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The Nuclear Briefing

"Many of the most fundamental systems -- the tax code, pension plans, health coverage, legal systems, and public education -- were created to meet the needs of an earlier time. In the next four years we'll reform these institutions to meet the needs of a new century."

And Bush told the Republicans: "Let me put it to you this way: I do not need a poll or a focus group to tell me where I need to lead this country."

Poll Watch

The Wall Street Journal reports: "American support for President Bush's Iraq policies has fallen to its lowest level since March 2003, when Harris Interactive first measured public sentiment on this issue."

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reports: "President Bush's overall job approval rating stands at 43%, down from 49% in late March. That equals the lowest mark in Bush's presidency (43% in April 2004)."

Space Watch

Tim Weiner writes in the New York Times: "The Air Force, saying it must secure space to protect the nation from attack, is seeking President Bush's approval of a national-security directive that could move the United States closer to fielding offensive and defensive space weapons, according to White House and Air Force officials.

"The proposed change would be a substantial shift in American policy. It would almost certainly be opposed by many American allies and potential enemies, who have said it may create an arms race in space. . . .

"A presidential directive is expected within weeks, said the senior administration official, who is involved with space policy and insisted that he not be identified because the directive is still under final review and the White House has not disclosed its details."

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