Daily Briefing: Pedal to the Medal Time

the guns are for show the blue work shirt means he a man of the people Respondents cautiously optimistic about Bush in NYT/CBS poll. 51% approval rating is highest since March; majority prefers deficit reduction to tax cuts; 70% concerned about moral standards of pop culture; majorities support legality of abortion, domestic partnerships. Powell has 87% approval rating in USAT/CNN/Gallup poll. [NYT, USAT]


Bush makes stopover in Colombia, offers financial support to war on drugs; 15,000 troops on guard. Bush: "I'm proud to be with my friend, President Uribe. El es mi amigo. . . Defeating [traffickers] is vital to the safety of our peoples and to the stability of this hemisphere." [WP, NYT, USAT]

Congressional Republicans want Bush to intervene on deadlocked intelligence bill, bring Pentagon around. McCain: "I don't think I've seen a situation before where you had a majority of votes for a piece of legislation in Congress that was strongly supported by the president of the United States, and it doesn't get voted on." [NYT, WP]

Spending bill stalled by provision enabling snooping of tax returns; Congressman denies knowledge of addition, blames staffer. [WP, NYT, LAT]

Powell finds support for Palestinian elections in Israel. [NYT]

NASA receives additional funds at expense of IRS, EPA; $1b cut from agriculture initiatives. [NYT]

Opponent of Yucca Mountain plan named to Nuclear Regulatory Commission in deal to speed confirmation of Bush's nominees. [WP]

Following Bush's lead, Republican Senators see mandate and act with great gusto. Strategist: "There are a lot of people saying, 'This is our moment; this is the time to put the pedal to the metal to get our agenda done. They are also saying, 'Let's make sure we're smart about it.'" [LAT]

Congress drops funding for nuclear weapon research. [WP]

Republicans explore accounting tricks to push charges "off-budget" and out of sight. [WP]

Vilsack, Herman not interested heading DNC; Dean, Ickes in the running. [NYT]

Bush seeks expansion of covert operations under Defense Department. [NYT]

Bush bonds with far-right member of Israeli cabinet. [WP]

White House still shaken by incident in Chile: "I mean, the guy who was supposed to be guarded had to rescue the guy who was supposed to be guarding him." [WT]

Pro-life groups celebrate legislation allowing hospitals to opt-out of abortion support. [WT]

Study confirms most seniors benefit from new Medicare plans. [NYT]

Upcoming ruling on importation of garments from China a dilemma for the administration. [WSJ]

[AFP/Timothy Clary]

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