5 p.m. ET: The news that Rod Blagojevich is expected to be indicted any moment now is putting The Rundown in a nostalgic mood.
Remember those halcyon days when the Blagojevich scandal first burst into the open? Morbid as it sounds, a good scandal is a lot more fun and interesting to write about than the economy -- even when the stock market is up -- or some boring European summit. One other quick afternoon thought on Blagojevich: After the Ted Stevens fiasco, how careful will federal prosecutors be in this case?
8 a.m. ET: Hours before Washingtonians even woke up this morning, President Obama had already huddled with the president of South Korea in London to discuss how the two countries will approach an upcoming missile launch by North Korea. Later today comes G-20 plenary sessions and individual meetings with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and India. It's all in a day's summitry for a president who is said to be "wowing London" with his "star power."
But all the charisma in the world might not be enough to produce the agreement that Obama and many of his fellow leaders seek out of the London gathering. France and Germany keep pushing for new global financial rules that might never fly in the United States, while Obama warned the world Wednesday not to expect U.S. consumers will continue to drive the world's economy as much as they have in the past. Leaders have reportedly agreed today to give more money to the International Monetary Fund, but can Obama persuade his peers to do more? Perhaps he can order up some instant advice from his secret advisory panel of behavioral scientists.
Apparently Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth II got along well during their meeting yesterday, to the point that the first lady breached royal protocol by actually daring to touch the queen's back, or something like that. The president also found time to give the queen an iPod with, it has been mockingly noted, some of his own speeches downloaded. Perhaps he should have given her the new U2 album, or the Washington Post's Politics Podcast. (Her Majesty probably already subscribes.)
In Washington and Alaska, the political and legal worlds are still digesting yesterday's shocking news that the Justice Department wants to drop all charges against Ted Stevens. Will this move hamper the ongoing investigation of others in Alaska, including the Senator's son, Ben Stevens? Will this make the Justice Department more gun-shy as it pursues criminal cases against other current and former members of Congress?
Remember, the list of lawmakers who have actually been convicted by the feds in recent years (Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, Stevens) is a lot shorter than the combined list of members who have either been charged but not convicted yet (William Jefferson, Rick Renzi, Curt Weldon) or just investigated (Tom DeLay, Jerry Lewis, John Doolittle, Conrad Burns, Tom Feeney, Don Young, Alan Mollohan, Ken Calvert, Gary Miller, we're running out of space here ... ).
In the House, it's voting day on the budget resolution. The measure will pass, as it always does, on a completely party-line vote. Republicans finally have their own spending blueprint, and that won't pass, but it will give the minority ammunition to counter that "Party of No" label Democrats have tirelessly sought to apply. The Senate (where the Republican leadership does not have its own budget resolution, but a smaller GOP group led by John McCain does) will go next, after completing a round of votes on hot-button issues like climate change and health care. Then Congress can go home for a two-week recess, and everyone can catch their breath.
April 2, 2009; 5:00 PM ET
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