Daily Briefing: The Republicans' Sophisticated Campaign

Vote Or Die Bush declares Iraqi election a "resounding success": "The world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East." Zogby: "We shouldn't get hysterical with hyperbole, we shouldn't have a 'mission accomplished' moment." [WP, NYT, WT, USAT]

Kerry credits 9/11 with Bush's win, keeps '08 open: "I won the [total] popular vote in the battleground states by two percentage points. We just didn't distribute it correctly in Ohio." [WP, NYT]

Congressional Republicans launch sophisticated campaign to inform voters about need for Social Security reform, but leaders still divided; each have 104-page playbook titled "Saving Social Security" that advises on keywords ("personalization" over "privatization") and instructs to "talk to simple language." [WP, WT]

Administration wants responsibility of health care to shift to workers. Gingrich: "My view is that this is absolutely the next big thing. You are going to see a continued move to trying to get people involved in the process by owning their own health accounts." [LAT]

Reid, Pelosi offer pre-emptive attacks on SOTU. [NYT, USAT]

One-sentence provision in law about public relations efforts has been open to interpretation. [WP]

Amid uncertainty, National Intelligence Director position goes unfilled. [WP]

Chertoff's role in determining legal interrogation methods after 9/11 questioned. [WP]

Fowler gets endorsement of the Association of State Democratic Chairs' executive committee. [NYT, WP, LAT]

Sharansky buzzes. Bush: "I felt like his book just confirmed what I believe. He writes it a heck of a lot better than I could write it, and he's certainly got more credibility than I have." [NYT]

Media firm used by SBVFT hired for Supreme Court battle by conservative supporters. [WT]

Dowd, Lockhart duel. Lockhart: "Well, I've been to an AA meeting, and I've been to a Democratic caucus, and AA meetings are more fun." Dowd: "That's because they're realistic." [USAT]

Some lawmakers wait for hours to shake Bush's hand at SOTU photo op. [WT]

[Photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters]


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