The Note: The Raptor and the Three-legged Rabbits



There are only five ways to cover this story now:

1. Assign couriers to follow Patrick Fitzgerald and John Solomon. LINK

2. Root through the trash cans at the offices of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and the Wall Street Journal ed board.

3. Hire scientific experts and voodoo artists to do content and voice analysis of the outputs of "Bush associates" to get a sense of their level of strain.

4. Practice in front of the mirror 10 times a day: "An indictment is not a conviction."

5. Click and refresh obsessively:

The Fitzgerald site: LINK

(already the top Google result for "patrick-fitzgerald," as opposed to #4 LINK) LINK

Drudge Report: LINK LINK LINK

Start your day fresh with a pair of New York Times must-read stories on the leak investigation.

Stevenson and Johnston look at one possible emerging Republican strategy: LINK

"With a decision expected this week on possible indictments in the C.I.A. leak case, allies of the White House suggested Sunday that they intended to pursue a strategy of attacking any criminal charges as a disagreement over legal technicalities or the product of an overzealous prosecutor."

One Republican familiar with possible messaging strategies tells The Note that party officials are gaming out multiple scenarios and certainly one where there are no charges related to the incident that launched the investigation invites such a line of defense.

And from Elisabeth Bumiller's White House Letter (which includes the use of "compartmentalization" as a Rove character trait) on the mood inside: "'The general mood is one of grim determination to conduct business as usual, even though it's clearly not possible,' said a Republican close to Mr. Rove who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to antagonize the White House by talking about internal thinking. 'It colors the mood, it colors everything that people do, say and think about.'" LINK

Then move on to these two New York Daily News stories, both with the DeFrank Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval:

Citing Bush associates, the paper reports the President is frustrated, angry, and increasingly bitter, resorting to outbursts at both senior-- and junior-level staffers – including some even aimed at the Vice President. LINK

"'[T]he only person escaping blame is the President himself,' said a sympathetic official, who delicately termed such self-exoneration 'illogical.'"

The President's supporters have launched a "not-so-subtle campaign" against Patrick Fitzgerald, with one White House ally telling the paper the special prosecutor is "a vile, detestable, moralistic person with no heart and no conscience who believes he's been tapped by God to do very important things." LINK

The grand jury is not scheduled to meet today. It is unclear if special prosecutor Fitzgerald is conducting any last-minute interviews today. The grand jury, which normally meets Wednesdays and Fridays, could meet Tuesday, which COULD mean that if evidence intended to lead to indictments is going to be presented to the grand jury tomorrow, those targeted might be informed today. Which means everyone needs to be ready.

President Bush holds a 10:00 am ET meeting with his Cabinet at the White House. There will be pool coverage at the bottom of the meeting.

Vice President Cheney travels to Las Vegas, NV for a closed press fundraiser at a private residence for Congressman Jon Porter. At 8:15 pm ET, the Vice President attends an open press event for congressional candidate Rick O'Donnell in Denver, CO. Scooter Libby will not be traveling with the Vice President.

Paul Hackett, the United States Marine Corps Major and Iraq War Veteran, who lost a special election for a House seat from Ohio this summer, will formally announce his campaign for U.S. Senate at 1:00 pm ET in Cincinnati, OH. He is vying with Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) for the Democratic nomination to take on Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH).

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger debates representatives from unions and the Democratic Party on his four favored ballot measures in the "Special Election Showdown" in Walnut Creek, CA at 9:00 pm ET. Earlier in the day he has a 2:30 pm ET campaign event at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

Former Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) speaks to the 2005 Virginia Rural Leadership Conference in Roanoke, VA at 11:15 am ET. Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) delivers 11:30 am ET remarks to the Virginia Municipal League annual conference in Richmond, VA.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean attends a special event in honor of Fernando Ferrer at Session 73 at 6:30 pm ET in New York, NY. Earlier in the day, Ferrer will campaign and lunch with John Kerry. Sen. Kerry will then scoot across the Hudson River to support his colleague Jon Corzine's campaign for governor.

After spending Sunday in New Hampshire, Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) wings himself to the West Coast today. He will raise some money at a 21st Century Freedom PAC event with Dean Spanos -- President-Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Chargers. Later in the day he headlines a fundraiser for candidate for California Comptroller Abel Maldonado.

The Energy Information Administration releases its survey of retail gasoline prices. In the last survey, the average price of a gallon of gas stood at $2.73, almost 34% higher than a year ago.

The Senate continues work on the Labor/HHS appropriations bill at 2:00 pm ET.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) encourages young people at UC Berkeley to get involved in the fight against poverty.

Be sure to check out our look at the week ahead below.

The Fitzgerald investigation:

Clearly Sen. Allen and Sen. Hutchison did not get the same set of GOP talking points before their Sunday morning appearances. We wonder if Sen. Hutchison was freelancing or if we may hear that message amplified by various Republicans in the days to come. Did anyone in Sen. Hutchison's office pull her 1998 remarks about such crimes as perjury and obstruction of justice and show them to the Senator?

Note today's Wall Street Journal editorial: "Let's stipulate that the law is the law, and if Bush administration officials lied to a grand jury in the clear and obvious way that Bill Clinton did, they should be prosecuted. If Mr. Fitzgerald has evidence of a malicious attempt to expose a CIA undercover agent, as defined by the relevant statute, the same applies. But the fact that the prosecutor has waited as long as he has -- until the last days of his grand jury -- suggests that he considers this a less than obvious case. A close call deserves to be a no call."

The editorial is a colossal must read.

The Washington Post's Walter Pincus focuses on the remarks of Sen. Hutchison. LINK

Sen. George Allen (R-VA), a possible contender for the Republican Party's 2008 presidential nomination, said Sunday on "Meet the Press" that it would be appropriate for Karl Rove or Scooter Libby to step down if indicted. LINK

RUSSERT: "(inaudible), if Mr. Rove and/or Mr. Libby is indicted, should they step down?"

ALLEN: "That'll be -- I think they will step down if they're indicted."

RUSSERT: "And they should."

ALLEN: "Yes, I do think that's appropriate. But I don't see (inaudible) -- they're in the midst of an indictment. But let's not say they have been indicted. I will take this point from Senator -- from Charlie Schumer, and that is, let's see what happens rather than get into all this speculation and so forth."

In an interview with the New York Post, Judy Miller says, "I'm not mad, I'm sad," but insists she is "not going to sink to [the] level" of her colleagues. LINK

In Newsweek's look at how the Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Feith/Libby "clique" pursued intelligence gathered on Iraq in the run up to the war, correspondents John Barry, Michael Isikoff, and Mark Hosenball also write this, "Last week Hannah's lawyer Thomas Green told Newsweek his client 'knew nothing' about the leak and is not a target of Fitzgerald's probe. 'This is craziness,' he said." LINK

On Sunday, the New York Times' David Sanger looked at how journalists and government officials communicate about sensitive material and the impact the leak investigation may have on that communication. LINK

The New York Times' Stevenson and Jehl took a Sunday front page look at the underlying debate – the rationale for going to war in Iraq. LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation: filling the potential void:

In a story that indicates there is a "growing expectation" that Fitzgerald will seek to indict Rove and Libby, the Wall Street Journal's McKinnon and Cooper report (the old news) that White House Chief of Staff Andy Card is "thought to be interested in the Treasury secretary's job, if and when John Snow decides to step down."

Given Bush's tendency to "promote from within," some experts say if Rove has to go, it is likely that Bush will seek to bring in someone with a long track record of serving him, such as Ken Mehlman, Ed Gillespie, Donald Evans, Josh Bolten, Clay Johnson, Karen Hughes, or Marc Racicot.

The AP's Donna Cassata had a weekend look at similar names. LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation: Scooter Libby:

Sarah Kelley of the Legal Times looks at the reclusive Joseph Tate and asks: "Can a Democrat from Philadelphia save Scooter Libby?" LINK

The New York Times' Stevenson delivered a Sunday profile of Libby complete with his limousine rides to work with his boss. LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation: the prosecutor:

The Washington Post's Slevin and Leonnig produce a portrait of the special prosecutor as exacting, dogged, and fair. LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation: the New York Times:

Per the Wall Street Journal's Joe Hagan, the Grey Lady's "once-staunch support" for Miller appeared to "splinter" over the weekend following recent revelations about her involvement in the CIA leak case. Note the amazing quotes from the paper's lawyer and his apparent lack of interest in what Bill Keller has to say.

Slate's Jack Shafer tells USA Today Judy Miller is "ruined" and the Times is "damaged but will be OK." LINK

On Sunday, the New York Times' public editor, Byron Calame, wrote: "The Times must now face up to three major concerns raised by the leak investigation: First, the tendency by top editors to move cautiously to correct problems about prewar coverage. Second, the journalistic shortcuts taken by Ms. Miller. And third, the deferential treatment of Ms. Miller by editors who failed to dig into problems before they became a mess." LINK

Harriet Miers for Associate Justice:

Senators from both parties are demanding the Bush Administration release documents related to Miers' role as White House counsel, reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK

USA Today's Kathy Kiely reviews the comments of Senators and finds the centrists are starting to run from Miers -- which could spell big trouble for the embattled nominee, she predicts. LINK

George F. Will threw down the gauntlet on Sunday: "As for Republicans, any who vote for Miers will thereafter be ineligible to argue that it is important to elect Republicans because they are conscientious conservers of the judicial branch's invaluable dignity. Finally, any Republican senator who supinely acquiesces in President Bush's reckless abuse of presidential discretion -- or who does not recognize the Miers nomination as such -- can never be considered presidential material." LINK

Newsweek's Wolffe and Klaidman on the possibly less than stellar Miers murder boards: "Behind the scenes, however, the comfort level is very low. Some White House officials are already worried that Miers's rehearsals for her hearings are not proceeding smoothly, according to current and former administration sources who declined to be named because the sessions are secret. Whether the White House now prevails with its nominee says as much about its qualities under fire as those of Harriet Ellan Miers." LINK

And just in case you missed your weekend installment of the Wall Street Journal, here is what Chairman Specter told Melanie Kirkpatrick: "I don't think she's going to be withdrawn."

The White House denies Ralph Z. Hallow and Charles Hurt's Washington Times story on Saturday about Sara Taylor making some phone calls to take the GOP temperature on a hypothetical withdrawal of the Miers nomination. LINK

A Specter source tells Time Magazine's Mike Allen that the Judiciary Committee Chairman had been feeling sorry for Harriet Miers but he is now "very, very, very unhappy." LINK

"James T. Dyke Jr., a White House official who is working with Miers, told Time, 'Is it easy? No. Are we making progress? Absolutely.'"

The New York Times' Kirkpatrick places the Miers nomination in historical context to present its unique-ness. LINK

In Sunday's Washington Post, David Broder wrote that the nomination of Harriet Miers has been "as badly bungled as anything" since Dan Quayle. LINK

In an Opinion Journal op-ed, the Wall Street Journal's John Fund writes that he believes it is "almost inevitable that Ms. Miers will withdraw or be defeated." LINK

"The damage to his relations with his conservative base would blow over quickly if Mr. Bush were to quickly name a well-qualified nominee who was not a sphinx when it came to judicial philosophy. Perhaps this time he might even expand the talent pool to include -- gasp -- men."

Keying off of his "Face the Nation" interview, the Washington Post's Charles Babington has Sen. Arlen Specter sending his "clearest" signal to date that Focus on the Family's James Dobson will be called before the Senate Judiciary Committee. LINK

Babington also has Sen. Sam Brownback saying on "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has to produce more of Miers's "work product" and Allen saying on "Meet the Press" that he would have preferred someone other than Miers for the Court but that he is not greatly troubled by her past support for affirmative action while president of the Texas state bar in the 1990s.

Bush agenda:

Nina J. Easton of the Boston Globe writes that recent Bush Administration choices and congressional corruption charges have "rattled" the conservative movement in America. LINK

"The conservative coalition that elected George W. Bush is falling apart," writes Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. LINK

Polman sees the intra-party spat over Miers, spending, Iraq, and scandals as getting "very personal."

"Consider the insult directed at Bush the other day by conservative commentator Jonathan V. Last. After learning that high-court nominee Miers had stated in 1989 that she couldn't recall 'the last time I read a whole book,' Last remarked: 'Those who voted for George W. Bush were promised a mind like [Antonin] Scalia's for the Supreme Court. Instead, they've been given a mind like George W. Bush's.'"

Polman warns that if the various conservative factions that are currently fighting with one another field their own candidates in a fight for the party's heart and soul in 2008, they could be imperiled as they were in 1992 when "a lot of conservatives voted for Pat Buchanan during the primaries and Ross Perot in November -- weakening the elder Bush and aiding the election of Bill Clinton."

Big Casino budget politics:

The Los Angeles Times asks if the perfect storm of circumstances may doom the prospect of Congress approving any offsets to pay for Katrina and the war. LINK

The USA Today ed board expresses its outrage with last week's expression of outrage by Sen. Stevens. LINK

Donald Lambro of the Washington Times writes that Sen. Bill Frist is fighting back -- against the fiscal conservatives' war on spending -- by issuing a memo that pinned down defense bills as a sure part of the problem. LINK


Roll Call's John Bresnahan has Josh Earnest, the DNC's suave spokesman, saying the committee reached the $340,000 goal set in an anti-DeLay e-mail sent out by Tom McMahon by "late Friday with contributions from more than 8,000 donors."

Frist and HCA:

"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) was given considerable information about his stake in his family's hospital company, according to records that are at odds with his past statements that he did not know what was in his stock holdings," the Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum reports. LINK

Note Bob Stevenson's acknowledgement that his boss is not perfect.

Amid questions about how "blind" the blind trusts of Sen. Frist and Sen. Corzine were, nearly all of the Senate's 40 members with holdings in blind trusts are receiving extra scrutiny, reports USA Today. LINK


A Time Magazine investigation by Zagorin, Tumulty, and Calabresi shows that Jack Abramoff, the "lobbyist now at the center of a federal probe," had a "good friend eager to open doors at the White House: former Christian Coalition chief Ralph Reed." Note the e-mail cameo of Susan Ralston, Abramoff's former executive assistant who now works in that capacity for Rove. LINK

"Although Abramoff repeatedly tried to contact Rove, sources tell Time, he had been able to arrange only one private meeting with Bush's top political strategist, early in 2001. Ralston subsequently referred his occasional requests to the White House intergovernmental-affairs office. When Abramoff pleaded by e-mail in February 2003 for her to help arrange a 'quiet message' from Rove to the Interior Department on behalf of a tribal client, Ralston rebuffed him: 'Karl and others are aware, but the WH is not going to get involved.' So Abramoff sent a copy of Ralston's curt e-mail to Reed, who replied, 'this is ridiculous. want any help . . . ?'"

The politics of Iraq:

The Washington Post's Bradley Graham reports that the U.S. military has "abandoned its previous refusal to publicize enemy body counts and now cites such numbers periodically to show the impact of some counterinsurgency operations." LINK

While Washington awaits the endgame in the Fitzgerald investigation, the New York Daily News reports the White House is equally concerned by growing public concerns about Iraq -- and how this may affect the President's legacy. LINK

Says one senior Republican political strategist, "But if there's a civil war and Americans are still dying, Bush will end his term as one of the most unpopular Presidents in history."

2008: Republicans:

CQ Weekly and National Review make George Felix Allen a cover boy twice over this week.

CQ Weekly's David Nather writes: "What sets Allen apart from other 2008 hopefuls, Republican consultants and activists say, are his people skills and his ability to frame conservative views in ways that put his audience at ease -- one of the most important qualities Republicans say he shares with Reagan and Bush."

National Review's Rich Lowry is not entirely sure how the Dubyaesque quality will play in 2008, cautioning that Allen's persona "might seem too similar to Bush at a time when even Republicans might be suffering, after eight years, from Bush fatigue."

But Lowry's portrait, like Nather's in CQ Weekly, is largely a glowing one.

Writing under a "His Future Is Now" header, Lowry writes: "It is not hard to do a calculation that says at this early stage in the '08 race George Allen has perhaps a better chance of winning the nomination than any other Republican."

Conservative powerbroker Grover Norquist, who is quoted about Allen in both pieces, tells National Review: "He is right now best positioned in the sweet spot of Republican politics. He is on good terms with every piece of the coalition."

Lowry examines Allen's "libertarian sensibility" thusly:

"In the 1993 gubernatorial race he refused 'to be labeled pro-life or pro-choice,' and said he would, as a theoretical matter, support his daughter's decision to get an abortion. But he has never voted the wrong way on abortion or other social hot buttons, except for opposing the so-called gag rule when he was in Congress during the first Bush administration."

CQ Weekly's Nather Notes that Allen "used to have a Confederate battle flag draped in his house and a noose in his law office," but the magazine nonetheless argues over 11 pages that Allen is THE horse to watch given Allen's "easy-going conservatism" and the "serious political vulnerabilities" of the "seeming first tier."

In a two-page insert, CQ Weekly pooh-poohs the chances of many other potential Republican '08ers.

The Allen boomlet has left at least one Democratic strategist feeling sanguine about how the junior senator from Virginia would match up against the junior senator from New York.

"The presidential campaign is like an NFL game," Chris Lehane told The Note. "It is all about match-ups. And while Allen may have the NFL pedigree, he will be a great match-up for HRC."

"Eight years of corruption and incompetence take their toll. . . and while I don't see the Democrats winning a majority in 2006 (unless the current scandal runs as deep and high as it could potentially go) -- I do see HRC as a candidate who can run as a strong leader -- a Democratic Maggie Thatcher -- and who can leverage the general feeling that the Clinton-Gore years were, if nothing else, very competent."

"George Allen will be George Bush without the brains or the fig leaf of compassion. . . a Confederate flag-waving, tobacco chewing, Bob Jones stumping, Bin Laden missing, economy dumping, Schiavo diagnosing, country dividing right winger at a time when the public will be looking for someone who will be a strong leader, non-partisan, capable of making the right choices for the country, and tough on national security and right on the economy. . . And HRC will make that character match-up."

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) has a fresh opportunity this week through the drunken driving bill to demonstrate whether he can actually accomplish something on Beacon Hill, the Boston Globe's Eileen McNamara wrote on Sunday. LINK

Scott S. Greenberger of the Boston Globe looks over in detail at Romney's "miracle worker" abilities in closing the Bay State's budget gap. LINK

Note Romney gave the paper a spectacled response.

2008: Democrats:

The New Hampshire Union Leader's DiStaso attempts to calm some Democratic Granite State nerves by getting Donnie Fowler and Donna Brazile to say that nobody knows nothing yet, for certain about the 2008 nomination calendar. LINK

Sen. Clinton was in Atlanta yesterday. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Charles Yoo: "Clinton was a centrist throughout the speech. . . She spoke like a reformer. After her lecture, Clinton answered a few questions from the audience, including her view of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. . . 'Please tell us one thing you disagree with President Bush,' she would want to ask Miers." LINK

Sen. Clinton is not very generous when it comes to using her PAC's money to support other Democrats, claims the New York Post. LINK

Roll Call's Nicole Duran Notes that of the "21 Republican and 12 Democratic Senators who will face voters in November of 2008," Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) was "the biggest spendthrift," collecting $1.8 million and ending the quarter with "roughly $300,000 in the bank."

Kerry, by the way, was spotted out on U Street Northwest on Thursday night being cool.

Roll Call's Mary Ann Akers reports that Kerry "stole the show" at the "uber-hip" Tabaq Bistro on Thursday, at a benefit for the Whitman-Walker Clinic. "Kerry made a surprise appearance to support his staffers Heather Zichal and Heather Higginbottom, both of whom are training for the upcoming AIDS marathon and helping to raise money for Whitman-Walker."

"The Senator hung out with the crowd and even played a few songs on a guitar he borrowed from the band hired to play for the event. He played Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B. Goode' and a few Beatles riffs, our source says."

Over the weekend, the Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont relayed Tom Vilsack's theory that playing hard-to-get with the insurgents is/should be America's Iraq solution. The Iowa Governor promotes establishing secure zones and defending Iraqis from behind these enclosed areas, instead of actively seeking out insurgent forces. Vilsack's Mr.-Bush-build-up-this-wall idea was combatted by the White House with: the-military-should-make-that-call. LINK

Beaumont also wrote that Gov. Vilsack has been going the distance recently as leader of the Democratic Leadership Council -- maintaining a country-wide schedule reminiscent of former Governor/DLC Chairman/President Bill Clinton's 1992 travels. LINK

The Des Moines Register's political columnist David Yepsen believes that healthy budgetary balancing/pork-trimming habits begin at home and asserts that it would behoove Gov. Vilsack to take a look at Iowa's expenses before he goes wild with consolidation proposals for the federal government. LINK

Gov. Bill Richardson is back from North Korea and says he was treated very well while abroad, he pointed his diplomatic success to his "quid pro quo " attitude. LINK

South Carolina:

Lee Bandy of the State writes on Sunday that poll numbers of South Carolina GOP members are shifting when it comes to President Bush's approval rating, abortion, and GOP leadership. LINK


"Mr. Bloomberg has not been nearly as exciting, or entertaining, as Edward I. Koch or Rudolph W. Giuliani. But he has been better at running the city. If he continues his record of accomplishment over the next four years, he may be remembered as one of the greatest mayors in New York history," wrote the New York Times editorial board in its Sunday endorsement for Michael Bloomberg's reelection. LINK

The New York Times' Diane Cardwell, who clearly has a lot of time on her hands, went (successfully) searching for Fernando Ferrer's middle name. LINK

Michael Bloomberg ignited some Ground Zero controversy when he told the New York Daily News editorial board that it may be in the city's best interest if developer (and leaseholder) Larry Silverstein was not involved in the rebuilding in lower Manhattan. LINK

The New York Times on the unlikely tax-cutter, Fernando Ferrer. LINK

Sen. Clinton will make a last-minute push for Ferrer in the New York mayoral race, with an appearance at luncheon for a get-out-the-vote rally the Sunday before Election Day. LINK

Mayor Bloomberg's reelection campaign received a fine of $110,100 for illegally posting posters on city poles. LINK

Three "current officeholders who recently campaigned with Ferrer" tell the New York Daily News that the Ferrer campaign is "uninspiring" and needs a major shakeup in his campaign to have any shot on Nov. 8. LINK

Ferrer announced plans yesterday for a tax plan that would reward homeowners up to $1000 a year. LINK

The New Jersey gubernatorial race has been less than enlightening for the Garden State's citizens, reports the Associated Press. LINK

The Washington Post endorsed Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) for governor of Virginia on Sunday. LINK

"In the end, the race may have been dispiriting, but the choice is easy. Mr. Kaine has the potential to be a remarkable governor -- a responsible, forward-thinking, unifying, principled politician with brains, guts and know-how."

The Schwarzenegger Era:

Per the Los Angeles Times, California's county election chiefs actually "dread" the possible passage of Prop. 77, which would charge three judges with the task of redrawing the state's Congressional districts. LINK

George Skelton, writing in the Los Angeles Times, accuses Gov. Schwarzenegger of fuzzy math in his push for voters to approve Prop. 76, the ballot issue that attempts to balance the state's budget. LINK

The Los Angeles Times ed board refuses to endorse Prop. 76 for a different reason, saying passage of the proposition would give the governor too much power. LINK

Gov. Schwarzenegger is asking California businesses to pony up tens of thousands of dollars to pay for his upcoming trade mission to China, prompting many to question the ethics of the arrangement, reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK


Republicans are behind the rumors that Jeanine Pirro will drop her "troubled campaign" for Sen. Clinton's Senate seat and instead run for attorney general, reports Frederic Dicker in the New York Post. LINK

Keying off of last week's filings, Roll Call's Lauren Whittington reports that the DSCC and the DCCC out-raised their Republican counterparts, allowing the Democratic committees to claim momentum.

Paul Hackett, "The Democrat Who Fought," gets the cover boy treatment from Mother Jones's David Goodman. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers reports that although then-President Bill Clinton failed to achieve national health-care reform, changes he brought to the Veterans Health Administration have expanded government's role -- with help from the Republican-controlled Congress. (Note question: did Rogers get a FPOTUS interview for this piece?)


The Washington Post's Al Kamen Notes that Pennsylvania Rep. Don Sherwood, a Republican congressman accused of assaulting his former mistress over a five year period, has received $26,000 from Republican leadership PACs. LINK

Per the New York Times's Michael Barbaro, Wal Mart is introducing "a cheaper health insurance plan, with monthly premiums as low as $11, that the company hopes will greatly increase the number of its employees who can afford coverage." LINK

A New York cabbie spent all afternoon on Sunday tracking down Sen. Frank Lautenberg after he left his wallet in the cab yesterday morning. The cabbie's reward? A grateful Senator -- plus $100. LINK

The week ahead:

On Tuesday, President Bush will be in Washington, DC, speaking to the Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' Luncheon, meeting with the president of the Kurdistan regional government, and attending a Republican National Committee dinner. At this writing, the President is scheduled to be in town all week.

Former President Bill Clinton delivers the keynote speech at a "Generation Engage" event at a Ralph Lauren store in New York City.

Justice Antonin Scalia participates in a panel discussion at The Catholic University of America's law school.

Sen. Edwards speaks on poverty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

And Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) hold a DLC roundtable entitled, "The Democratic Alternative: Restoring Fiscal Responsibility" in Washington, DC.

Also on Tuesday, Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) headlines a hurricane recovery benefit organized by his former lobbying partners in Washington, DC.

On Wednesday, President Bush makes remarks to the Economic Club at 1:00 pm ET in Washington, DC.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, fresh from a guest appearance on the "Gilmore Girls," will attend a 7:45 am ET Monitor Breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel.

Sen. Hillary Clinton celebrates her 58th birthday.

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) speaks on national security at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Former Senator John Edwards speaks on poverty at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee, FL.

On Thursday, President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush make remarks at the White House Conference on Helping America's Youth at Howard University.

The President meets with the prime minister of Macedonia later that day.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean appears at a "Say No to 73-78 Rally" at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles, CA.

Justice Scalia keynotes the American Spectator annual dinner at the Hotel Monaco in Washington, DC.

"Friends of Hillary" communications adviser Ann Lewis addresses the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH.

New York Gov. George Pataki addresses the Clinton County Republican Party and visits Davenport, IA.

And John Edwards speaks on poverty at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

On Friday, Sen. Clinton makes her first 2005 para-physical foray into Granite State politics by raising money for New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch at a fundraiser at the Harvard Club in Boston, MA.

Clinton also participates in a "Women Senate 2006" fundraiser with Sens. Stabenow, Cantwell, and Feinstein.

Sen. Stabenow delivers a public address to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

President Bush makes remarks at the 40th anniversary of the President's Commission on White House fellowships.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean appears at a SEIU rally with striking health care workers in San Francisco, CA.

On Saturday, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) keynotes the New Hampshire Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, NH.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney headlines a Scott County GOP hog roast in Davenport, IA and attends a Dallas County GOP steak fry and pie auction in Waukee, IA.

On Sunday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Fernando Ferrer face off in the first televised general election debate.

And Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) visits Iowa.