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The Memo That Won't Quit

Michael D. Shear writes in The Washington Post that Bush spoke to about 450 GOP activists and supporters.

Edwin Chen writes in the Los Angeles Times on the pre-speech activities, during which Bush toured the refinery, "where a worker explained the intricacies of making biodiesel fuel out of soybeans. Bush listened attentively as he stood on a catwalk overlooking a room filled with giant cylindrical tanks.

"When invited to scoop out a sample of the finished product, the president did so, offering a beaker of biodiesel to reporters on an adjacent catwalk.

" 'Anybody want a sip?' he said playfully.

" 'After you, sir,' came the reply."

In his pool report, Chen also described a scene that was designed to show how cleanly biodiesel burns in an engine.

"Outside, POTUS witnessed a 'white handkerchief test,' in which said item was held to the exhaust pipe of a biodiesel-fueled tractor trailer after the driver revved the engine (at POTUS's order to 'crank it up.') . . . Allen Schaeffer, executive director, Diesel Technology Forum, climbed down with the hankerchief to display to the president. POTUS held [it] up to his face and appeared to sniff it. The handkerchief indeed seemed to pass the test. A smiling Mr. Bush held up the handkerchief, and said, 'Mr. Wizard!'

"But no rabbit appeared."

Here are AP photos of Bush holding the handkerchief, smelling the handkerchief, and holding the beaker.

Here is the transcript of his speech.

Based on Faith

Michael A. Fletcher writes in The Washington Post: "Bush has pushed for increased funding for religion-based groups while proposing deep cuts for many traditional anti-poverty programs. The result is that many small church- and community-based social service programs are slowly assuming the lead role in the war on poverty once held by long-established community development organizations. Administration officials say that faith-based groups are often less expensive and more effective in helping the needy, a contention that traditional service providers challenge."

Gannon Watch

Peter S. Canellos writes in the Boston Globe: "Jeff Gannon's 15 minutes of fame is running a little long, with a lengthy profile in June's Vanity Fair in which the onetime White House reporter for a website run by a Republican fund-raiser talks about his newfound celebrity."

He writes that the Gannon tale "stands as a cautionary tale of the dangers of smoke-and-mirrors journalism in the Internet age."

Today's Calendar

Bush meets with former South African president Nelson Mandela, participates in the ceremonial swearing-in of the U.S. trade representative, and attends the Republican National Committee Gala tonight.

Patuxent Watch

Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher writes that "the same president who repairs to Patuxent for his recreation has saddled the refuge with budget cuts that have forced a sharp reduction in its public opening hours and other services."

Correspondents Watch

Howard Kurtz writes in The Washington Post that "Bill Hemmer, co-anchor of CNN's 'American Morning,' may leave the cable news network after being told that executives want to shift him to the post of senior White House correspondent."

Calvin College Watch

Julia Duin writes in the Washington Times: "One-third of the professors at an evangelical Christian college in Grand Rapids, Mich., are taking out a large ad in a local newspaper Saturday to protest President Bush's commencement speech.

" 'As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers and to initiate war only as a last resort,' the ad will say. 'We believe your administration has launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq.' "

Cheney Watch

Editor & Publisher catches a doozy: "Appearing on Chris Matthews' NBC talk show on Sunday, [Washington Post Associate Editor Bob] Woodward labeled Vice President Cheney 'a serious dark horse candidate.' He said that with 'a number of people' going for the GOP nomination, 'a guy named George Bush might come out and say 'What about Dick?' "

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