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How Lame a Duck?

"The president's influence is diminished by his low approval ratings and the shadow cast over his presidency by the war in Iraq."

And Raum reminds us that "even if the president and his congressional allies somehow manage to salvage the legislation in the Senate, prospects remain bleak of getting it through the House, where opposition remains strong among core Republican members."

One Last Try

Peter Spiegel writes in the Los Angeles Times: "The White House is poised to begin a last-ditch effort this week to resurrect the compromise immigration bill that was pulled off the Senate floor Thursday, with administration officials insisting another two days of debate could ensure passage of the contentious legislation.

"Calling the measure 'alive and well,' the administration blamed the Democratic Senate leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, for prematurely abandoning efforts to get the bill passed, and said President Bush would go to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to lobby for the legislation.

"'Rather than doing finger-pointing, if Harry Reid is committed to this -- and this is an historic bill dealing with a problem that a lot of people think has to be solved, and it's got to be solved in a smart way -- why not go ahead and set aside those two days for debate?' White House spokesman Tony Snow said on 'Fox News Sunday.' 'I think you're going to find the Republicans and Democrats are willing to do it.'

"Reid decided to end the Senate's consideration of the bill Thursday evening after a vote to cut off debate failed by 15 votes. Reid, who had allowed debate to continue for two weeks, said he had offered to give Republicans the chance to propose eight amendments to the bill, but GOP officials were seeking to raise as many as 12. The move was seen by Democrats as an attempt to extend debate indefinitely, in effect killing the bill by preventing it from getting to a final vote."

The View From Bulgaria

Near the end of a European tour full of pomp and adulation -- Albania really loves Bush! -- the president was reminded of the ugly domestic realities. From the transcript of this morning's press availability in Bulgaria:

"Q Good morning, Mr. President. You've had a week in Europe, and I wonder, as we head home, if I could ask you to turn to some domestic issues. Your Attorney General is under fire in the Senate. General Pace has had a setback. The immigration reform bill seems not to be moving very quickly. I won't even mention the latest polls. So I'm just wondering, sir, as you head home, to what extent do you still have the political clout and capital to get some of these issues done? Do you have any left? If you do, how do you intend to use it?

"PRESIDENT BUSH: First of all, we've had a great trip, Ed. It's a chance for America to talk about a liberty agenda, and a chance to talk to our allies about how we can advance it and what we can do together to make our respective countries better off.

"Listen, the immigration debate is a tough debate. I'm under no illusions about how hard it is. There are people in my party that don't want a comprehensive bill; there are people in the Democrat [sic] Party that don't seem to want a comprehensive bill. I was disappointed that the bill was temporarily derailed.

"I, frankly, find it interesting that in -- a so-called important subject they need to get to would be to pass a political resolution on my Attorney General that's going to have no bearing on whether he serves in office, or not.

"I believe we can get an immigration bill. Now, it's going to require leadership from the Democrat [sic] leaders in the Senate, and it's going to require me to stay engaged and work with Republicans who want a bill.


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