When reporters asked George W. Bush last month whether the war in Iraq had left the National Guard stretched too thin to respond to Hurricane Katrina, the president said that his administration could handle more than one crisis at a time. So, too, can the press. The president tried to shift the media's attention to the Supreme Court this morning, but reporters are still paying more than a little attention to events at the slightly less glamorous E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse nearby.
Here's what we're seeing and hearing now:
No announcement today: A spokesman for Patrick Fitzgerald says, on the record, that he's not expecting any announcements in the Valerie Plame investigation today. The Associated Press says that Fitzgerald is "huddled" with his legal team today, and the Los Angeles Times sees signs that the grand jury will meet again Friday.
Rove and Libby: Libby -- whose indictment is seen by many as a foregone conclusion -- didn't appear at this morning's White House senior staff meeting, but the AP notes that Libby misses those meetings frequently. Rove was there today, but the AP says his legal team is hard at work on "contingency plans" and is "consulting with former Justice Department official Mark Corallo about what defenses could be mounted in court and in public." The Washington Post says that Rove is engaged in a "furious" effort to fight off a perjury charge -- but that he still didn't know as of last night whether he'd be indicted.
Niger: The mainstream American press hasn't done much yet with an Italian newspaper's three-part report on how the information from forged documents about a supposed Irag-Niger deal on uranium -- the information that led to Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger in the first place -- made its way to the White House. Bloggers are continuing to dig in, however, suggesting that the infamous "16 words" about a Niger connection in Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech were based on some very old intelligence. Meanwhile, the office of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has denied that his government had any "direct or indirect involvement in the packaging and delivery of the 'false dossier' on Niger's uranium."
The toll on Bush: The Plame case surely isn't the only cause for buyer's remorse, but a new Fox News poll out today says that 6 percent of Americans who voted to reelect the president in November would vote for John Kerry if they had the chance to do it all over again today. Six percent may not sound like much, but it would have been enough to turn Bush's 51-48 popular vote win into a 51-48 defeat 11 months ago.