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In bids for more influence in next year's presidential elections, big states and little states are moving their primaries forward. New Hampshire's may be held in December of this year. The nominations could be decided exactly a week from today. Would that put an end to what's left of real political discourse?  Would it finally reduce all presidential politics to TV commercials? Plus, President Bush presents his budget for 2008 and, on Reporter's Notebook, murders, assaults, imprisonments and legal harassment of journalists all over the world.

Reporter's Notebook Annual Report Documents 55 Journalists Killed in 2006

The war in Iraq and the rise of the Internet made the last year a bad one for journalists worldwide. Fifty-five were killed--some by assassination--and others are being held in prisons, including Guantánamo Bay.  At a time when President Bush says he is spreading the values of democracy, the Committee to Protect Journalists has surveyed repression of the free media all over the world. Abi Wright, Communications Director for the Committee, says there's documentation of hundreds of cases in dozens of countries, including murders, assaults, imprisonments, censorship and legal harassment.

Abi Wright, Communications Director for the Committee to Protect Journalists

Making News President Bush Presents His 2008 Budget

President Bush's latest budget is a staggering $2.9 trillion, with one fifth--$624 billion--for the military. Among his priorities are restraining Medicare, Medicaid and other domestic entitlement programs, maintaining efforts to stabilize Iraq and balancing the budget within five years.  Jodi Schneider is Economics Editor for Congressional Quarterly.

Jodi Schneider, Congressional Quarterly

Main Topic Will Voters Be Singing Christmas Carols in New Hampshire?

Next year's presidential primary process may be over exactly one year from today as big states and little states compete to become more important. Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, echoing the familiar complaint that California has become a sort of ATM for candidates looking for big money, has encouraged the Democrats who control the State Legislature to move next year's primary up to February 5. Other big states, including Texas, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey are threatening to do the same thing. Moves by Nevada and Iowa may push New Hampshire up to December of this year, with 11 months still to go before the general election. What would that mean for discussion of issues or the chances of dark horse candidates who don't have massive war chests? Would they still have to shake hands with voters, or would it all be about TV?

William Galvin, Massachusetts Secretary of State
Walter Shapiro, Roll Call / Yale University (@MrWalterShapiro)
Carla Marinucci, Politico (@cmarinucci)
Andrew E. Smith, University of New Hampshire (@smithanh)
Michael Mishak, Los Angeles Times (@mjmishak)

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