The Note: I Know I Messed It Up Before

In Minneapolis, MN, National Right to Life kicks off its annual conference. HHS deputy secretary Claude Allen speaks on "Building a Culture of Life" in the evening. Sen. Sam Brownback delivers in the keynote on Saturday. In Washington, the National Taxpayers Union begins its annual conference.

On TV:

C-SPAN 3 airs live coverage of the Democratic hearing on the Downing Street Memo and pre-war intelligence from 2:30-4:30 pm ET.

The hearing -- sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) -- includes cameos by former ambassador Joseph Wilson and Reagan-era analyst Ray McGovern.

Conyers then plans to deliver a letter to the White House.

And Barack Obama's on Oprah!

And Bill Clinton's on the Letterman show.

Politics of Iraq and Gitmo:

"As bad news continues to emerge from Iraq and the U.S. detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, some Republicans are starting to edge away from the White House on its policies in the war on terror," the Wall Street Journal's Chris Cooper reports.

"The strains were on display yesterday, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Guantanamo Bay to address what Chairman Arlen Specter called the "'crazy quilt' system that governs the treatment of about 520 suspected enemy combatants being held there. Mr. Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, called on Congress to set out rules."

"More pointedly, Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, warned that if the administration and Congress and the courts can't come up with an effective policy for Guantanamo Bay, 'we're going to lose this war if we don't watch it.'"

"While the complaints remain low-key and aren't enough to produce significant changes, they signal a lessening of the broad and deep support Mr. Bush has had among Republicans for his approach to both the war on terror and the conflict in Iraq. Even minor Republican defections may embolden Democrats, whose criticism of the administration's war strategy has at times been muted, in large part because of the public support Mr. Bush's efforts have received."

Chuck Babington of the Washington Post offers a blow-by-blow account of yesterday's four-hour hearing on Guantanamo Bay by the Senate Judiciary Committee, during which key Senators pushed for Congress to intervene in detainee policies in the face of Administration assertions that detainees can be held indefinitely. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' John Hendren Notes the heated clashing between lawmakers. LINK


Reports an unbylined writer for the New York Times: "In an effort to prod Democrats to approve the nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, a leading Republican senator said Wednesday that he was convinced Mr. Bolton's requests for classified information were routine and that Mr. Bolton had not reviewed files on officials with whom he had clashed." LINK

Energy bill:

The Washington Post's Michael Fletcher and Justin Blum look at President Bush's "vigorous call" yesterday to get his energy plan -- which would allow oil and gas exploration in environmentally sensitive areas, give tax breaks to companies that develop cleaner fuels, and urge the construction of new oil refineries and nuclear power plants -- passed in Congress. And he made a point of indicating who he thinks are responsible for blocking the measures. LINK

Politics of the judiciary:

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