The Note: Cowboy and Indians

". . . the Bush administration has decreased major fines for safety violations since 2001, and in nearly half the cases, it has not collected the fines, according to a data analysis by The New York Times," write the Gray Lady's Ian Urbina and Andrew Lehren in what will no doubt turn into a DNC must-read in no time. LINK

Politics of energy:

It's time for fill-in-the-blank analogy:

Dick Morris calling for everyone to get along on energy independence is like _________________ calling for _____________________. LINK

2006:

Rhode Island Secretary of State Matt Brown's campaign may have violated campaign finance laws, reports the AP. LINK

"The Brown campaign struck a deal in which the Hawaii Democratic Party would give a $5,000 donation to Brown and in exchange, the party would receive money from Brown supporters, Jane Sugimura, the Hawai'i party's treasurer said."

Brown's campaign spokemsan Matt Burgess denies any wrongdoing and offers this quote to the AP: "We always encourage our supporters who want to elect Democrats to help organizations who have been helpful to us."

Rick Klein of the Boston Globe reports that today Democrats launch the Senate Majority Project, a group that will "collect and disseminate political information critical of all GOP senators." Former Senator Tom Daschle is helping to fundraise the project and the focus of today's launch will be Sen. Bill Frist. LINK

The Hill's Savodnik and O'Connor look at the intended recipients of the GOP"s Retain Our Majority Program fundraising efforts. "ROMP was the creation of former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), but Republicans do not expect the program to suffer now that he has lost his leadership post." LINK

The Chicago Sun Times' Sweet reports Tammy Duckworth is heading to New York on March 12 for a fundraiser hosted by Sen. Clinton. LINK

Roll Call's Billings and Stanton report that both parties are rallying the troops to help endangered incumbents.

Roll Call's Stu Rothenberg presents his favorite House candidates for 2006, in no particular order.

During his testimony on the Pennsylvania Treasury Department's budget request, Bob Casey, Jr. "found himself peppered with pointed and politically tinged questions from Republicans on the panel, including some about his campaign contributions and several about the amount of time he spends in Harrisburg at his desk," writes Angela Couloumbis of the Philadelphia Inquirer. LINK

The New York Times writes up Rep. Shays' cross-party endorsement of Sen. Lieberman, though Shays tells the paper he is unlikely to start a pro-Lieberman Republican trend in Connecticut. LINK

2008:

David Broder Notes that the nation's governors, including ones eyeing '08 like Gov. Romney and Gov. Vilsack, are emphasizing their ability to work across the aisle. He Notes that Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), a former governor, is dwelling much more on his years as governor than on his tenure in the US Senate. He writes that Sen. McCain "largely avoided the label of extreme partisanship because of his reputation as an independent thinker." LINK

And then he ends with this: "But what about Hillary Rodham Clinton? She leads all the early polls for the Democratic nomination. But can she avoid being seen simply as a battle-scarred veteran of the partisan Washington wars? Is there anything in her record that speaks to the hunger for consensus?"

All in all, Chris Matthews ought to be able to get three or four shows out of that one column.

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