* White House waited over 14 hours before disclosing Cheney's hunting accident; it's "highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for the White House to allow a private citizen serve as its de facto spokesman." [WP, NYT, USAT]

* Scott McClellan faced "the media equivalent of birdshot." NBC's David Gregory during the gaggle: "Don't accuse me of trying to pose to the cameras. Don't be a jerk to me personally when I'm asking you a serious question." [WP, NYT]

* Administration vows to reform FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to prevent future failures. Michael Chertoff: "I am accountable and accept responsibility for the performance of the entire department, good and bad." [WP, W$J]

* Draft United Nations report sharply criticizes treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba: "The U.S. government should either expeditiously bring all Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial. . . or release them without further delay." [WP]

* Administration spent $1.6b on public relations contracts from 2003 to mid-2005. [WP]

* Kofi Annan meets Bush at the White House; leaders call for larger presence in Darfur. [WP, NYT]

* Interest groups and companies spent a record $1.16b on lobbying in the first half of 2005; for most corporations, "the return on investment in lobbying is often so substantial that experts and insiders agree that Washington's influence industry will continue to thrive no matter how lawmakers decide to rein it in." [WP, W$J]

* Bush's proposed budget reduces popular health care projects. [WP]

* Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett, under pressure from Democratic leadership, drops out of Senate contest in Ohio: "First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me." [NYT]


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