Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):
—9:30 am: President Bush makes remarks to United States Attorneys, Department of Justice —9:30 am: Senate Commerce Committee holds hearing on proposed legislation to make permanent the moratorium on taxes on Internet access, Capitol Hill —9:30 am: Senate convenes for morning business —9:45 am: Off-camera White House press gaggle —10:00 am: House convenes for morning business —10:00 am: Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan testifies to Senate Banking Committee, Capitol Hill —12:30 pm: White House daily press briefing with Scott McClellan —12:30 pm: Senator John Kerry makes remarks on national security, Bronx, New York —1:20 pm: President Bush makes remarks to Urban Leaders, D.C. —2:30 pm: Senate Intelligence Committee holds closed meeting, Capitol Hill —2:30 pm: Senator Joe Lieberman tours a career center and holds press availibility, North Charleston, S.C. —4:30 pm: Governor Gray Davis holds press conference regarding the state budget, Sacramento —6:30 pm: Senator John Edwards discusses civil rights and voting with members of D.C. Democracy, D.C. —6:45 pm: Senator Bob Graham holds fundraiser followed by a concert featuring Ralph Stanley, Roanoke, Va.
The poet Homer (or maybe it was the poet Homer Simpson) once famously said "it's funny 'cause it's true!" LINK
Another modern poet, David Letterman, said last night: "The country right now is at war, our economy is bad, 455 billion dollar deficit, and the Democrats are saying: 'How are we going to beat this guy?'"
The audience was silent, at first, and then, as the meaning sunk in, began to laugh, and, finally, applaud.
The good news for Terry McAuliffe and the rest of the Eviction Crew is that, like a car owner in Adams Morgan looking for a parking space, or an apartment seeker on the Upper West Side, or a spinster political reporter who doesn't believe in her heart the old saw about the fish and a bicycle, they only need to find one.
Which is to say: in the end, they only need one presidential nominee who has the capacity to beat George Bush.
The biggest change in Howard Dean's life this year (and, believe you us, there have been many) is that it is now very hard to find anyone in politics who doesn't believe he CAN be that nominee.
As we wrote the other day, most people involved in presidential politics believe that Dean could be the nominee or Kerry could be the nominee.
Then, especially if you work for one of the other presidential campaigns, you might think that some third person could also be the nominee.
Until yesterday, before his low (and lower-than-pre-advertised) second-quarter fundraising number, Dick Gephardt had been CW'ed as sharing the top tier with Kerry and Dean.
Gephardt in fact gets off somewhat easy in the papers today, but he still seems to be in trouble.
Joe Lieberman takes one of his semi-regular nasty newspaper hits, this time in the Los Angeles Times, for the overall campaign he is running, while his spending as a percentage of what he is raising is through the roof.
John Kerry got a little roughed up at the Human Rights Campaign.
Bob Graham's pallid fundraising quarter is dwarfed by the fact that the Establishment press has so discounted his chances of winning lately that they barely care how little a sitting senator (and former governor) from Florida raised. (He also gets swiped in the Washington Post by anonymous fellow Democrats for loose-lipping "impeachment.")
John Edwards' cash on hand, however, gets him back in some folks' first tiers. And he could certainly get elected mayor of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
And we could all write it 1,000 times on our individual blackboards, but the president's fundraising advantage (and the ease with which he takes it in) is THE story of this cycle, no matter who the Democrats nominate.
Outside the Gang of 500's obsession with the fundraising figures, of course, the Letterman aphorism is vibrating intensely this news cycle, with George Tenet and Josh Bolten knowing JUST how Dick Gephardt feels.
In news about the California recall:
--51% of likely California voters are in favor of recalling Governor Gray Davis according to the latest Field poll. 43% are opposed to the recall.
--Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan comes out on top in the Field poll among possible Republican replacement candidates.
--The legal and political rhetoric continues to heat up as the courts begin to weigh in on the petitioning and verification processes which may cause the delay Democrats seek.
-- At 4:30 pm ET Governor Davis will make a "major statement" regarding the state budget in Sacramento.
In Washington today, the president makes separate remarks to U.S. Attorneys and Urban Leaders.
His CIA director is on the Hill in closed session, and The Note is running a pool on how long after he finishes his appearance the first leak about what he said appears on the wire. E-mail us your guesses. email@example.com
Senator Edwards holds a discussion with workers about his job growth plan this morning in Milford, New Hampshire. Later in the day, he'll be in D.C. to make remarks on civil rights and voting rights to members of the D.C. Democracy Fund.
Senator Kerry is in New York City to deliver remarks on national security.
Senator Lieberman campaigns in Charleston, South Carolina today. Hadassah Lieberman will campaign in Nashville, Tennessee, where she'll visit a food bank and have lunch with Democratic activists.
Senator Graham campaigns in Roanoke, Virginia. He'll be at the Winner's Circle NASCAR shop with Ward Burton, Jon Wood, Eddie Wood, and former Congressman Ben "Cooter" Jones. After a fundraiser tonight, there's a concert featuring bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley.
Governor Dean, Ambassador Braun, Reverend Sharpton, Representative Gephardt and Representative Kucinich have no public events scheduled for today.
*Source: Dan Balz, Washington Post, 7/2/2003 LINK **Source: Sharon Theimer, Associated Press, 6/25/2003 LINK
The real and continuing macro story line is reflected in the Balz/Edsall lead: "President Bush raised more money in the past three months than all nine of his Democratic rivals combined, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) yesterday, opening up a huge financial advantage that is likely to continue throughout the 2004 election campaign." LINK
But the press corps rightly, if not terribly aggressively, pays attention to Congressman Gephardt's dismal second-quarter haul.
Say Balz and Edsall: "The poor fundraising performance, coming after Gephardt raised $3.5 million in the first quarter, excluding money transferred from a congressional campaign account, prompted new questions about the former House Democratic leader's ability to generate support for his presidential candidacy. Gephardt entered the race with a reputation as one of the most prolific fundraisers in the party's history, but has struggled to attract donors to himself. 'This is not the end of the world. We understand we have a problem here, but we are fixing it,' said Gephardt adviser Steve Elmendorf.'"
"'Clearly, it has to be a disappointment,' a veteran of Democratic presidential campaigns said. 'Six million gives him plenty on hand, but the big question is how does it affect future fundraising and what does he need to do to restart the fundraising'"
The New York Times ' Nagourney catches an obvious but important point.
"While there are often discrepancies between the estimates campaigns put out after the filing period ends and the official filing, which was made today, Mr. Gephardt's aides were at a loss to explain the difference." LINK An explanation comes, in part, from campaign manager Steve Murphy in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"[C]ampaign manager Murphy denied any effort to pump up Gephardt's fund-raising figures at the end of last month, when most campaigns released their initial tallies. At the time, several news organizations reported that Gephardt had raised about $4.5 million, a figure attributed to anonymous aides. 'There was no deliberate attempt to mislead anybody,' Murphy said. 'We thought we'd have a little more coming in at the end than we did. We should have kept our mouth shut until we were certain.'" LINK
Nagourney does allow Joe Trippi to defend his candi..rival.
"'Joe Trippi, who is Dr. Dean's campaign manager and was a deputy manager for Mr. Gephardt in his unsuccessful 1988 bid for the presidency, said: 'I would not underestimate his ability to come back from this. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever met, and he's had a well of deep support and affection for him in places like Iowa where it counts.'"
Still to be asked and answered:
(a) WHY was the number so low? Who was supposed to give … and didn't?
(b) Do these numbers reflect continuing viability concerns among Democrats?
(c) Are even union members hedging their bets?
(d) What happened to that fabled, two-decades built up network of Gephardt supporters?
We also noticed that Senator Edwards's second-quarter number was about a half a million lower than we'd been told to expect.
"Shortly after the close of the second quarter, Edwards' aides started spreading the word that he had raised about $5 million during the period," The Raleigh News and Observer's Wagner and Krueger report. LINK "Jennifer Palmieri, a campaign spokeswoman, blamed the lower-than-advertised figure on 'a book-keeping error' that resulted in some contributions being counted more than once and some anticipated checks coming in just past the second-quarter deadline."
"'You'll see those donations accounted for in the third quarter,' Palmieri said. 'We're glad to have the money, regardless of when it came in.'"
Does that mean we ought to subtract $500,000 in our heads come October?
And shall we assume the trial lawyer pool is being tapped more slowly because of the on-going DOJ activity?
We can't link to it, but the New York Sun's Tim Starks has a great story about celebs and their donations.
It begins like this: "Comedian Jerry Seinfeld went for Senator Kerry of Massachusetts. The CEO of AOL Time Warner, Richard Parsons, went with President Bush. Real estate and casino magnate Donald Trump split the difference and went with both the president and Mr. Kerry. Whomever they sided with, many of New York's top celebrities and business executives jumped into the 2004 presidential fund-raising fray in the second three months of the year, according to fund-raising reports the campaigns turned in yesterday to federal election officials."
The New York Times ' Richard A. Oppel Jr. covered the money story from the angle of the Iraqis planning a war-crime court. LINK
--Salaries plus payroll taxes: about $1.1 million. Fraction of total disbursements: about a third. --Travel expenses are low, low, low. Why? A Dean campaign (not so) secret: the candidate and staff stay with supporters. --Aside from salaries, direct mail was the second largest Dean disbursement. --Dean raised more than $100,000 from 10 states and more than $50,000 from 18. --The itemized Dean donor who comes first on the alphabet is David Aaker from Oneida, California. He lists his occupation as a "prophet." --According to PoliticalMoneyLine.com's tabulation, at least 792 attorneys, nearly 200 college professors, and 101 artists contributed. --Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Vermont was paid about $50,000 for comprehensive health insurance covering Dean employees. --The Air Charter Team of Kansas, City, Mo. handled most of the flying around. --There's also that $300,000 media expense we all know about.
The Balz-Edsall story has this to say about Dean and matching funds: "The Dean campaign said it received contributions from 73,226 individuals in the second quarter, and it estimated that more than 60 percent of the total it has raised this year qualifies for federal matching grants under the public financing program that provides taxpayer money equaling the contributions of $250 or less from individuals." LINK "The matching rate for Dean is much higher than the normal level which, according to the FEC, is usually in the 25 percent to 33 percent range. That will give Dean a built-in cushion in January, when the federal funds are dispersed, even if the other candidates outraise him in the next six months."
--The campaign spent $21,000 on polling. --1,904 of 4,212 individual itemized donations came from attorneys; 9 were from legal secretaries; --Edwards raised at least $780,000 in California. --The Note was excited to see the smart traveling techniques … lots of Orbitz, Southwest Airlines, and a couple Travelocity entries.
Most of the coverage gives Edwards props for his cash on hand and total raised to date.
More from the Raleigh N & O duo: "According to a News & Observer analysis, more than $2.3 million of the $4.5 million Edwards raised during the second quarter came from lawyers, other members of the legal profession and those sharing their same home addresses — presumably spouses or other relatives."
"The ratio continued a general pattern that has existed throughout the political career of Edwards, a former trial lawyer."
"During the first quarter, an even greater share — more than 61 percent — of Edwards' money appears to have come from members of the legal profession and their relatives, according to The N&O analysis."
"Edwards' second quarter take from North Carolina — $308,622 — was about one-third of what he raised in his home state in the first quarter."
":Among the notable donors who gave to Edwards in the second quarter: Vernon Jordan, a Washington power broker and close friend of former President Clinton; Sandy Berger, Clinton's former national security adviser; lawyer Johnnie Cochran; actress Glenn Close; singer Barbra Streisand; Glenn Frey of the Eagles rock band; and professional football player Robert Porcher of the Detroit Lions."
--At least 772 attorneys donated to the campaign, per PoliticalMoneyLine.com. --Only $15,550 in itemized donations from Iowa. Largest amount, statewise, came from California, followed by New York and then Missouri. (Also per PoliticalMoneyLine.com). --Spent nearly $700,000 on salaries and payroll taxes. --Spent $94,500 on polling services from Westhill. The AP's Fournier has exclusive details of Gephardt's meetings with Democratic Party officials to prevent a panic.
"Gephardt was making the rounds of party leaders and constituency groups, urging them not to give up on his presidential campaign despite the poor fund-raising performance. One meeting was with Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union has not endorsed a candidate although McEntee has spoken favorably about Kerry." LINK Congressman Gephardt used a press avail after the Human Rights Campaign forum to explain his quarter:
"'We are on course … ..We are raising the amount that we set out to raise.' He said he was 'roughly very close to halfway' to his goal of $20 million for the year. That calculation includes $2.4 million he transferred from his House campaign committee earlier this year," USA Today 's Lawrence reports.
"Donna Brazile, a Democratic Party strategist who was Gephardt's field director in 1988, said he has run a strong campaign this time. But the new figures 'should be a wake-up call,' she said. 'Unless he picks up money soon, it looks like he's heading back into his 1988 territory. We had a good candidate. We had endorsements in the bank. But we had no money to complete the battle.'"
Lawrence allows the Gephardt campaign to end on a positive Note:
"Gephardt spokesman Erik Smith predicted four or five candidates would be competitive for the Democratic nomination and said Gephardt would be one of them. 'If you've got $6 million the bank,; he said, 'you're not going to be excluded from this race.'"
--The campaign paid $135,500 to the Garin Strategic Group for polling. --The largest occupation group listed for donors was "Information Requested" (383 entries), with 360 attorneys coming in a close second. --1,506 of itemized 1,991 donations came from Florida for total of $1.2 million. (PoliticalMoneyLine.com) --The campaign spent only $29,000 spent on air and rail travel. The Florida press corps is not kind to Senator Graham:
The Orlando Sentinel's Silva: "'Jamal Simmons, spokesman for the senator, said Graham is on course in his fund raising. Graham joined the fray late, after open-heart surgery this past winter.' 'For someone who started at zero 100 days ago, we've had a strong start,' Simmons said. 'At the end of the day, money is not what determines the winner.'" LINK
"But it's darned important, said Norm Ornstein, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. When candidates get a reputation for lagging, donors stop giving them money, he said."
The St. Pete Times' Adair, Waite and Bennett write that "Graham was heavily dependent on Florida donors, who accounted for $1.2-million, or 62 percent of his individual contributions. The report also provides the first glimpse into how he is spending his campaign money. He spent $135,500 on polling, $187,487 on consultants and $43,329 on lawyers." LINK And Adair e-mailed us this morning to Note that Graham was able to reach $2 million only by taking $150,000 from his Senate account.
--Salary plus payroll: $950,000. Fraction of total disbursements: about a third. --At least 1,186 checks from attorneys, and about 300 donations each from retired donors, homemakers, and folks whose information has been requested. --At least 1,239 donations from Bay Staters for $953,305, and 997 donations from Golden Staters for $1,007,460. --Travel expenses were listed as $132,062. --The campaign spent $17,907 on media expenses, with all but a few hundred dollars going to GMMB. The Los Angeles Times' Nick Anderson buys into the cash on the hand theme, Noting that Kerry leads the field. LINK
--Notable Kucinich donors: broadcasters Casey Kasem and Jerry Springer. --The Note found about a dozen disbursements to the Congressman himself for the Taverna Greek restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue here in D.C … ..must be good. --There were many, many, many donations from academics, writers, and artists.
No offense to the good work Mark Penn does, but is there a reason that the candidate of conscience and core values needs to do so much polling at this point in the race?
--At least 5,014 individual donors. --The biggest money state was California, where Lieberman grossed just under $1 million. Only $235,000 or so from Florida, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.com --Here we go: salaries + payroll taxes exceeds $1.4 million --Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates got $120,000 or so this quarter --Jennifer Yoacham: $20,000+; Shari Yost: $32,900+ --Matthew Lieberman: $15,000+ --Rebecca Lieberman: $9,000+ --The campaign paid $113,000 to fundraising consultants.
--The campaign raised $145,000 during the quarter and spent $85,000 of it on salaries. --Cell phone expenses totaled nearly $3,500. (Shop around; there have to be better plans out there.)
--Music and entertainment magnate Quincy Jones donated $2,000.
--The campaign spent $10,847 on web page services. It's unclear how many donations came through the Internet.
--Remember that trip to Shreveport, Louisiana last month? The chartered plane cost $11,000. --The campaign paid $20,000 to create its website --Barbra Streisand donated $1,000 --Howard Wolfson of the Glover Park Group gave $25.
ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect, the money:
Ah, that poetic photograph of a Texas Rangers player below the fold in the Times … . LINK Kudos to Ken Mehlman and his tight team for keeping costs down; it's amazing that some of these Democrat campaigns haven't figured out how important that is.
We aren't sure which is more embarrassing: campaigns who SAY they are now going to focus on keeping costs down and aggressively raising money (but are just saying it as spin), or campaigns who say it and really mean it.
"One-fourth of President Bush's mammoth reelection treasury was collected by a group of 68 friends and moguls who raised $100,000 or more in the campaign's first seven weeks, according to records released yesterday," The Post 's Mike Allen reports.
"The Pioneers were a well-known part of the financial engine that shattered all fundraising records for Bush's first campaign. The Rangers are new, created by the 2004 campaign's architects to provide an incentive for even more diligent dialing for big money." LINK
"Katherine E. Boyd, an interior designer in Northern California, was among the maiden group of Rangers and raised her $200,000 in increments of $2,000 by selling tickets to a chicken salad lunch Bush headlined in San Francisco last month. Boyd said she wasn't sure when she hit Ranger status."
"'I don't pay any attention,' she said with chuckle. 'I just go to it.'"
Boyd has been a family friend long enough that she refers to President George H.W. Bush, who appointed her to the federal Advisery Council on Historic Preservation, as "Papa Bush."
The AP's Sharon Theimer writes that "[at] least 50 people have raised enough since Bush entered the 2004 race in mid-May to become a pioneer. New pioneers include New York Gov. George Pataki; Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a longtime ally of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas; Miami lawyer Al Cardenas, former chairman of the Florida Republican Party; and John Tsu, chairman of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, a panel created by Bush." LINK The campaign has $32.6 million in cash on hand, and expects to spend $2.4 million this quarter — about 7% of the amount raised.
12,500 donors have maxed their contributions.
When Bush-Cheney '04 went online with their donor lists yesterday, the Note was as excited as a 4-year-old on Christmas morning. And we commend the campaign for its disclosure efforts, which, as Mehlman correctly Noted in yesterday's conference call, go beyond the legal requirements.
But we were dismayed to discover that the donor database does not allow you to search for individual names without knowing what state the donor is from. While we've got plenty of time for 51 state searches in the hopes of viewing donors around the country, this may not be the most convenient way to get those names out there.
Campaign spokeswoman Nicolle Devenish kindly responded to our query and assured us that the campaign will "review the tool" and its ability to search donors in all 50 states to make sure it is adequate.
The campaign says there is no ceiling on the amount of money they want to raise. $150-$170 million is where they want to be, Mehlman said. "If we were to raise $170 million that would be an outstanding result."
He reiterated that they will not take matching funds for the nomination, but will accept them for the general election. Asked why the campaign needs to raise so much cash when they're not facing a nomination opponent, Mehlman replied, "We intend to use these resources to deliver our message" and build a strong grassroots organization.
The take from this weekend's fundraising in Texas will be announced as they go. "The president strongly appreciates the support he receives all over the country and looks forward to visiting with old friends in Texas," Mehlman said.
Asked if by disclosing his donors, President Bush was challenging the Democratic presidential hopefuls to do the same, Mehlman said, "The president strongly believes in full disclosure. Like in '00 we have tried very hard to be consistent with those beliefs. Each candidate can choose to disclose how they think best. We've been focused on making sure we are consistent with the president's philosophy."
Politics of national security:
The Washington Post 's Walter Pincus continues laying out the timeline about what the president knew about intelligence on Iraq's nuclear capabilities and when he knew it. LINK And Democrats jacked up the volume on their "most unified attack" (Democrats unified?) on the president, write the Washington Post 's Jim VandeHei and Helen Dewar. LINK Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) hammered the White House in a speech to the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington yesterday, saying Bush's Iraq plan was "'built on a quicksand of false assumptions, and the result has been chaos for the Iraqi people, and continuing mortal danger for our troops.'"
Florida Senator Bob Graham threw the "I" word out there, suggesting that it could be an impeachable offense if the president mislead Americans in making his case to go to war in Iraq — a statement some Democrats told VandeHei and Dewar was "the most hyperbolic and unhelpful statement so far."
Can't blame a guy for trying to break out of the pack, we suppose.
The Boston Globe 's Susan Milligan writes, "In his role as an elder statesman of his party, [Senator] Kennedy urged administration officials to seek the deployment of an international peacekeeping force, and he lambasted the Bush administration for the 'shoddy evidence' they offered to justify going to war." LINK The Associated Press reports, "President Bush, facing questions about his credibility, says the United States is working overtime to prove Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction before the United States invaded Iraq." LINK Double Bogey: in writing about the uranium flap, Walter Shapiro mentions "The Maltese Falcon" and Michael Kinsley mentions "Casablanca." LINK Kinsley explores Washington's newest favorite parlor game: who included the false Iraq intelligence in the president's State of the Union address? LINK But in typical Kinsley style, the piece deconstructs the president's words and suggests that the president himself just might deserve some of the blame.
Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay report, "In a new dispute over interpreting intelligence data, the CIA and other agencies objected vigorously to a Bush administration assessment of the threat of Syria's weapons of mass destruction that was to be presented Tuesday on Capitol Hill." LINK
Big Casino budget politics:
As if the projected $455 billion budget deficit weren't enough, the Office of Management and Budget announced yesterday that the federal government will go into another $1.9 trillion in new debt over the next five years, the Washington Post 's Jonathan Weisman reports. LINK In addition, we'll still be hauling around a $226 deficit annually in 2008, and the deficit — minus post-war Iraq costs — will be up to $475 billion in 2004. But don't worry; White House budget director Josh Bolten — sounding just like Mitch — says it's "manageable."
"'Restoring a balanced budget is an important priority for this administration,' he said, 'but a balanced budget is not a higher priority than winning the global war on terror, protecting the American homeland, or restoring economic growth and job creation.'"
The Wall Street Journal 's Mary Lu Carnevale Notes that newly minted White House press secretary Scott McClellan "provided no details about how the president would achieve … a major reduction in the budget shortfall, or precisely how long that would take" in his briefing yesterday.
In the midst of his own money issues, Senator Joe Lieberman (D) took the opportunity to slam the president. "'Everyone knows what is really responsible for these deficits,'" he said. "' … the unfair, unaffordable, and ineffective Bush tax cuts.'"
The Washington Times ' James Lakely threw in this statement from Lieberman: "' … [T]hey are hiding behind the war and homeland security to excuse their own fiscal irresponsibility.'" LINK But the Fed will do its part for the economy, according to Chairman Alan Greenspan's Hill testimony yesterday, write the Wall Street Journal 's Greg Ip and John D. McKinnon, Noting that Greenspan promised to keep interest rates low even if the economy shows signs of improving.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board urges deep breathing, Zen moments and understanding to cope with the deficit projections.
Note to the Journal ed board: why would you possibly suggest that the level of defense spending should be pegged to the percentage of GDP? We'd like to think you wrote that for some other reason than to just make Bill Clinton look bad.
And why are you (farm bill aside) criticizing Kent Conrad more than, say, George Bush, for new Medicare spending plans?
The Washington Times ' Stephen Dinan and Amy Fagan report that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay "drew a line in the sand" yesterday, saying Republicans will shut down any bill that doesn't force Medicare to compete with private insurance by 2010. The competition issue is the biggest thorn in the negotiations, demanded by House conservatives but not in the Senate version. LINK
ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:
No G8 in Manchester:
"President Bush has chosen Sea Island, a posh resort community on the Georgia coast, to host next year's meeting of leaders from the world's major industrial countries," the AP reports. LINK
"The Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, N.H., was also under consideration as a possible host site, an owner told the New Hampshire Sunday News late last month."
The AP's Bill Kaczor reports, "The first aircraft designated 'Navy One,' used to fly President Bush aboard an aircraft carrier to greet sailors returning from the war against Iraq, made its final landing Tuesday." LINK Roll Call 's Jennifer Yachnin reports that gay members of Congress are hoping Vice President Cheney becomes their ally on the issue of gay marriage.
"Seeking to stir opposition to a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage, the House's only three openly-gay Members are attempting to gain unlikely allies by appealing to a pair of GOP favorites: states' rights and Vice President Dick Cheney."
"In a 'Dear Colleague' letter sent to Members on Friday, Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) cited statements made by Cheney during the 2000 vice presidential debate, in which he said marriage should be regulated by individual states rather than the federal government."
Jenna Bush is a summer intern for a New York public relations firm, according to Rush & Molloy. LINK
ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary:
Seven of nine Democratic presidential candidates pledged to expand gay rights yesterday, but most stopped short of endorsing full marriage rights for gay couples.
That question, as asked on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) candidate questionnaire, is relatively straightforward: do you believe the civil instruction of marriage … should be made legally available to two committed same sex adults?
As Noted elsewhere, Kucinich, Sharpton, Moseley Braun support it … the other six don't, to varying degrees.
For many gay people, the distinction between civil unions and marriage is a big one. Civil unions has a state's rights connotation … a cop-out feel to it … what if state "x" passes it and state "y" doesn't … . while marriage is marriage … fully equal under the law. (Marriage is, after all, a contract between a state and a man and a woman).
Ordinarily, that'd be the end of it. What we'll indelicately and for short-hand reasons call "gay money" would flow toward Kucinich, Moseley Braun, or Sharpton.
But ah, not to stereotype … the gay political community is organized and smart … has won its legislative victories in steps, not leaps, and doesn't believe any of the above candidates can win. So the positions, tones, and histories of the other six candidates will come in for extra scrutiny.
HRC attendees had to be amazed at the evolution (we mean it in a philosophically positive, not normative connotation) of the Democratic Party in only a few short years. (Can you imagine a candidate forum about gay issues in 1992??).
The Los Angeles Times' Brownstein ticks off the points of agreement and dissent: "[A]ll of the Democrats endorsed equal treatment for gays in hiring and adoption. All except Senator Bob Graham of Florida said they would seek to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy implemented under former President Clinton and allow gays to serve openly in the military." LINK
"All of the candidates except Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said they would support 'civil unions' that would offer gay couples most of the same rights and benefits enjoyed by married heterosexuals. Edwards did not take a position on the matter; Lieberman indicated he would leave the decision to the states."
"Kerry indicated he might eventually back gay marriages if a public consensus developed for them," Brownstein Notes.
To the Post 's Mark Leibovich, it was all about the pandering:
"Yesterday was Gay Day in Dem Land. 'I believe we're in such a gay moment in terms of history,' declared Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, by way of introduction. With that, seven of the nine Democrats — only Sens. John Edwards and Bob Graham did not attend — take the stage in a systematic effort to say, in a collective manner of speaking, that some of the Democrats' best friends are gay. " LINK "John Kerry catalogues his support for 'this community' over his career, how he backed gay issues 'before Ellen DeGeneres, before 'Will & Grace' and before anyone knew who Melissa Etheridge was.' (Bonus pander points for pop culture references.)"
((Note Note: Yes, Kerry actually said that!!!))
Leibovich Notes that Kerry was audibly hissed when he said "There is a distinct body [in] America … . that culturally, historically and religiously believes [marriage] is between a man and a woman … .and I respect that."
It reminded us of the hissing Kerry got at the Campaign for America's Future conference when he dared to suggest that there might well be times when America would have to (gosh) use its military power to right wrongs.
So Kerry tried to pander, but his better instincts and principles got in the way. Darn it when that happens. Which, all other things being equal, is a credit to the man and his campaign.
Acronym watch: Gephardt said he joined "P-FLAG" — that's Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays … . Lieberman used the chatty and knowing "GLBT" … while Kucinich used the belabored "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender" formulation.
Kerry also weirdly trumpeted his cosponsorship "with Senator Bill Frist" of an AIDS bill. Senator Frist is — borrowing Kweisi Mfume's phrase — persona non grata these days in the gay community.
More, from the straight (!) write-up by the Post 's Daryl Fears:
"Moderator Sam Donaldson of ABC News asked the candidates who were against gay marriage to explain how they could support one contract, a civil union, over marriage. And he asked candidates who supported gay marriage how they would convince Congress to enact laws allowing same-sex couples to wed and receive the same benefits as heterosexuals." LINK "Kerry appealed to the audience saying, 'I will be a president for all Americans.'"
":But when Donaldson asked him about if he supported gay marriage, Kerry stumbled before saying, 'I do not support marriage itself,' because he said that 'marriage is viewed as a union between men and women.' Kerry said there was no distinction between what he proposes — equal rights bestowed upon civil unions — and the rights in marriage."
"'I think [marriage] is a hang-up for the states,' Dean said, adding, 'Marriage is a church institution.' Donaldson reminded Dean that marriage was also sanctioned by justices of the peace and, at one time, ship captains. Vermont is the only state that allows civil unions; no state allows gay marriage."
To which Dean literally — and we mean literally — asked Donaldson to change the subject.
[T]he issue of gay marriage is sure to dog the candidates — both the Democrats and Republican President Bush — in next year's election," the AP's Pickler concludes. LINK Finally, Senator Rick Santorum tells GQ magazine that he'd still love his kids if they were gay. LINK
Mark Z. Barabak shines a harsh light on the state of the Lieberman campaign in today's Los Angeles Times. Mr. Barabak highlights the senator's money woes, the staff shakeup, his recent rift with the NAACP, and his poor showing in Iowa and New Hampshire polls.
Although Donna Brazile cautions that it is still early, both Ms. Brazile and Anita Dunn describe Senator Lieberman's flaw as a stylistic one.
"Moreover, in a year when angry partisans are hungry for red-meat rhetoric from the Democratic candidates, the affable senator from Connecticut is taking a more subdued approach. 'Democratic primary voters tend to be activists: environmental activists, civil rights activists, pro-choice activists,' said Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. With Lieberman, 'there's a failure to connect on a basic level with Democratic primary voters.'"
Then Ms. Dunn got her turn.
"'There seems to be a significant portion of Democrats who want to see a candidate who rhetorically punches [President] Bush in the face every day,' said Anita Dunn, a party strategist who is sitting out the primary contest. 'That's not Joe Lieberman's style.'"
David Lightman walked and talked with Senator Lieberman at the HRC event, yielding these choice morsels:
"Joe Lieberman got a lukewarm reception from gay rights activists Tuesday, as he said at a presidential forum that he does not back gay marriage and that civil unions are a matter for states to decide." LINK
"The Connecticut Democrat also would not commit to overturning the rules in hundreds of federal programs that now deny benefits to gay partners."
"Instead, he said, he would order a 'methodical review' of the rules and regulations, 'rather than come and make a declaration, shooting from the hip in this case.'"
"Lieberman's comments, greeted with sparse applause, proved to be the senator's second problem this week with a minority group. Monday, he was castigated by NAACP President Kweisi Mfume for not appearing at the civil rights group's convention."
"Lieberman cited a scheduling conflict, and said Tuesday he had tried to call Mfume. Mfume could not be reached for comment."
"'I was very upset,' he said of Mfume's comment that the senator was 'persona non grata' because of his absence. 'There was a scheduling commitment; he knew we couldn't come.'"
"What's important to remember, the senator said, is 'I have been working with the NAACP for more than 40 years.'"
"Lieberman said he left a message on Mfume's voice mail, but has not heard from him. 'I look forward to sitting down with him soon,' the senator said."
The Middletown Press' Joseph Straw reports that "NAACP officials still smarting from Lieberman's no-show [on] Monday were angered further to learn that his schedule that day included of an interview taping with conservative television talk show host Bill O'Reilly." LINK
More: "When the interview will air has not been determined, [Fox News Channel officials] said."
The New York Post 's Vince Morris does a mini curtain raiser on Senator Kerry's speech today and puts the speech in context of the battle for the nomination. LINK
"Kerry's remarks come at a time when he is struggling with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean over who can outdo the other in ripping the president."
The AP's Will Lester writes that Senator Kerry "says President Bush hasn't matched tough rhetoric with strong actions and is suffering from a credibility gap on national security." LINK More: Kerry "said the Bush administration has shortchanged police and firefighters by denying them 'the equipment and support to defend America from danger.'"
Erin Billings reports for Roll Call that Gephardt "hosted a Members-only conference call Tuesday to ask for more active support for his presidential bid, just as news broke that he fell more than $1 million shy of his quarterly fundraising goal."
"Gephardt spoke with the majority of his 31 House Democratic supporters on the morning call, which was designed to update them on his campaign. The former Minority Leader asked the Members to continue their financial support for his candidacy and to act as surrogates in early primary states as soon as Congress adjourns this fall."
"Gephardt aides and supporters insisted Tuesday the Missouri lawmaker's campaign is not in trouble, and the conference call was not an attempt to reassure Members who previously endorsed him. They said Tuesday's conference call was one in what will become a monthly event."
(1) RNC takes a shot at Senator Graham for spelling "deceit" with five letters.
(2) Graham communications director Steve Jarding sends a press release disguised as a missive to incoming RNC chair Ed Gillespie:
"Ed, Thanks for the attempted shot at presidential opponent Bob Graham. Your timing was about as compelling as your rationale. While Bob Graham is clearly on a roll: · Graham just opened seven more field offices in Iowa … Graham just came off a solid performance with Tim Russert … Graham just signed on to a major 14 race NASCAR deal … Graham just got the endorsement of one of the most powerful Democrats in Virginia, Democratic Leader Dick Cranwell … Graham just got a compelling review from Dr. Larry Sabato who says on his University of Virginia website that Senator Graham has the best shot at beating President Bush … Graham just got the endorsement of the leading farm advocate in Iowa … .Iowa Senator Tom Harkin recently said Graham 'may be preparing for a surprise … People told me he's very solid. I think he's coming on strong.' And on Thursday, Graham will roll out a comprehensive economic plan to unundo the damning consequences of the ill-conceived Bush economic policies You take a wrong-headed shot at him, further moving him into the national debate."
(3) Here's what RNC press secretary Christine Iverson had to say in response:
"With a list of accomplishments like this it's no wonder Bob Graham is beating Dennis Kucinich in the polls … ."
From the headline ("Senator Edwards Touts Working-class Values"), to the thingy above the headline ("TALK OF THE TOWN"), to the picture (dreamy as all get out), the coverage of John Edwards' well-attended town meeting in Portsmouth got boffo coverage in the Herald. LINK The Manchester Union-Leader's Jack Kenny looks at Republican criticism that Senator John Edwards is "hypocritical" for "bemoaning the loss of manufacturing jobs, and then buying a pair of foreign-made sneakers." LINK
"Edwards, Richard Gephardt and other Democrats may not have the right answers, but at least some of them are raising legitimate issues."
John Wagner writes that instead of attending the Human Rights Campaign's presidential forum, John Edwards "spoke to a group of North Carolina broadcasters at Wrightsville Beach on Tuesday morning and then flew to Boston around noon en route to New Hampshire, said campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri." LINK
At his talk with broadcasters, according to Wagner, Edwards reiterated "opposition to a decision by the Federal Communications Commission that lets national networks own more local television stations."
"'You know better than some out-of-touch executive in New York or Angeles what's interesting and what's important for people in Charlotte or Raleigh,' Edwards told a gathering at Wrightsville Beach of the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters, according to remarks released by his Senate office."
Okay, we always defend New Hampshire whenever we hear anyone attack the people of the state as provincial. And we enjoy our time there more than you will ever know.
But the Union Leader story about the opening of the state's first Stop & Shop is going to be tough to push back on. LINK
"The store will be open 24 hours, except for seven hours on Monday mornings, and offer 75,000 square feet of space stocked with everything from linguini to light bulbs and Barbie dolls to baked goods."
"At least 200 people will staff the store, from the florist department to the pharmacy counter. The store will carry 80,000 different items … ."
"The store boasts a large selection of natural food items, from soy milk to veggie dogs … ."
"The supermarket sells a little food as well."
"Such as 32 flavors of coffee you grind yourself."
"Or the sushi bar."
"Or Carvel ice cream cakes, like one shaped as a baseball with red icing laces."
"Or meatloaf and roast turkey dinners ready for takeout."
On the other hand, New Hampshire sophistication is about to come to Washington — in a virtual way.
Tomorrow at 11 am ET, PoliticsNH Managing Editor James "Jimmy" Pindell hits the boards of a washingtonpost.com chat.
Check out the preview page . And you can begin to submit your questions and admiration in advance!! LINK
Politics: The Note has heard through the grapevine — or maybe just through the bushes at the zoo — that a certain Senate Majority Leader with an M.D. surreptitiously performed a cardiac work-up on a big primate friend.
Could it be that Bill Frist is helping out one large Democratic Senator and is trying to keep it under wraps? Not quite: his patient apparently was a giant silverback gorilla at the National Zoo!
The gorilla in question — named Kuja, Swahili for "come"-- weighs 320 lbs. and was born in Memphis, according to the website for the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. LINK
The Note has heard that the gorilla was on a table, anesthetized and intubated, with certain "unmentionable" parts of his body covered up, just as if he were a homo sapiens.
Frist's office would not comment, although one should Note that the good doctor is known to be a big fan of the zoo and to visit often.
There just might be photos floating around of Frist performing the procedure, and we're on the lookout for them.
From the people who brought you PoliticsNH.com … . it's PoliticsUS.com. LINK And in United States.
The site's mission is to provide "what Vladimir Lenin called the central question of politics — 'kto kgo' in Russian, which translates simply as 'who's doing what to whom.'"
In addition to links to the day's political news, the site promises to offer exclusive columns written by people who have worked in the political trenches. Bush communications adviser Don Trigg LINK
, Virginia Democratic strategist Paul Goldman LINK
, Republican operative Bill Pascoe LINK
, Democratic strategist Ken Snyder LINK
, University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato LINK
, and a modern-day "Publius" LINK
are all slated to write columns for the site.
The site is funded internally by "The Publius Group." Links will go up as they become available with the goal of being fully loaded by mid-morning.
Chris Cillizza of Roll Call looks at the Capitol Hill campaign committees' warchests.
"The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $44 million in the first six months of the year, roughly $30 million more than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee."
"But Republicans spent all but $6.5 million of that take, putting the NRCC at rough parity with the cash-on-hand total of their Democratic counterparts; the DCCC still carries more than $2.5 million in arrears from the 2002 campaign, however."
Alexander Bolton also has the dollar figures in today's Hill. LINK
John Wildermuth of the San Francisco Chronicle writes up the latest Field Poll showing 51% of likely California voters favor recalling Governor Gray Davis. LINK
"The governor's backers see the new survey as relatively good news. A poll released last month by the Public Policy Institute of California showed a nearly identical 48 percent of likely voters favoring a Davis recall, and the governor's own polls show about 51 percent support for the recall."
"The slim pro-recall majority is likely to be a high-water mark, said Paul Maslin, Davis' pollster, who predicted support for a recall will slip as an election moves closer."
On the GOP side:
"Riordan leads the likely challengers, with 37 percent of the voters inclined to support him. Schwarzenegger has 31 percent, Simon 30 percent, McClintock 27 percent,
Issa 22 percent and Camejo 11 percent."
"When asked to chose a single candidate, Riordan again came out on top, leading Schwarzenegger, 21 percent to 15 percent, with Simon at 12 percent and Camejo at 8
percent. Trailing the field with 4 percent was Issa, despite spending $1.2 million of his own money to help finance the recall effort."
The Washington Times ' Steve Sexton continues to put the legal wrangling in Floridian (circa 2000) context. LINK Jeffrey Rabin of the Los Angeles Times describes the recall battle as "street theater." Perhaps those Florida comparisons aren't so off base. LINK
"The campaign to recall Gov. Gray Davis dissolved into street theater Tuesday, with dueling news conferences before a dozen television cameras outside a state office building in downtown Los Angeles."
"Opponents of the recall unveiled a lawsuit seeking to slow or stop an election, arguing that the actions of paid petition circulators violated state law and threatened 'the legitimacy and integrity of our electoral system.'"
"A spokeswoman for the recall's biggest financial backer, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, immediately called her own news conference on a nearby sidewalk, where she dismissed the allegations as 'absolutely absurd.' The spokeswoman, Monica Getz, was later suspended from her job without pay for impersonating a reporter to attend the recall opponents' news conference."
Erica Werner of the Associated Press writes up the legal arguments being made by "Taxpayers Against the Governor's Recall." And she adds that they are looking to
immediately halt the verification process. LINK "The lawsuit seeks an injunction stopping Shelley from taking any action on the recall, including certifying it for the ballot, until county elections officials verify that the people circulating recall petitions were registered California voters. "
"It also asks that elections officials in the state's three most-populous counties stop verifying signatures until they check the status of signature collectors and ensure that the collectors witnessed the signatures."
After the state senate's Republican budget plan was voted down yesterday, party leaders headed back to the negotiating table. and LINK
Governor Davis is planning on making a "major statement" regarding the state budget in Sacramento at 4:30 pm EDT.
The AP's Alan Fram writes, "The dreary numbers set Republicans and Democrats at each other's political throats over an issue the public has largely ignored in recent years — even as massive projected surpluses have melted into deep deficits in the budget's starkest, most abrupt turnabout ever." LINK USA Today 's Sue Kirchhoff writes, "In unusually blunt testimony to the House Financial Services Committee, [Chairman Greenspan] said that the economy appears poised for accelerated growth, making it unlikely the Fed would have to take dramatic action to ward off a possible destructive cycle of falling prices." LINK The AP's Maura Kelly reports, "The national Democratic Governors' Association on Tuesday criticized the Bush administration's economic policy, saying tax breaks alone won't improve the economy." LINK
The Clintons of Chappaqua:
"The government will pay a small portion of the legal fees accumulated by former President Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton during the independent counsel investigation of their failed Arkansas land deal, an appeals court ruled Tuesday," the Associated Press reports. LINK Clinton attorney David Kendall: "'The facts and the numbers speak for themselves. The good news is that the partisan Whitewater smoke-and-mirrors investigation is finally over,' Kendall said."
Bush Administration strategy/personality:
The AP's Deb Reichmann reports on Mr. McClellan's first day. LINK "'I think it's been a fairly busy, somewhat routine day,' he said, summing up his first day."