The Note: Talking Is Cheap

ABC's Karen Travers reports, "At 11am, the White House will release a revised estimate of the 2005 budget deficit and one Administration official said to expect a 'considerably improved budget picture' because of strong economic growth and increased tax receipts."

"White House economic adviser Ben Bernanke echoed that sentiment in a speech yesterday at AEI, Noting that increased tax revenue and spending control will reduce the budget deficit for this year 'well below its projected level.'"

"Bernanke did not offer specifics on the figures in the midsession update so we'll have to wait until the wires start binging at 11am – unless President Bush leaks them himself to the pool at the end of his Cabinet meeting."

"If the President holds himself to his standard on leaks, look for OMB Director Josh Bolten to brief reporters on this numbers at 11:30am in Washington."

"The current deficit projection stands at a record high $427 billion for FY05, a figure released in Jan. 2005."

"In Feb. 2004, the White House estimated the deficit at $521 billion but later revised that figure to $412 billion in Oct. of that year."

"Mr. Bush plans to hail the improvement at a cabinet meeting and to cite it as validation of his argument that tax cuts would stimulate the economy and ultimately help pay for themselves," writes the New York Times' Edmund Andrews. LINK

You do not want to miss David Rogers' Big Casino update on Page A3 of the Wall Street Journal.

Bolton:

The Washington Post's Chuck Babington and Dafna Linzer write that Bolton is "prepared to accept" a recess appointment next month if the impasse isn't resolved. LINK

Read to the end of this one and Note some people inside State are dishing on the nominee-in-waiting.

The politics of terror:

ABC News' Pierre Thomas curtain raises Sec. Chertoff's big speech today.

"Under Chertoff's proposals---the oft criticized TSA will have expanded power. It will take over the sky marshal program from immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) and have increased involvement in rail-mass transit areas," reports Thomas.

"The Department of Homeland Security will have a revitalized, more centralized office of intelligence analyzing and distributing info about what the many DHS components are seeing in the field."

"Chertoff will try to make the unwieldy, behemoth agency more accountable by driving policy top-down. The idea is to fix the most pressing and dangerous problems first."

"One of Chertoff's first priorities: borders -- especially the southern one -- which are out of control."

Robert Block in the Wall Street Journal writes that "Republican and Democratic congressional staffers said changing FEMA might be one of Mr. Chertoff's toughest battles. For years, the agency has worked with state and local emergency managers who oppose changing a federal emergency-response system that they know and that has worked well in the past decade."

Sen. Collins' (R-ME) amendment, which is seen as slightly more advantageous to the small states, trumped Sen. Feinstein's (D-CA) amendment geared at getting more money to higher risk areas, reports the New York Times. LINK

The politics of stem cells:

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