The Note: The Note for America

Reports Mike Allen of the Washington Post, "Senators urged the Pentagon's inspector general yesterday to release more information about the involvement of White House officials and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in an aborted $30 billion air-tanker deal that exposed gaping holes in the government's controls on large purchases." At issue: a 257-page report, complete with 45 deleted references to White House officials, that concludes Pentagon officials broke laws when working with Boeing on a deal for refueling planes. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz were among the 88 witnesses interviewed for the report. LINK

"The Defense Department spent at least $400 million in recent years buying boots, tents, bandages and other goods at the same time it was getting rid of identical items it had paid for but never used, government investigators told House members yesterday," reports the Washington Post's Griff White. LINK

Bolton:

The Los Angeles Times' Mary Curtius writes that the Bolton nomination is just not destined to go quietly, with the White House nixing Sen. Chris Dodd's proposal to give Democrats information on reports Bolton asked for about National Security Agency intercepts, which would have had Democrats come up with a list of names to be checked against the names included in the intercepts that Bolton received. Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte passed along the refusal, and White House spokesman Scott McClellan called the Dems' proposal a stalling tactic. Now it's a question of whether Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will schedule the Bolton vote for this week or next. LINK

North Korea:

The White House is skeptical, but China's ambassador to the United Nations is hopeful about North Korea saying it's committed to multinational disarmament talks, the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler reports. LINK

AP writes that getting North Korea to the negotiating table is just the first in a long series of steps. LINK

Guantanamo Bay:

AP reports that former President Jimmy Carter agreed Tuesday that the prison at Guantanamo Bay should be closed. LINK

Congress:

Roll Call's Mark Preston reports that beginning Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid plan to hold joint office hours weekly to give Senators the opportunity for some face time. Whether it'll help partisan rancor remains to be seen, but it's an interesting idea. And points to Sen. Sessions for being skeptical yet downright funny.

"The recently passed bankruptcy-reform bill may turn out to be a plus for landlords who own retail property while making it harder for struggling retailers to emerge from bankruptcy protection," writes Ryan Chittum in the Wall Street Journal.

The politics of immigration:

The Washington Post's Robert Samuelson writes that it's time to figure out what the debate over immigration really means, and whether it will be a catalyst for anger and fear or embraced as part of the nation's identity. LINK

Dean's Democrats:

" . . . Howard Dean, unapologetic in the face of recent criticism that he has been too tough on his political opposition, said in San Francisco this week that Republicans 'all behave the same, and they all look the same. . . . It's pretty much a white Christian party,'" writes Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle. LINK

Note Josh Earnest's attempt to tamp down the story and the Wade Randlett quotes.

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