The Note: Witness for the Witness

Blunt is the candidate who will push for the toughest changes to the current system, while bringing seasoned, steady leadership to the table when House Republicans need it most. So cue-up Team Blunt's theme song . . .

"Whip It?"

After days of Kevin "Pitching more than Jim Bunning" Smith's rapid blogging: "Welcome to the Jungle?"

Heck no! We're jamming to "The Best is Yet to Come."

From Team Boehner's Kevin Smith:

"Reality check. On Monday, nearly 72 hours ago the Blunt camp started a whisper campaign about being mere minutes away from clinching the race. We were amused. Lucky for us, the election is set for February 2 and Team Boehner is right on schedule, expanding our public and private list of supporters each day."

"Topic of the day is lobbying reform. Original ideas for lobbying reform that is. John has outlined a blueprint that starts with earmark reform. He wants to end the practice of inserting egregious earmarks in appropriations bills in the dead of night. He's calling for legitimate discussion and debate about earmark requests so members can consider whether projects serve the public interest or the lobbyists requesting them. Loosely translated, he wants to ban pork for lobbyists. Boehner has always been opposed to earmarks, and has voted against every highway bill since he's been in Congress."

Blunt v. Boehner (v. Shadegg?):

It will be quite a Groundhog Day. The leadership election has been set for February 2, which means when President Bush is announced to the Speaker of the House on the evening of January 31 he may be taking that most famous of walks from the back of the chamber to the rostrum during a very contentious time for his fellow Republicans.

The plan floated early yesterday to hold the leadership elections on Jan. 26 or 27 was effectively vetoed by the Republican Study Committee, which wanted the opportunity to first interview both candidates at its annual retreat on Jan. 30 and 31, reports The Hill. LINK

As of last evening, the Blunt campaign claims 62 public supporters to Boehner's 35.

And the Gentleman from Arizona continues to deliver his fine Hamlet performance, while MOC's with whom he has spoken (including the Speaker) hint at a likely run.

Here is Bloomberg's Litvan with more. LINK

The Los Angeles Times quotes Rep. Flake (R-AZ) on Arizona Man Shadegg: "We'd all benefit if he runs. . ." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers has Speaker Hastert, who spoke with Shadegg by phone, saying: "At the end of the day, he hinted, he'd be in the race. I don't know what his decision is." LINK

More Rogers: "Mr. Blunt nor Mr. Boehner appears close to the 116 votes needed to win. With so many Republicans uncommitted, Mr. Shadegg has the potential to shake up the race, forcing at least a second ballot and greater discussion of changes that many members are demanding."

And later: the Wall Street Journal's Wirey David Rogers and Brody Mullins report that Shadegg "might announce in the next 24 hours that he will enter the race for majority leader." LINK

Stop (or, at least, "hold") the presses: "Arizona GOP Rep. John Shadegg last month shed more than $6,900 in campaign contributions from sources connected with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has confessed to bilking Indian tribes and buying political influence," reports the Arizona Republic. LINK

We wonder how much time will be dedicated to Shadegg oppo research today.

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