Daily Briefing: The Price Paid for Total Loyalty

Bush emphasizes alliance-building and engagement; keeps focus on Iran, North Korea. Republican official: "They think Bush has more leverage after the election to engage other countries, but they're not changing their policy. They believe nothing succeeds like success, and they look at the pretty hard-nosed, unilateral foreign policy of the past four years as having succeeded." [WP, USAT]


Talk of Bush's security intervention talk of APEC summit. McClellan: "The president is someone who tends to delegate, but every now and then, he's a hands-on kind of guy." [WP, USAT, WT]

Intelligence bill unlikely to pass without lobbying from Bush, who says he looks "forward to getting it done." Roberts (R-Kan): "There's been a lot of opposition to this from the first. Some of it is from the Pentagon. Some of it, quite frankly, is from the White House, despite what the president has said. I just don't see it [being approved] as of December 6." [WP, NYT, NYT, WSJ, USAT, LAT, WT, BG]

Powell to seek about $20m for Palestinians. [NYT]

Lawmakers promise to delete provision that enables snooping of tax returns. [NYT]

McCain leaves open possible presidential run. [NYT]

Big squeeze on domestic spending begins with budget. [WSJ]

$388b budget includes $15.8b in extra "earmarks" such as renovating a Merry Go Round in New Hampshire, constructing a "Paper Industry Hall of Fame," and studying mariachi music. [USAT, USAT]

Bush adjusts political map by sweeping exurban vote. Mehlman: "While in some cases you are seeing people who have moved and were already Republicans, in other cases you are seeing a lot of people who are new voters and represent an addition." [LAT]

Beyond need for tax reform, Republican constituencies don't agree. [NYT]

With cabinet shuffle, Bush reigns in control of government; dissent hushed to favor staunch conservatism. [WP]

Bush puts loyalty over name-recognition. Panetta: "The bad news is you're not going to make waves. You're not going to have people who are willing to challenge past policies. Generally, in the second term you're a little stagnant to begin with. There is a price to be paid for total loyalty." [NYT]

Republican governors want strong relations with Bush, but Bush's battles are in Washington. [WP]

Conservatives have planted their roots. [USAT]

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