WASHINGTON, Nov. 15
With the move today in the Senate led by Dr./Leader/Sen. Frist to head off a Democratic effort to (let's face it) bring the troops home, facts on the ground be darned, the Congress is now hurtling down the slippery slope.
"Stay the course," "be patient," "show resolve," and "don't let the terrorists win" are, apparently not compatible with the 2006 sensibilities of a majority that wants to stay a majority.
Make no mistake -- Frist and Sen. Warner don't want to tie White House hands as much as Sens. Reid and Kennedy do. But Gulliver is going on his back, and the Republican leadership has decided that they must at least be seen helping tie him down.
As for Tuesday's political Story Two of Two: why won't the White House or any other avowedly pro-life backer of Judge Alito say, "Yippie!!!!! We had no litmus test and didn't know about this Reagan-era job application, but we are delighted as all get-out that Judge Alito felt very strongly that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion. Although we can't be sure what will happen, we hope with all our might that (1) he gets confirmed; (2) a case presents itself as soon as possible to the Supreme Court which can serve as an appropriate vehicle for overturning Roe; and (3) that a Justice Alito votes to overturn Roe (as part of a majority, if possible)."
And yet, and yet: no one is saying that. The Note officially wonders why that is. (We don't really. . .)
Here's another chance to see if you qualify for honorary or actual Gang of 500 membership, based on your understanding of the days two big stories.
For each question below, see if you can figure out the significance of the question (honorary membership) and then the answer (consider yourself a Gang member if you got the actual answers):
1. Why aren't any conservatives uttering a version of our made up "yippee!" quote above?
2. Did the White House play a role in making that (not) happen?
3. If so, how did they do it?
4. Is it a coincidence that a media-savvy woman, Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network, was everywhere in the media yesterday on message in reaction (We can't tell from this how Judge Alito will vote on any case, Judge Alito is a strict constructionist, look at his record on the bench, blah blah blah)?
5. Why did the story break cleanly and exclusively in the Washington Times on Monday, before the document was released to the world?
6. When did the White House find out about the document?
7. Did Alito remember writing the document from the time he was first contacted about being on the court?
8. How much work at the Reagan library have the left-wing groups done over the last 3 years on Alito?
On the Republican Senate gambit on Iraq:
1. Why did the New York Times get a newspaper semi-exclusive on the release of the plan?
2. Are Senate Republicans motivated by politics, a (belated) desire to exercise good old fashioned legislative oversight, or some combination?
3. Why did Senator Frist go on a network morning show to trumpet this, rather than play it down?
4. How does the White House feel about this?
5. Was the White House read in enough in advance to shape the plan?
6. What will House Republican leaders do about this?
7. Have Frist and Warner counted votes and what do they want the outcome to be?
8. Who will cross party lines on this vote?
The Senate will vote on two proposals -- one Republican and one Democratic -- declaring what they believe the U.S. diplomatic and military policy on Iraq should be. The proposal the Senate chooses will be added to a defense bill.
The Senate will convene at 9:45 am ET and begin a period of morning business for up to 30 minutes.
Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of S. 1042, the Defense Authorization bill. The votes on the Iraq amendments are scheduled to begin at approximately 10:45 am ET. Sens. Reid and Levin plan to meet the press about the votes at 11:45 am ET.
Roll call votes will begin with the Republican version of the Iraq amendment and then move on to the Democratic amendment.
As he does in the New York Times today, Majority Leader Frist referred to the Democratic amendment as a "cut and run provision" on morning network television.
Judge Alito continues his courtesy visits today. His current schedule is as follows:
8:30 am - 9:15 am -- Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
9:45 am - 10:45 am -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
11:00 am - 11:45 am -- Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
1:15 pm - 2:15 pm -- Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
2:30 pm - 3:15 pm -- Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO)
3:45 pm - 4:30 pm -- Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)
President and Mrs. Bush participate in a cultural event at 6:20 pm ET in Kyoto, Japan before returning to the Kyoto Guest House for an 8:15 pm ET meeting between the President and Prime Minister Koizumi. The President, Mrs. Bush, and the Prime Minister participate in a press availability at 10:00 pm ET.
At 1:30 am ET tomorrow morning, the President delivers remarks in Kyoto, Japan. See more on that from ABC's Jessica Yellin below.
Enrollment for the new Medicare prescription drug benefit begins today. Seniors and the disabled have until May 15, 2006 to choose one of nearly 40 plans which go into effect in January 2006. Question: who is doing more to make this plan a success -- Republican members of Congress or Democrats? And who is basing their decisions on how much to do on politics and who on substance?
At 11:00 am ET, Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Bill Nelson and Democratic Reps. Pete Stark and Jan Schakowsky will call on Congress to pass legislation to give seniors an additional six months to make an informed decision.
Speaker Hastert holds an event with Dr. Mark McClellan in Aurora, IL at 10:00 am ET to highlight the new program.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will take to the podium at the National Press Club in Washington, DC at 10:00 am ET to hold a news conference to introduce the House Democrats new agenda, "Innovation Agenda: A Commitment to Competitiveness to Keep American #1."
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) delivers remarks on "U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East" at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC at noon ET.
The Senate Banking Committee holds Federal Reserve Chairman nominee Ben Bernanke's confirmation hearings at 10:00 am ET.
Vice President Cheney is scheduled to deliver remarks at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy in Knoxville, TN at 10:55 am ET.
At noon ET, United States Chamber of Commerce vice president and political director Bill Miller will talk about the 2006 congressional races, with a focus on the "Get Out The Vote" efforts planned by the USCC.
Paul Begala delivers the keynote address to the Alabama Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Birmingham, AL.
Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) celebrates his 58th birthday.
Politics of Iraq:
The New York Times' Carl Hulse writes that in a sign of "increasing unease among Congressional Republicans over the war in Iraq," the Senate will today debate a Republican proposal pushing for a plan on ending the war. LINK
"The plan stops short of a competing Democratic proposal that moves toward establishing dates for a phased withdrawal of troops from Iraq. But it is built upon the Democratic approach and makes it clear that senators of both parties are increasingly eager for Iraqis to take control of their country in coming months and open the door to removing American troops."
The Los Angeles Times expects votes as early as today on the First/Warner and Reid/Levin troop withdrawal measures. LINK
The New York Times' Stevenson and Jehl write that Ahmed Chalabi's visit to Washington, DC illustrates how the debate over prewar intelligence continues to shadow President Bush, Noting that the "White House's aggressive effort to defend itself has taken on all the trappings of a campaign." LINK
The RNC today has released a Web video which paints Democrats as hypocrites for criticizing the Iraq war after having warned about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction before the war began.
The video includes footage of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, former President Clinton, then-Gov. Howard Dean (from Canadian TV in 1998!), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Foreign Relations Ranking Member Joe Biden (D-DE), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY).
The video ends with an excerpt from President Bush's Veterans Day speech in which he excoriates his Democratic opponents.
It's an impressive collection of video and a clear sign that the RNC is prepared to do combat on Iraq not only with the newly re-assertive Democratic congressional leadership but also with several potential Democratic '08ers.
It should be Noted, however, that the video is misleading in two ways: first, the President's Veterans Day speech is used to suggest that all the Democrats featured in the video voted for the war -- an implication that is not true.
Second, the RNC video implies that all of the Democrats shown in the video have turned against the Iraq war – something that's also not true.
To illustrate point number one, take Leader Pelosi.
The video shows Pelosi telling NBC's Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" that Saddam Hussein "certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There's no question about that."
But Pelosi voted against the war. As she told ABC News in an on-camera interview for "World News Tonight" last week: "The intelligence never said that whatever Saddam Hussein was doing posed an imminent threat to the United States and I guess because he knows he is wrong he has to flail out and attack others."
Or take Sen. Clinton: In the Web video, Russert asks her if she thinks disarmament is possible without regime change. She answers: "I doubt it" and adds that she can support the President and that she thinks what he is doing is in the "long-term interests" of the country.
The implication from showing this video is that Sen. Clinton has flipped -- but she hasn't.
Just ask Cindy Sheehan.
When the two met in September, Sheehan was hoping that Sen. Clinton would support her call to bring the troops home. But Sen. Clinton refused to so, telling the Village Voice: "I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal. I don't think you should ever telegraph your intentions to the enemy so they can await you." LINK
Having highlighted the RNC's misleading implications, it's worth taking a moment to consider why the RNC's political strategy just might make sense for the GOP. By lumping together several Democrats with different attitudes towards what constitutes the legitimate use of force (i.e., do you pursue a policy of containment and reserve the use of force for imminent threats or do you preemptively try to head off "gathering" threats by force of arms?), the RNC knows that it is making it difficult for the Democrats to provide a check on the current course of the war without exposing the tensions that exist within the Democratic Party.
The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne writes that by holding the Iraq vote before the 2002 elections, the President "forced" it "to take place under circumstances that guaranteed the minimum amount of reflection and debate."
Deb Orin of the New York Post describes President Bush's remarks from Alaska thusly: "It was Round 2 in Bush's offensive, which began Friday after a year of staying mum while Democrats accused him of lying about Iraq." LINK
"Feeling the political heat, the White House set up a war room to respond to the Democrats. Team Bush has sent out three official E-mails since Friday, attacking Reid, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and others by quoting them back when they voted for the war in Iraq," reports Ken Bazinet of the New York Daily News. LINK
And please don't fail to Note that while Dan Bartlett did the early AM shift yesterday, Nicolle Wallace was all over cable TV last night, decrying the Democrats on the war.
Alito for Associate Justice:
The papers are full of stories about the political fallout from yesterday's document dump, specifically Alito's 1985 job application comments about abortion which the Washington Times first told you about yesterday.
The Washington Post chasing the Washington Times. LINK
Chairman Specter says the 1985 comments obligate the Senate to question Alito "closely" about the weight he would give to the roughly three dozen abortion-related decisions since Roe. Ranking Member Leahy said the memos revealed "an aggressive participant in an ideological movement intended to withdraw discrimination protections from workers and even criticize the concept of one person, one vote, among other fundamental rights."
There are two likely explanations for the views expressed in Alito's newly released papers, and the Los Angeles Times writes neither is "likely to work in his favor with some moderates or liberals," perhaps challenging a nomination that had been "gaining momentum." LINK
Yesterday's documents may make some on the Judiciary Committee press Alito harder to answer hypothetical questions, speculates the Washington Times. LINK
The new Alito papers demonstrate once and for all, says Charles Hurt in the Washington Times, that the nominee is a "lifelong Republican committed to federalism and other key conservative ideals." LINK
Biskupic and Stone highlight the concerns of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on USA Today's front page. LINK
They have Steve Schmidt saying: "Anybody who would read this letter from 20 year ago as an indication that he would overturn Roe v. Wade is jumping to conclusions."
The Wall Street Journal's Cummings and Bravin write that Alito's contributions to the National Conservative Political Action Committee may lead some Senators to take offense. Among the group's targets have been: Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), and the fathers of Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), and Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI). The Journal duo write that the "strongly worded commentary does suggest that Judge Alito holds views considerably more conservative than departing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor."
The New York Times on the 1985 document made public yesterday: LINK
New York Post columnist John Podhoretz is very excited to have the abortion debate further sparked by the revelation of the 1985 document and reminds Democrats that the abortion issue is perhaps not so clear cut for their party. LINK
The New York Post's Earle focuses his Alito news of day story on reaction from moderate Republicans named Snowe and Chaffee. LINK
The Hill reports that some Republican Senators are going to use the Alito nomination as a chance "to stake out the limits of President Bush's power to conduct the war on terrorism as public concern over the administration's handling of the war is growing and congressional leaders are being criticized for lack of oversight." The paper also has Sen. Graham saying about Alito's upcoming confirmation hearings: "I'm going to focus on 'war on terror' questions: When does the executive branch's power end and when does Congress's power end." LINK
The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus writes that Ginsburg was a consensus candidate for the Supreme Court and not the ultra-liberal that Republicans paint her as. LINK
The Washington Post's Richard Cohen Notes that if Alito is confirmed to the High Court, John Paul Stevens, he of the University of Chicago and Northwestern School of Law, will be the last non-Ivy League holdout still on the Court. LINK
The GAO report on the morning-after pill is a case-study, says the Los Angeles Times, in what happens when a "bureaucracy that prides itself on data-driven decisions" encounter a "politically sensitive matter." LINK
The other major papers play it big too.
The Los Angeles Times ed board says that in the wake of the GAO report, Congress needs to step in and move Plan B forward. LINK
Bush agenda: Asia trip:
ABC's Jessica Yellin previews the President's speech later today: He "will run through issues on the agenda for the next few days -- bird flu, trade, national security. He'll also address, in the words of one senior official, 'how democracy transformed Japan from an enemy into a friend.' The President will make an example of Japan: they got with the freedom agenda and peace and prosperity followed. A familiar theme. The President will also point out to ongoing liberalization challenges in other countries such as China on human rights, piracy, etc. . ."
Here's Mike Green Senior Director of NSC Asian Affairs on the speech:
The speech will talk about "how countries that empower their people are going to be more successful. And Asia is on a good run for the most part. And all the members of this 21 economy group are on a good run. To keep it going they're going to have to do a lot of the things we think the President talks about, whether it's intellectual property rights, protection of freedom of religion, freedom of speech."
Yellin also offers this: "A Note about the Koizumi-Bush relationship: Koizumi is one of a handful of world leaders who have been to both Camp David and Crawford. Others include Blair, Putin, Berlusconi, and more."
"All Administration officials we've spoken to are setting expectations LOW. They say they expect no progress on North Korea, piracy, human rights, even beef. The bird flu action plan is the big news. Of some Note: in the past the war on terror has topped the agenda for the President's visits to this region. This time economic issues are the leading priorities. And, one can only guess, eating Kobe beef, which the President enjoys."
The President's eight-day trip to Asia will give him a needed break from Washington, but the Los Angeles Times says Bush will encounter other "pitfalls" in Asia and is unlikely, according to Administration officials, to accomplish much of substance. LINK
David Sanger of the New York Times writes on the challenges the President faces on his trip to Asia, and inexplicably doesn't make it all about North Korea. LINK
The Washington Post's Peter Baker picks up Sen. Reid's criticism of Bush's "ad hoc, inconsistent and essentially aimless approach" towards China in a piece looking at Bush's efforts to show the commitment of the US to Asia. LINK
The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that starting today finalists vying for the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will meet with the site-selection committee at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. The presentations will be closed to the press. LINK
Big Casino budget politics:
Former White House economist Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, who "has often been a thorn in the side of the Bush administration," plans to leave his post as head of the CBO at the end of the year, the New York Times reports. LINK
The Washington Times ed board warns the GOP that unless it gets control of federal spending, it had "better brace itself" for the party's base to stay home during next year's midterms. LINK
Majority Leader Bill Frist makes his case in the Washington Times for extending the Bush tax cuts. LINK
In a Chicago Tribune op-ed, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) offers up what he sees as a non-partisan approach to finding ways to pay for the $100 million-plus in costs required to rebuild the Gulf Coast. Obama suggests some spending cuts (primarily pork projects, the mission to Mars initiative, and some incentives for private companies to participate in the new Medicare drug program) as well as postponing and rolling back some tax breaks for millionaires. In what has become Obamaian fashion, the Illinois Senator paints his plan to cut $50 billion in spending and $50 billion in tax cuts as rising above the partisan ways of Washington. We wonder if Speaker Hastert and Sen. Frist agree with that assessment. LINK
The Nation's Newspaper warns on its front page that "as Social Security surges and Medicare takes off, the deficit will soar" and the result will be a "fiscal hurricane." LINK
The piece ends with Alice Rivlin asking: "Where's Ross Perot when we need him?"
The politics of national security:
Per the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman, "A bipartisan group of senators reached a compromise yesterday that would dramatically alter U.S. policy for treating captured terrorist suspects by granting them a final recourse to the federal courts but stripping them of some key legal rights." LINK
A vote could come as early as today, reports the Los Angeles Times, on measures in the Senate that would restrict Guantanamo detainees' access to federal courts. LINK
Per the New York Times, the 9/11 Commission issued a report card yesterday criticizing U.S. treatment of detainees and the Administration's response to the threat of nuclear terrorism. LINK
Per Roll Call's Ben Pershing: "Even as Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) continues to perform some of the functions of a leader, attending strategy meetings and helping corral votes from his colleagues, his rhetoric has grown sharper and, occasionally, more critical of his own party."
DeLay's lawyer will ask the court for an early December trial date, the AP reports. LINK
"Bush is scheduled to appear at a fundraising event Nov. 29 at the Brown Palace Hotel to help Musgrave, a Fort Morgan Republican considered one of the GOP's more vulnerable incumbents in the 2006 mid-term elections," reports the Rocky Mountain News. LINK
We wonder if the President will be offering new language on Rep. Musgrave's marriage amendment.
The New York Post's Fred Dicker writes up the latest Siena College poll numbers as very good news for Eliot Spitzer and Hillary Clinton a year out from election day. LINK
Per Roll Call, political observers in Albany and Washington Note that Jeanine Pirro has yet to establish herself as a legitimate contender against Sen. Clinton.
A Democratic primary debate on Iraq may soon be headed to the Ocean State, reports The Hill. LINK
From this morning's Quinnipiac University release: "Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson begins his reelection year with a 55 - 31 percent lead over U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, the only announced Republican challenger in the 2006 Florida U.S. Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today."
However, the poll was not all good news for astronaut turned Senator: "Florida voters have mixed opinions about Nelson, with 37 percent who say he should be reelected, 33 percent who say he shouldn't be and 29 percent undecided. He gets a 49 - 18 percent approval rating, with 33 percent undecided."
Howard Dean yesterday issued a statement clarifying his remarks on Sunday about allegedly racist attacks on Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, reports the Washington Times. LINK
The early campaigning for the '08 nominations isn't just happening in New Hampshire or Iowa: It's in Hollywood, where everyone from Al Gore to Sen. John McCain has recently been to raise money from the stars and participate in the "West Coast pre-pre-primaries." Here's the Los Angeles Times' Tina Daunt with that must-read story for those who think it is never too early. LINK
The Boston Globe's Rick Klein writes of the "quiet cheer" expressed by the Kerry Camp that the President chose to directly take on his former opponent in his Veteran's Day speech. LINK
"By singling out Kerry as the Democrats' leading Iraq war critic, aides to the Massachusetts Democrat said, the president confirmed Kerry's continuing prominence in national politics, something the senator and his aides have fought hard to maintain."
Newsday columnist James Pinkerton writes Sen. Clinton may have a growing problem when it comes to the war in Iraq. LINK
"It could separate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton from the presidential nomination in 2008."
From the New York Daily News' Michael McAuliff's roundup of Sen. Clinton's trip to Israel: LINK
"The senator insisted in some of the strongest language yet that she truly has not decided on a run for the White House."
"'Because that's not the way I feel,' she told the Daily News. 'I know it's hard for all the outside pundits and observers to accept, but I have a job right now that I am working as hard as I can possibly work at.'"
"'And I just don't think like that. A lot of people in politics do, they're always looking over the horizon. . . I have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow, let alone next year or the year after,' she said."
"Clinton said she was building a strong national base not out of personal ambition, but because she had no 'illusions about the Republican Party's desire to defeat me if possible, to undermine if not.'"
While avoiding political pitfalls and garnering some unsolicited support for her 2008 prospects, Sen. Clinton received "an awful lot of coverage," for a junior Senator during her trip to Israel this week, per the New York Times. LINK
Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) was listed as a scheduled attendee for the NRCC "summit" which featured Vice President Cheney in New York yesterday, but the Empire State Governor was instead in Puerto Rico yesterday -- a schedule change his office claims was communicated to the NRCC last month. The New York Post's headline: "Pataki Tells Veep Adios" LINK
The Washington Times reports Rep. Tom Tancredo will try to repeal the farm-subsidy law signed by the President last week, a move that is already drawing fire from Tancredo's own party. LINK
DNC Chairman Howard Dean will be the featured guest at a Michigan Democratic Party fundraiser in Plymouth, MI at 7:00 pm ET. It is from there that he will call in for a nationwide conference call with Democratic activists gathered at more than 1,000 organizing events across the country.
Some facts and figures from the DNC press release on its first big organizing event for the 2006 midterm cycle.
• 1,019: Separate, locally organized events
• 22: States with more than 20 events
• 84: Number of events in Florida
• 73: Number of events in Washington
• 67: Number of events in Texas
• 54: Number of events in Colorado and Maryland
• Nearly 60: Number of events on college campuses (organized by College Democrats of America)
• 20: Number of countries where events will be convened (organized by Democrats Abroad)
The DNC tells The Note that organizing, not fundraising is the mission here. The one commitment each participant will be asked to make is to volunteer on Election Day 2006.
A DNC-funded political organizer in Washington State will introduce Gov. Dean on the conference call this evening. Her name is Autumn Sample.
Sample attended Purdue University on an athletic scholarship, where she was captain of Purdue University Women's Swim Team her senior year. She graduated in 2004 with a double major in public relations and political science. She worked on the 2004 Washington State Coordinated campaign as the southeastern field organizer based in Walla Walla, WA.
Dusky Terry will go down in the history books as the first candidate in a Democratic primary for statewide office to receive Gov. Vilsack's endorsement, reports the Des Moines Register's Beaumont. LINK
In his Des Moines Register column, David Yepsen chronicles a recent visit by San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. "Not bad for a guy who isn't yet 40. (As I said, he's not running for president -- in the 2008 cycle anyway. And read nothing into the fact he has former Iowa political consultant Cornell Fowler helping him.)," writes Yepsen. LINK
Roll Call profiles Yepsen in must-read fashion.
Democratic party strategists Gigi E. Georges and Howard L. Wolfson penned a weekend op-ed in the New York Times' Notable City section that is the very model of intra-party post-mortem analysis, with some quite smart ideas about why Democrats have lost four Gotham City mayoral contests in a row and what they should do about it now. LINK
Carl Campanile of the New York Post follows an El Diario report that Fernando Ferrer's campaign is roughly $700,000 in debt. LINK
According to the New York Times, Mayor Bloomberg's campaign conducted "one of the most ambitious pollings of an electorate ever undertaken," using the campaign's deep pockets to call hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to ask them directly about their views. LINK
The New York Times' John Broder speculates that some of last week's failed ballot initiatives showed that voters have less appetite for tax cuts. LINK
Only 446 votes separated Virginia's attorney general candidates after locality-by-locality counting yesterday, making the race the state's tightest ever. LINK
Some residents of Dover, Pa., tell the Los Angeles Times too much is being made of the school board vote there last week. LINK
The Schwarzenegger Era:
Cindy Adams dishes on whom she hears Maria Shriver is placing the blame for her husband's electoral defeat last Tuesday. LINK
After watching the first day of his trade mission to China, the Los Angeles Times concludes Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is far more popular Asia than in his home state of California. LINK
The New York Times profiles New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Noting his potential political future at City Hall. LINK