Daily Briefing: 'On The Verge'

Administration and advocacy groups are on alert for a possible Supreme Court vacancy this week; fight would mirror a presidential campaign. Senior White House official: "It paralyzes everything else." [WP, USAT]

Rumsfeld says the military has had conversations with insurgent leaders in Iraq; he believes the insurgency "won't be won by the coalition forces," but by "the Iraqi people over time." Abizaid: "We don't need to have the same number of troops in the region 10 years from now or 5 years from now or even 2 years from now." [WP, NYT]

"Influential Republicans" complain Bush, Rove should shift from "permanent campaign" mode to governing. Gingrich: "When you're the minority, you need to fight. When you're the governing majority, you need to produce." Devenish: "We're on the verge of getting a lot of stuff done." [NYT]

Bush supporters and analysts are "puzzled" by his non-achievement on Social Security. Graham: "What was real optimism before has become more realistic now. I'm just frustrated." [LAT]

Musgrave (R-Colo.) joins effort by three liberals to find out why they were removed from a Bush event and by whom; the Secret Service has opened a criminal investigation. [NYT]

ACLU and Human Rights Watch report that the administration has denied due process to over 70 suspects accused as "material witnesses" in terror cases. [NYT, USAT]

41 lawmakers write to Bush expressing concern over Cnooc-Unocal deal. [WSJ]

Administration plans to renew production of plutonium 238, reportedly for national security reasons. [NYT]

Clintons join Rev. Billy Graham on stage. Graham: "I love them both with all my heart." [WP]

Conservatives don't want a justice like Kennedy. [NYT]

Schroeder is at the White House for talks with Bush. [USAT]

Analysts contemplate Frist's shortcomings. Scholar: "We still see a bumpy learning curve." [WP]

College Republicans elect new leader by mere six-vote margin. [LAT]


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