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  • Top Republicans and Democrats express reservations about the expected nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden to replace Porter Goss at the CIA; "Bush is politically at his weakest and members of his party are distancing themselves from the White House in the hopes of retaining their grip on Congress in the midterm elections." Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.): "We should not have a military person leading a civilian agency at this time." [WP, NYT, WSJ, NYT, USAT, USAT]

  • Patrick Fitzgerald "is weighing Rove's foggy-memory defense against evidence he has acquired or accumulated over nearly 2 1/2 years that shows Rove was very involved in White House efforts to beat back allegations that Bush twisted U.S. intelligence to justify the Iraq war"; decision on an indictment could come this month. [WP]

  • Fear of losing seats in November is Rove's "best weapon" for "motivating his party's conservative base to turn out"; officials are "trying to turn vulnerability to advantage" and are "telling fellow Republicans that criticizing the president risks bringing the party down with him." [NYT]

  • Bush may close Gitmo prison: "I would like to close the camp and put the prisoners on trial. [The Supreme Court] must still rule on whether they should go before a civil or military court. They will get their day in court. One can't say that of the people that they killed." [NYT]

  • Sen. Frist seeks to start partisan confrontation over judicial nominations. Sen. Thune: "A good fight on judges does nothing but energize our base. Right now our folks are feeling a little flat. They need a reason to get engaged, and fights over judges will do that." [NYT]

  • Bush has appointed fewer women and minorities compared to the Clinton administration, Democratic study finds; Bush has a "record of diversity" at the Cabinet level. [WP]

  • USDA officials urged to dispense positive "talking points" about Iraq. [WP]

  • Cheney defends recent comments about Russia: "None of us wants to see Russia as an enemy." [WP, WSJ]

  • Gore is "thinking about" running again, says a former advisor. "He's talked to people about the pros and cons"; insiders suspect Gore is "more likely to run if Mrs. Clinton does than if she doesn't." [WSJ]

  • Bush envisions a public policy center with his presidential library; Bush "is actively thinking ahead to his post-White House life." [NYT]

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