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Bush Blames Polls on 'Battle Fatigue'

"The NSA's domestic program, as described by sources, is far more expansive than what the White House has acknowledged. Last year, Bush said he had authorized the NSA to eavesdrop -- without warrants -- on international calls and international e-mails of people suspected of having links to terrorists when one party to the communication is in the USA. Warrants have also not been used in the NSA's efforts to create a national call database."

Abramoff Watch

James V. Grimaldi and Susan Schmidt write in The Washington Post: "U.S. Secret Service logs made public yesterday show only two visits by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to the White House. . . ."

Mark Sherman writes for the Associated Press: "The documents are, by the White House's acknowledgment, an incomplete accounting of Abramoff's meetings with administration officials."

No kidding. As Paul Kiel writes for TPMMuckracker.com: "In short, the records are a joke. For once, Scott McClellan was right ."

The Safavian E-mails

Pete Yost writes for the Associated Press: "The Bush administration's top procurement official offered his assistance to now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff as his lobbying empire began to crumble, according to e-mails released Wednesday by the White House.

" 'Let me know if there is anything I can do to help with damage control,' David Safavian, who is now under indictment, messaged Abramoff on Feb. 22, 2004. . . .

"In another e-mail to Abramoff after his lobbying practices had come under investigation, Safavian explained that he would have to turn down a last-minute invitation from the lobbyist for lunch, noting that Abramoff had rejected an earlier offer for the two to get together.

" 'When you spurned my invite, I called one of the industry sycophants and offered him an opportunity to suck up,' Safavian wrote."

More From the Florida Interview: Pray

Stratton of the Orlando Sentinel summarizes Bush's comments on the upcoming hurricane season: "Bush said he worried about the thousands of Gulf Coast residents now living in trailers. 'Let's just pray,' he said, 'there is no hurricane heading that way.' "

How Embarrassing

CBS reports: "A public sanitation worker in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday found a thick stack of papers with nearly every detail of President Bush's trip to Florida on the floor next to a big trash truck."

Bush's Morning

In the second part of their Newsweek piece, Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey point out that Bush's description of the morning of Sept. 11 in Friday's Bild interview conflicts with his earlier accounts.

Tomorrow

I'll be on Washington Post Radio again tomorrow, around 2 p.m. ET.

Also, I've gotten tons of responses to my request in Wednesday's column for tough but fair questions for Tony Snow. I'll be printing my favorites right here tomorrow.

McClellan's Last Day

Mike Allen of Time describes a party some members of the press corps threw for McClellan last Friday in the White House basement.

"When the party got under way, Ken Herman of Cox Newspapers, . . . who has known McClellan more than 15 years, read a fake briefing as if he were McClellan. 'As part of our new openness policy, I wanted to announce that we will be allowing the press to get an up-close, personal and full immersion view of our secret prisons in Eastern Europe.' "

McClellan sat down for his last Ask the White House chat on the White House Web site yesterday. He provided his former boss with a model for answering the sort of question Bush muffed last week.

"Lynn, from California writes: Dear Scott: I think you served the President well and I am saddened at your departure. What was the highlight of your career working for the President? . . .

"Scott McClellan: Thank you, Lynn. I think the highlight has been when I was with the President and he was visiting our troops and their families."

And it sounded like he might be getting a little defensive about all those glowing stories about Snow.

"I often . . . stick my head into the oval office and check with the President to see how he might want to respond to a particular question. I have had direct access to him anytime I have needed to see him. . . .

"I have also worked for the President for more than seven years now, and knew him even before I went to work for him. One of my strengths has been that I have a good sense of his thinking and how he might respond to a particular question."

Mary and Larry

Mary Cheney was on CNN with Larry King last night.

Some choice bits:

"KING: What is the biggest misconception about him? What do we, the general we have all wrong?

"CHENEY: The whole Dick Cheney is Darth Vader thing is pretty interesting to me.

"KING: That's totally wrong?

"CHENEY: I can say with complete conviction my dad is not Darth Vader." . . .

"CHENEY: . . . [T]here are these series of dinners in Washington and the White House Correspondents is one of them, where you've got to walk this fine line if you're a politician because you can make fun of yourself and the press can make fun of you, but boy, you sure can't make fun of the White House Press Corps.

"KING: What did you make fun of Colbert?

"CHENEY: To be honest with you, I really didn't find him all that humorous."


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