The Note: The Owl Flies West (?)



The must-reads on the Two Big Stories:

1. The New York Daily News says the Vice President is becoming an increased focus of speculation in the leak investigation. "Cheney's name has come up amid indications Fitzgerald may be edging closer to a blockbuster conspiracy charge - with help from a secret snitch. 'They have got a senior cooperating witness - someone who is giving them all of that,' a source who has been questioned in the leak probe told the Daily News yesterday." LINK

(Note well Mr. DeFrank's grand presence in the byline.)

2. The Washington Post's VandeHei and Pincus report that Fitzgerald has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's "long-standing" tensions with the CIA "contributed" to the unmasking of Plame. In terms of timing, the Washington Post duo report that some lawyers "close to the case" cited "courthouse talk" that Fitzgerald might announce his findings "as early as tomorrow, though hard evidence about his intentions and timing remained elusive." LINK

3. The criticism of Judith Miller and the New York Times' top management continues to mount, according to the Los Angeles Times, in a story that deconstructs about 15% of the holes in Miller's story. LINK

4. In a Washington Post must-read, Peter Baker reports that the conservative split over Miers "seems to be evolving into one of the most profound schisms in years within a conservative movement whose unity has buoyed Bush through his most difficult moments and earned the envy of the political left." LINK

With no indication that Fitzgerald has any indictments under seal, and no grand jury activity scheduled for today, Tuesday should be another day for waiting and speculating.

And for reading.

Miers completed questionnaire was delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee at approximate 9:15 am ET according to ABC News' Linda Douglass, who says there is a lot of material.

Dr./Sen./Leader Frist was to hold a pen and pad only dugout at 9:30 am ET on the Senate floor.

The weekly caucus policy luncheons will take place in the Senate today. Lone Star Sens. Cornyn and Hutchison will head to the Ohio Clock at 12:30 pm ET. Democratic Leader Sen. Harry Reid will talk to reporters there at 2:15 pm ET.

President Bush meets with the President of the European Commission in the Oval Office at 11:20 am ET and signs the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act at 3:00 pm ET in the East Room.

Sens. McCain (R-AZ) and Kennedy (D-MA) will address the Chamber of Commerce on their immigration reform bill at the National Chamber Foundation in Washington, DC at noon ET.

Democratic Sens. Schumer, Kerry, Clinton, and Democratic Reps. DeLauro, Herseth, Schakowski, Wasserman-Schultz, and Stupak are slated to partake in a 10:30 am ET Senate gallery press conference on winter heating costs.

US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on UN restructuring at 9:30 am ET.

Also at 9:30 am ET, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff and Labor Secretary Chao on immigration reform.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) has scheduled a 3:15 pm ET Senate gallery press conference on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.

Former Sen. Bob Dole is scheduled to speak to senior citizens during the Senior Fun Festival at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, NC. We wonder where he is on the Miers nomination.

Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) plans to attend Virginia's 13th Annual Kennedy-King Dinner (with featured guest Rep. Patrick Kennedy) in Arlington, VA at 6:00 pm ET.

Former Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore holds a 10:30 am ET press conference call on domestic violence.

At noon ET, Westchester County DA Jeanine Pirro will hold a news conference in Albany, NY to announce a radio campaign ad promoting legislation "to protect innocent people from violent crimes," according to a campaign press release.

Mrs. Laura Bush delivers remarks at the Project HOPE gala at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC at 6:00 pm ET. Secretary of State Rice also attends.

Harriet Miers for Associated Justice:

The Los Angeles Times details the confusion over Miers' comments yesterday to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) on the right to privacy. LINK

Wethinks this story probably emerged a bit too late for East Coast deadlines, but expect to hear more about this. Will Miers calling Specter to let him know that she had not taken a position on Griswold or the privacy issue allow liberals to paint her as so originalist that she is not only against abortion rights, but that she is against the right to contraception? Does this come closer to a Bork position than a Roberts one?

Bloomberg's James Rowley reports, "White House spokesman Jim Dyke, who was briefed on the meeting, said Miers was 'asked about privacy' and she cited the Constitution's liberty clause. 'She did not discuss specific cases. She hasn't with other senators. She didn't with other senators in the past,' Dyke said." LINK

The Washington Post's Babington and Goldstein have the tic tock on Miers and Griswold: LINK

"Republican lawmakers and pollsters are reporting growing grass-roots hostility to the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers," Notes Ralph Z. Hallow of the Washington Times. LINK

The Hill reports that "influential conservatives" are raising money to fight Miers nomination in a David Frum-led effort. LINK

The Washington Times highlights a National Review editorial that urges Harriet Miers to withdraw her nomination. LINK

David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times writes up the Schumer and Feinstein meetings with Miers denying anyone knows how she would vote on Roe, the White House/Specter back and forth over the timing of the delivery of the questionnaire, and predictable partisan positioning on the timing of the hearings. LINK

Kirkpatrick includes this insightful quote from Sen. Feinstein: "Asked if Ms. Miers faced bigger obstacles from Republicans or Democrats, Mrs. Feinstein said, 'I would say she has problems with both.'"

Sen. Schumer says Miers is no John Roberts, per the New York Daily News. LINK

Rick Klein of the Boston Globe covers the documents released by the White House yesterday on Harriet Miers which show her support for the Patriot Act and a stronger executive branch. LINK

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank reports that if the Texas judges trotted out yesterday were trying to reassure antsy conservatives, "they didn't accomplish much." LINK

USA Today's Mark Memmott says that both conservative and liberal interest groups are holding their fire in the television ad wars until Harriet Miers' confirmation hearings begin. LINK

Karen Hughes told Katie Couric on "Today" this morning that Harriett Miers is an "exceptional person" and "one of the finest people, I know" before confidently predicting her confirmation.

The New York Times ed board chastises the Administration for highlighting Miers' religion. LINK

The Washington Post's Richard Cohen asks: "if Dobson is assured, why should I not be scared to death?" LINK

In the Wall Street Journal, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, professor of law at the University of Tennessee and publisher of, cannot believe that RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman waited until "a week and a half" after the nomination of Harriet Miers was announced to hold a teleconference with influential bloggers, instead of on the day of the announcement, when it might have "done some good."

Miers hasn't limited her effusive remarks on the President and First Lady to greeting cards, per the Los Angeles Times. LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation:

Now that the people running the government are about to face "their day -- or days -- in court," the "old conservative talking points" about perjury, the obstruction of justice, and the rule of law are "inoperative," writes the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne. LINK

The New York Times J. Tierney has his own views of these matters.

The Los Angeles Times' editorial board argues that Miller and her employer "have abused the public's trust by manufacturing a showdown with the government." LINK

The New York Post's John Podhoretz speculates on Bob Novak's role in the Plame case, while questioning why Fitzgerald hasn't handed down any indictments yet.

"As for what else the prosecutor is up to, the next two weeks will tell the tale -- but Bush's enemies should prepare themselves emotionally for the fact that the Fitzgerald tale might be one about how no crime was committed." LINK

"It's not something affecting the daily business of the White House," said Karen Hughes to NBC's Katie Couric when asked about the impact of the investigation inside 1600. (Gone from the morning version was the soundbite aired on "NBC Nightly News" last night where Hughes expressed some compassion and concern for her friends Karl and Scooter.)

Attention, Matthew Dowd: Bloomberg-Los Angeles Times polling deal:

Huge in our world:

Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times announced on Monday that they will join hands to conduct national public opinion polls.

Beginning in January, Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times will survey public attitudes about government and politics, economics and finance, international affairs, and social and cultural issues.

Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times and Al Hunt of Bloomberg News have been working on this partnership for a few months. Bigs Dean Baquet and Matt Winkler recently gave final approval to the arrangement.

The two news giants see the arrangement as a win-win: Bloomberg will benefit from getting to join a nationally-recognized survey; the Los Angeles Times will gain from the ability to conduct more national polls.

The estimable Ron Brownstein will be the lead poll reporter for the Los Angeles Times. The also estimable Heidi Pryzbyla will be the lead poll writer for Bloomberg News. LINK

Bush agenda:

President Bush fell below 40 percent approval for the first time in the latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll. Congressional job approval fell to 29 percent, the lowest level since 1994, and 68 percent of Americans say they are dissatisfied with the country's direction. Stuart Rothenberg provides this analysis: "These numbers suggest an electorate ripe for an 'it's-time-for-change' argument. They don't like the way things are going, and they are blaming the people in charge." LINK

"The confluence of crises, all running through Mr. Card's suite just steps from the Oval Office, has some critics asking whether he needs to clean house or assert himself more forcefully - or at least consider a course correction before Mr. Bush is downgraded permanently to lame duck status," writes the New York Times' Anne Kornblut in her look at Chief of Staff Andy Card's responsibility for and response to the current political climate in which the Administration finds itself. LINK

Bloomberg's Ryan J. Donmoyer has William Gale, a senior fellow at Brookings, betting "big money" that President Bush's tax advisory panel will recommend overhauling the current tax system by replacing it with a variation of the flat tax that would abolish most deductions and end levies on investment income. The plan would raise concerns about whether it would "shift the tax burden from wealthy individuals to salaried employees," experts said. LINK

Conservatives rethinking President Bush:

Bruce Bartlett has been dismissed from his research fellow position at a conservative think tank in Dallas in advance of the publication of his book, "The Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy," reports the New York Times. LINK

We're guessing Mr. Bartlett will need the extra time to return all those phone calls from TV bookers.

The politics of Katrina:

In an op-ed in the Washington Times, Newt Gingrich and Veronique de Rugy write, "While we all feel for Louisiana's residents, there are limits to what American taxpayers can--and should--be asked to contribute." LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

The New York Times' Carl Hulse previews the congressional spending battle ahead. LINK

"With Democrats likely to be united against the cuts, Republicans cannot afford many defections if they hope to push a final package through Congress."

"The tension between moderate and conservative Republicans has been on display in the Finance Committee, where Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who heads the panel, is trying to negotiate an approach to satisfy the two factions by balancing $10 billion in cuts between Medicare and Medicaid."

"Still, some Republicans said they believed that a final deal could be reached, given the rare opportunity to enact cuts through legislation that is specifically protected from a Senate filibuster."

A "major message war" is poised to peak on the House floor this week, as Democrats and GOPers battle for the mantle of fiscal responsibility, Roll Call's Billings and Pershing report.

Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona wants his congressional colleagues to do their part in reducing federal spending by turning down a $3,100 pay raise they are slated to receive, the Associated Press reports.

Big Casino budget politics: Medicare:

Some states are taking issue with the calculations used by the federal government to charge the states billions of dollars to help finance the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, reports the New York Times' Robert Pear. LINK

House of Labor:

The Los Angeles Times takes a thorough look at the declining leverage of U.S. workers in a global economy.

"The forces affecting Delphi and GM workers are extreme versions of what's occurring across the American labor market, where such economic risks as unemployment and health costs once broadly shared by business and government are being shifted directly onto the backs of American working families." LINK

Dean's Democrats:

DNC Chairman Howard Dean did not endorse a candidate in the Mexican presidential contest, but did criticize the Bush Administration's policies on Mexico, reports the AP. LINK

The economy:

Per the Wall Street Journal's Greg Ip, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said yesterday that high oil prices will be a drag on the global economy, but they will also speed the shift to alternative energy sources.

The Wall Street Journal ed board calls on Republicans to start telling voters that a major cause of high energy prices are limits on oil and gas exploration and production.


Tom DeLay rejected a plea bargain before he was indicted last month, according to his lawyer, who has filed new motions to dismiss the felony charges against the former House Majority Leader. LINK

With Rep. DeLay scheduled to make his first court appearance on Friday, the Nation's Newspaper details "his hardball politics, envelope-pushing fundraising and building of Republican dominance," and the charge that he enjoys "playing in the gray areas, and occasionally stepping over the line." LINK

With DeLay set to make his first appearance before a Texas judge on Friday, Roll Call's John Bresnahan chronicles the ways in which the former House Majority Leader is turning up the heat on Ronnie Earle.


In a lengthy A1 story, the Washington Post's Grimaldi and Schmidt report that lobbyist Jack Abramoff and House Administration Committee Chair Bob Ney (R-OH) -- the man known to his colleagues as the mayor of the Capitol Hill -- have had a "long-standing relationship" that has "intersected at several points," including the sale of a Florida gambling cruise ship line, the effort of the Tigua Indian tribe to reopen its casino in Texas, and a bid by an Israeli telecommunications company to install antennas for cellular phone access in House buildings." LINK

Brian Walsh, Ney's spokesman, tells ABC News: "Today's story in the Washington Post reads like a cross between Groundhog Day and the National Enquirer. On the one hand, it is regurgitation on top of regurgitation; while on the other hand, it is littered with deliberately deceptive and selective quotes, unsupported statements, misleading theories, and in some instances, outright falsehoods. While the Washington Post continues to drag Congressman Ney's name through the mud with outrageous stories such as this, the Congressman continues to await the opportunity to address all of these matters with the House Ethics Committee which he has been seeking to do for almost a year now."

2008: Republicans:

Sen. Frist tells the Washington Times that he will put a border security bill on the Senate floor first and later turn to a guest-worker plan LINK, as the Houston Chronicle reports that Congress is organizing itself to begin discussion over immigration law this winter. LINK

The New York Times' Cooper Notes the diminished third quarter fundraising totals for Gov. George Pataki's (R-NY) 21st Century Freedom PAC. LINK

According to the Boston Globe, families of soldiers rallied against Gov. Romney's decision to support the President and keep National Guardsman in Iraq. Gov. Romney met with families yesterday who were upset with his backing of the war and are now starting a petition hoping to gain enough signatures to "prevent further deployment." LINK

The Sioux City Journal's Todd Dorman writes up the "Americans for Rice" TV ads that will air in Iowa during "Commander in Chief," "Good Morning America," and "The View," in hopes of stirring up a presidential run by the Secretary of State. LINK

2008: Democrats:

The AP's Liz Sidoti ponders the possible complications a "yes" vote on the Iraq war in 2002 may cause Democratic presidential hopefuls in 2007 and 2008. LINK

With his law school alma mater serving as a springboard, John Edwards plunged into his "Opportunity Rocks" campus tour yesterday at UNC, so reports The Daily Tar Heel. The former Senator's anti-poverty design plans include raising the minimum wage as well as implementing a scholarship program for low-income North Carolina college students. LINK

The Family Wire gives the SoaMW some play too. LINK


A state legislative committee is resurrecting discussion on whether to restore the death penalty in Iowa, reports the Sioux City Journal. LINK

New Hampshire:

The AP reports that pro-choice religious organizations are spreading their own message with a "friend of the court" brief asserting that New Hampshire's parental notification law is unconstitutional. LINK


Jim Rutenberg delivers a long New York Times spot-on look at Michael Bloomberg's approach to the mayoralty on the Gray Lady's front page. There's not much revealed here that you haven't seen before (save Ed Skyler's apparent opposition to the smoking ban), but Rutenberg does take you inside the bullpen and Bloomberg's results-oriented governing philosophy in compelling fashion. (Make sure to read all the way down to the Mary Brosnahan Sullivan vignette for some intriguing onion peeling.) LINK

The New York Times' Lueck writes up Bloomberg's latest Democratic endorsement, Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, and the "polite but less than enthusiastic applause" Fernando Ferrer received at a joint appearance with Sen. Clinton and Eliot Spitzer. LINK

Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential ambitions got more play than Fernando Ferrer's mayoral hopes at an event for Ferrer yesterday, according to the New York Post.

"After giving an anti-Bush speech that focused on national themes, Clinton got around to talking up Ferrer's candidacy as representing 'Democratic values' -- but pointedly did not criticize Republican incumbent Mayor Bloomberg." LINK

A spoof personal ad from the "Mayor of New York City" made it into the New York Times on Sunday. LINK

The New York Post's editorial board gives Ferrer a little love (but not much) for hitting Bloomberg on taxes. LINK

The McIntire/Rutenberg campaign column in the New York Times highlights a recently slimmed down Ferrer bio, Michael Bloomberg's not-so-on-message retail campaign skills, and a bewildering Jeff "banging the drum" Simmons item. LINK

The New York Times' Kocieniewski and Benson look at the shadow Bob Torricelli may be casting on Jon Corzine's gubernatorial campaign or at least the Forrester campaign is hoping he is. We're sure this will be the part that Sherry Sylvester will remind reporters about today: LINK

"'He's never been to a single meeting,' Mr. Corzine said during an interview last week. 'I don't share with him polls. I don't tell him what I'm going to do on advertising. I haven't talked to him about any of my policies, and there's nothing fundamental that he's been involved with.'"

"For his part, Mr. Torricelli said in a recent interview that he had given Mr. Corzine advice on a number of policy and campaign matters, but he declined to describe the extent of his involvement."

"Others involved in the Corzine operation, who insisted on not being identified for fear of losing their access to the campaign, said Mr. Torricelli has been more involved than Mr. Corzine indicated."

The Boston Globe's Oliphant columnizes on the Virginia gubernatorial contest through the "What's the Matter with Kansas" lens. LINK

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine is hoping to break the GOP's stranglehold on the Virginia exurbs by calling for local governments to connect land use decisions with transportation decisions, the Washington Post's Michael Shear reports. LINK


"Without your sound advice, wise counsel and generous financial support, I would not have had the honor of serving the people of Westchester County as their District Attorney," writes Republican candidate for Senate Jeanine Pirro to the woman she hopes to unseat, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in a form letter fundraising appeal sent to Sen. Clinton at an address that is more than four and a half years outdated -- 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC. Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson says his reaction was one of "bewilderment" when he first saw the letter and that Sen. Clinton has never contributed to (or supported in any way) Jeanine Pirro's previous campaigns. He added that the Senator isn't expected to do so this time around either.

Wolfson also seized the opportunity to poke fun at Pirro's less than impressive fundraising totals for the third quarter by suggesting that if this was representative of the Pirro campaign's fundraising strategy, he can understand why not much money has been raised.

The letter, which caused a modicum of chuckles up and down the New York State Thruway, slipped through the cracks of the Pirro campaign and was sent to Hillary Clinton asking for her contribution to go up "against Hillary's entrenched political machine."

The Pirro campaign explains to The Note that it has been able to pinpoint August 10, 2005 as the date that someone registered Sen. Clinton's name and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue address on the campaign's website as a potential supporter.

Neither campaign saw any significance in the fact that the letter is dated August 19, 2005 -- Bill Clinton's 59th birthday.

The AP's Marc Humbert was first with the story. LINK

The New York Times: LINK

The New York Daily News: LINK

Some contributions to Jeanine Pirro's Senate campaign come from "shady" sources, says the New York Post. link

The New York Post ed board suggests William Weld should move to the bottom of the gubernatorial ticket. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

Despite near universal Republican opposition to the redistricting initiative on Ohio's ballot in November, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is throwing his support behind it in an effort to show he's committed to non-partisan redistricting irrespective of which incumbent majority party may suffer electoral losses, reports the New York Times' Dean Murphy. LINK


"Mitch McConnell is waiting patiently in the Senate's wings, but he will soon be standing in the spotlight -- a fact not lost on lawmakers, lobbyists and aides," The Hill reports. LINK

Keying off of the group's 20th anniversary celebration, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza looks at the ways in which Emily's List makes the dough rise and Notes that the organization dedicated to electing more pro-abortion-rights women is hoping to play "queen maker" through its endorsement of Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar over child safety advocate Patty Wetterling in the race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton of Minnesota. LINK

Amy Sherman-Palladino, the executive producer of the WB's "Gilmore Girls," is feeling "very honored, very lucky, and sooo not worthy" to have former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright guest star on Oct. 25.