The Web's Best Political News Summary: Feb. 7: Let's Get Workable:

And speaking of local projects, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader concludes that the new budget doesn't contain as much money for a key water project as local officials had hoped. ( )

All the big legislative decisions made during the rest of this year will be seen by the leadership of both parties starkly through the prism of how it might help their own candidates in the fall elections, and how it might help or hurt the candidates of the other party.

Cynics like to turn that into "everything is so cynical and political in Washington," but we prefer to see it as: in a democracy, it isn't so terrible for elected officials to consider what the voters want in deciding what legislation to consider and vote for.

So on the shattered stimulus bill, the New York Times says, "The fate of the benefit extension now rests with the Republican-controlled House. Republican aides said there was some division within the party about whether to try to package some tax cuts with the extension of the unemployment benefits or pass the extension as a stand-alone bill." ( )

And the Los Angeles Times' Hook writes: "Some House Republicans are suggesting that the party attempt to add tax cuts or other provisions to the unemployment bill, which could slow its progress. Others want to simply go along with the popular bill rather than give Democrats the opportunity to say Bush and the GOP are unconcerned about the plight of the unemployed. 'The politics are pretty simple: You just do it,' a top House leadership aide said." ( )?coll=la%2Dnews%2Da%5Fsection )

The Washington Times notes, "when Senate Democrats killed the stimulus bill yesterday, White House advisers were forced to re-evaluate the administration's political and economic strategy for the year, in which the Democrats are only six seats away from regaining the House and could strengthen their tenuous hold on the Senate." The paper got an interview with Larry Lindsey, but he doesn't make much news. "'I've long said that we'll have a recovery starting early this year, and I still believe that. What I'm concerned about is its strength,' Mr. Lindsey said." ( )

All of which overshadowed what has the potential to be the more enduring political story: President Bush's re-engagement in direct, overt, pre-planned campaign fundraising. Bush raised $2 million at two fundraisers last night and praised Gov. George Pataki's good sense.

USA Today notes (despite Ari's refusal to confirm numbers yesterday), "Except for a Washington fundraiser he attended last month for his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the events were the first of 100 fundraisers Bush and Vice President Cheney will attend this year on behalf of Republicans running in the November elections and his first avowedly political appearances since the Sept. 11 attacks." (

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