in yesterday's news conference with President Bush and British Prime Minister Blair, complete with Bush's comments that the memo had been politicized because it was released during Blair's election, and Blair's good manners when commenting on a less-than-hoped-for White House response to his request for aid to Africa. Indeed, no "Love Actually" moments here. LINK
Writes the Wall Street Journal's editorial board: "We're not sure what motivated Tony Blair's visit yesterday to the White House; he came to town with a losing hand -- and played it. The British Prime Minister wants President Bush to commit the U.S. to billions in debt relief to the world's poorest countries through a mechanism called the International Finance Facility, which the Administration rightfully considers a nonstarter. Mr. Blair also wants the U.S. to sign on to his views on global warming. This is tilting at windmills in more ways than the Prime Minister may realize."
"Instead, what Mr. Blair mainly got was a commitment from the Administration to release another $674 million in humanitarian relief -- most of it food aid -- for Africa, above the $3.2 billion per year it already provides. This is not nothing. By one estimate, the additional money will help feed 14 million people at risk of starvation in East Africa for a year. But if Messrs. Bush and Blair are to avoid falling out publicly at next month's G-8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, they will need to do more than split their differences. A better approach to thinking about development is required."