The Note: Over the Line

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports today about a $215 million loss suffered by the Bureau and Democratic calls to explore the recall option for Gov. Bob Taft (R-OH).

If these problems (and the political connections associated with them) had come to light during last fall's presidential campaign, would it have affected the votes of, say, half the crowd at a Saturday Ohio State football game?

"A year after the United States persuaded allies to launch a campaign to spur democratic change in the Islamic world, the Bush administration faces growing criticism for failing to follow through or get tough enough with Arab governments, according to Arab activists, Middle East analysts, human rights experts and even some on its own foreign policy staff," reports the Washington Post's feisty Robin Wright. She gives some good ink to the report by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Rep. Vin Weber for the Council on Foreign Relations urging the Bush Administration to back its talk about democracy in the region with some financial incentives and some sticks for Arab leaders who appear to be less than zealous about political freedoms for their citizens. LINK

President Bush praised Turkey as a democratic ally in the Middle East, but if Prime Minister Erdogan was hoping for a concrete promise of greater help to defeat a Turkish terrorist organization, he came away from the White House disappointed, the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei reports. LINK

Judy Keen and Kathy Kiely of USA Today wonder if President Bush's stubbornness/persistence is doing him any favors in his second term. LINK

In her article on President Bush's promise to push harder for immigration reform (dutifully conveyed by Majority Leader DeLay), the New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes that "Advisers to the White House said Mr. Bush had been working on a new immigration initiative that would most likely begin this summer." LINK

The Houston Chronicle looks at the Bush-DeLay meeting. LINK

Gail Russell Chaddock of the Christian Science Monitor examines the currently quite healthy relationship between Washington and big business. LINK

The New York Times' Andrew Revkin follows up on his scoop yesterday, Noting the White House claim that any editing of a climate report by Phil Cooney, a White House official, was done as part of the interagency review process and produced "sound" science. LINK

Acting FDA Commissioner Lester M. Crawford has been cleared of allegations that he had an affair with a subordinate and helped her win a promotion, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) announced Wednesday. Sens. Patty Murray and Hillary Clinton continue to block his nomination vote to try to get an FDA decision on whether the "morning after" pill can be sold over the counter. LINK

AP previews Friday's meeting between President Bush and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. LINK

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