Republican governors are openly worrying that the Bush administration's latest stumbles - from Hurricane Katrina to prescription drugs and ports security - are taking an election-year toll on the party back home.
The GOP governors acknowledge that the series of gaffes threatens to undermine public confidence in President Bush's ability to provide security, which has long been his greatest strength among voters.
"You've got solid conservatives coming up speaking like they haven't before, it's likely that something's going on at the grass roots," said Republican Mark Sanford of South Carolina.
The unease was clear in interviews with more than a dozen governors over the weekend, including nearly half of the Republicans attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. But Republican governors gave the president a rock-star welcome at a Monday night reception that added $9.6-million to GOP campaign coffers.
Also, Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld offered private assurances to governors over plans to make cuts to the National Guard. Republican and Democratic governors said discussions are just beginning on Guard units.
White House rebuffs calls for special counsel
WASHINGTON - The White House on Monday rejected the call by more than a dozen House Democrats for a special counsel to investigate the Bush administration's eavesdropping program.
President Bush's spokesman Scott McClellan said those Democrats should instead investigate the source of the unauthorized disclosure of the classified program, which "has given the enemy some of our playbook."
Hillary Clinton says Rove obsesses about her
ALBANY, N.Y. - Reacting to a new book quoting Karl Rove as saying she will be the 2008 Democratic nominee for president, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that President Bush's chief political strategist "spends a lot of time obsessing about me."
Clinton, D-N.Y., said Rove, national GOP chairman Ken Mehlman and other Republicans are using her to divert attention from Republican problems.
"What they're hoping is that all of their missteps, which are now numbering in the hundreds, are going to somehow be overlooked," she said.
WWII pilot and author Scott dies at 97
WARNER ROBINS, Ga. - Retired Brig. Gen. Robert L. Scott, the World War II flying ace who told of his exploits in his book God is My Co-Pilot, died Monday (Feb. 27, 2006). He was 97.
The Georgia native rose to nationwide prominence during World War II as a fighter ace, then with his bestselling 1943 book, made into a 1945 movie.