Republican "disarry" forces leaders to postpone budget bill. The GOP's "typically lock-step discipline is cracking under the weight of Bush's plummeting approval ratings, Tuesday's electoral defeats and the increasing discontent of the American electorate. After five years of remarkable unity under Bush's gaze, divisions between Republican moderates and conservatives are threatening to paralyze the party." [WP, WP, NYT, WSJ, LAT]


Bush will try to regain momentum by taking on his critics; speech today "will be the most direct refutation of the Democrat charges you've seen probably since the election," says admin official. [NYT, USAT]

Stephen Hadley defends the administration's "very strong case" about the threat from Saddam Hussein: "The intelligence was clear in terms of the weapons of mass destruction." [WP]

Lawmakers are increasingly itchy about the situation in Iraq; new proposal eyes a shift in focus away from securing the entire country. John McCain: "Rather than focusing on killing and capturing insurgents, we should emphasize protecting the local population, creating secure areas where insurgents find it difficult to operate." [WP]

Karl Rove "has rebounded" and is "devising long-term political plans." [NYT, LAT]

Senate approves changes to judicial process for suspected foreign terrorists. [WP, NYT]

Alito denies having conflict of interests in two appeals court cases. [WP, NYT, USAT, WSJ]

Some pro-life groups doubt that Alito is anti-abortion. [LAT]

DeLay was willing in September to plead guilty on a misdemeanor charge to skirt felony criminal charges. [WP]

Rice makes surprise visit to Iraq: "We are working to better unify our political and military activities in the field." [NYT]

Mark Warner, looking to '08, will unveil a PAC and make his first political trip to New Hampshire. [WP]

Rove addresses the Federalist Society: "The courts will on their own reform themselves and return to their proper role in American public life, or we will see more public support for constitutional amendments and legislation to rein them in." [WP]

Clinton launches three-day conference about his presidency at Hofsta University. [NYT]

Federalist Society skeptical of the power of the Supreme Court. [NYT]

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