Daily Briefing: No 'Clear Skies'; More Al Qaeda

Today's round-up of everything you need to know: surprisingly long for a Thursday! Study up, there'll be a test before lunch.

Key Republicans balk at $82b request for war spending; Rumsfeld, Rice on defensive. DeLay: "[W]e have found some items in foreign aid that probably do not qualify as immediate emergencies." [WP, LAT]

Bush: Hey, ya know what might "save" Social Security? Raising taxes! [AP]

Rumsfeld plays on his own terms with Armed Services Committee; at one point, he picks up and leaves for lunch. [WP]

Goss: "It may only be a matter of time before Al Qaeda or another group attempts to use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons." [NYT, WT, USAT]

Armstrong Williams, the man who doesn't know when to shut up, says he solicited contract: "Can you imagine being embroiled in a controversy for a program educating children?" Plus: "I'm no longer Armstrong Williams. I've become a noun. And in some cases, I've become a commodity." [NYT]

Specter, 75, has Hodgkin's disease. [WP, NYT, LAT, USAT]

Greenspan supports private accounts, cautions against borrowing for Social Security. [WP, WSJ, NYT, NYT, USAT]

Bush's promotion of Social Security plan in New Hampshire aimed at Gregg, Sununu. [WT, USAT]

Journalists collectively back Judith Miller. CJR editor: "At a time when she was being held up to such scrutiny for her writing on Iraq, she now is being cast in the role of journalistic martyr." [WP]

In Social Security debate, both sides focus on young people, less trusting of Social Security and open to new ideas: "Their whole strategy is to get seniors to sit it out and get young people to bite." [USAT]

The debate is on Social Security, not over a bill. [NYT]

Democrats peeved by Republican maneuvers at ethics committee. [NYT]

Lawmakers seek easing of stem cell restrictions. [WP]

Clear Skies Act delayed by committee. [NYT]

Log Cabin Republicans too a-scared to handle their own lobbying, hire outside groupy: "We believe there are tremendous opportunities to move legislation." [WP]

Frank Rich dissects Gannon/Guckert: "With real news this timid, the appointment of Jon Stewart to take over Dan Rather's chair at CBS News could be just the jolt television journalism needs. . . the only road back to reality may be to fight fake with fake." [NYT]


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