WASHINGTON, Aug 10
Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro (R-NY) makes her Senate candidacy official this morning at 11:00 am ET at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Pirro will then take her announcement tour to Albany and Buffalo.
The New York Times checks Pirro's past and finds a partial birth flip flop (that Westchester's abortion rights groups don't like) LINK; the New York Post has four stories (Pirro has a monkey and some errors on her website, but not her husband LINK; Rick Lazio is giving Pirro campaign advice -- without irony LINK; Pirro's Patakian team "revealed" LINK; and the Post team watches "The Situation Room" LINK), and a Page Six editorial cartoon that will appeal to the sensibilities of Wolf Blitzer and Dominic Carter; and the Daily News has Pirro's anti-partial birth abortion, anti-gay marriage CNN appearance too. LINK
And the Times editorial page -- setting a bad example -- simultaneously welcomes the "exciting news" of the race, while bemoaning the "catfight" angle. LINK
Does this coverage make Pirro seem like a candidate in control of the news cycle teeing up her big day?
Place your bets now: which will Pirro do more times in her announcement speech: speak about herself in the third person or mention with a degree of specificity issues on which she is to the right of Hillary Clinton (and/but in the New York mainstream and/but not representing changes from a previously enunciated positions)?
Second contest: name the reporter who will first get Pirro to say what her plan is for saving Social Security for future generations.
As for the other story consuming political minds, at 10:00 am ET, the National Association of Manufacturers holds a news conference to announce the results of its committee's evaluation of the record of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. The Washington Post suggests an endorsement is in the cards.
The Virginia pro-family group "Public Advocate" holds an 11:00 am ET news conference to announce that it is withdrawing support for the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court over his pro bono work on that gay rights case. (Here's the AP's take: LINK)
The Washington Post reports in a must-read that White House officials are reviewing thousands of pages of Judge Roberts' papers before release; no one there wants a Romerish surprise. Note the semi-criticism (again) of the White House by allies -- for failing to defend Roberts aggressively, they say, and for running from some Reagan-41 era policies by hiding behind the "he was just a staff lawyer" argument.
Key: "Before Roberts's July 19 selection by President Bush, there was no comprehensive effort to examine the voluminous paper trail from his previous tours as an important legal and political hand under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, administration officials said." LINK
And the New York Times has a must-read story in which the nominee is quoted verbatim by Sen. Wyden from their courtesy call visit on some key right-to-die/separation of powers stuff, and the NARAL ad is treated in a he-said/she-said manner. LINK
President Bush will head to Speaker Hastert's district in Montgomery, IL where he will sign the highway bill at 11:30 am ET. The $286 billion measure funds six years' worth of roads, bridges, parking garages and other projects. The Beacon News has all the local anticipation and excitement for the President's visit. LINK
DNC Chairman Howard Dean heads to familiar Granite State turf today where he will attend a New Hampshire Democratic Party fundraiser in Concord, NH and then head down to Boston, MA for a 5:30 pm ET "DNC Democracy Bonds Rally."
At 2:00 pm ET, the Treasury Department will release federal budget statistics for July.
Also at 2:00 pm ET, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) discusses his new book "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good" in Wilmington, DE. Expect a Q & A as well as a book-signing to follow Santorum's talk.
Sen. George Allen (R-VA) continues his listening tour through the Commonwealth.
A videotape of John Roberts' Feb. 25, 2005 speech to students at Wake Forest University has made it into the hands of the Los Angeles Times' Maura Reynolds (and the Senate Judiciary Committee as well). In the speech Roberts explains that he finds decision making as a judge to be a much tougher task than he anticipated. He also cites a healthy bipartisan grouping of Supreme Court Justices as his favorites, including Robert Jackson (for his writings) and Felix Frankfurter and John Marshall Harlan (for their "analytical clarity"). LINK
The Wall Street Journal's editorial board does not like the new NARAL ad, which puts them in league with the Annenberg folks and many clear thinkers. Let's see if any Democratic Senator is brave enough to denounce the spot. . .
The Wall Street Journal's Chris Cooper Notes that even in the doldrums of August, the White House can still "adroitly" air its message from the precincts of Crawford and dominate the news cycle.
Case in point: The Los Angeles Times' Chen and Havemann wrap President Bush's "new confidence" in the economy and report the President's cautionary words on rising healthcare and energy costs as potential obstacles in continued economic growth. LINK
The Boston Globe's Scot Lehigh Notes that although the President's poll numbers are lower than perhaps Dan Bartlett would like, that has not shaken Bush's positive and "pleased" outlook on himself and his fiscal policies. LINK
The politics of Iraq:
The Los Angeles Times' Mazzetti writes up Secretary Rumsfeld's now standard caution that insurgent violence in Iraq will likely increase as the country approaches its next political deadline. LINK
Note NBC News' open talk about the White House's open talk about troop withdrawals, however.
Maureen Dowd is back writing bi-weekly, and today it is about the war in Iraq. LINK
Big Casino budget politics: Medicare:
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the Los Angeles Times writes the lower-than-expected Medicare prescription drug benefit costs announced by the Administration yesterday "came as something of a surprise. Until now, most analysts had predicted that the program would be much more expensive than Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress envisioned." LINK
Robert Pear of the New York Times reads the fine print, too, however, beneath the headline. LINK
The Fitzgerald investigation:
The AP reports that members of the Inter-American Press Association have embarked upon Washington, DC this week to show their support for jailed reporter Judith Miller and meet with Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) about legislation that would secure the journalist/source relationship. LINK
Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA) is seeking permission from the FEC to use his campaign war chest to help pay some hefty legal bills. LINK
The AP reports on a Texas district judge's decision to refuse to drop money laundering and other charges against two associates of Tom DeLay. LINK
The recently appointed RNC treasurer Robert Kjellander and the Carlyle Group have received subpoenas for documents related to a federal investigation into possible corruption at a state pension fund, reports the Associated Press. LINK
Proof that the media might never tire of the same old "Mike Huckabee is thin" story: Ginia Bellafante's Little-Rocked-datelined story in today's New York Times food section. LINK
Some key Republican fundraisers in the Tampa, FL area are interested in pursuing a bid to host the 2008 Republican National Committee there. LINK
The AP reports that Dr. Dean provided a tiny dose of relief for New Hampshire and Iowa on Monday with his prognosis that the 2008 primary calendar should only undergo a minor transformation. LINK
The Schwarzenegger Era:
The Schwarzenegger-backed redistricting reform initiative suffered its second court defeat yesterday and may not be on the special election ballot this November, reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK
Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times just misses must-read status as he explores the debate between liberal Internet activists and Rahm Emanuel's DCCC about how best to expand the playing field for House seats in 2006. LINK
Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) and Judy Baar Topinka are holding off on deciding whether or not to run for the Republican nomination for governor until they get a better sense of what former Gov. Jim Edgar intends to do. The Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson has the details. LINK
The NRSC pushback was successful. The Montana Democratic Party is planning on changing a couple of words in its Burns/Abramoff ad after some stations indicated they would refuse to air it. LINK
The latest horserace poll numbers in the New Jersey gubernatorial race, courtesy of Quinnipiac University: Sen. Jon Corzine garners 50 percent of the vote versus Doug Forrester's 40 percent. The poll among likely voters was taken from Aug. 3, 2005 -- Aug. 8, 2005 and has a margin of error of 3.2 percent. No Carla Katz or Heartland Fidelity Insurance questions were asked.
The New York Daily News' Dave Saltonstall leads his Marist Poll coverage with the 75 percent of New Yorkers who believe Michael Bloomberg is going to win a second term. LINK
The New York Times' Diane Cardwell gives Mr. Ferrer a long, loving profile, emphasizing the bootstraps, as part of the paper's series on the candidates. LINK
The return of John Del Cecato, in 2-D. LINK
In this space yesterday we brought you an excerpt of a letter from RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman in (unsurprising) support of a recent report from the American Center for Voting Rights. A sentence placing ACVR in its proper partisan context was accidentally omitted from The Note. As many Note readers know, ACVR's leadership is largely dominated by Republican activists including Bush-Cheney 2004 general counsel Thor Hearne and former RNC spokesguy Jim Dyke.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean issued this statement in response to the ACVR report: "This shouldn't be a partisan issue, this is an American issue. . . I re-issue my call to Chairman Mehlman and the Republican Party to review our report and to work with us to reform the way elections are conducted, and to ensure that we restore Americans' confidence in our election system."
Just to recap: Both national party chairmen support a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to voter fraud or intimidation and/but this partisan back and forth doesn't seem to have moved the ball one iota down the field.
The New York Times' Dean Murphy on the Ohio effort to change some election rules, led mostly by advantage-seeking partisan Democrats. LINK
USA Today's Jim Drinkard Notes the return of paper to the polls. 25 states now require some sort of paper trail. LINK
Dan Balz's write-up of the new Democracy Corps poll stresses the triumph of cultural values over economic interest. LINK
When "here TV," the new gay and lesbian cable network, launches Friday at 8 pm, Elizabeth Birch gets Pat Buchanan talking about gay issues. The conservative firebrand chats about his 1992 GOP convention speech, his years in the Reagan White House, and his hunch that gays and lesbians will ultimately get everything they're after. LINK
David Gelernter does not believe James Dobson is ready for prime time, in re: his remarks on stem cells. He writes an angry op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal.