The Note: Focused on Winning

Vice President Cheney makes 7:30 pm ET remarks at a fundraising reception for Illinois state Sen. Peter Roskam, a Republican running to succeed the retiring Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) as the US Representative from Illinois' sixth congressional district.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) addressed the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce at 8:00 am ET and honored companies that exemplify the best in business practices and community involvement at 9:00 am ET in Boston, MA.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a closed hearing on improvised explosive device protection at 3:00 pm ET in SR-222.

The Senate convenes at 10:00 am ET and begins consideration of the budget resolution with the time until 11:30 am ET equally divided. The Senate will resume consideration of the budget resolution at 1:30 pm ET.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) speaks at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy Studies at 2:00 pm ET. He visits the Center for Economic Progress in Chicago at 7:15 pm ET to discuss the importance of helping low-income families get the tax refunds they deserve and using the money to start building assets for their families. Representatives from Citibank will be on hand to help many of these families open a bank account.

See the end of The Note for our preview of the week ahead.

Memphis:

As the engines revved at the end of the Memphis runway and Northwest Airlines Flight 1860 raced into the air Sunday afternoon, a Frist aide pumped her fists into the air, clearly happy with her boss' success and relieved to leave the Southern Republican Leadership Conference behind. Team Frist passed the first "do no harm" test of 2006.

However, the frontrunner for the 2008 Republican nomination was John McCain when the SRLC began, as it was when it ended. (Note George F. Will's comments during the "This Week" roundtable that the stars are beginning to align for McCain in 2008).

Dan Balz's Sunday story in the Washington Post explains how the rest of the field will have to find a path around McCain for the nomination and wonders if the former maverick can become the establishment candidate. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Barabak and Hook also write up McCain's efforts at courting Bush loyalists. LINK

Howard Fineman calls McCain's straw poll strategy a "splendid dodge" before writing that it was "perhaps too clever by half" in light of the results. Fineman also gets McCain to confirm a phone call he made to President Bush to buck him up on the eve of the SRLC. LINK

Only a man who could skip Iowa with impunity be so beloved by the press that he could monkey with the straw poll at the last minute. We refer, of course, to John Weaver.

Bloomberg News' Roger Simon Notes that "for the first time in decades," Republicans lack a clear 2008 frontrunner. Simon continues that for McCain to be a formidable candidate, he would have to shed his maverick role and align himself more with the uber-conservative GOP. LINK

". . . with no obvious political heir to Bush, ambitious Republicans are behaving like avaricious relatives scheming to be prominently mentioned in the family patriarch's will," writes Salon's Walter Shapiro. LINK

The Memphis Commercial Appeal Sunday morning headline: "Frist makes hay while McCain comes in fifth" LINK

Boston Globe's Charlie Savage wrote yesterday that the "buzz advantage" over this past weekend's straw poll went to Romney, who took second place with 14.4%. LINK

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