Daily Briefing: I Love You But... Edition

Got You Snowed At confirmation hearing, Gonzales admits high-pressure techniques were discussed in White House, remains on the defensive: "Torture and abuse will not be tolerated by this administration." Biden: "I love you, but you're not very candid so far." [WP, NYT, LAT, WSJ, USAT, WT]

Election certified after rare objection voiced by Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Boxer; Boxer, inspired by Michael Moore, regrets not objecting in 2000. [WP, NYT, LAT, BG, WT, WT]

Congressional Republicans complain to White House that leaks about Social Security benefit cuts will backfire; Graham: "If it becomes a Bush bill, I think it would turn into a game of throwing rocks at President Bush." [WP, NYT, WSJ]

Administration attorneys conclude Second Amendment grants individuals wide access to firearms; Ashcroft compares to First Amendment rights. Professor: "This is a Justice Department with a blatantly political agenda which sees its task as translating right-wing ideology into proposed constitutional law." [WSJ]

Nominations of Johanns, Spellings, Gutierrez sent to Senate vote. [NYT, LAT]

Administration paid Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote No Child Left Behind in black community; part of $1m spent on "video news releases" and may be illegal. [USAT]

Commander in Iraq acknowledges insecurity on eve of vote. [NYT]

Rumsfeld sends retired general on "open-ended" tour of Iraq to review entire situation. [NYT]

Hastert sorting candidates to head ethics committee. Hefley: "They're going to do whatever they want to do." [WP, LAT]

Ridge notes lull in terror chatter; DHS releases National Response Plan. [NYT, NYT, WT]

Internal CIA report blames top officials for failure to stop 9/11; sharp criticisms of Tenet, Pavitt. [NYT]

Bush prods new puppy: "C'mon Beazley, David Gregory has a question." Flack: "We will get her some media training." [WP]

Specter has a blast as chairman: "I have been in training for it my whole professional career." [NYT]

[AFP/Brendan Smialowski]


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