The Note: Talking Is Cheap

Bloomberg's Keil and Rosenkrantz write that "People familiar with the inquiry say (prosecutor) Fitzgerald also is reviewing testimony by former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, though it is not clear whether the prosecutor is focusing on him or seeking information about higher-ups. Fleischer last night refused to comment."

Check out this quote from Rick Davis (whose past with Rove is not alluded to in the piece): "`Karl has been legendary in enforcing party discipline and in being able to pick up the phone and call Congress and get something done. This will make it much harder for him to do that, and there is a lot at stake for this president, in terms of his domestic political agenda, over the next six months.''

But the schedule item the White House hopes to keep its press corps focused on is the release of a revised estimate of the 2005 budget deficit. Those numbers will become public at 11:00 am ET. Don't miss ABC News' Karen Travers' excellent preview in our budget section below.

In tandem with the White House announcement, Senate Budget Chairman Judd Gregg and House Budget Chairman Nussle will hold a media availability at 12:45 pm ET.

The Senate convenes at 9:30 am ET and resumes consideration of H.R. 2360, Homeland Security Appropriations. Amendments will be offered and roll call votes will occur later in the day. Majority Leader Frist intends to complete action on H.R. 2360 by the end of this week.

At 9:30 am ET, the Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the investigation into allegations of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay.

Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff speaks on the department's reorganization and future agenda at 1:00 pm ET. Check out ABC News' Pierre Thomas' curtain-raising below.

Former President Clinton keynotes the first annual "Campus Progress National Student Conference" at 12:15 pm ET . More than 500 students from across the country are expected to attend the conference, which begins at 8:30 am ET at the Washington Convention Center.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean continues his weeklong, nationwide fundraising tour with a stop in Madison tonight for a Wisconsin Democratic Party fundraiser.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman attends two local fundraisers in Waukee, Iowa this evening.

For a look at the rest of the days' political events look at our expanded schedule section below.


The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post all run their day two Rove stories on the front page. Without much new information to go with other than Scott McClellan's assertion of the President's continued confidence in Rove, the stories look at Rove's overall standing with President Bush, his large role at the White House, and the GOP defense/offense machine getting up and running.

"The emerging GOP strategy -- devised by Mehlman and other Rove loyalists outside of the White House -- is to try to undermine those Democrats calling for Rove's ouster, play down Rove's role and wait for President Bush's forthcoming Supreme Court selection to drown out the controversy, according to several high-level Republicans," writes Jim VandeHei in the Washington Post. LINK

And get this blind quote: "Rove has not been asked by senior White House officials whether he did anything illegal or potentially embarrassing to the president and he spent most of the day strategizing on Bush's Supreme Court nomination, aides said."

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