Zachary Roth says NBC News correspondent David Gregory saved the White House press corps (he also collects videos of Gregory's classic scuffles with Bush and his flacks); Linda Hirshman says that Rahm Emanuel is a modern-day Aristotle; Elizabeth McCaughey criticizes Jonathan Cohn's defense of Hillarycare; Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg ask whether the debates are a waste of time; and, in our third excerpt from his book Power and the Idealists, Paul Berman chronicles Bernard Kouchner's creation of Doctors Without Borders. --Alexander M. Belenky

by Sanford LevinsonThe latest CBS/New York Times poll conducted between May 18-23 shows the "favorable" rating of Vice President Dick Cheney at a record low. See here. Perhaps the White House takes heart that the "not favorable" rating has actually dropped because the "undecided"s and "haven't heard"s went up by a total 14 points.


Bartlett Out

White House communications director to resign July 4. "It's been a hell of a ride," Bartlett told Reuters--but I wonder if he meant was: "It's been hell." --Michael Crowley

Head Fake

The president's "new" climate strategy turns out to be utterly vacuous. Stunning, I know. Instead of setting hard targets for emissions reductions, the United States will convene a bunch of meetings from now until 2009, and everyone will sit around and talk about voluntary goals.


I don't have time to write a long post on this, but I wanted to get this out there before someone else beat me to it: Fred Thompson is to the Republicans in '08 as Wes Clark was to the Democrats in '04. In other words, the highpoint of his campaign will be the day he gets in the race, because once he's a serious candidate--and not just the fevered daydream of a dissatisfied base--voters will realize he's not all that. Remember, you heard it here first.


Redefining Success

For some time now, people have been saying that, when Gen. David Petraeus testifies about the "surge" in September, Republicans are going to start hopping off the war train if things haven't turned around. (That was supposedly the upshot of the meeting between 11 House Republicans and President Bush earlier this month.) But that left open the possibility that the White House would just send Petraeus to Congress to claim success no matter what was happening. And, according to Julian Barnes of the Los Angeles Times, that's precisely what's going to happen: U.S.


Barnes Watch

"Comprehensive" immigration fan Fred Barnes (he, um, tends to take the White House's line) has a new piece on conservatives balking at the compromise bill working its way through the senate. Here's his lede: Don't listen to Teddy Kennedy. If you belong to the small band of conservative brothers inclined to support immigration reform, the Massachusetts senator is on your side. But what he says is likely to make you anxious, vexed, or even crazed.


White House political director Sara Taylor--a Karl Rove loyalist who apparently had a fishy role in the US Attorney scandal--is leaving the administration. --Michael Crowley

Remember the Lincoln Bedroom? Sure, it was part of the Republican talking points during the Clinton administration, when the White House was described as being something akin to a Motel 8, mentioned in the same breath as Vince Foster, Whitewater and Arkansas state troopers. But there was always something unseemly about the Clintons using the presidential residence as a barter system for Democratic party (and, more specifically, Friends of Bill) bigwigs.


Keeping It Real

by Michael Kazin If recent media reports are credible, several of the leading candidates for president are conniving, unpleasant frauds. John Edwards feels uncomfortable around gay people and made millions working for a hedge fund while supposedly dedicating himself to fighting poverty; Hillary Clinton didn't bother reading the intelligence report on Iraq before voting to authorize the war and has stuck to her marriage only because it might help her get elected; and Mitt Romney reverses his positions on key social issues and explains it as a maturing process.