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First thoughts

From Chuck Todd and Mark Murray
*** Supplemental Showdown, Round 2: For the last few weeks, it had been the same routine: Democrats worked on passing Iraq legislation with withdrawal dates, Bush staged events almost every day vowing to veto it, and Democratic leaders returned the fire. Now after Bush followed through with his promise yesterday and issued the second veto of his presidency, they can begin to work on some sort of compromise. Maybe. This afternoon, the president and congressional leaders meet at the White House to discuss the Iraq supplemental -- but not before the House tries to override Bush's veto (which won't succeed).

*** Can't We All Just Get Along? Sen. George Voinovich (R) talks compromise, but couldn't he have picked nicer imagery? Per the Washington Post, "'Some kind of compromise has to be worked out between the administration and the Democrats," said …Voinovich …, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. 'That's how it's done. Everybody holds their nose and maybe a couple of times vomits, but you get it done.'" Sen. Trent Lott adds, "'It's time to stop laying down these guidelines, saying, "It's got to be this, it's got to be that."'" The thing to watch: All of these congressional Republicans showing a willingness to compromise with the Democrats and rebuff the Bush Administration.

*** Up, Up and Away: In response to Bush's veto, Edwards goes up with his first TV ad. Although it will reportedly air only in the DC cable market, his campaign is calling it a "strong" buy, with the potential to become bigger. The ad's message: Send Bush another bill with the same withdrawal timelines. And another. And another, until he signs it.

*** A GOP in Trouble? We turn our attention today to the party's diversity -- or lack thereof. Almost a week after a female (Clinton), an African American (Obama), and a Latino (Richardson) participated in the Democratic presidential debate, ten white men will take the stage tomorrow in the GOP one. Bush and former RNC chair Ken Mehlman made minority outreach a key goal, and it paid off in 2004 (when Bush won about 40% of the Hispanic vote) and even last year (when the Republicans had three African-American nominees running in key races). But in those midterms, their share of the Hispanic vote dropped to 30%, and all three of those black nominees lost. Former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd once said that the GOP can't survive without getting more the Hispanic vote, but will it be able to do that after the Texan Bush leaves the White House?

*** California Dreamin': A day before the first GOP presidential debate in California -- which will air on MSNBC and is moderated by Chris Matthews in conjunction with the Politico.com -- nearly all of the Republican candidates are in California: McCain raises money in Beverly Hills, Huckabee fundraises in San Francisco, and Romney appears on the Tonight Show. On the Democratic side, Biden holds two town halls on Iraq in San Francisco. And Edwards, also on the West Coast, has his own town hall meeting in Portland.

*** And Don't Forget…: We've been loathe to over-promote ourselves, but figured today would be a good day to put in this plug: Be sure to check out First Read throughout the date for updates on the latest political news.