The Note: The Note

WASHINGTON, Aug 11

NEWS SUMMARY

You know you are a crackerjack Note reader when:

1. You realize that Bill Clinton's scheduled appearance with Wolf Blitzer in/on "The Situation Room" during the 3:00 pm ET segment today has the potential to rock your world and be the biggest political event of the day. (Insert your own personal "Situation Room" joke here.)

2. You can channel Bernie Goldberg and explain why the MSM's coverage branding the NARAL ad (which you realize is actually a video press release) as false and inflammatory doesn't necessarily mean the MSM isn't liberally slanted.

3. You can read Bob Novak's piece about current and future Supreme Court politics and count no fewer than 5 scoops, 6 unintentional ironies, and 3 outrages. LINK

4. You know that the most important story in any New York newspaper today about the mayoral race is Jennifer "Scoop" Steinhauer's front-pager on Goldman Sachs soon-to-be-announced deal to stay in lower Manhattan. LINK

5. You can instantly play out the political implications of the New York Times latest reporting on the 9/11 panel and Atta LINK, as well as the Washington Post's story from Iraq, quoting a military official on background warning that talk of troop withdrawals are way premature. LINK

6. You think that "Does anyone have page 10?" has replaced "Mary, help!" as the plea-to-staff political line of the new millennium.

7. You allow your eyes to dart to the New York Times business report that the Delta Shuttle is going to start using new planes (with, for a time, some first-class seating), as the most important story to the Gang of 500 anywhere today. LINK

8. You can read the Walter Pincus story in the Washington Post trying to answer the "who sent Wilson to Niger?" question without your inner Cliff May overcoming your capacity for reason. LINK

9. You equate -- even in August -- Thursdays with John DiStaso's always must-read Union Leader Granite Status column, which today has some early GOP presidential poll numbers from the first-in-the-nation state (showing Sen. McCain with a healthy lead and some known names registering at zero), and details of how Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Bay State) is spending his weekend. LINK

10. You know who to call to get the upcoming ARG data from the same poll on the Democratic field.

Today's other marquee event will occur at 1:05 pm ET when President Bush, Secretary Rice, and Secretary Rumsfeld hold a press availability at the President's ranch in Crawford, TX.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy raised the curtain a bit during his gaggle aboard Air Force One yesterday. When he was asked if specific troop levels for Iraq over the next six months will be on today's agenda, Duffy responded thusly: "I would expect something like that would come up. But, again, as you know, the President always relies on his commanders on the ground to make those kinds of recommendations and those kinds of conversations are private."

At 9:00 am ET, the National Archives and Records Administration will release documents relating to U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. These records relate to Roberts' tenure as Special Assistant to the Attorney General in 1981-82. The papers consist of Notes, memoranda and other materials written by, or sent to John Roberts. Some of these documents may be duplicative of materials that were previously made available. The release is expected to total about 500 pages. You can see them online here: LINK

In case you find all this document talk confusing, here's a simple overview:

1. Roberts' time in the AG's office: lots of documents already released, more coming today (with some duplication likely)

2. Roberts' work in Reagan's White House Counsel's office: some documents made public under FOIA, others to be released by August 22, 2005

3. Roberts' work in the Solicitor General's office during Bush 41: documents will not be forthcoming (thus far)

Religious leaders from across denominational lines will host an 11:00 am ET conference call to discuss their joint concerns regarding the Family Research Council's upcoming telecast, "Justice Sunday II: God Save the United States and This Honorable Court!"

Just in case you were wondering, the last time "Social Security" was the first post-"News Summary" section of The Note was Thursday June 23, 2005. And/but anniversaries make for beautiful pegs. At 10:30 am ET, AARP will release results of its survey tracking and exploring public perceptions about Social Security over three decades and hold a rally marking the 70th anniversary of Social Security.

US Senate candidate Jeanine Pirro (R-NY) continues her announcement tour in Rochester, Syracuse, and Clifton Park, NY.

And at 7:05 pm ET, President Bush's friend, Raphael Palmeiro, returns to Camden Yards to play his first baseball game since being suspended for testing positive for steroids.

Roberts:

Bob Novak -- keying off the NARAL ad -- writes that the "current hard count" for Roberts is 60 (as in Senators). "That would be more than enough to confirm him and barely enough to end a filibuster. But it is not enough to further the grand strategy for a conservative court. At least 70 votes for confirmation may be needed to make it comfortable for President Bush to name somebody at least as conservative as Roberts to the next vacancy, which soon may be in the offing." LINK

The New York Times' Linda Greenhouse can't quite bring herself to say the NARAL ad is false and misleading, but Steve Schmidt has to be happy that "even" the New York Times suggests as much, and quotes two pro-choice figures as critical of the spot. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jess Bravin reports that the White House plans to release thousands of pages of Roberts documents by August 22 … but not the Solicitor General docs desired by Democrats.

The New York Times' Stolberg on Specter's letter to Leahy. There's also the latest on the back and forth between Sen. Wyden and the White House about what Judge Roberts said during his courtesy call. LINK

David Savage and Maura Reynolds of the Los Angeles Times revisit President Bush's 2001 executive order concerning presidential papers and break down the Roberts documents into those three easy-to-digest categories. LINK

And as for the Reagan-era documents, Savage and Reynolds write, "Two White House lawyers have been sent to Simi Valley to review the files, an aide to Bush confirmed Wednesday. The White House has said the Reagan-era files will be released on or before Aug. 22."

"The White House aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said political considerations were not one of the administration's criteria in reviewing the documents for release," although the Washington Post sort of disagrees.

Writes James Lakely in the Washington Times, "As special assistant to the attorney general in the Reagan administration, John G. Roberts Jr. urged the Justice Department to keep its distance from an eager and demanding 'new right,' even characterizing one of the giants of the conservative movement as 'no friend of ours.'" LINK

(Note Note: said "giant" is Paul Weyrich.)

The Washington Post's Jo Becker and R. Jeffrey Smith share John Roberts' advice to Sandra Day O'Connor about her then-upcoming confirmation hearings. LINK

Abigail Thernstrom opines about the Roberts nomination on the Los Angeles Times op-ed page: LINK

"In the early 1980s, Roberts had a 'rather cramped view' of the Voting Rights Act, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) has charged. The description is being echoed by civil rights groups and voices in the media. But it's hard to see the charge becoming a political winner: Roberts' beliefs two decades ago are precisely those of most Americans today, polling data suggest."

Pirro:

The New York Times with stories on news of day and Pirro's name ID. LINK and LINK

From the first story, the best part for insiders: "[Reporters] teased Mr. McKeon, a figure known to the Albany press corps from his days as spokesman for Gov. George E. Pataki."

"'No sound, lost Page 10: great job, Mike,' one reporter said. Mr. McKeon kept his humor, although earlier in the day, he swore at a reporter who asked when Ms. Pirro would learn about the issues."

For more on this: LINK

The New York Daily News team leads its coverage thusly: "It may have been a hot day in the dead of August, but Jeanine Pirro froze up." LINK

The New York Post leads its coverage with the Marist poll digits. LINK

The Albany Times Union's Elizabeth Benjamin Notes Pirro's decision to ditch the now infamous (missing page 10) speech text for talking points on an index card somewhere between Manhattan and Albany. LINK

Benjamin also has this: "State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said Pirro was 'splitting hairs' with her partial-birth abortion stance. Long has said Pirro's positions on abortion, gun control and other social issues could make it hard for her to win his party's support -- without which no Republican has won statewide office since 1974."

Bush agenda:

The Washington Post's Weisman and VandeHei wonder what happened to President Bush's " once-uncompromising stand on earmarks" in light of the 6,500 or so in the transportation bill. LINK

Ed Chen of the Los Angeles Times looks at how the Golden State will benefit from the newly signed law. LINK

A couple of colorful Notes on the presidential visit to the Land of Lincoln:

1. "Bush praises Daley, bungles B-L-A-G-O-J-E-V-I-C-H," reads a Chicago Tribune headline. LINK

2. The Courier News on the "frenzied" crowd. LINK

Peggy Noonan on the President's secure base and on the First Lady. LINK

The politics of national security:

The Los Angeles Times' Ed Chen and Dana Calvo get on the front page with their look at the Cindy Sheehan phenomenon. The duo Notes, "MoveOn.org and other liberal groups have rushed to provide support, offering media expertise and attempting to assemble a corps of others who have lost relatives in Iraq or have family members serving there." LINK

The Houston Chronicle reports that local Texas officials have no plans to remove Sheehan from her Crawford location and that her presence is creating more momentum for her cause. LINK

The New York Times on states worrying about Air Guard bases slated for closure. LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation:

Using a rare (and exciting) "This Washington Post reporter" reporter phrase to describe his contacts with Administration officials, Walter Pincus writes that "The origin of Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's trip to Niger in 2002 to check out intelligence reports that Saddam Hussein was attempting to purchase uranium has become a contentious side issue to the inquiry by special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who is looking into whether a crime was committed with the exposure of Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife, as a covert CIA employee." LINK

When you finish reading the piece, it's hard to be sure you know what Pincus thinks the evidence shows. Intentional? We don't know.

The economy:

". . .the Department of Energy warned that pump prices could remain above $2 a gallon through much of next year," reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK

House of Labor:

John Sweeney reaches out to locals of the renegade unions, per the New York Times' S. Greenhouse. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Perhaps in an attempt to rehabilitate his image with some conservatives in his party, Sen./Dr./Leader Bill Frist writes a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which he calls the "death" tax "immoral" and promises a vote on it after Labor Day. We certainly do not want to suggest that Sen. Frist did not proofread it or give it a good once-over, but it reads pretty staff written to our eyes.

"The question of his Mormonism may reveal something about the Republican Party and the Christian activists who have been key to recent Republican electoral victories," writes Bloomberg's Przybyla in her look at how Gov. Romney's religion may or may not play a role in his potential presidential run.

Romney pulls one of his Massachusetts judicial nominees. LINK

Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register writes that Newt Gingrich is once again promoting his new book (in Iowa). According to state Republicans, the aroma of a presidential campaign is unmistakably wafting through the air -- as evidenced by the Gingrich-Clinton health care compatriotism and his GOPAC's instruction program for school board hopefuls. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

Page Six says Bill Clinton is speaking in Rhode Island tonight. LINK

2005:

Gifford Miller's mail tab goes to a staggering 1.8 million taxpayer dollars. LINK

The New York Daily News' Katz and Saul round up the Democratic mayoral primary campaign trail, leading with Anthony Weiner's "boot camp" idea for school bullies. LINK

Mayor Bloomberg is directing some city funds to support the upcoming West Indian-American Day Parade. LINK

The New York Post hard copy has a piece (avec photos) of the new Bloomberg campaign bus.

Doug Forrester reassures voters, per the New York Times. LINK

Politics:

Joe Preciphs of the Wall Street Journal details efforts by three GOP governors (Blunt, Ehrlich, Daniels) to weaken public employee unions in their states.

"Despite a zero-tolerance policy on tampering with voters, the Republican Party has quietly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide private defense lawyers for a former Bush campaign official charged with conspiring to keep Democrats from voting in New Hampshire," the AP's John Solomon reports. LINK

George Will addresses the history books: I did not provide Ronald Reagan with that all-important briefing book: LINK

Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) takes Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi "inside the house of horrors that is Congress," to see how Members of Congress routinely approve amendments so they can go home and purport to have "fought for" this or that, knowing all along, according to Sanders, that their corporate backers -- and the Republican congressional majority -- will not allow them to support the measure on final passage. LINK

The AP reports that Census numbers in Texas show a larger number of Hispanic than white residents. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

Gov. Schwarzenegger's "glitzy" fundraising push for $50 million to support his initiatives on the November ballot will include a private reception at the Rolling Stones' kickoff concert at Boston's Fenway Park, reports the San Francisco Chronicle's Marinucci. LINK

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