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All sources in all quarters agree: the presidential race seems sort of slow and leadless lately.
Maybe it's Reagan, or Clinton, or June ennui.
Maybe it's the struggle to understand what the 2005 policy agendas of the candidates would be (just kidding).
Or maybe, just maybe, it is the paralysis that sets in as the crescendo of veepstakes approaches.
If you have never been a would-be source for, or a reporter on, a round of veepstakes, you can't even begin to imagine the amount of time that gets wasted on thousands of daily exchanges (phone, e-mail, IM, face to face) that go a little something like this:
Reporter: What are you hearing?
Source: The same thing I was hearing yesterday when you asked me about this. I'm really totally out of the loop on it.
Or like this:
Reporter: What's going on?
Source: Y'all are in the media -- you tell me.
Reporter: It's looking like X (fill in name of potential Kerry running mate here).
Source: Yeah, it sure does.
Reporter: Really? Are you hearing that?
Reporter (excitedly): Really? From where? How solid?
Source: Fournier just told me he was hearing that.
Meanwhile, from top newspaper editors to reporters on the street (or, at least, at Bistro Bis), there is agreement.
1. Blah blah blah, the first big decision the candidate makes.
2. Blah blah blah, voters don't vote on who the vice presidential candidate is.
3. Blah blah blah, do no harm.
4. Blah blah blah, Gore and Cheney helped a lot.
Of course, all that really matters is what is going on inside John Kerry's head, and, to paraphrase Alvy Singer in "Annie Hall," we happen to have John Kerry's head right here:
A Nantucket Monologue
Act One, Scene One.
John Kerry, off-stage:
Jim Johnson likes to tell his friends that there are four theories of the case.
The first is that I need to choose someone who will help me in a state I need to win.
The second is that I need to choose someone who is good with certain swing constituencies.
The third is that the person must be a recognizable figure -- instantly credible as a vice president and potential leader.
The fourth is that the person be ready from moment one to order men and women to die in foreign lands or order NORAD to shoot down planes.
I've always been a realist. My instincts tend toward the third and fourth theories.
Of course, I've all but promised Joe Biden that he'll be Secretary of State.
I've heard good things about John Edwards from everyone -- from the polls that we had our old friend from Boston do, from Ted Kennedy, from the Clintons, from Jim Johnson even. And the Edwards boom is really a wonder.
But here's the issue. I don't like being boxed into a corner. Nor do I care to be told what to do.
The media have built up John Edwards to the point where my not choosing him would require some sort of explanation to the Democratic Party elites and their pals in the press.
I like John Edwards perfectly well, and I can even imagine respecting him.
But get real: most of the high poll numbers John Edwards now enjoys are a direct result of his name recognition. After all, the guy came in second. He's a magical talker. He's charismatic. He has that Southern accent that screams "moderate" to white Southern and Midwestern voters. I see all that.
But I will not submit to this pressure. I will not choose out of fear. Not for this decision. Not for eight years of partnership.
There are many opinions that matter: those of my wife, my brother and my children, for example. I'd take Teresa's advice over the entire Dewey Square contingent any day -- well, perhaps except for Jill Alper's.
If I choose John Edwards, it's because I will choose him. It's because I will feel that he is the right person for the job. The man who can complement my strengths and soften my weaknesses, whatever those may be.
It won't be because the New York Times and Joe Klein and David Rudd and Tom Oliphant think he'll save our party. (Incidentally, anyone who says I'm afraid of being overshadowed by a young, charismatic guy has never considered my relationship with David Wade.)
I thought reporters were unimaginative BEFORE this process started. I cannot believe how often Jodi, Matea, and Ed ask me the same five questions about this again and again, as if they are suddenly going to get me to give something up, or as if the comments and jokes are suddenly humorous or interesting.
And don't get me started on the local reporters!
I've stayed true to my plan -- we have run a confidential process, with very little floating around about Nunn's gay rights record or corporate boards, and the names of a few of the people I've considered haven't surfaced at all.
But this cloak and dagger stuff of secret meetings and shuttling in and out is so silly -- one can meet with people without the press knowing -- and I have.
Bill Clinton, a fellow who knows a little bit about picking vice presidents, has told me often that the only criterion that matters -- the only one -- is that I gotta be able to trust the person I pick. Trust. I cannot be looking over my shoulder. I should never, as president, have to think for one minute, that my vice president is working at cross purposes from me.
I get it.
Can Dick Gephardt stand toe-to-toe with Dick Cheney and discuss foreign policy during their debate?
Can Dick articulate my domestic policies?
Can I trust Dick's staff completely? (Man, that Elmendorf is dogged . . . )
Can I completely trust Dick Gephardt?
Does my family like him?
Am I confident enough in my chances that I don't need to choose someone with a golden smile?
Would he be seen as the middle class son of a Teamster who has faced the real problems of everyday people through several generations, or as a tax-loving Washington insider who was born in a suit?
Or I must ask these questions:
Do I need to rile up my base any more? Do Democrats need any more convincing to vote against George W. Bush?
Do I need to choose someone whom I don't trust completely?
Do I need to cede back foreign policy and anti-terrorism credentials to George W. Bush?
My team insists they can stage a Midwestern battleground state tour, successfully launching anyone I want to choose and getting us good coverage.
I'll be glad when this is over. It was funny to hear two ABC reporters speculate that my mood and body language suggests to them that I have made a decision.
Marvin, can you get John McCain on the cell phone again?
Sen. Kerry resumes his campaign schedule, surrounding an afternoon speech to the SEIU with a breakfast fundraiser in San Francisco and an evening fundraiser in San Jose. Kerry continues to fundraise and focus on technology throughout this week, producing a packed schedule with few veepstakes friendly gaps.
President Bush heads to Philadelphia this morning and will designate Vietnam as the first Asian country to be a focus of his $15 billion plan to fight AIDS domestically and abroad. While in Pennsylvania, the President will also attend a RNC Victory 2004 fundraiser in Villanova before returning to Washington for an afternoon presentation of the 2004 Presidential Medals of Freedom in the East Room.
There is no morning gaggle or press briefing today from the White House.
Former President Clinton appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today" this morning. See our Morning Show Wrap for the highlights. LINK
Today he will attend another book signing near Wall Street in New York City before holding a town hall meeting carried on AOL and selected Infinity Broadcasting radio stations. Tonight the former President chats it up and takes your calls on CNN's "Larry King Live," and later talks about his life and times on "The Charlie Rose Show."
Secretary of State Colin Powell swears in John Negroponte in as the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq today during a ceremony at the State Department.
Michael Moore's much-talked-about film "Fahrenheit 9/11" opens in theaters today in New York City, and premieres in Washington, D.C. to an Uptown Theater full of opinion elites.
The New York papers are all over the lines of people waiting for Bill Clinton to sign their book. LINK and LINK
It appears from the early returns that "My Life" is already breaking non-fiction records.
That Kit Seelye has a career as a society columnist if she wants one!!!
The Washington Post's Lynne Duke wraps the Clinton book launch Tuesday, which drew thousands of fans. LINK
The New York Post business section looks at the publishing piling on effect and how it just may help David Maraniss. LINK
Kathy Kiely of USA Today looks at how "My Life" could boost Sen. Hillary Clinton's political career (as if she needed a whole lot of boosting!). LINK
Dick Morris continues to spin his Clinton conspiracy web in advance of Hillary's presidential run. LINK
As he hits the streets and the airwaves hawking his book, President Clinton is looking at a retrospective job approval rating of 62 percent, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. According to ABC News' Cheryl Arnedt, "Americans now split evenly on Clinton "as a person"; half say they've got a favorable impression of him, 49 percent unfavorable. Opinions of him were much more unfavorable -- as high as 67 percent negative -- during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and its aftermath."
Arnedt also Notes that Clinton's current rating is close to his 65 percent approval rating as he left office -- "one that tends to serve more as a farewell than as a true job evaluation," that his approval hit 69 percent in January 1998, and that his lowest number was 43 percent in June 1993, after the 1990-91 recession.
The Washington Post's Anne Applebaum takes a look at the vast intrigue of Clinton's new book. LINK
While the rest of the world focuses on the Lewinsky and Starr parts of President Clinton's memoirs, Walter Shapiro focuses on "the other stuff." LINK
The Washington Post's ed board cautions that "buyers of Mr. Clinton's book should beware of the version of history he is selling." LINK
Good Housekeeping wins the battle for second serial rights, reports the New York Post. LINK
Cindy Adams suggests Bill Clinton is in early negotiations for his next book. LINK
The Washington Times discusses Clinton's Whitewater scandal in light of his new book. LINK
"My Life" "got off to a fairly slow start" in Cincinnati yesterday, the Enquirer reports. LINK
Though "Harry Potter he's not," writes the Sun Journal, Clinton's book still enthused "a reasonably good response" in Maine's Twin Cities yesterday. LINK
The Denver Post's Kieran Nicholson reports that former President Clinton "is slated to be the featured speaker at a $250-a-plate gala fundraiser" on July 20 for a memorial at Columbine High School. LINK
It's not a campaign appearance, and depending on which side of the fence you stand on, it may be an election commercial, but "Fahrenheit 9/11" hits the screens in New York and premieres in Washington, D.C. today. We bring you a collection of opinion:
USA Today's Claudia Puig writes that politics aside, Moore's film entertains, and whether or not it actually moves voters one way or another, it gives voice to the President's critics. LINK
"Of course, its strong point of view in an increasingly polarized nation will draw both ardent support and virulent opposition. But no moviegoer will be bored. The documentary's scathing attack on the war in Iraq and George W. Bush's presidency is informative, provocative, frightening, compelling, funny, manipulative and, most of all, entertaining."
3 1/2 stars does it get in the Nation's Newspaper.
"That Mr. Moore does not like Mr. Bush will hardly come as news. 'Fahrenheit 9/11 . . . ' is many things: a partisan rallying cry, an angry polemic, a muckraking inquisition into the use and abuse of power. But one thing it is not is a fair and nuanced picture of the president and his policies," writes A.O. Scott in his New York Times review. LINK
The Los Angeles Times' great Kenneth Turan (trapped behind a paid registration wall on the Web) essentially calls the film a flawed tour de force, compares Michael Moore to Emile Zola, and gets to the heart of what scares and angers Moore's critics: "He's never made a documentary that so literally embodies the cliché of being ripped from today's headlines, that arrives in theaters precisely as the issues he's concerned with are getting maximum attention within the context of a heated presidential campaign. In fact, neither has anybody else."
The Madison Capital Times reports that "Fahrenheit 9/11" will open on two art-house theaters in Madison owned by one theater chain, but was rebuffed by another movie theater corporation. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:
Roll Call says in an important story for insiders that the Bush campaign wants big donors to place their bets with state parties, rather than 527s.
As President Bush heads to Philadelphia today to talk compassion and his Administration's record and plan on HIV/AIDS, he will be hit with a pre-emptive attack in the form of a new radio ad from the Media Fund, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer's Thomas Fitzgerald. LINK
The ad accuses the President of breaking promises on education, jobs and health insurance.
"'This is Wednesday, June 23rd, and George Bush is back in Philadelphia,' the announcer says. 'Mr. Bush -- before you bring us one more promise, stop breaking the promises you made four years ago.'"
Fitzgerald Notes that the Media Fund "bought time on the five highest-rated radio stations in the Philadelphia market" and will run its message in a full-page ad in the Inquirer.
Continuing the back and forth rapid response, the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign will brief reporters today on its new radio ad in Pennsylvania.
Communications Director Nicolle Devenish and Policy Director Tim Adams will discuss the new ad which "highlights the fact that over 1.4 million new jobs have been created during the past nine months and the economy is growing at its fastest rate in 20 years, even as Sen. John Kerry continues to talk down the nation's improving economy with his pessimistic rhetoric," according to a release.
Keying off of President Bush's visit to the City of Brotherly Love, the Philadelphia Inquirer's ed board writes, "There remains too many gaps between the President's fine intentions to combat AIDS and his administration's actual deeds." LINK
"The Bush administration announced Tuesday that it had completed one of the biggest changes in the history of the food stamp program, replacing paper coupons with electronic benefits and debit cards," writes Robert Pear of the New York Times. LINK
MoveOn.org and the Bush-Cheney '04 re-election campaign battle over the quality of new jobs being added at a critical time in the election season, the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Nell Henderson Note. LINK
"The Bush campaign is seeking to boost the president's approval ratings on the economy, while Democrats are trying to deny him the political benefits of the recent upturn in U.S. job creation."
And this explainer comes near the end of the article:
"Neither side really knows much about the quality of the 1.2 million new jobs added this year because of the way the data are collected. While many more jobs were created in the service sector than at manufacturing firms, the Labor Department does not know whether a lost manufacturing job was a well-paid assembly line position or a minimum-wage janitor. Likewise, statisticians cannot be sure whether a new employee at McDonald's Corp. is flipping burgers or cutting deals in an air-conditioned office."
The Wall Street Journal's Harwood looks at the new battle shaping up this election year over values, with the prisoner abuse story "threatening one of Mr. Bush's bedrock strengths."
Harwood Notes: "Mr. Bush can't win by breaking even on values. In a race clouded by Clinton scandals, a values advantage was crucial to his triumph over Al Gore." His advisers are confident, however, that the President won't just break even but that his leadership after 9/11 cemented his image as a leaders with "'moral clarity,'" as one strategist told Harwood, who also considers how the gay marriage debate will "draw a values line to the incumbent's benefit."
Nuala O'Faolain isn't so sure President Bush will receive the enthusiastic welcome of the Irish as past U.S. Presidents have. LINK
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Marlon Manuel looks at the First Lady as the First Surrogate. LINK
"Surrogates attack. They defend. They insulate. Think Karen Hughes for President Bush or Max Cleland for John Kerry. But when a kinder, gentler touch is needed, cue the first lady. She's warmer than Dick Cheney, more congenial than Donald Rumsfeld. Plus, she can stay on message."
ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:
The New York Times' Jodi Wilgoren contemplates "how far would a presidential candidate travel in one day to not cast a vote on an issue critical to his campaign? For Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts on Tuesday, the journey was 3,910 miles." LINK
The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman writes up Sen. Kerry's stop back on Capitol Hill to vote yesterday, and up high throws in a snarky comment by Sen. Sununu -- then Notes that Kerry has missed 119 roll call votes out of 135 cast so far in 2004. She also tick-tocks what actually happened to the vote -- i.e., it didn't happen, providing a civics lesson on just how miserable it can be to be in the minority party. LINK
The Washington Post's Paul Farhi and Helen Dewar Note the "cascade of blame" that rained down in between Sen. Kerry's cancellation of events in New Mexico and his trip to the Senate for the vote that wasn't. LINK
Patrick Healy of the Boston Globe Notes two small political gains Sen. Kerry made yesterday by returning to the Senate for a vote: "a useful new weapon to fight opponents who are pressuring him to step down for skipping 89 percent of Senate votes so far this year," and the Senate class picture, which had he not been in, could have been used against him. LINK
If John Kerry loses New Mexico's five electoral votes will Bill Frist get one of those election night BC04 bouquets?
The New York Post's Vince Morris provides his readers with a wrap up of Kerry's Senate stewing day. LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Gold and Simon write that Kerry was simply "outmaneuvered . . . " LINK
And then add this:
"A senior Kerry campaign aide said that the likelihood of a Senate vote in mid-July on a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage will influence the timing of when the campaign rolls out Kerry's choice for vice presidential running mate. Because of that vote, Kerry will likely announce his pick in early July, or close to the Democratic National Convention at the end of the month."
Mark Mellman uses his Hill column to hit the same points as yesterday's conference call with reporters about his view of the President's recent poll numbers. LINK
Massachusetts lawmakers are in the midst of duking out what to do with Sen. John Kerry's Senate seat should he win the presidency, per the Boston Globe. "Democrats have crafted a bill that calls for a special election within 120 to 145 days after a senator declares he or she is vacating the seat. The Democrats' legislation strips Romney of his authority to name a senator who would serve until the next statewide election in 2006. The bill, scheduled to be taken up today in the [state] Senate, also bars a temporary appointee until voters can choose a replacement."LINK
THK in Florida: . . . . she "courts" LINK . . . and "woos" LINK
Martin Kasindorf of USA Today Notes the fundraising power of Hollywood stars who will be coming out soon to help Sen. Kerry's campaign in the two, bi-coastal, rescheduled concerts. "The concerts are expected to bring in at least $10 million for the Kerry campaign, adding to its total collection of more than $140 million. President Bush has raised at least $216 million since May 2003." LINK
The Boston Globe's Michael Kranish looks at the small mentions, seemingly full of praise, of Sen. Kerry in former President Clinton's memoirs. Also Noted, his 1988 convention speech for another Massachusetts Democrat, then-Gov. Michael Dukakis. LINK
The Hartford Courant's David Lightman writes, "Forget the scream, the temper, the D.C. bashing. Howard Dean is fully committed to getting John Kerry elected president, and don't dare suggest otherwise." LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry:
The AP's Martin Crutsinger writes that, by using the data that suits them, both candidates are sort of right about the economy. LINK
The Wall Street Journal's Jacob Schlesinger writes that Democrats are retuning their rhetoric from broad indictments of the economy to more narrow, pocket-book issues important to middle class voters. And it's today's Wall Street Journal free link. LINK
"The shift in the economic debate is significant, because it's been unclear how economic anxieties would compete with Iraq for voters' attention. President Bush's campaign also is shifting ground to take the new situation into account, sending administration aides and campaign officials out with each new batch of employment numbers to trumpet a turnaround in a subject that not long ago was a sore point. And they have begun portraying Mr. Kerry as an economic 'pessimist' who has a dour and unhelpful view of an economy that is turning up."
"Certainly the new version of the economic debate is harder for Democrats to win. Voters are less likely to turn out an incumbent if they see the economy broadly improving, even if they still have some specific pocketbook complaints."
"The changed terrain increasingly has Bush advisers comparing their candidate to Bill Clinton, a politician they're usually loath to invoke. Mr. Clinton launched his 1996 re-election campaign amid doubts about the strength of the economy, but by that November, voters were widely persuaded a solid boom was under way."
It's almost cooler than mapping the genome. Having pored through FEC filings, Glen Justice of the New York Times reports more donations to President Bush and Sen. Kerry's campaigns (and their national parties) have come from two specific buildings than from any others in the United States through April. LINK
Both John Weaver and Jim Jordan will enjoy the cameo by the Wyly brothers in the fourth-to-last paragraph.
Deb Orin of the New York Post monitored Laura Bush's online chat yesterday and plays up Family Circle's cookie recipe competition. LINK
The AP's Pickler details Kerry's secretive meeting (poetically in the Senate's "President's Room") with Sen. Edwards in Washington, D.C. Tuesday. LINK
The AP's Fournier Notes that while Virginia Gov. Mark Warner is not on Sen. Kerry's short list, he has valuable insight on how to raise taxes in a Republican legislature. Fournier gives Gov. Warner a few other pats on the back as well. LINK
In a story that is must-reading and will be heart-warming for Kerry supporters, the Wall Street Journal's Avery Johnson summarizes Nader's "rocky start" and projects an uphill battle ahead, including the hard slogs of signature gathering and fundraising.
Today the Green Party kicks off its six-day national convention Milwaukee, Wis. On Saturday, delegates will vote on a presidential candidate. They could nominate Green activist David Cobb or endorse 2000 Green candidate Ralph Nader, who wants an endorsement but not a nomination. LINK
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink (http://www.codepinkalert.org), Global Exchange will key note and other Green leaders will be featured. Ralph Nader is not slated to speak as he contends he will not actively seek the nomination.
Please Note: even if Nader does win the Green Party's backing, it is not a done deal for getting him on their ballot in 22 states and the District of Columbia.
Last night, also in Milwaukee, a grassroots organization called "Greens for Kerry" launched plans for a sophisticated strategy to appeal to Nader/Green sympathizers in swing states. Their goal is to prevent a "'catastrophic' Bush second term" in swing states. The group has set a goal of gathering a minimum 10,000 signatures on their Web site http://www.greensforkerry.com) pledging support for John Kerry in battleground states.
Yesterday Ralph Nader and his new running mate Peter Camejo met with 23 members of the Congressional Black Caucus. AP reports shouts could be heard from inside the meeting. LINK
Leaders in the CBC tell the Kimberly Wilson of the Baltimore Sun they did not mince words when Nader to bow out. "You can't win," said Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Michigan. LINK
Nader called it an ''exciting exchange." He pitched his candidacy would draw out voters and benefit candidates with progressive agendas in congressional and state-wide races.
"We're on the same page on health care, education, jobs, the environment," said caucus chairman, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings. "Now we pray that he will sync his conscience with his conduct."
Democrats in Arizona are poised to challenge the validity of signatures to get Nader on the ballot in their state. The Arizona Republic reports Arizona Dems will file a lawsuit today contesting Ralph Nader's place on the Nov. 2 ballot. No specifics so far but that the action will be filed before 8:00 pm ET, and the deadline for challenge is today. Arizona Dems started checking Nader's 22,000 signatures shortly after they were submitted June 9.
Some math: Arizona is a battleground. Nader took 3 percent there in 2000. There were roughly 7,000 extra signatures submitted in Arizona in preparation for today's challenge.
It would probably take a signs of systematic negligence or abuse render enough invalid to keep his name off on Nov. 2. Jon Kamman reports "A challenger must cite specific signatures being contested, but a wider attack could focus on disqualifying petitions on grounds they were circulated by a non-resident of the state or others barred from the petition process."
Jano Cabrera says the Arizona party has not asked for support for the lawsuit, but the national party stands behind the effort in principle. LINK
Nader tells AP if things get out of hand he may ask Kerry to referee. ''If this becomes a pattern of harassment in other states, we will ask John Kerry to disown and disapprove of these antidemocratic tactics."
Later today, author, anti-war activist and famed thinker Howard Zinn will release a statement to urge voters "do all in your power to assure that Nader achieves ballot access." LINK
There's speculation Nader's opposition to the war could be the issue that most resonates with supporters, and sets him apart from Bush-Kerry.
The Nader Factor leadership, Enright, Kofinis, and Hlinko followed up on their June 10 meeting with Nader to ask him how he is able to "find unity with Reform Party, Green Party and himself as an Independent, but cannot forge common ground with Democrats." LINK
When circulating petitions to put Nader on Nevada's presidential ballot, one fellow Independent picked his own vice presidential candidate, Victoria Jackson Gray Adams. The problem? Neither Nader nor Adams knew anything about it. LINK
The land of 5+2=7:
AP's Sharon Theimer reports that two campaign finance watchdog groups have filed a complaint against Americans Coming Together, alleging that the group is using soft money to finance its mailings. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:
The latest Quinnipiac University poll takes a look at the race for the White House in the great state of New Jersey. In a head-to-head (to head) matchup, Sen. Kerry leads President Bush, 46 percent to 40 percent, with Ralph Nader claiming 7 percent. Conducted June 15-20, the survey of 1,167 registered voters in New Jersey also showed President Bush with the lowest approval rating of his term in the state: 42 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove.
The Wall Street Journal's ed board spits on New Jersey: "New Jersey is the butt of many jokes, and some of them are even unfair. But the Garden State will soon deserve its reputation as one of the highest-taxed places in America. Moreover, it is falling into the same 'progressive' tax trap that has done so much damage to California and New York."
Oregon is set to take advantage of President Bush's faith-based initiative for the first time by asking for $15 million in funds for religious groups to help substance abusers, according to the AP. LINK
Ohio's six congressional Democrats are calling for the resignation of the Bush's Administration's head of food programs because he has a "'callous and biased attitude'" about the needy. LINK
Blasting the Administration for taking too many liberties under the cover of war, an editorial in the Columbus Dispatch reads, "when you have the attorney general, White House counsel and defense secretary, presumably with the concurrence of the president, clustered around the distinctly odd notion that the law applies to the president except when he chooses for it not to, it doesn't take a seer to see the potential for grave mischief in some imaginable future." LINK
The St. Petersburg Times' Adam Smith compares the BC04 Florida operation with the combined efforts of ACT, the Democratic Party and the Kerry campaign. LINK
Kerry's campaign said yesterday that "the political winds of change in Nevada have shifted toward the Democratic presidential candidate," pointing to Kerry's lead in several national polls. LINK
Tom Brown of the Seattle Times writes about the infamous "Anonymous," an alleged senior intelligence official critical of the Bush administration's policies toward the Muslim world, whose book "Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror," will be in stores next month but is already making waves around town. LINK
An editorial in the Charleston Gazette muses on the "amazing role reversal" of the images of old: Republicans as "the party of frugality, drafters of sensible balanced budgets" and Democrats as "irresponsible spenders." LINK
About 500 bilingual election workers are training to assist the Spanish-speaking voters of Clark County, Nev., during the upcoming primary and general elections, reports the Las Vegas Review Journal. LINK
New Hampshire Democrats were dealt a blow when the state Supreme Court ruled the recent redistricting can stand. The Court also lifted the injunction on filing for 225 House and nine senate seats, writes Gerry Rayno of the Union Leader. LINK
Republicans and Gov. Tom Vilsack continue to work out a compromise on the Grow Iowa Values Fund, including the possibility of tax cuts, reports the Des Moines Register's Jonathan Roos. LINK
The AP reports that Oregon state Democrats are accusing Republican congressional candidate Jim Feldkamp of failing to report more than $13,000 in campaign contributions by deadline. LINK
Oregon lawmakers continue to bite back as they relocate the portrait of former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt to a less auspicious location in the capital in the wake of the sex scandal. LINK
The Nashua Telegraph's Kevin Landrigan writes, New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson will call the acceptance of state Attorney General Peter Heed's resignation amid accusations the state's top lawyer got a little too freaky on the dance floor, despite Heed's request it not be accepted until an investigation takes place. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:
Let the trade war begin!
Rep. Jim DeMint (R) easily defeated former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate last night. With 92 percent of the precincts reporting, DeMint had 59 percent of the vote to Beasley's 41 percent. LINK
DeMint faces Democrat Inez Tenenbaum in November. (Tenenbaum probably would have preferred to face Beasley.)
The winner will ascend to the seat held for 40 years by Sen. Fritz Hollings, a Democrat.
The AP Notes Rep. Jim DeMint's victory in South Carolina yesterday. LINK
The Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson and Liam Ford talk to Republicans who say that GOP Senate nominee Jack Ryan misled them about what was in his divorce records, saying that the sealed papers would not embarrass him or the party. LINK
Lynn Sweet thinks Ryan can survive the turmoil. LINK
The Washington Post's Dan Balz looks at Jack Ryan's efforts to fend off calls that he step down in the Illinois Senate race, and spells out the internal maneuvering of Ryan's supporters and foes. LINK
The New York Times' Stephen Kinzer wraps the sex club allegations against Ryan securing its spot as more than just a local interest story. LINK
Fellow Republicans getting upset with Rep. Ray LaHood is still considered news. LINK
The Rocky Mountain News' Kevin Flynn breaks down the first television ads by the Coors and Salazar campaigns. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: the gubernatorial races:
"Jon Huntsman Jr. delivered a royal drubbing to Nolan Karras in Tuesday's primary election to emerge as the Republican nominee for governor" in Utah, reports the Salt Lake Tribune's Dan Harrie, Heather May, and Linda Fantin. LINK
Gov. Rowland's resignation:
The Hartford Courant's David Lightman and Mike Remez write about how Rowland's departure hurts the state's clout in the nation's capital. LINK
The Associated Press reports that Rowland's approval ratings have gone up since his resignation announcement. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: casting and counting:
ABC News' Blake Rasmussen reports that New Jersey Democratic Rep. Rush Holt led a rally Tuesday on Capitol Hill to call for passage of H.R. 2239, which would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a voter-verified paper record of the vote. Holt was joined by Democratic colleagues Reps. Marcie Kaptur of Ohio, Robert Wexler of Florida, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, and Jay Inslee of Washington, as well as folks from Rock the Vote, Common Cause, Democracy for America, True Majority, and Verifiedvoting.org.
Holt told the crowd, "To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: Trust is not a substitute for verification," warning that states like Ohio and Florida have laws mandating manual recounts in close elections and that those recounts are not possible if a paper copy is not printed.
Kaptur specifically mentioned Republican Rep. Robert Ney, her Ohio colleague, as a man who had the power to move the bill to a vote, but refused to. The mention of his name was met with boos and hissing from the crowd of about 60.
Kaptur also had harsh remarks for Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell, chiding him for saying "he'd deliver Ohio to Bush in November."
Wexler spent much of his time attacking Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "You would have thought like . . . that after 2000 that Governor Jeb Bush would have been leading the fight to ensure fairness and reliability and confidence in our election system, but just the opposite has occurred," Wexler said.
Consumer confidence is up this week after a month-long decline, according to a new ABC News/Money magazine poll. The ABC/Money Consumer Comfort Index jumped 5 points. ABC News' Dalia Sussman Notes that the index has "risen that steeply in a single week only 15 times in 18 years of weekly polling, the last just after the fall of Baghdad." Positive jobs data have pulled the index in a positive direction, and gas and food prices has pulled it in a negative direction in recent weeks, but Sussman estimates that the jobs numbers may be winning the tug of war.
An ABC News poll earlier this week found that Americans think that $1.42 per gallon is a reasonable price to be paying for gas. In May 2003, Americans said they thought $1.24 per gallon sounded about right.
The politics of same-sex marriage:
"Though a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage stands little chance of passing this year, the issue is nonetheless heating up on Capitol Hill, pushed by Republican leaders who are determined to force Democrats into an uncomfortable debate in the weeks before the Democratic convention at the end of next month," reports the New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg. LINK
The Chicago Tribune's Anastasia Ustinova reports that Senate Republicans are pushing hard for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and debate and a vote are scheduled for the week of July 12. For those keeping score, Ustinova Notes, that's just two weeks before the Democratic National Convention in Boston. She also throws in comments from former Rep. Bob Barr and ACLU legislative counsel Christopher Anders, who agree that the amendment is a bad idea -- though for different reasons, of course. LINK
The Washington Times reports on Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee that a federal marriage amendment is needed because his state is forcing same-sex "marriage" on everyone else. LINK
The Rocky Mountain News' Deborah Frazier reports that Sen. Hatch agrees with Senate Democrats that they have 40 votes against the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. LINK
The politics of gas prices:
Though gas prices have dropped around the country for the fourth week in a row, industry analysts warn that prices will likely jump again as the summer driving season picks up. LINK
The politics of Iraq:
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told the House Armed Services Committee that "the U.S. military could remain in Iraq for years, but with the passage of time it should be able to step back into more of a supporting role for Iraqi security forces," reports the Washington Post's Thomas Ricks. LINK
The New York Times' Thom Shanker Notes "Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said Tuesday that the Pentagon had underestimated the violent tenacity of an insurgency that formed after Baghdad fell, and he acknowledged that the United States may be forced to keep a significant number of troops in Iraq for years to come." LINK
The politics of national security:
"The House overwhelmingly approved a $417 billion spending bill yesterday that gives the Bush administration most of what it wants for the Pentagon in 2005, but a related House report warned that operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are "generating great stresses" on U.S. forces," report the Washington Post's Dan Morgan and Helen Dewar. LINK
The New York Times' David Sanger reports "President Bush has authorized a team of American negotiators to offer North Korea, in talks in Beijing on Thursday, a new but highly conditional set of incentives to give up its nuclear weapons programs the way Libya did late last year." LINK
The Washington Post's Peter Slevin reports the new terrorism statistics released Tuesday by the Bush Administration show that 625 people died in terrorist attacks in 2003, not the 307 first reported. LINK
The New York Times' Steven Weisman reports on the revised terrorist incident count writing, "the State Department announced Tuesday that the number of significant international terrorism episodes rose to 208 last year from 205 in 2002." LINK
Sens. Mike DeWine and John McCain make a case for intervention in Sudan on the Washington Post's op-ed page. LINK
Prison abuse scandal:
Probably not the headline the President was looking for: "Bush legal experts gave OK to torture" LINK
The Washington Post's Mike Allen and Susan Schmidt report that the White House on Tuesday backpedaled from an internal Justice Department opinion outlining a rationale by with torturing terrorism suspects could be legally defensible, "saying it had created the false impression that the government was claiming authority to use interrogation techniques barred by international law." The duo walks through the document dump of memos, detailing the decision-making process and debate within the Administration about how far the U.S. was willing to go in interrogating detainees. LINK
In attempt to quell the controversy over whether the Bush Administration condoned torture as a method of interrogating detainees, President Bush "ordered that all people detained as part of the fight against terrorism should be treated humanely even if the United States considered them not to be protected by the Geneva Conventions," reports the New York Times' Richard Stevenson. LINK
Stevenson goes on to write, "The documents released Tuesday did little to settle some of the central questions surrounding what happened at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, including whether the administration tacitly or explicitly encouraged military personnel and intelligence officers -- in Afghanistan, at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba and finally in Iraq -- to be more aggressive than the written policies for dealing with detainees would permit."
Mike Dorning of the Chicago Tribune writes that "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld authorized interrogators to strip and forcibly shave Muslim detainees held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba, threaten them with dogs, and engage in limited physical intimidation such as poking and pushing, according to documents released by the White House on Tuesday." But, he Notes, the White House assured that harsher tactics weren't used, and that the President said he never ordered, and would never order, torture. LINK
The New York Times' Douglas Jehl takes a look at some of the interrogation techniques that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld did approve of for Guantanamo Bay detainees. LINK
The Washington Times reports on the 2-inch-high stack of memos that the White House released yesterday, highlighting that "President Bush decided shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks that terrorism detainees would be treated in accord with the Geneva Conventions, despite legal advice that this was not required, to adhere to 'our values as a nation,' according to a memo he wrote himself." LINK
The politics of HMOs:
The Supreme Court's decision on Monday to restrict the legal rights of patients to sue HMOs could erode relationships between doctors and patients, argued Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va. yesterday. LINK
The Hill reports Democratic lobbyists are giving up whip count intelligence to gain access to private Republican meetings. LINK
Roll Call's Ben Pershing writes, "Fearful of losing on both the symbolic level and the actual vote, House GOP leaders are mulling whether to pull the budget process reform bill before it is scheduled to hit the floor Thursday."
"Researchers at the National Institutes of Health violated federal rules by engaging in lucrative collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and not reporting those arrangements to ethics officials as required, according to documents released yesterday as part of an escalating congressional investigation into conflicts of interest at the agency," reports the Washington Post's Rick Weiss. LINK
Texas continues to be at the center of the growing ethical war as a Texas district attorney, who has long been investigating one of DeLay's PACs, announced that he is looking at similar allegations against former DCCC chair Martin Frost, according to Roll Call's Chris Cillizza.
The Boston Globe looks at how "Party conventions, no longer contests to pick a presidential nominee, have over the last dozen years turned into trade shows for the political world and major entertainment venues for corporations and special-interest groups." LINK
The Boston Herald reports that a local e-mail survey (yes, we know, not scientific) determined that those heading to Boston for the Democratic National Convention will not be getting their full taste of Boston, as three out of four "Greater Bostonians" will be skipping town. LINK
The Herald Notes the plans of local bus-touring companies during the convention, while some are contemplating staying closed, those famous Duck Tours will attempt to keep on quacking! LINK
Paul Kane of Roll Call writes that President Bush and Sen. McCain are talking about what kind of role McCain will assume at the Republican National Convention.
The Hill reports Michael Bloomberg will be hosting a "big tent" reception for Log Cabin Republicans in Bryant Park from 2:00-5:00 pm ET on Sunday, Aug. 29. Govs. Pataki and Schwarzenegger are expected to attend as well. LINK
The Boss has no convention related activities planned . . . yet, report Rush & Molloy. LINK
"A bill to grant more than 500,000 District citizens a voting representative in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time was introduced last night by House Government Reform Committee Chairman Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.)," reports the Washington Post's Spencer Hsu. LINK
Mark your calendars. July 14 is when Trent Lott intends to begin the first FEC oversight hearings in six years. LINK
Rep. Bob Ney's spokesperson takes Mayor Bloomberg to task for disinviting his boss to a Bloomberg hosted fundraiser. LINK
ABC News' Ed O'Keefe's Kerry campaign report:
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22, 2004 -- Sen. John Kerry rarely wears his emotions on his sleeve. But for a candidate who so often scolds reporters for their insatiable veepstakes appetite, the presumptive Democratic nominee has suddenly taken a much lighter tone.
After meeting with Rep. Dick Gephardt for at least an hour and a half in his Senate hideaway last Wednesday, Kerry tersely snipped at the traveling press on a Detroit tarmac the following day: "Don't believe what you read. I read with amusement with aides who don't know what they're talking about . . . I'm the only person who knows when I will (make a decision)."
Just a day later, however, the mood began to lighten as Kerry joked for the first time about the high-stakes selection process, telling several thousand "Women for Kerry" donors, "I can see the headline: Kerry busy interviewing 2,500 candidates for Vice President of the United States."
Following the Woodley Park Washington fundraiser which raised a hefty $1.3 million, Kerry held for several minutes in a stark black motorcade purring in the 104-degree heat index swelter.
In the mean time, at campaign headquarters downtown, a gentleman the New York Times later described as looking "exactly like Sen. Bob Graham" entered an underground garage virtually undetected.
When the traveling press pool arrived with the candidate, several reporters quickly assumed veepstakes stakeout positions in and around the front, rear, and underground garage entrances.
Less than 10 minutes later, the traveling press pool was told the Senator would "imminently" depart for Capitol Hill. Standing by far from stakeout their posts for over an hour, Kerry eventually departed for his Russell office where he remained sans visitors, much to the surprise of his Senate staff, for just over an additional 60 minutes.
After Graham's doppelganger departed campaign headquarters, Kerry left the Russell building, ignoring an Edwards question and slyly avoiding confirmation of a Gephardt encounter (which by then was widely reported fact), insisting, "Nobody said I met with Mr. Gephardt. I only saw that in the media."
Stalled for a night in Washington by New England fog, the Massachusetts Senator arrived in Nantucket on Saturday for a relaxing Father's Day weekend with senior advisor Bob Shrum and his wife, Mary Louise Oates, in tow.
The Shrums soon island-hopped and Kerry, who promised a veepstakes visitor-free weekend, was true to his word. Favoring leisurely boating, beaching and dining over meetings with Dick, John, or Bob, the Senator had the nearest version of a vacation since his trip to Ketchum, Idaho in March.
Kerry emerged relaxed and energetic, fresh from rest but also seemingly more jovial rather than confrontational about the ultra secret veepstakes process many predict is nearing a climax.
At a Denver, Colo., fundraiser, Kerry joked after a brief Aspen meeting with the quirky author: "I have four words for you: Vice President Hunter Thompson."
Still laughing as the crowd mixed with chuckles and groans, the amused Senator laughed, "Well, okay, we'll keep things moving," then continued with an out of character follow up, "People originally came here 125 years ago looking for gold and silver and that's what brought me here today."
Canceling a day's worth of events in battleground New Mexico helmed by Gov. Bill Richardson, Kerry returned to Washington on Tuesday to attempt to vote on a veterans health care amendment.
Upon arrival at Capitol Hill, Kerry engaged the camera and suffered through four questions, something he has not done in several months of Hill stakeouts.
The Senator has campaigned with numerous potential listers including retired Gen. Wes Clark, Sens. Edwards, Graham, Nelson, and Biden, Gov. Tom Vilsack, and Rep. Dick Gephardt, possibly employing the age-old tactic of hiding in plain view.
Sen. Kerry resumes his campaign schedule on Wednesday, surrounding an afternoon speech to the SEIU with a breakfast fundraiser in San Francisco and an evening fundraiser in San Jose.
Kerry continues to fundraise and focus on technology this week, producing a packed schedule with few veepstakes friendly gaps.
TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): —7:00 am: Former President Bill Clinton appears in taped interviews on ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today" —9:30 am: The Senate reconvenes and resumes consideration of the DOD Authorization Bill —9:30 am: Teresa Heinz Kerry hosts a discussion about women and the economy and holds a press conference at Latino Leadership, Orlando, Fla. —9:30 am: The American Bar Association releases report on criminal justice in the US, recommending a "smarter approach" toward crime and punishment, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: The House meets for legislative business —10:00 am: The Senate Finance Committee meets to markup legislation implementing the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing on several ambassadorship nominations in Africa, Washington, D.C. —10:25 am: President Bush speaks about compassion and HIV/AIDS at the Greater Exodus Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa. —10:30 am: Secretary of State Colin Powell holds a bilateral meeting with the foreign affairs minister of Malaysia, Washington, D.C. —10:30 a.m.: The American Petroleum Institute issues its weekly national petroleum report —11:15 am: Sen. Kerry speaks at a fundraiser at the Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, Calif. —12:00 pm: Secretary of State Powell officiates the swearing-in ceremony for John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Washington, D.C. —12:30 pm: Former President Clinton attends a book signing near Wall Street at a Borders Bookstore, New York, N.Y. —12:45 pm: President Bush attends a Victory 2004 Reception at a private residence, Villanova, Pa. —1:30 pm: Navy Secretary Gordon England holds a press conference on the detainee review process, Arlington, Va. —2:15 pm: Sen. Kerry speaks about the healthcare system at the SEIU national convention, San Francisco, Calif. —2:30 pm: The Senate Intelligence Committee holds a closed briefing on intelligence matters, Washington, D.C. —4:10 pm: President Bush participates in a ceremony for the 2004 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House —4:30 pm: Teresa Heinz Kerry visits with women entrepreneurs at the Dooky Chase Restaurant, New Orleans, La. —5:00 pm: Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) attends the Pennsylvania Democratic Party Keystone Reception, Harrisburg, Pa. —6:00 pm: Former President Clinton attends a town hall meeting presented by AOL and Infinity Broadcasting —7:30 pm: Teresa Heinz Kerry attends a "Women for Kerry" fundraiser at the House of Blues, New Orleans, La. —9:00 pm: Former President Clinton appears on CNN's "Larry King Live" —10:00 pm: Sen. Kerry speaks at a fundraiser at the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, Calif. —11:00 pm: Former President Clinton is the guest on "The Charlie Rose Show"