The Note: Comes in 3s

The New York Post's Fred Dicker writes up the Democratic disappointment that Tom Suozzi has launched a primary campaign against Eliot Spitzer. Dicker also takes a look at what some insiders tell him may be a Pataki effort to woo Kathleen Troia McFarland to run for the Republican nomination to take on Sen. Clinton in November. LINK


NBC's "Today" show's close-up segment was dedicated to the 2008 presidential race with a David Gregory package followed by a talkback with Tim Russert. The Democrats mentioned in the Gregory package: Clinton, Kerry, Edwards, Biden, Warner, and Vilsack. The Republicans mentioned: McCain, Giuliani, and Allen.

2008: Republicans:

While appearing on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was asked if he were South Dakota's governor whether he would sign the state's recently-passed abortion bill banning all abortions except in the case of the life of the mother.

McCain did not directly answer the question, preferring to state his own views on abortion.

"I don't know," McCain said, "because I don't know the technical -- my position has been consistently pro-life but rape, incest and the health of the mother has been my position. If that's in keeping with that, yes. But I don't know whether . . ."

Stephanopoulos interjected, saying, "It actually goes farther than that. If it does go farther, you wouldn't sign it?"

Sen. McCain replied by saying: "Not if—my position has been clear for 20-some years."

Sen. McCain's office told ABC News' Jake Tapper after the show concluded that if the Arizona Senator said that he recognizes an abortion exception for the "health" of the mother (which he did), then he misspoke because he only recognizes abortion exceptions for rape, incest, and the "life" of the mother.

Karen Finney, the DNC's communications director, reacted to McCain not answering the South Dakota question by telling The Note: "Looks like the Straight Talk Express hit a bump in the road."

"Sen. McCain is going to have to do better than that," she continued, "voters expect straightforward answers and a clear sense about where McCain stands on the issues that affect their lives."

Note to Eileen McMenamin: Does McCain still support (as he did in 2000) changing the Republican Party's platform to explicitly recognize exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother? LINK

On the Dubai front, Sen. McCain questioned the wisdom of Sen. Clinton's proposal to block all foreign government involvement in managing US ports.

He pointed to the US trade deficit and warned that if Sen. Clinton were to get her way, "We've got a lot of disinvestment to do."

"Should they not be allowed to invest in any place in America under any circumstance?" he asked. "If you go down that road, you obviously get there."

NewsMax took Notice: "John McCain Rips Hillary Clinton on Ports 'Hysteria'" LINK

Keying off of a question that McCain raises in the documentary "Why We Fight," the former prisoner of war was asked by The Note during the stakeout on DeSales Street how the American people would know if the US military were to ever go from being a "force for good to a force for imperialism" in Iraq. LINK

McCain said that he expected that America's free press would tell them.

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