Political Posturing: Rather Dance Than Fight

human traffic cone Bush nominates Rice: "In Dr. Rice, the world will see the strength, the grace and the decency of our country. The nation needs her." Rice, Bush have conversations based on body language. Armitage resigns; Bartlett may become Bush's counselor; Devenish would be communications directions; McClellan to stay. [WP, NYT, LAT, WT, USAT]


Bush decided not to keep Powell on. Official: "[Rice's] interests ran to Defense, but the president didn't want to change horses in the middle of a war." Rice reportedly warned Rumsfeld to turn focus to detention issues, but he declined. [NYT]

Rice sees war on terrorism as modernity versus fundamentalism. Friend: "They believe that Sept. 11 was a wake-up call and that certain things had to be done - painful, violent, but they had to be done - and let the chips fall where they may." [NYT, USAT]

White House extends web of control by naming loyalists to cabinet, CIA; signals aggressive second-term agenda. Mark McClellan likely to succeed Thompson; insiders to head Education, Homeland Security Departments. [WSJ, BG, WT, LAT]

Bush steps in to find consensus for intelligence reorganizing. Hastert flack: "It's White House pressure, it's deadline pressure, it's a desire to get something done." Rockefeller: "All the oversight has been stripped out, and that is just unacceptable." [LAT]

Goss instructs CIA to "support the administration and its policies in our work." Wyden: "[T]here's a real question about whether the country and the Congress are going to get an unvarnished picture of our intelligence situation at a critical time." [NYT]

Pentagon officials welcome CIA shake-up as way to rid agency's opposition to war on terrorism. [WT]

Specter to be named chairman of the Judiciary Committee. [WP, LAT, WT, USAT]

Reid leads Democrats as minority leader: "I always would rather dance than fight, but I know how to fight." Group of centrist Senators, led by Lieberman, Snowe meet to plot agenda. [WP, WT, USAT]

Kerry returns to Senate, without makeup and large entourage; orders shrimp with broccoli, green beans, and rice for lunch. McCain: "You gotta throw yourself into Senate issues and don't look back." [WP]

Hadley has mixed record but consistent, quiet loyalty to Bush. [WP, NYT, LAT]

Hillary to seek re-election against "whole Republican appartatus," as one ally explains. [NYT]

Hastert wins fourth term as Speaker. [USAT]

Republicans seek rule change to protect DeLay's position. [NYT, LAT]

Grassley doubts support for tax overhaul without Bush's "bully pulpit." [USAT]

Some Democrats organize "religious left." From: "You can't have everybody who goes to church vote Republican; you just can't." [NYT]

81% of Ohio's provisional ballots deemed legit. [NYT]

Right-wing talkers adjust to being top-dog, not underdog. Scarborough: "I honestly don't know what Sean Hannity is going to be able to talk about. If you've been reading off the Republican National Committee's talking points like he has for the past four years, it's going to be hard to be critical of the status quo." Franken: "The country may be swirling down the toilet, but it's given us great stuff to talk about." [WP]

Watchdog groups claim media ignores voting irregularities. FAIR analyst: "The mainstream media has largely treated the story as some crazy Internet story." Olbermann: "It's still largely a game of telephone on the Net." [BG]

Powell to visit Israel, West Bank. [WP]

Will Rehnquist be able to swear in Bush on Jan. 20? [WP]

Republicans propose larger-than-expected increase in debt limit to finance deficits; third in three years. [WSJ]

[REUTERS/Kevin

Lamarque]

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