* NSA obtained cooperation of top telecoms for warrentless eavesdropping. [USAT]

* Democrats appear "poised to gain seats" in November -- the fight is over how many; new machine ballots may create havoc on election day. [WP, USAT]

* House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) opposes "far-reaching" restrictions on lobbying. Boehner: "Bringing more transparency to this relationship, I think, is the best way to control it. But taking actions to ban this and ban that, when there's no appearance of a problem, there's no foundation of a problem, I think, in fact, does not serve the institution well." [WP, LAT]

* Director of the ATF blamed for spending funds on unnecessary upgrades as basic needs are unmet; $65,000 conference table raises eyebrows. [WP]

* Senior official on the inevitability of Iran's nuclear capacities: "Sooner or later, it's going to happen. Our job is to make sure it's later." [NYT]

* Bush will unveil $2.7t budget today. [USAT, USAT]

* Bush wants to expand Health Savings Accounts. [WP]

* Legislation on lobbying will mirror progress of Jack Abramoff's drama. [WP]

* Bush, said to be in a "positive mood," publicly contemplates joining the ex-presidents club. [NYT]

* Some experts say Medicare overhaul was doomed by partisanship. [NYT]

* Mehlman says Sen. Clinton has "a lot of anger" and describes her record as "very left-wing." [NYT]


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