Without prompting, a White House official dismissed any Notion that the President was embarking on this campaign at a time when his polling numbers are down, saying that there will be critics who will say that, but the President would be doing this even if his polling numbers were sky high.
Meanwhile, on another key Bush agenda time, the Senate continues floor debate on the energy bill. The House takes up the United Nations Reform Act of 2005 and DoD appropriations. (The New York Times' prolific Steven Weisman writes that the White House and the House GOP leadership are at odds over a key provision of the bill. LINK)
'08 video clip FLASH: At 10:00 am ET, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Majority Leader Bill Frist join the docs at George Washington University to introduce "comprehensive health information technology and quality legislation." Their tour of the morning shows resulted in many Schiavo-based questions for Frist, and a line on "Good Morning America" from Sen. Clinton that while Sen. Frist is arguably the most hands-on practitioner of health care in the Senate, Clinton has "more personal scars from it than anybody else."
"Senate shocker" was the first headline out of Matt Lauer's mouth this morning at the top of the "Today" show -- which -- no offense to our good friend Noah Oppenheim -- strikes us as a little weird.
Frist on Schiavo autopsy: After again asserting that he did not make a diagnosis on the Senate floor and that he would never do so, Frist said, "It gives us the definitive information that we didn't have at that time."
On Bolton: Sen. Clinton towed the Dodd/Biden line. Sen. Frist said a vote may come as early as today or tomorrow or possibly next week.
On 2008: Laughter, laughter, and more laughter.
Which was our response too!
At 10:30 am ET, Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Walter Jones introduce their Iraq Withdrawal Resolution. It urges the Administration to set a beginning date for when troops would start returning home.
At 10:45 am ET, Rep. Nancy Pelosi briefs reporters on camera.
At 3:15 pm ET, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice holds a news conference on the eve of her trip to the Middle East.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (who doesn't laugh quite as hard as Sens. Frist and Clinton when asked about '08) meets with members of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission in Washington today.
At 9:30 am ET, the Senate Finance Committee meets to discuss the energy bill, marking up the "Energy Policy Tax Incentives Act of 2005" at 10:30.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, and the American Public Transportation Association voice their support for the President's highway bill in a press conference at 10:00 am ET.
At noon ET, a group of injured and ailing Ground Zero workers calls upon their New York congressional representatives to vote against a proposed House Appropriations Committee provision that would lessen their 9/11 compensation by $125 million.
At 10:00 am ET, Sens. George Voinovich, Dianne Feinstein, and Tom Carper introduce the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act at a news conference.
The House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing on "International Experiences with Social Security Reform" at 10:00 am ET. A hearing on Medicare reimbursement for post-acute care follows at 1:00 pm ET.