The Note: Membership Has Its Privileges, Part III

Former Sen. Max Cleland will rally with Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) at 4:30 pm ET in Charlottesville, VA.

Former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R-VA) holds five campaign rallies across the Commonwealth today. He begins his day in Roanoke and concludes in Fredericksburg, VA.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester holds a 10:00 am ET press conference in Bringatine and a noon ET press conference in Egg Harbor Township, NJ.

Sen. Corzine (D-NJ), former Sen. Bill Bradley, and Gov. Codey "shoot hoops" at 4:30 pm ET outside Livingston High School in Livingston, NJ.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) campaigns in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Luis Obispo, CA today.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman keynotes at the 15th Annual Red, White, and Blue Dinner for the Maryland Republican Party in Baltimore, MD this evening.

The Fitzgerald investigation:

The Washington Post's Jim VandeHei and Carol Leonnig use blind quotes from Republicans to put together the most provocative political story of the day. LINK

"Top White House aides are privately discussing the future of Karl Rove, with some expressing doubt that President Bush can move beyond the damaging CIA leak case as long as his closest political strategist remains in the Administration."

"If Rove stays, which colleagues say remains his intention, he may at a minimum have to issue a formal apology for misleading colleagues and the public about his role in conversations that led to the unmasking of CIA operative Valerie Plame, according to senior Republican sources familiar with White House deliberations."

"'Karl does not have any real enemies in the White House, but there are a lot of people in the White House wondering how they can put this behind them if the cloud remains over Karl,' said a GOP strategist who has discussed the issue with top White House officials. 'You can not have that [fresh] start as long as Karl is there.'"

Scott McClellan is described by a Republican who has spoken about this issue with the White House as "really beaten down" as a result of having told reporters that Rove was not involved in the leak.

The Washington Post duo also report that there are "new indications" that Rove remains in "legal jeopardy."

"The prosecutor spoke this week with an attorney for Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about his client's conversations with Rove before and after Plame's identity became publicly known because of anonymous disclosures by White House officials, according to two sources familiar with the conversation."

Richard Stevenson of the New York Times looks at the problems facing Scott McClellan in the White House briefing room in the wake of the Fitzgerald investigation and suggests McClellan's problems are symptomatic of "a broader issue that has left the entire White House off balance as the leak investigation has progressed." LINK

"The case is almost never discussed openly among senior officials. Those who have been questioned by the prosecutor have apparently not shared their testimony with others, leaving senior officials guessing at where the case is heading."

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Victoria Toensing, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration and former chief counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee writes that Congress should investigate the CIA for not doing a better job to protect Plame's cover.

Alito: confirmation prospects:

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