Washington, D.C. was abuzz with news of the discovery of a computer disk containing a Power Point presentation compiled by presidential Svengali Karl Rove and political director Ken Mehlman. The disk--which was allegedly found in a Washington, D.C. park last week [insert tasteless Chandra Levy joke here]--contained some very interesting news for Evergreen Staters.

The presentation, entitled "The 2002 Challenge," included a detailed breakdown of the White House's assessment of their party's chances in both this year's midterm congressional elections and the 2004 presidential election.

Perhaps most interesting to some of the esteemed members of our congressional delegation is Slide No. 4, which lists "vulnerable Democratic seats." Washington is conspicuously absent from the list, which would seem to indicate that Representatives Brian Baird (D-Olympia) and Rick Larsen (D-Bellingham), who once faced the specter of competitive races, will be given a pass come November.

"It did not surprise me," said Baird spokesperson Anne Linskey after she saw the document. "It shows that the Republicans are, as usual, full of bluster when they talk about their chances of picking up seats in Washington state."

Although the Republicans are apparently taking a pass this year, Washington state still looms large in the GOP political consciousness. Slide No. 25 shows a breakdown of the states where the election was neck-and-neck. There are states that Bush carried by less than five percent, including Florida, Tennessee, and Nevada. Those states that Bush won narrowly are marked in blue. States that Gore carried by less than one percent, including New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin, are marked in red. And still others, including Washington, are marked in one ugly shade of fluorescent green.

The Republican National Committee did not return calls seeking clarification about why Washington was glossed in day-glo green. But the other "green" states on Rove's map--Maine, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Minnesota--are all states that Gore carried by less than five percent in 2000. (Gore carried Washington state by slightly over five percent.) They also are among the states most talked about when Republicans talk about making electoral gains in 2004.

So while it looks as though the GOP may be writing off Washington state in 2002, you can probably expect to see a whole lot more of George Bush in the state before 2004 is over.

For a look at the entire presentation, check out: http://www.politicspa.com/mehlman-rove_files/v3_document.htm