* White House shake-up is directed at the midterm elections; Bolten is following a five-point plan that includes an "extremely visible enforcement crackdown at the Mexican border." Bush advisor: "If we don't keep Congress, there won't be a legacy." [Time]


* Osama Bin Laden releases new audio tape; analyst says intention is to provide a global posture for al Qaeda: "Bin Laden is a master craftsman at recognizing issues and knowing how to exploit these issues for his own purposes. He's trying to enlarge the global conflict and is trying to incite and anger the Muslim world against the West." [WP]

* Eight American troops have been killed over the past two days in Iraq; April will likely be the deadliest month this year. [AP]

* West Wing is said to feel "really weird right now" because "people are worried about their jobs," says a senior official; aides "are on edge." Mark McKinnon: "Karl has more bandwidth than anyone on the planet, but with the elections coming up, we have to make sure he has the time to concentrate on the big message." Nicole Wallace on Bolten: "It was nice to cut right to the chase. He set a very honest and direct tone. It was kind of, 'We're going to get through all this together, and we need to step it up.'" [Newsweek, NYT]

* White turnout in the New Orleans mayoral election was double the norm; Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu could be the city's first white mayor in nearly three decades. [NYT, WP]

* CIA is cracking down on leaks by subjecting dozens of employees to polygraph tests; top Democrats suggest a double standard exists about leaking for political purposes. [NYT, WP]

* Los Angeles Times editorial board calls for Bush to boot Cheney: "Having changed his tune, the president should also think about changing the company he keeps -- big time, as Dick Cheney would say." [LAT]

* Republicans in Congress want to push tax, war, and immigration legislation through in the next five weeks; Sens. Specter, Levin float idea of taxing "obscene" oil profits. [WSJ, NYT, USAT]

* White House and Republican leaders in the Senate are set to block emergency war funding in attempt to cut out unrelated add-ons. [USAT]

* House Republicans quietly weaken legislation designed to restrict lobbying. [USAT]

* Democrats are optimistic about gaining House seats in the Northeast. Analyst: "If... it's going to hit anywhere, it's the Northeast. That is where Bush's weakness is felt." [USAT]

* James Baker is solicited by Congress to "generate new ideas on Iraq." Anonymous official: "He's a very shrewd fellow who doesn't want to be window dressing. He could come up with nothing or it could be a very big deal." [NYT]

* 50 religious leaders, with guidance from aides to Sens. Frist, Santorum, and Brownback, attempt to "revive the groundswell of opposition to same-sex marriage" with petition for constitutional amendment against gay marriage. [NYT]

* Sen. Clinton raises about $1M at L.A. event hosted by Ron Burkle; guests included Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, and U2's the Edge. [LAT]

* Democrats will use the stem cell issue to "exploit a division" in the GOP. Analyst: "This is the first real wedge issue Democrats have had with Republicans." [NYT]

* Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) seems to have neutralized the Abramoff scandal. [WP]

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