The Note: Ten Minutes from the New New Normal

Boston Globe columnist Brian McGrory columnizes on his love/hate relationship with Gov. Romney. LINK

"There are times, too many times, when Mitt Romney is the most exasperating politician on the planet, sliding further by the day to the right, mocking his home state to the rest of the country, seemingly expedient in every action he takes and decision he makes."

"But just when it seems time to wish him good riddance on his way toward a presidential campaign, something like this happens. Romney acts like the real, honest-to-goodness governor he always had the potential to be -- deeply moral, defiantly nonpartisan, crisply decisive, and nonchalantly generous."

The O'Connor seat:

Judge Edith Brown Clement and her husband left their New Orleans home "in the early stages of the storm" and are living at the home of one of her Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals colleagues in Jackson, MS, the New York Times says. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Wirey John Harwood writes, "Conservatives tout female court pick to block Gonzales….Right rallies around antiabortion appeals-court judges, including Edith Jones and Priscilla Owen; Janice Rogers Brown, an African-American, would meet post-Katrina calls for Bush to appoint a minority. All are seen as more conservative than Attorney General Gonzales. . ."

John Roberts for Chief Justice:

USA Today's Memmott walks back the MoveOn.org phantom ad flap story, but makes it clear that Eli Pariser doesn't blame the Nation's Newspaper. LINK

The New York Sun's J. Gerstein got what is believed to be history's first exclusive interview with Memmott. LINK

The New York Times' Kirkpatrick nicely sums up the current state of Democratic thinking in the Senate on shifting the focus of their efforts from Roberts to the O'Connor replacement. LINK

And it is still unclear just how much Steve Schmidt and Brian McCabe will enjoy this quote from the Democratic whip/Judiciary Committee member:

"'Has anything come up before the hearings that is a showstopper for Roberts? The answer is no,' said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois. . ."

Read on for the Schumer/Reid short list narrowing -- no Garza, Jones, or Luttig for them -- and Sen. Kennedy's list of suggested nominees.

Explain to us again why Democrats expect a President who ran twice for the office explicitly saying he would nominate justices like Scalia and Thomas should give in to those who suggest he should strive for "balance" and O'Connor-like status quo.

Ethics:

"A Texas grand jury has indicted a political organization formed by Tom DeLay, accusing it of taking illegal corporate money as the House majority leader helped Republicans win control of the Texas Legislature and keep Congress in GOP hands," reports the Associated Press. Rep. DeLay has not been charged with any wrongdoing. LINK

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Travis County DA Ronnie Earle said he hasn't ruled out possible legal action against DeLay, "No one's off the hook. The investigation is ongoing." LINK

2005:

The Democrats all played nicely with each other in their final televised debate before primary voters head to the polls on Tuesday. LINK

The New York Times reports on Gifford Miller's continued scaling back of his homestretch advertising budget in the face of a potentially negative ruling today from the Campaign Finance Board. LINK

The New York Post picks up Ben Smith's Politicker item about David Doak's decreasing influence within the Ferrer campaign. LINK

2006:

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