'06 brings anxiety for Republican candidates about their prospects; Elizabeth Dole faulted for weak performance as chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Analyst: "Is it poor recruiting or a bad environment? Probably both." [WP, LAT]


Specter questions Miers' qualifications; Bush says she "has excelled at everything she has done." 27 GOP senators have expressed skepticism. [WP, WSJ, NYT, LAT, WT]

Brownstein: "Bush picked Miers because he felt strong, not weak. . . Bush bypassed a long list of prominent federal judges who are known quantities to the conservative movement, but just names on a page to him. Instead, he picked someone who is a known quantity to him, but barely a name on the page to them. . . Bush simply overestimated their willingness to defer to him." [LAT]

High-level single women in the administration have formed informal social network; Miers has "a lot of girl talk" with Rice. [NYT]

Republicans worry about a White House without Rove. [WSJ]

Bush commits "initial contribution" of $50m to Pakistan following major earthquake. [NYT]

Miers' record in private practice offers little insight into her character. [NYT]

Louis Freeh disparages Richard Clarke in new book: "If he was rushing around the executive branch trying to make a case that we were in imminent danger of a terrorist attack on our shores, he wasn't trying to make that case with me." [NYT]

$300m ad campaign launched to educate seniors about new Medicare benefits. [WP]

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