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Iraq

NBC's Mike Viqueira says the House will not take up the Iraq supplemental until about 5:00 pm ET today. There is one hour of procedural debate (the "rule"), a vote, then one hour of debate on the measure itself, and then a vote on passage. The guess is that the gavel doesn't come down until around 8:00 pm ET. Also, Gen. Petraeus holds a closed-door briefing for all House members this afternoon.

The New York Times adds: "General Petraeus's briefing will come in a week when war-related developments are not running in the administration's favor. Nine American soldiers were killed in Iraq on Monday and 20 others were wounded. And members of the family of Cpl. Pat Tillman, the former professional football player and Army Ranger accidentally killed by other American soldiers in Afghanistan in 2004, appeared at an emotional House hearing Tuesday and accused the Pentagon and administration of misrepresenting the circumstances of his death."

The Washington Times writes about Bush's and Cheney's tough words yesterday on the Iraq supplemental. "'What is most troubling about Mr. Reid's comments yesterday is his defeatism,' the vice president said in a rare Capitol Hill press conference. 'Indeed, last week, he said the war is already lost, and the timetable legislation he is pursuing would guarantee defeat.'" 
 
The Los Angeles Times: "Democratic strategists … believe that repeated votes on the war will allow the party to expand its congressional majorities in next year's elections by continuing to link GOP lawmakers with the president and his war policies. 'It bewilders me why these Republicans have tied themselves so closely to this president…. God bless them,' said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee."

Per NBC's Libby Leist and Mike Viqueira, it appears that Rep. Henry Waxman (D) will go ahead today with subpoenas for Condi Rice, former White House chief of staff Andrew Card, RNC documents, and White House documents. Waxman's Oversight and Government Reform Committee meets at 10:00 am ET to consider the matter. He wants Rice to come up and testify on uranium/Niger; Card on the Valerie Plame leak; any White documents relating to MZM, the now-disgraced defense firm; and RNC documents relating to the now controversial e-mail communications.

However, Rice and her aides were scrambling yesterday to avoid the subpoena. Waxman has been pressing Rice for answers on the Niger issue since early March, and he was unsatisfied with a response he received last week. Rice's top congressional adviser, Jeff Bergner, wrote to Waxman yesterday:  "As I have said before, Dr. Rice believed at the time of the President's 2003 State of the Union address that the statement concerning Iraq's efforts to acquire uranium from Africa was completely credible and backed by our most authoritative intelligence assessment."

A senior State department official said last night that Waxman's motives are nothing more than politics. "This is politically motivated, I think that is pretty obvious." The official expects this battle between Waxman and Rice to go on for several rounds, and when asked if she would ever testify, the official said, "I don't see it."