"The challenge for Judge Roberts's opponents is exacerbated by Democrats' reconsideration of how to position themselves with a more conservative electorate. Abortion was among the issues that some political analysts said drove church-going voters to President Bush in last year's election. Now, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, an abortion-rights supporter, is urging his party's messengers to speak more about faith and religion and to downplay issues such as abortion."
"Meanwhile, an array of conservative organizations is stronger than ever. They spent the Clinton years recruiting members and electing lawmakers, particularly to the Senate. High School Bible clubs flourished and anti-abortion organizations established footholds in colleges and universities across the country. The groups helped create a generation of women more receptive to restricting access to abortions and, because of broader access to birth control, less sympathetic to women with unwanted pregnancies, recent polls and focus groups have found."
TNR's Noam Schieber writes that Roberts' Reagan-era memos on civil rights could present political trouble for Republicans even if they don't pose much of a threat to Roberts himself. LINK
The Fitzgerald investigation:
The Washington Times suggests Novak's outburst had less to do with Katherine Harris' honor and more to do with Ed Henry's plans to ask about the CIA leak investigation. LINK
"Laurie Goldberg, a CNN spokeswoman, said it was unclear how long Novak's suspension would last or whether he would continue to be paid while he was off the air," writes Scott Collins of the Los Angeles Times. LINK
The New York Times' Steinberg. LINK
FishBowlDC has some behind-the-scenes info: LINK
RNC summer meeting:
Republican activists gathered in Pittsburgh for the Republican National Committee's summer meeting are buzzing about the special election in Ohio's second congressional district, writes The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's James O'Toole. LINK
Following the Rules Committee meeting (for which he arrived a bit tardy, but made sure his presence was properly recorded before it concluded), Ohio GOP Chairman Bob Bennett offered his post-election analysis to The Note. "It has everything to do with Ohio and nothing to do with the President or Iraq," said Bennett, referring to the recent controversies swirling around Ohio Republican officials.
And in case you felt you couldn't start your weekend without knowing what happened in that Rules Committee meeting, worry no more. New Jersey National Committeeman David Norcross, coming off a successful chairmanship of the Committee of Arrangements for last year's Republican National Convention, was unanimously elected as chairman of the Rules Committee. In his first remarks as chairman, he explained that there would be no discussion of the nominating calendar at this meeting, but that is on the agenda for the 2006 summer meeting.
David Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has some details from yesterday's closed press session. LINK
"A strategy session yesterday included a panel discussion about ways the GOP can attract more blacks, Hispanics, Asians and other groups. Many of the 280 conference participants from all 50 states attended the discussion. The meeting was closed to the press."