The Note: Focused on Winning


Did you know that if Don Evans replaced Andy Card as White House chief of staff that peace would break out in Iraq, fuel prices would plummet, and the deficit would be eliminated?

We did not know that either.

But not everything is as it first appears.

Here's what we do know:

The President's talking about Iraq but thinking about Iran.

The staff of Sen./Leader/Dr. Frist is talking about the straw poll but thinking about The Speech.

Protectors of New Hamphire's first-in-the-nation status are talking about candidate visits but thinking about network anchors.

Sen. Feingold is talking about censure but thinking about, uhm, something else.

Sen. McCain's strategists are talking about the President but thinking about Rangers and Pioneers.

Elizabeth Dole is talking about Katherine Harris but thinking about someone else.

Howard Fineman is talking about Rudy and thinking about why Rudy did so badly in the straw poll.

Attendees of the Inner Circle are talking about The Landslide but thinking about Sir Sheek-a-lot.

The Note is talking about 2008 but thinking about 2007.

The DCCC is talking about retirements but thinking about retirements in districts they could actually win.

Bob Novak is talking about the budget but thinking about basketball.

The White House staff is talking about today's Iraq speech but thinking about next week's.

In any event, in the first of (another) series of speeches on the war in Iraq, President Bush makes remarks on the global war on terrorism at 1:15 pm ET at GW's Marvin Theatre.

The President's speech will examine the threat from improvised explosive devices and the President will talk about ways the US is working to combat IEDs.

ABC's Jessica Yellin reports the audience will be comprised of 300 members of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (a friendly pro-war group headed by Clifford May) and other guests they invited for the 30 - 40 minute speech today.

A Senior Administration Official tells Yellin that the President will go further than previously in acknowledging how anxious Americans are about the war.

President Bush provided a preview in his Saturday radio address. "Amid the daily news of car bombs and kidnappings and brutal killings, I can understand why many of our fellow citizens are now wondering if the entire mission was worth it," Bush said.

The SAO kept hitting the theme that we "can't imagine people not being concerned or frustrated" by Iraq, reports Yellin.

More SAO: "I can't believe that only 70% of Republicans think Iraq is on the brink of civil war. That's all they've been told for the last three weeks. . . It's incumbent on the Administration to give evidence and facts that there probably will not be a civil war."

The big speech of the series will be next Monday -- to coincide with the third anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, adds Yellin.

USA Today on President Bush's triple Iraq speech efforts. LINK

Earlier in the day, Mr. Bush meets with the prime minister of the Slovak Republic at 9:45 am ET. He participates in a photo op with the intel science talent search finalists at 10:50 am ET.

Vice President Cheney makes 1:30 pm ET remarks at a luncheon for John Gard, the speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly. Gard is running to succeed Rep. Mark Green (R-WI) as the US Representative from Wisconsin's Green Bay-based 8th congressional district. Rep. Green is leaving his seat to run for governor of Wisconsin.

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.


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

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 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

Appearing on "This Week" after Sen. Feingold, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called the proposal "a crazy political move" that would weaken the United States during wartime.

Sen. Feingold was asked about Sen. Frist's criticism while appearing Monday on CNN's "American Morning" and said: "I think Bill Frist knows better than that."

Sen. Feingold argued that many Senators on the Republican side of the aisle have said that the President's surveillance program is not legal and that some have said it's illegal, so he would like to make it legal. He also argued that what President Bush has done is a lot more serious and a lot closer to an impeachable offense than what former President Clinton did.

When CNN's Soledad O'Brien told Sen. Feingold that she didn't understand why he was pushing forward with a censure while the jury was still out, Sen. Feingold said: "Actually, Soledad, the jury has been dismantled," in a reference to the Senate's decision to forego an investigation.

Sen. Feingold said there is a lot that is unknown about the surveillance program but he said the Senate knows enough at this time about the law to know that the program is illegal.

Sen. Feingold did not mention him by name but one Senator who has made the "it's not legal but let's make it legal" argument before is Sen. McCain.

Here is what the Arizona Senator told Chris Wallace while appearing on "Fox News Sunday" on Jan. 22:

WALLACE: But you do not believe that currently he has the legal authority to engage in these warrant-less wiretaps.

MCCAIN: You know, I don't think so, but why not come to Congress? We can sort this all out. I don't think -- I know of no member of Congress, frankly, who, if the administration came and said here's why we need this capability, that they wouldn't get it. And so let's have the hearings. Let's have the administration come to Congress. I think they will get that authority, whatever is reasonable and needed, and increased abilities to monitor communications are clearly in order."


When it comes to campaign advertising in 2008, Time Magazine's Josh Tyrangiel says "forget about television ads. In 2008, candidates will watch your Web searches and cozy up to your friends." LINK

"From now on," says RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, "a smart candidate will reach you through your cell phone, your friends, the organizations you belong to and the websites you visit.''

2008: Republicans:

On the op-ed page of the New York Times Paul Krugman writes with selective facts that John McCain is not a maverick, a moderate, nor a straight talker. If you have Times Select, here's the link: LINK

For Sunday's Los Angeles Times, Ron Brownstein had Sen. Frist about his intention to focus on "a fundamental revision of healthcare." LINK

Sen. Frist's most controversial idea with regards to Medicare is to "allow private insurers to compete more directly with the government in providing healthcare to seniors."

"Frist says that approach, which he's been touting since Bill Clinton's second term, will increase 'choice . . . value and quality' while restraining costs. Critics say it would convert Medicare from a program in which Washington guarantees seniors a defined benefit to one in which it only guarantees them a defined contribution that could leave many with inadequate care."

Sen. Frist also wants to "provide tax credits to help the uninsured buy coverage (an idea Bush has played down to focus on the health savings accounts). And to make insurance more affordable, Frist wants Washington, through a government-backed corporation, to assume most of the cost for the most expensive patients" -- an idea Bush "denounced" when Sen. Kerry "offered a variation on it in his 2004 presidential campaign."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) is set to discuss health-care contracts and health-insurance reform in the Florida House Chamber tomorrow, reports Jim Ash of the Tallahassee Democrat. LINK

Gov. Romney vowed to file a bill that would exempt religious groups from allowing gay couples to adopt, wrote Boston Herald's Kimberly Atkins over the weekend. LINK

While appearing together on "Meet the Press," Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) consoled Sen. George Allen (R-VA) when Tim Russert pressed Sen. Allen, a southerner, to explain why he finished behind Gov. Romney, a northeasterner, in a straw poll conducted in Sen. Allen's native South.

"It doesn't matter," Sen. Biden told his fellow '08 hopeful. "Don't worry about that number."

The New York Times' Cooper writes up three $25,000 donations to Pataki's PAC from groups with interests before the New York State government. A Pataki spokesperson reminds Cooper that all of the governor's decisions are based on the merits. LINK

Aaron Sadler of the Arkansas News Bureau discussed on Sunday Gov. Mike Huckabee's prospects for 2008 LINK and the governor's appearance at the SRLC: LINK

2008: Democrats:

In a must-read, Time Magazine's Michael Duffy calls Sen. Clinton the Democratic Party's "best and worst prospect for '08" in a piece that has anonymous Clinton allies sounding "fatalistic" about 2008. LINK

Duffy reports that "some of the moneymen who attended the" Clinton's recent "D.C. sessions" remain loyal to "other probable '08 contenders."

"Several who spoke to Time said that while they are happy to help Clinton in 2006, they are leery of a presidential bid. A few cited the Senator's high unfavorable ratings in national polls, ratings that have held for some time now above 40%. One fund raiser who asked not to be identified put it this way: 'The concern in the community is how do you put together a national campaign with numbers like that?' Clinton's ratings are especially daunting given that the front runner among Republican '08 contenders seems to be Arizona Senator John McCain, who enjoys considerable popularity with the public. It is clear that Clinton's people are thinking about him a lot."

In his Sunday column, David Brooks slammed Sen. Hillary Clinton for her position on the Dubai ports controversy and writes that it exacerbated the perception that she "just coldly calculates political advantage."

Brooks added: "Clinton is the only presidential candidate who does not offer a break from the current polarization and bitter partisanship."

The AP's Beth Fouhy sums up Sen. Clinton's Wal-Mart dilemma: "As Mrs. Clinton sheds her Arkansas past and considers a 2008 presidential run, the Wal-Mart issue presents a dilemma: how to reconcile the political demands she faces today with her history at a company on which many American consumers depend but many Democratic activists revile." LINK

The New York Post's Bishop writes that less than 20 percent of President Clinton's overnight guests at the White House have donated to Sen. Clinton's reelection campaign. LINK

The AP writes that during his visit to New Hampshire over the weekend, John Kerry did not mention DNC panel's proposal to allow other states to hold caucuses before the primary. LINK

Sen. Kerry made stops at three Democratic events in New Hampshire, repeating the new Democratic buzzword to describe the White House: incompetent. LINK

While appearing with Jack Kemp on CNN's "Late Edition," John Edwards stuck to his new, post-2004 line on Iraq: "I'm not saying we pull everybody out immediately, but we have to have a serious and substantial reduction so that this transition is occurring. They've got to do this for themselves, ultimately."

Chris Cilizza interviews Edwards about his present day work on poverty and his political past. Asked to reflect on his 2004 presidential bid, Edwards said simply: ' I'm not in the business of going back there. It's a perfectly fair question but I've now learned it's better to look forward than look back and I am going to stick with that.'" LINK

While appearing on "Meet the Press," Sen. Biden said that he thinks the Democratic nominee likely will be determined by New Hampshire or by South Carolina, leaving him plenty of time to make a decision about whether to seek re-election to the Senate in Delaware.

More from the Washington Times: LINK

In Florida on Sunday Al Gore fired up a gathering of about 400 supporters arguing that "that the administration of President Bush poses an unprecedented test for U.S. democracy," writes John Coté of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. LINK

Per Coté, "Gore cited a litany of issues, including the Bush administration's assertions of executive power, its fumbled response to Hurricane Katrina and its backing of a secret, domestic surveillance program, warrantless searches and interrogation methods used in Iraq and the war on terror."

Discussing Gore's fundraising visit to Florida, The AP's Brian Skoloff has Columbia University's David Epstein saying that "this is going to be a high drama political season all around. It's a chance for Democrats to settle a few scores, one of which would be for Gore to help someone win in Florida, especially to help beat Katherine Harris." LINK

Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said once again over the weekend that he is considering a run for the White House in 2008.

Daschle said President Bush and GOPers have overemphasized the importance of the war on terror, and he said the US is no safer now than it was before the Iraq invasion, the AP's Joe Kafka reports. LINK

Mara Lee of the Courier-Press catches Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IA) in a tight spot where he wants to both eliminate excessive earmarks and bring home projects he believes, "represent value to taxpaying Hoosiers." LINK

Sen. Bayh will share his electoral wisdom with Democrats in Georgia tonight, having gone 5-0 in Red State contests, reports Scott Shepard of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. LINK

"All it takes is holding the Democratic base and reaching out to independent voters and to what he describes as 'reasonable Republicans' who recognize that 'we're all in this together, and we need to make progress.'"

GOP agenda:

Bob Novak dedicates his must-read-if-true Monday column to what he sees as evidence that Republicans are not jumping on the spending restraint train despite the rhetoric. LINK

"Two Senate incidents during the week pointed to the failure of congressional Republicans to fulfill commitments of fiscal restraint. At their weekly luncheon meeting Tuesday, GOP senators were told there was not enough support for restrictions on spending to pass a budget this year and there would be no attempt. On Wednesday, the party's Senate leadership beat down opposition to more money to pay citizens' home heating bills."

Rep. Jim McCrery, the likely replacement for House Ways and Means chairman Bill Thomas, will face more difficulty due to Thomas' successes, high budget deficits and the political weakness of the president, reports Bloomberg News' Ryan Donmoyer. LINK

Dean's Democrats:

The New York Times' Robin Toner reported on Sunday that the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee endorsed the idea of adding "as many as four state primaries and caucuses to the early presidential nominating season, now dominated by Iowa and New Hampshire" for the purpose of adding more racial, ethnic, regional and economic diversity." LINK

The AP's Will Lester had Bill Gardner, New Hampshire's secretary of state, saying in a weekend interview that he will eventually consider whether he must move up the state's primary to comply with a Granite State law that requires it to be scheduled a week or more before any "similar election." LINK

The DNC crew is hoping to avoid triggering such a move by specifying that one or two additional "caucuses" (not primaries) be held before New Hampshire.

In a must-read, the Union Leader's John DiStaso had Gov. John Lynch's (D-NH) spokesperson Pamel Walsh saying that the governor will support, "Gardner 'in whatever he decides.' Lynch also believes potential candidates are currently giving New Hampshire 'a vote of confidence' by visiting the state early and often." LINK

Early and often, indeed … New Hampshire will soon be crowded with 2008 hopefuls, with Gov. Romney, Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), and Gen. Wesley Clark all planning visits this weekend and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Sen. Allen, and Sen. Bayh attending events before March is out.

ABC News' Teddy Davis has the co-chairs of the DNC's "Rules and Bylaws Committee" -- former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman and James Roosevelt, Jr. -- saying that after their committee hears state presentations on April 20 in New Orleans, the two of them would like to come up with a consensus recommendation to present to the June meeting of the Rules and Bylaws Committee. LINK

In a sign that Herman and Roosevelt have their work cut out for themselves, ABC's Davis has Don Fowler, a former DNC chairman from South Carolina who serves on the Rules and Bylaws Committee, saying, "I doubt the committee would accept that," when told of the Herman-Roosevelt plan to present a unified recommendation to the rules panel.

The view from the Des Moines Register: LINK

The Union Leader writes up Dean saying on CNN that he supports having "racially diverse states vote early in the Presidential selection process, although there was 'wiggle room' in the details." LINK

While appearing on CNN's "Late Edition," DNC Chairman Howard Dean was asked about Harold Ickes's data project. The former Vermont governor said: "I wouldn't say he was wasting money. He may want to do this for his own purpose, but it won't basically help candidates. They have to rely on hard money. It can't help federal candidates."

On the same program, Dean invoked a Clintonesque "change versus more of the same" theme.

Michael McAuliff of the New York Daily News writes up Democratic efforts to paint the Administration as incompetent and out of touch. LINK

Boston Globe's Rick Klein writes that Dem skeptics from swing states such as New Mexico and West Virginia think Dean's top objective of rebuilding state parties, which has cost the party a whopping $61 million, is paying off. LINK

Port politics:

While appearing on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Sen. Frist suggested that the Dubai port deal could come back if DP World is unable to find a buyer and if the 45-day review period addresses all security concerns.


While speaking to Saturday's Gridiron dinner, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) made fun of his recent dust-up with Sen. McCain by singing "if I only had McCain" to the tune of "if I only had a brain." LINK

President Bush told Gridiron: "You know there are all these conspiracy theories that Dick runs the country, or Karl runs the country. Why aren't there any conspiracy theories that I run the country? Really ticks me off." LINK

Katherine Harris:

The Orlando Sun Sentinel reported over the weekend that Rep. Katharine Harris (R-FL) cancelled her trip to Memphis, TN for the SRLC and is planning a "major announcement" about her candidacy for the US Senate amid rumors that she may leave the race. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

In a front page news analysis, David Sanger of the New York Times writes of President Bush's evolution from his 2000 vision as a president with a "humble foreign policy" to urging Americans to resist isolationism and embrace globalization and interdependence, despite the "mushy Clintonianism" that may evoke. LINK

Peter Baker Notes on the fatigue factor in his Washington Post article today. "Of all the reasons that President Bush is in trouble these days, not to be overlooked are inadequate REM cycles. LINK

The AP reports that Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley may be called to the stand in the case of two Israeli lobbyist accused of spying. LINK

The New York Times offered a Sunday one-two punch to the Bush White House.

Elisabeth Bumiller and David Sanger looked at the President's business-as-usual style despite GOP calls for a staff shake-up and how Iraq dominates all. LINK

"The bottom line, Republicans say, is that the war continues to overshadow the domestic agenda that Mr. Bush put forth in January in a State of the Union address that was supposed to reinvigorate his presidency."

"'Roughly one out of three people say that the country is on the wrong track, and the reason they give is the Iraq war,' said Bill McInturff, a leading Republican pollster. 'How will that situation be changed unless Iraq is resolved in the next few months? So the White House can do all the good things they're doing with renewable energy and health care and all their other initiatives, but that doesn't move that chunk of people with very hardened attitudes.'"

And from the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, TN, Adam Nagourney's Sunday story focused on the degrees to which the various Republican speakers embraced the President and distanced themselves from him. LINK

The Washington Post reports on President Bush's frequent and closed-door meetings on what to do about Iran over the past week. LINK


Robert Pear of the New York Times writes of a meeting some politically connected pharmacists from Texas had with Karl Rove last week to explain the trouble the new Medicare prescription drug benefit is causing them. LINK

Americans United, formerly Americans United for Social Security, will use the infrastructure built under their previous moniker to fight President Bush's Medicare prescription drug benefit, reports Roll Call's Tory Newmyer

Politics of immigration:

San Francisco Chronicle's Bob Egelko writes that Sen. Arlen Specter's (R-PA) proposal to send all future immigration appeals to a DC court in order to make immigration laws uniform does not bode well with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which hears about half of the nation's immigration appeals. LINK

Abortion politics:

In the current issue of Newsweek, Howard Fineman and Evan Thomas deliver an important look at how the debate surrounding the South Dakota abortion law is not necessarily one Republicans are embracing. LINK

(If you thought you knew Sen. Allen's stance on the South Dakota bill after reading Dick Wadhams' comments to The Hotline, be sure to read this piece because you may be in for a surprise). LINK

An AP-Ipsos poll reveals most Americans fall in the murky middle on abortion, where three-fifths believe abortion should be legal under certain circumstances LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) asked legislative leaders to meet with him Monday in a last-ditch effort to put the largest public works borrowing measure in California history before voters in June," writes the AP. LINK


Roll Call's Morton Kondracke reports that Democrats will begin laying down an alternative to the GOP agenda this week, beginning with major budget proposals in the Senate.

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) announced he would not seek an 11th term minutes before California's filing deadline, leaving no other prominent Republican on the ballot, reports Peter Savodnik for the Hill on Sunday. LINK

After Karl Rove, it's time for Vice President Dick Cheney to "shake the money tree" for his party in South Carolina on Friday, writes Wayne Washington of The State. LINK

Fred Dicker of the New York Post reports former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer may be poised to receive New York State GOP Chair Stephen Minarik's endorsement this week. LINK

"Forgoing bickering among themselves," the three main Iowa Democratic gubernatorial candidates Mike Blouin, Chet Culver and Ed Fallon took turns in pounding Republican rival Jim Nussle on Saturday, writes Bret Dalmer in the Sunday Des Moines Register. LINK

Message to all gubernatorial candidates for Massachusetts: Take Note of the 54 percent of voters surveyed who said in today's Boston Globe they would more likely vote for a candidate who supports allowing gays and lesbians to adopt children. LINK

The State's Lee Bandy wrote on Sunday that Gov. Mark Sanford's (R-SC) reelection $4.5 million will enable his campaign to be "laden heavily with TV ads and little contact with voters," seeing that "Sanford is not a people person." LINK


The Washington Post profiles political insider Michael Berman, whose struggle with weight is the focus of his self-help/memoir book to be released this week. The publication focuses on the political campaigner/ lobbyist's everyday life struggles of working in Washington and the effects on his health and weight. LINK

Week ahead:

On Tuesday, President Bush participates in a conversation on the Medicare prescription drug benefit at West Lake Senior Center in Canandaigua, NY. Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) hosts a fundraising reception for gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson in Little Rock, AK

On Wednesday, President Bush makes remarks on the Medicare prescription drug benefit at 1:40 pm ET at Riderwood Village in Silver Spring, MD. Meanwhile, Karl Rove keynotes the NRCC's "Businessman of the Year Luncheon and Award Ceremony" in Washington, DC.

On Thursday, President Bush attends a 12:30 pm ET St. Patrick's Day luncheon at the US Capitol. The President participates in a photo op with recipients of the public safety officer medals of valor at 2:25 pm ET. President Bush makes 7:05 pm ET remarks at an NRCC dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

On Friday, President Bush participates in a Shamrock Ceremony at 10:30 am ET in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Vice President Cheney raises money in South Carolina. Sen. McCain attends a fundraiser for Gov. Jodi Rell (R-CT) in Hartford, CT. Sen. Allen attends a fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party in Waterloo/Cedar Falls, IA and another GOP fundraiser in Davenport, IA. Meanwhile, Edwards headlines a Democratic fundraiser in Ankeny, Iowa. Gen. Wesley Clark attends events for the New Hampshire House Democratic Caucus across New Hampshire. Gov. Bill Richardson attends events for the New Hampshire Senate Democratic Caucus and visits Exeter, Nashua and Hanover, NH.