Daily Briefing: Cohesion, Loyalty, Secrecy

true meeting of the minds Debt ceiling increased by $800b. Kerry: "Here we are again, back again, with a new [fiscal] hole, deeper and with graver consequences than at any time in American history." [WP, NYT]


Proposed budget reduces funds for education, non-defense science, clear-water projects, small-business loan subsidies; $93m reassigned from Iraq to crisis in Darfur. [WSJ]

Republicans stick with the old guard, reelecting leadership. With growing support, Specter to issue statement responding to concerns; Dole to head campaign committee. [WP]

House Republicans change rule to allow DeLay to retain leadership role if indicted. [LAT, WT, NYT]

Bush's tax reform would dramatically cut or eliminate taxes on savings and investment and simplify code; designed to be revenue-neutral. [WP]

Lieberman makes concessions to intelligence overhaul, offers 50-50 chance of agreement within the month: "I think we're going to end up where very few people will be thrilled." [WP]

Spellings, Bush's pick for education secretary, is senior domestic policy advisor and longtime "under the radar" confidante; Rove asked her out in the 80s: "It has taken my ego decades to recover"; when asked about the decline in traditional families, she replied, "So what?" [WP, NYT, USAT, WT]

Leahy meets with Gonzales, predicts smooth confirmation: "The president could have picked a polarizing figure. He did not. I applaud him for that." [NYT]

KE04 has $15m left in bank. Brazile: "'Democrats are questioning why he sat on so much money that could have helped him defeat George Bush or helped down-ballot races, many of which could have gone our way with a few more million dollars." [BG]

Bush picks indicate cohesion, loyalty, secrecy. Hamilton: "He is appointing people who built their career in support of his priorities and his views. At this point, you have to have some question as to how much he's going to reach out." [LAT]

Tribes paid $4.2m to lobbyists to persuade Dodd, Ney to support gambling. Legislation wasn't achieved; total spent topped $82m. [WP]

Bush names longtime friend Harriet Miers, "a pit bull in size 6 shoes," to White House counsel. [WP]

Bush pardons two turkeys: "Now it's time for healing." None of the previous exempted turkeys are alive. [WP]

DeMint, Brownback will introduce bill to ban RU-486. [WT]

First exit polls to be held until 4pm after leaks this year. [USAT]

Extension of ban on tax for internet access expected. [WSJ]

With 35,686 cubic feet of records, two million photos, and 80m pages of documents, Clinton's is largest presidential library. [NYT, USAT]

Officials look to alleviate long lines at polls. [USAT]

Democrats outnumber Republicans in academia seven to one. [NYT]

[AP Photo/Ron Edmonds]

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