TODAY SCHEDULE (all times ET)
Today: Specter's primary; Cheney's date with SCOTUS; Iraq war; Kerry in Ohio; and Bush in Baltimore.
But the short-term is (usually) for suckers.
Here's what's going on inside the brains of the senior party and presidential campaign strategists for both sides:
Republican "Oh yeahs!!" 1. It appears as of today that John Kerry might never have a message. 2. How easy it is to goad Kerry into making mistakes on the trail. 3. The press blithely accepts the nonsensical GOP patter of "this election is about who has the best ideas for the future and/so let's talk about John Kerry's life 30 years ago." 4. Oregon, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. 5. Bay State gay marriages starting May 17.
Republican "Oh no's" 1. July 1. 2. Right track, wrong track. 3. Ohio. 4. Neither the press nor the FEC seems willing to stop the overlapping personalities of those flush-with-cash 527s. 5. Toomey and McCollum.
Democrat "Oh yeahs!!" 1. The least dysfunctional presidential candidate-DNC operation in a generation (which is not to say it isn't dysfunctional . . . ). 2. ACT and Cecile Richards. 3. All that (easy) money. 4. The solid Blueness of California, Illinois, and New York. 5. John Sasso has started his new job.
Democrat "Oh no's" 1. "My Life." 2. Fear of the boogeyman: where has all the GOP soft money gone? 3. West Virginia, Southern Ohio, Florida. 4. Liberal speakers at the Boston convention. 5. It appears as of today that John Kerry might never have a message.
The polls are open and voters are voting in Pennsylvania — with the focus on whether the Bush White House's chosen candidate (incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter) can win his primary. The first results should be in shortly after 8:00 pm ET.
The only voting systems issue we're following is the new type of identification required of voters — the requisite forms have to show both name and address. That might cause some confusion, though the state has provisional ballots in place.
If the margin is close, absentee and military ballots may make up the difference, so we might be facing a long night — or days of waiting. (The safe harbor date for some of those ballots is May 17.)
There is no statewide recount; candidates must get county election officials to approve them individually.
President Bush participates in a "Conversation on the Benefits of Health Care Information Technology" at a VA Medical Center in Baltimore, Md. before returning to the White House.
Sen. Kerry is in Ohio for a jobs rally in Youngstown and a "Manufacturing Jobs Summit" in Cleveland. He then attends a Cleveland fundraiser for himself and one for the DNC.
The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a case involving White House privacy in the case of Cheney v. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Be sure to catch John Donvan's extensive report on today's arguments on "Nightline."
Although the locals have been covering it since Friday, the following big news seems to have largely escaped the attention of the national press:
President Bush will hit the road next week for a bus trip to key Midwest battleground states Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin to take his campaign two major themes to voters there.
Leaving the Rose Garden to do this kind of thing is quite pricey; most campaign-funded (non-official) events are done as part of daytrips, because keeping the POTUS apparatus out on the road overnight costs a bundle.
Just you wait, Ken Mehlman, to see the Democrat bracketing on this one!!!
A senior campaign official said that the President will focus on winning the war on terror and strengthening the economy, the top two issues for the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign this year.
The Toledo Blade reported that the President is expected to arrive in Toledo the evening of May 3 and stay overnight there before making two campaign stops the next day. LINK
And the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Notes that the bus trip will mark the President's 10th visit to Wisconsin. LINK
The Wisconsin newspapers are also atwitter (but perhaps not as much as the Edina papers were for the President yesterday) about a potential visit from the Vice President on Friday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Cheney will be the keynote speaker at $1,000-per-plate Republican Party luncheon. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry and the medals:
The controversy over Sen. John Kerry's medals, ribbons, whatever you want to call them got lots of front page treatment this morning. Looking at what's out there, it seems there are two camps: those who took the Kerry-on-the-defensive angle, and those who took the Kerry-on-the-attack angle.
The regional and battleground state papers picked up Nedra Pickler's AP story, which is very much a "Kerry challenges Bush on Guard" point of view, rather than a "Kerry Fuzzed His Medals" point of view.
We aren't doing the work of the RNC when we point out that Kerry's refusal to show anyone the medals/ribbons he has now could still become an issue.
And we'll be interested to see if the candidate himself or the campaign keeps up on the offensive on Bush — provoked or otherwise.
The Boston Globe's Tom Oliphant was there on April 23, 1971 — four or five feet behind John Kerry and saw him reach into his breast pocket. "There couldn't have been all that many decorations in his hand — six or seven — because he made a closed fist around his collection with ease as he waited his turn. I recall him getting stopped by one or two wounded vets in wheelchairs, clearly worried that they wouldn't be able to get their stuff over the looming fence, who gave him a few more decorations. Kerry says he doesn't remember this." LINK
More Oliphant: "The night before, the men had had a long, loud argument about whether to throw their stuff or simply place it on a long table in front of the Capitol. I watched Kerry argue for the less dramatic approach and lose."
Oliphant's account, though, doesn't address the WRC interview conclusively.
The Washington Post political duo of the day Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen look at how the medal controversy is part of a bigger back-and-forth between the Bush and Kerry camps. The Republicans attack Kerry on the medals, Kerry attacks Bush's National Guard service, Cheney questions Kerry's judgment, etc. LINK
"The dueling charges reflect the effort of each side to discredit the national security credentials of the other in an election dominated by Iraq and the fight against terrorism. Yet strategists from both camps say Bush and Kerry run the risk of appearing too political or too focused on long-ago events."
The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Jodi Wilgoren give front page treatment (with some excellent accompanying artwork) to yesterday's playbook politics. LINK
"The developments on Monday illustrated how the White House is planning to anchor Mr. Bush's re-election campaign to the war on terrorism and showed the imperative his aides see in trying to undercut Mr. Kerry's foreign policy credentials, including his decorated service in Vietnam. Democrats hope Mr. Kerry's résumé will help neutralize Mr. Bush's presumed advantage on these issues."
Westminster College president Fletcher M. Lamkin's surprise and disappointment at the tone of Cheney's speech get some prominent play here. Ms. Devenish — in full Stepford quote mode — says that surprise is unfortunate.
Pat Healy of the Boston Globe takes his stab at the story from the Kerry-on-the-defensive angle. "Kerry was asked yesterday to reconcile differing explanations for why he did not throw his own medals: In 1985, he told The Washington Post it was because he did not want to, and in 1996, he told the Globe that he did not have time to go home and get them before the protest. He answered yesterday by saying he 'threw away the symbols of the war. I'm proud I stood up and fought against it. Proud I took on Richard Nixon and, I think, to this day, there is no distinction between' ribbons and medals." LINK
Kerry's other hometown paper, the Boston Herald, from the Kerry-on-the-attack side: LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Wallsten and Anderson write up the "escalated" and "nasty" back and forth on the campaign trail. And check this out from former Kerry aide Chris Lehane. LINK "Even some Democrats concede the GOP has turned the debate in its favor."
"'The guy without the service record ought to be the one on the defensive here,' said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane, who worked for Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in 2000."
The AP's Nedra Pickler takes the Kerry-on-the-attack side as well. "John Kerry, a decorated Navy veteran criticized by Republicans for his anti-war activities during the Vietnam era, lashed out at President Bush on Monday for failing to prove whether he fulfilled his commitment to the National Guard during the same period." LINK
But under a headline that includes the phrase "medal muddle," Brian Blomquist of the New York Post watched an "agitated" and "defensive" John Kerry. LINK USA Today's Lawrence on the back-and-forth: LINK
And the Los Angeles Times is apparently totally confused and headlines Michael Finnegan's wrap-up as a "Meal Flap." LINK
Morning show wrap:
All three morning shows led with violence in Iraq. The national party chairs squared off on NBC, CBS and CNN. On ABC's "Good Morning America," Jake Tapper previewed Cheney's Supreme Court challenge and George Stephanopoulos analyzed the medals controversy and reported that the Kerry campaign was going to put out unanswered questions about George Bush and Vietnam. Sen. Joe Lieberman called into Don Imus' show (although Imus was absent).
While squaring off on NBC's "Today Show" and CBS' "Early Show," the RNC's Ed Gillespie and the DNC's Terry McAuliffe traded charges on Kerry's medals and Cheney's Westminster speech. When Gillespie defended Cheney's "substantive" Westminster speech, McAuliffe shot back: "It was so substantive that the President of the college had to write all of the students and apologize for it."
On the issue of Kerry's medals, McAuliffe said of Kerry on NBC: "He earned the right to do whatever he likes with those medals." Gillespie laughed at McAuliffe for saying let's stay on the issues and then "besmirching" the service records of others.
Couric lectured "both sides" for getting "mired down in petty finger-pointing," ignoring (or, perhaps, forgetting) her own initial question topics!!
Keying off of today's Supreme Court case, ABC News' Jake Tapper looked at Cheney, "perhaps the most controversial Vice President in modern history." Tapper reported that polls are showing "more Americans have an unfavorable impression of Cheney than favorable." But in the next segment, when Stephanopoulos was asked by Diane Sawyer what the chances are that Bush is wavering in his support of his running mate, Stephanopoulos answered "less than zero."
Stephanopoulos sagely pointed out that Kerry's attacks on Bush's Guard record are something that Kerry had said "he never would do." Stephanopoulos said the reason why the medals controversy is so important is because the one thing the Kerry camp wants you to know about their candidate, it's that he's a Vietnam War hero, and that the one thing the Bush camp wants you to know about Kerry is that he is a "typical politician" who tries to "have it both ways on every single issue."
CBS' Byron Pitts and NBC's Kelly O'Donnell repackaged their Monday Kerry-Cheney pieces for the "Early Show's" 7:00 am block and for the "Today Show's" 8:00 am block.
The Supreme Court:
The AP's Gina Holland previews SCOTUS's Cheney energy task force hearings today.
The White House is selling the case as a major test of executive authority, "arguing that the forced disclosure of confidential records intrudes on a president's power to get truthful advice." But what's really at stake? "The Bush Administration has lost two rounds in federal court. If the Supreme Court makes it three, Cheney could have to reveal potentially embarrassing records just in time for the Presidential election." LINK The Houston Chronicle's Patty Reinert has the Enron angle covered. LINK
Again, catch World News Tonight and Nightline (and listen to ABC News Radio) for a full accounting of today's historic arguments.
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect: Vice President Cheney visited historic Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. yesterday and delivered a strong criticism of Sen. Kerry's record on defense systems and national security issues that echoed his speech last month at the Reagan Presidential Library in California.
The speech was billed as a major foreign policy address and a senior campaign official said this weekend that the speech, held at the college made famous by Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech in 1946, would Note the contrast between the President's vision for the war on terror with that of Sen. Kerry's.
(We'll excuse Westminster College President Fletcher Lamkin for skipping The Note yesterday because we're sure he was tied up with preparations for the Vice President's speech.)
Under the headline "Cheney's speech leaves some stumped," the Fulton Sun's Brandi Schubert reports that Lamkin was "disappointed" in the Vice President's speech and reports that Lamkin sent a campuswide e-mail "admitting his surprise and disappointment that 'Mr. Cheney chose to step off the high ground and resort to Kerry-bashing for a large portion of his speech.'"
Lamkin told the Schubert that he is "not naïve" that campaign speeches occur in election years. LINK
"'I expect some of that, but not half of the speech,' he said. 'If I'd known it was going to be a stump speech, we still would have welcomed him to campus in the same warm manner, but I wouldn't have billed it as a foreign policy announcement.'"
BC04 communications director Nicolle Devenish responded in a statement:
"The Vice President today put the War on Terror in its historical context and addressed the very different views held by President Bush and his opponent, John Kerry for fighting and winning the War on Terror. A robust debate about how best to protect our country from the threat of global terror is central to this election. This discussion should play out on college campuses around the country over the next six months."
Lamkin told the Fulton Sun's Schubert that Westminster College "only had been privy to Cheney's plans to discuss foreign policy, including issues in Iraq."
A senior campaign official said that members of the BC04 staff spoke with college frequently last week and from those talks it was clear that the Vice President's address was Slated as a campaign speech on foreign affairs.
Now about that speech . . .
Schubert does double duty and writes up the Vice President's speech, leading with the local historical angle: "Like Truman and Churchill, who responded to imperial communism, Cheney said the U.S. now is responsible for squarely confronting a different kind of danger." LINK
Josh Flory of the Columbia Daily Tribune writes up the Vice President's speech without getting into the reaction of the Westminster community, Noting that Cheney "criticized the national security credentials of presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry" and "offered a strong endorsement of the national security actions of the Bush Administration, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq." LINK
Though leading with the substance of Cheney's speech, Virginia Young of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Notes that the Vice President spent "about a fourth of his 35-minute speech directly criticizing Kerry" and delves into the reaction to the speech by the Westminster community near the top of the article.
"The White House asked Westminster to sponsor the speech, which was billed as a nonpolitical foreign policy address. Some in the audience found that misleading." LINK
AP's Fournier dropped by Fulton yesterday to check out the Vice President's speech and looks at the timing of Cheney's strong remarks on Sen. Kerry. LINK
"Cheney is the White House's designated attacker — held in reserve for the toughest times and sharpest messages. When the vice president goes negative, it usually means the White House is braced for trouble."
Fournier Notes that Cheney "returned to the theme" of his March speech at the Reagan Library in California, "breaking little new ground while repeating the best lines from his March speech."
Fournier looks at the back and forth (between Cheney and the Kerry campaign's rapid response team) on who voted for or against what weapons systems and Notes: "Both men are paying the price for positions taken long ago, many predating Bush's relatively brief political career."
The Washington Times' Sammon looks at the reaction by Westminster College President and reports that BC04 communications director Nicolle Devenish said that the speech "which was similar to a March 17 speech given by the vice president, always was intended as a 'campaign message event.'" ">LINK Knight Ridder's Ron Hutcheson profiles Vice President Cheney, Noting "Democrats think the taciturn Wyoming conservative could help drag Bush down to defeat in November. LINK
"Cheney's speech dominated the political debate — spurring Democrats to respond even before he spoke — and starkly contrasted the decidedly less partisan talk President Bush gave in Minnesota about broadband taxation and hydrogen cell technology," writes Anne E. Kornblut of the Boston Globe. LINK
The Los Angeles Times' super-talented Rosenblatt Notes' the letter from Westminster President Lamkin. LINK And the New York Post's Orin chips in a few paragraphs on the Cheney/Dems back-and-forth yesterday. LINK Reminding us that there are other ways to look at the news, the Washington Times' Drinan Notes that Democrats attacked Cheney yesterday and some even tried to tie his wife's pregnancy to Cheney's draft deferment. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:
Bush in Minnesota
All the attention may be on the Number Two's speech yesterday, but President Bush was on the road as well.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press' Jim Ragsdale Bill Salisbury Note Bush's visit to Minnesota yesterday, where he made a four-hour policy and fund-raising visit to the Twin Cities to talk up community colleges and technology to a group of educators. He also raised an estimated $1 million at the home of an Edina developer. LINK
The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Sharon Schmickle and Mary Jane Smetanka report on the same, Noting how the President mixed politics and policy in his visit to the state. LINK
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank Notes "President Bush on Monday borrowed a technique popularized by predecessor Bill Clinton: the bite-size presidential initiative." LINK
The back and forth between Bruce Reed and Dan Bartlett makes our heads hurt.
The Los Angeles Times'Chen on the President's technology initiatives. ">LINK
"After complaints from Republican congressional staff members and conservative groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition, Bush Administration officials have decided to withhold money for an international health conference that opponents say promotes abortion," writes the Washington Post's Ceci Connolly. LINK
The New York Times' Rutenberg turns his eye to the latest BC04 ad, "Weapons." His conclusion: "This is one of the toughest spots either campaign has run to date … The spot could hinder Mr. Kerry's efforts to establish himself as a credible commander in chief with some voters." LINK
The politics of Iraq and national security:
The Wall Street Journal reports, " … the Pentagon and State Department have been wrangling over whether Mr. Negroponte will have a voice in key security decisions, and some officials are skeptical that the Pentagon is ready to relinquish control over $18.6 billion allotted for reconstruction."
Israel is outraged that Lakhdar Brahimi called its treatment of Palestinians "poison" in the Middle East. LINK
David Sanger and Eric Schmitt of the New York Times report on Ahmad Chalabi's "changing fortunes" in Washington. The "Pentagon's favorite exile" appears to have fallen out of favor with the Administration. LINK The AP covered Sen. Joe Lieberman's speech at Brookings yesterday where he called for an end to partisan bickering over the Iraq war since both sides essentially agree and all it does is demoralize soldiers and encourage the enemy. Two words for our friend Joe: election year. LINK
The New York Times explores the different approaches required for Najaf and Fallujah. LINK
"Amid growing concern that nuclear weapons labs are vulnerable to a terrorist attack, senior Energy Department officials are seriously considering major steps to improve security — including the removal of plutonium and highly enriched uranium from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and other weapons sites," reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate: In the end, it may come down to anecdotes about how many Toomey signs you see in Bucks County.
Make no bones about it — Pennsylvania is electoral college gold, and the White House much prefers to run in the general election with Specter on the ballot. And, with all due respect to Mr. Toomey, Democrats have a much better chance at this seat against a non-incumbent.
This primary has been bruising. Specter, a former prosecutor, has gone after nearly every aspect of Toomey's life and career, labeling him a "former Hong Kong dealmaker who now votes to send our jobs to China . . . An out-of-control bar owner who flip-flops on abortion, depending on the election . . . " etc.
Toomey's ad are just as fierce. "Finally, there is a conservative," a radio ad blares. A TV spot running now says Specter "joined John Kerry in cutting the intelligence and defense budgets . . . "
Toomey's low cash reserves have been buttressed by spending from an independent group, the Club for Growth, which has listed Specter as RINO — Republican in Name Only, for years, and would love nothing better than to knock off a Senator they consider to be insufficiently conservative (he supports abortion rights). Specter is backed by the Establishment — President Bush campaigned for him and Sen. Rick Santorum endorsed him. But the swell behind Toomey is clear evidence that Specter is not well liked by many of his more conservative constituents. His favorability rating among Republicans is quite low.
Specter has been a real target ever since he voted against President Clinton's impeachment, but conservative anger against him dates back to his decision to vote against the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork. Toomey hails from the Lehigh Valley, where old-city factory jobs are slowly (and often painfully) giving way to high-tech new commerce ones. First elected in 1998, Toomey is Catholic, gets high marks from conservative groups, and has staked his reputation in the House as a no-nonsense tax cutter. Specter's base has come from moderate and liberal Republicans in Philadelphia and its suburbs. And he's been helped by outside groups, too.
To watch tonight: the margin of Toomey's victory in Lehigh County, his home base; turnout in the middle part of the state, where Toomey and the Club for Growth have been waging an aggressive ground war to marshal conservative votes; and turnout in the suburbs of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
The Republican National Committee's GOTV machine will be testing itself on Specter's behalf. Hundreds of volunteers will try to keep pace for Toomey.
The Boston Globe's Peter Canellos writes that the primary "has emerged as a test of how the Republican Party can best protect its majority in Congress — by tolerating independent voices like Specter's or purging them in the hopes that a consistent, disciplined message will inspire a deeper faith in voters." LINK
Roll Call reports that Sen. Specter's supporters are feeling confident going into today's primary, encouraged by a "flurry of last minute advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts." Privately, though, both sides concede it could go either way.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Patrick Kerkstra, Carrie Budoff and Amy Worden quote Specter predicting that an "avalanche of endorsements" would propel him to victory and Toomey called his opponent "a weakened candidate." LINK
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's James O'Toole looks at the latest polls and the implications of Club for Growth's involvement. LINK
And Larry Eichel reports that this will be the first time many voters have to show ID at the polls. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mark Naymik prompts readers to watch for Kerry's "Jobs First" tour as it tootles through Ohio today. Take Note of the comparison between the BC04 organization and the lack of a Kerry one in the area. LINK
The Wheeling News Register reports on Kerry's stop in the state of West Virginia yesterday, where for one local woman, Kerry's visit evoked memories of a similar stop in the town of Weirton by Kennedy when he campaigned for president 40 years ago.
Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi looks at how "The Bush campaign is working hard to turn John Kerry into Bill Clinton before finishing him off as Michael Dukakis." LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Rainey and Vieth didn't let the medals controversy distract them from writing up Kerry's trade proposals. LINK
"Experts said the Kerry proposals with the greatest potential benefit to U.S. manufacturers — pushing Asian nations to revalue their currencies and imposing trade sanctions unilaterally without waiting for the World Trade Organization to act — could be hardest to pull off."
The Wall Street Journal's Jake Schlesinger writes up Kerry's effort to make political hay out of China's exchange-rate and labor practices. Keying off of his West Virginia speech, Schlesinger writes that Kerry "branded as 'illegal' China's pegging of its currency to the dollar." Schlesinger also has Kerry's advisers suggesting that he would consider "threatening a formal WTO complaint" against China and that he has embraced an AFL-CIO petition that could trigger trade sanctions against China for its 'denial of basic worker rights'." Bush has until Friday to decide on the petition."
Surprise, Surprise! John Podhoretz thinks John Kerry is a "terrible candidate," which Podhoretz believes was in evidence on "Good Morning America" yesterday. LINK
"Trying to change the topic to Bush's service simply smacks of cornered desperation."
"And that is Kerry's great weakness as a candidate — a weakness that will be hard for him to overcome, because it appears to be a character trait. The man who said 'I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it' is a man filled with the conviction that he can talk himself out of a tough situation."
"Sometimes, it's better just to be silent, take the hit and move on. But Kerry seems constitutionally incapable of doing that."
Mickey Kaus picks up these J-Pod bites:
"Kerry has been the presumptive Democratic nominee for two months now. Ask yourself: Aside from fund-raising success, has he had a good day? Has he come up with a winning soundbite? Has he made a policy proposal you've heard people talking about? Bush has had about as bad a time as he could have had these past two months, and he's not only still standing, but doing better than he was a month ago. And why? Because when he takes center stage, as he did in the press conference last week, he usually helps himself.. Not so for Kerry. To put it mildly."
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry:
USA Today's ed board chides Kerry and Bush for not being more forthcoming with Teresa's taxes and Cheney's energy contacts. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds: This headline is good news for BC04 in Florida: "Pupils Test Scores Up This Year" LINK
This headline is not-so-good: "FCAT writing results static" LINK John Glionna of the Los Angeles Times keys off two recent reports highlighting problems in getting mail to military personnel overseas and explores how it could affect the November election. LINK
The Arizona Republic's John Kamman covers the back and forth on the new BC04 ad "Weapons" in Arizona, including the six-page Democratic rebuttal. LINK The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dennis B. Roddy heard John Kerry's promise yesterday to fight unfair foreign trade as he visited the Rust Belt. LINK
The Arizona Republic's Jodie Snyder Notes that with the emergence of the new Medicare prescription drug cards, seniors need to remain aware of parallel state offerings as well. LINK
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Christopher Snowbeck reports that 17 different prescription drug cards will be available to Pennsylvania seniors next month. LINK
The Cincinnati Enquirer's Gregory Korte reports on Rep. Portman's assertions that John Kerry voted against Ohio-built Aegis-class warships. And yes, the article mentions the "Winning the War on Terror Tour." LINK
The economy: The Los Angeles Times profiles an "apostle of offshoring" who explains why shipping white-collar jobs overseas for much cheaper wages is a strategy American companies will find hard to resist. LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Vieth also looks at all the variations of outsourcing in today's marketplace. LINK
The Washington Post's Charles Babington reports "public watchdog groups have criticized Republicans for using a charitable group to help host lavish parties at this summer's presidential nominating convention, but Democrats are now employing the same strategy." LINK Republicans will be rightly annoyed at the seeming tentative nature of the goo-goo quotes.
The New York Times' Saulny reports, "In a reversal, Justice Department lawyers defending the new federal law that bans a type of abortion voluntarily withdrew a subpoena for abortion records from a Manhattan hospital yesterday." LINK
The New York Times' Lichtblau reports memo-gate gets an official criminal investigation at the Department of Justice headed by the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, David Kelley. LINK Roll Call's Mark Preston reports that Democrat and Republican Congressional leaders will be rolling out new agendas today focused on appealing to swingable black voters for November.
Big Casino budget politics:
The Hill reports a Truman Balcony heart-to-heart helped bring about the path to a signed transportation bill. ">LINK "House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has decided to avoid an embarrassing election-year veto of the transportation reauthorization bill at all costs, say Republican sources on the Hill."
"Hastert, the House's point person in negotiations with the Bush Administration, has decided to pass on a 30- or 60-day extension of the transportation bill and use the extra time to whittle down the cost to a level acceptable to the President."
Democratic National Convention: Convention production staffers are looking for ways to entice the TV nets to cover more of the Democratic Convention this time around. The Boston Globe's Klein takes a look at what some of those ideas are: testimonials from voters around the country to break up speeches, showing footage of key Boston area landmarks such as the Revolutionary War battlegrounds, and nixing the theater in the round style seating. "With conventions largely devoid of drama and suspense these days, they're counting on a lively, interactive feel to make a tightly scripted event seem spontaneous." LINK
The Clintons of Chappaqua: The happy couple (Knopf and Bill Clinton) has set a date-ish. At the end of June the long awaited "My Life" will no doubt be on your bedside table. Now, who is going to land the television interview? LINK The Washington Post's Linton Weeks on the Bill Clinton memoir. LINK Bob Barnett calls it "the mother and father of all rollouts." LINK
Bazinet and DeFrank of the New York Daily News on the Kerry camp's perceived sigh of relief. LINK
Legislative agenda: President Bush expressed his support for a permanent ban on taxing high-speed Internet access, but Republican Sen. George Voinovich isn't convinced that everyone is thinking through the full impact of such a move. LINK
"I just wonder how many of our colleagues understand what this is all about," he said.
Bush Administration strategy/personality:
Will Colin Powell be taking over at the World Bank come January? LINK
"The whispers only grew louder the other night after Mr. Powell dined with James D. Wolfensohn, the current bank head, at his home in the Kalorama section of Washington."
John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography by the Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best:
By this point, much of the big, bad Kerry biography has been excerpted in the Boston Globe — so The Note has decided to highlight something we know from past experience is a popular feature: The Jim Jordan E-mail.
That's right. The book's preface begins with an e-mail exchange between Mr. Jordan (to whom The Note affectionately refers as "the second smartest man in politics" — or "SSMIP") to Boston Globe Editor Martin Baron (whom The Note reverently believes is one of the smartest editors in editics) contesting what was going to be an in-depth series by the paper's reporters and what turned into a "Complete Biography."
The formatting is ours, for your reading pleasure. The content is direct quotes from the book's preface.
Date: Summer 2003
Subject: Upcoming profile
"It's becoming increasingly obvious that the profile is, in fact, going to be a seven day rip job. That's been the buzz out of both newsrooms for some time, but we'd hoped for better. However, from everything we can divine from our end of the project wrap ups, this doesn't look to be a fair, contextual look at a long, good life but, instead, a collection of gaffes, controversies, disputations."
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld
Date: Summer 2003
Subject: your unfair assessment
"Oh please. Why don't you just wait and read it? Then you can complain, if you feel it's warranted, rather than rely on 'buzz.' What's obvious to you, having not read a word, doesn't seem obvious to me, having already read it."
Date: Summer 2003
Subject: Don't mess with me
"Because nothing is more impotent that bitching about a story once it's run.
"Sorry that you find my concerns old lady-ish. Of course we haven't read the piece in toto, but we've lived with this f----r every day for six months, and there isn't [any] mystery left.
"And it's become increasingly clear that this thing, despite your assurances to the contrary a couple months ago, has lurched into a predictable direction. Small bore, snarky, cynical. Nothing taken at face value, no benefit of any doubt, no explanation accepted without a challenge. A preoccupation with finding scandal where none exists. Everything intercepted through an entirely political lens.
"Here's hoping I have to eat these words."
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld
And to Jim Jordan from The Note: Upon reading what turned into the "Complete Biography" of Sen. Kerry we think you might have to, as you say, eat your words. This biography is a surprisingly quick read, full of color, and gives a man, who many consider to be aloof and shallow, a three-dimensional character. While much has been printed in the Boston Globe already (here is Sunday's write-up:
LINK), Globe reporters Kranish, Mooney and Easton have left enough new in there to keep you turning the page. Find the bio at a bookstore near you today.
TODAY SCHEDULE (all times ET):
—7:00 am: DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Jon Kyl appear on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends." —7:06 am: Sen. John Kerry appears live on ABC's "Good Morning America" —9:45 am: The U.N. Economic and Social Council holds a joint high-level meeting with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization, on financing of U.N. development goals, New York, N.Y. —10:00 am: U.S. Supreme Court meets to release orders and hear arguments, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe delivers address pre-butting Vice President Cheney's speech in Missouri, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: Sen. Joe Lieberman speaks before The Brookings Institution and the Saban Center for Middle East Policy on "Winning the War in Iraq." Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: Commerce Department releases the new home sales report for March. Washington, D.C. —10:25 am: President Bush speaks before the American Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention, Minneapolis, Minn. —10:30 am: Sen. John Kerry attends kick off rally for jobs bus tour, Wheeling, W.Va. —10:45 am: Secretary of State Collin Powell meets with the Danish foreign minister, Washington, D.C. —12:00 pm: More Magazine and TV's Extra honor Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton with the Alpha Woman Award, New York, N.Y. —12:00 pm: The House meets for a pro forma session. —12:30 am: President Bush attends a RNC Victory 2004 fundraising luncheon, Edina, Minn. —12:30 pm: Vice President Cheney delivers a speech on foreign policy at Westminster College, Fulton, Mo. —12:30 pm: U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young speaks at Hunter College on the presidential campaign and terrorism threats, New York, N.Y. —1:00 pm: Politics Live on ABC News Live and AOL —1:00 pm: The Senate convenes for morning business —1:30 pm: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz meets with Denmark's Minister for Foreign Affairs Per Stig Moeller, Arlington, Va. —2:00 pm: The Senate resumes debate on the motion to proceed to the consideration of S. 150, the Internet Tax Bill —2:00 pm: Sen. Kerry tours All-Clad Factory, Canonsburg, Pa. —2:30 pm: Sen. Kerry speaks with All-Clad Factory workers, Canonsburg, Pa. —2:30 pm: Secretary of State Collin Powell meets with the prime minister of Georgia, Zurab Zhvania, Washington, D.C. —3:00 pm: The U.N. Security Council holds closed consultations on U.S. draft resolution on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, New York, N.Y. —4:00 pm: Secretary of State Collin Powell meets with special United Nations special envoy for Ethiopia and Eritrea, Washington, D.C.