Daily Briefing: Bush Eats French Fries In Bed With Ruskies

Bush tells Europeans "no power on earth will ever divide us"; urges EU to support democratic reform in Russia: "We must always remind Russia, however, that our alliance stands for a free press, a vital opposition, the sharing of power, and the rule of law." Chirac speaks of "common values and common vision." [WP, NYT, WSJ, USAT]

Rehnquist expected to resign by June. [NYT]

Conservatives consider possibility of tax increases. Gingrich: "At the end of the [Social Security] fight, there will be a tax increase on the core Republican base." (!!!) [WSJ]

NATO announces increased involvement in Iraqi affairs: "All 26 allies are working together to respond to the Iraqi government's request for support by training Iraqi security forces, providing equipment and helping to fund NATO's efforts." [AP]

Bush, dining with Chirac, welcomes return of French fries; French headline reads, "The mission: a night kiss for Chirac before bedtime." [NYT, USAT]

Budget cuts guided by three pillars: "'Does the program meet the nation's priorities'? Is it an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars? And does it 'produce the intended results?'" Budget includes 50% cut in housing budget for people with disabilities. [WP, NYT]

Lawmakers find constituents skeptical of ideas for Social Security. [WP, NYT]

Hillary's negative ratings among New York residents down to 2 in 10; approval rating at 69%. [NYT]

Idea of private accounts credited to "persistence of conservative operatives, the explosive growth of the stock market in the 1990s and the eventual adoption of the idea by big business." [WP]

Some Republicans rethink restrictions on emissions. [WSJ]


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