... the smell of a good political fight in the morning.... And this afternoon, if President Bush had any doubts about where he stood with conservatives, and where he needs to stand on policy issues to turn things around, he's seeing it unfold right now.
The energy up here on the Hill is amazing, and you can even sense among Democrats that they are unsure of what to do. Sure, the press releases have gone out and Sen. Chuck Schumer has done his morning quota of TV appearances, but coming out of lunch meetings, a number of Democrats are worrying that they may have already overplayed their hand.
"We're waiting on some polling data," says one Senate Democratic leadership staffer, when approached about where her boss thought he might go the Alito front. "[Alito] looks a little more difficult to pin down than we thought yesterday." Even Sen. Harry Reid is having some doubts about the strategy of setting up an early bogeyman. According to one DNC staffer, the office of Howard Dean was abuzz with gossip that Reid and Dean had spoken at about 10 am, with Reid asking Dean to tone down the rhetoric for a while. Apparently, Dean declined.