Daily Briefing: Go On, Pull Bush's Purple Finger

Parties milk Iraqi election results to gain momentum into tomorrow's State of the Union address. Bush, validated, calls Chirac, Schroder; Reid, Pelosi demand progress report. [NYT, WP, USAT, WT]

Bush may support limits to Social Security privatization; MoveOn.org begins targeted ad buy. [WP, NYT, WT]

State Democratic Chairs override executive recommendation to endorse Dean, setting path for victory. [WP, NYT, LAT]

Bush wants to increase benefits for families of troops killed in combat to $100,000 from $12,420 and add $150,000 more in life insurance; would be retroactive. [NYT]

Republican lawmakers balk at proposed Defense Department budget cuts that affect their states. [WSJ]

Military contracts for troop services are costing much more than expected; $4b gap in one deal for Halliburton, $7b gap for Kellogg Brown & Root contract. [WSJ]

Will Bush's Social Security plan go the way of Clinton health care? Republican playbook says stay simple. [NYT]

Prominent African American ministers begin drive to ban same-sex marriage; GOP wants to expand base. (Heh.) [LAT]

Hillary faints during speech due to stomach virus. [NYT, WP, WT]

Bush pledges educational "reform agenda" with expansion of NCLB; Spellings sworn in. [WP, WT]

Networks reject ad opposing Bush's medical malpractice reform; cleared by CNN. [NYT]

Hillary's new emphasis on religion: calculated or genuine? [NYT]

Robert Gates declines offer to be first DNI. [NYT]

Codey will not run in NJ gubernatorial race; Corzine is favored. [WP]

Reid profiled as great balancer of state, national desires. [WP]

Review: Gingrich's book is a "sloppy, poorly reasoned" possible jump-start for '08. [NYT]


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