The Note: Focused on Winning

The Tennessean's Bonna de la Cruz covers the SRLC straw poll and Notes that McCain and Sen. George Allen (R-VA) essentially took themselves out of the running. LINK

Mike Baham of the bayoubuzz.com discusses Sen. McCain's insistence of ceding his straw-poll place in favor of the President: "McCain helped shine a spotlight on what might have been a non-event through his peculiar move that embarrassed himself and a White House that came within a vote of finishing fourth in the hearts and minds of the party faithful." LINK

Dick Polman of the Knight Ridder Discusses the "strange bedfellows" Sen. McCain and Pres. Bush and concludes that "by all indications, this is not a love marriage." LINK

David French, one of the organizers of "Tennesseans For Mitt," was overjoyed with his candidate's showing. When asked why he is backing Romney and not his state's native son, Sen. Frist, French told ABC News, "Bill Frist is a wonderful senator, but we're looking for a president."

Apart from Ken Mehlman's speech, there was less bashing of the Democrats than many expected. However, the Memphis Commercial Appeal captured Sen. McConnell's Clinton jokes -- which went over quite well in the room. LINK

Jill Lawrence, of USA Today saw the ghost of President Reagan. LINK

The growth of federal spending under President Bush provided an easy target for 2008 potential White House hopefuls who wanted to show some independence from this President, reports Adam Nagourney of the New York Times. LINK

"But the issue, if politically potent and revealing of what kind of policies these men might pursue in the White House, is not without risks, particularly for the four United States senators who are thinking of running. Unlike the two soon-to-be-ex-governors who are considering a run for president, these four senators face real-life tests of their commitment to attacking federal spending, and in the case of Mr. Frist, the ability to deliver a budget resolution that is acceptable to conservatives."

The Los Angeles Times' Barabak puts the rock-n'-roll Memphis metaphor to work as he describes the "discordant notes" the conference speakers offered. LINK

"Onstage and off, GOP leaders differed over the political climate facing Republicans, their responsibility for voters' sour mood, and whether the gathering should focus on the 2006 elections or the presidential contest almost 1,000 days away."

Censuring President Bush:

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) called on the Senate to "publicly admonish President Bush for approving domestic wiretaps on American citizens without first seeking a legally required court order" during an exclusive interview on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." LINK

White House press secretary Scott McClellan reacted to Sen. Feingold's censure resolution during Monday's morning gaggle by saying: "this has more to do with 2008 politics than anything else."

The New York Sun's Josh Gerstein writes that Feingold's censure proposal may force potential Democratic presidential candidates to take a stand on the issue, especially if they hope to wrest "netroots" support away from Feingold. LINK

The New York Times includes Sen. Carl Levin's (D-MI) refusal to jump on board with the Feingold resolution at this point in time. LINK

The AP's Douglass Daniel on Feingold's five-page censure resolution: LINK

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