The Note: Nine Stories


--> Iran???!!?? We thought you said Iraq. LINK and LINK [NYT 2x]

--> Memo to White House Communications Team: Get Ignatius to be available for network interviews next Monday. LINK [WP]

--> Jim VandeHei (too young to remember Ed Rollins' 1990 memo) on discord between the White House and its with-friends-like-these on the Hill. LINK [WP]

--> Congressional Republicans (say it with us now!) can't restrain the growth of entitlements and spending now, because they have to preserve their majorities so they...can...restrain...the...growth...of...entitlements...and...spending...later. LINK [WP]

--> The Boston Globe on their Governor: "Raise taxes! No, don't!!! LINK . . . You snob!!! LINK We know better than you do how to run for President LINK, you right-wing nut!!" LINK [BG 4x]

--> Oh, and the Globe (under the pen of Fox News contributor Nina Easton) believes the lefty netroots are powerful, but not TOO powerful. LINK [BG]

--> Feingold's too liberal for E.J.!! LINK [WP]

--> Who picks Bill Frist's grapes? LINK [LAT]

--> Can't wait until Sunday? Watch George Stephanopoulos and your favorit ABC News's favorites dissect the week's politics so far on This Week All Week. Click here LINK to watch the debut webcast. It includes a look at three possible presidential candidates who seemed to take steps backwards This Week.


President Bush will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the traditional shamrock ceremony with the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern (pool coverage) and a meeting with Ahern, Peter Hain (Britain's secretary of state for Northern Ireland), representatives of the police service in Northern Ireland and civil society leaders (closed press). There will be a reception at the White House following these meetings (also closed press).

The most interesting part of today's events, reports ABC News' Karen Travers, is the invitation to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who was Notably snubbed last year by the White House. This year the White House is reaching out to the leaders of Northern Ireland political parties as a way of showing the Bush Administration's continued support for the peace process there.

A White House official would not say tonight if Adams was definitely attending but that he is invited.

President Bush spends the weekend at Camp David.

Vice President Cheney delivers 12:20 pm ET luncheon remarks for congressional candidate Ralph Norman in Rock Hill, SC. The Vice President delivers 2:30 pm ET remarks at a rally for the troops at Charleston Air Force Base, SC. More from the Charlotte Observer: LINK

Bill Weld "raises a pint for St. Patrick's Day" at 4:00 pm ET at McKeown's in New York City.

Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic candidate for Senate in Minnesota, holds a press conference in St. Paul, MN to address the fiscal "irresponsibility" in Washington, DC and to provide "common-sense solutions to get our fiscal house in order."

The Center for National Policy hosts a 10:00 am ET speech by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the National Guard Memorial Building on "A Challenge to the Conscience of the World: Bringing Security and Hope to Darfur."

Rep. Pelosi met with President Bush yesterday, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on March 7, and led a CODEL to Darfur in February. Also yesterday, the House passed the supplemental which included $439 million for humanitarian relief and security in Darfur.

The United States Institute of Peace holds an address by Ashraf Qazi, the UN envoy in Iraq, detailing the United Nations' work in Iraq at 12:15 pm ET in Washington, DC.

Earlier today, Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) appeared on the annual "Kiss me I'm Imus" radio program at 6:20 am ET. He also attended a Nashua Wild Irish Breakfast at 7:30 am ET.

Lt. Gov. Jim Risch (R-ID) -- who is serving as acting governor while Gov. Kempthorne is out of town -- holds a 12:30 pm ET press conference to discuss President Bush's nomination of Kempthorne for Interior Secretary and his political future. The press conference is scheduled to take place in the governor's office at the Idaho Statehouse in Boise, ID. Today is the filing deadline for the May 23 primary.

As Boise State University Professor Jim Weatherby observed to The Note last night, "It will be a very interesting year if we have an incumbent governor running for lieutenant governor."

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman participates in a fundraising breakfast for the Republican Party in Omaha, NE. He also participates in a fundraising luncheon for the Lancaster Republican Party in Lincoln, NE and will speak to Nebraska grassroots activists in Lincoln.

On Sunday, "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" will have an exclusive interview on the 3rd anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq with the man who was responsible for planning and executing the US invasion: Gen. Tommy Franks.

Then, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), two combat veterans with very different views on Iraq, square off.

Plus, a This Week classic roundtable with Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson, George Will.

GOP agenda:

In must-read fashion, the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei reports that the GOP's "irritation" with Bush has been long brewing and that they have privately felt "underappreciated, ignored and sometimes bullied by what they regarded as a White House intent on running government with little input from them." LINK

Dirk Kempthorne for Interior Secretary:

When Lt. Gov. Risch announced last November that he would not challenge Rep. Otter in a Republican primary for governor, but instead seek reelection to his current post, this is how the Idaho Statesman wrote it up:

"It would have been a blockbuster primary, but Risch's announcement confirmed what most politicos had been thinking: Otter's early entry into the race, his fundraising and support-gathering all but put him out of reach -- even for somebody like Risch, considered by some to have one of the wiliest political brains in Idaho."

Then the prescient Statesman included this graph: "Risch still has time to change his mind. If Gov. Dirk Kempthorne is appointed to a late-term spot by President Bush or takes a job in the private sector, Risch will finish Kempthorne's term as governor. The last day to file for office is March 17." (As we Noted above: THAT'S TODAY!)

As of Dec. 31, 2005, Jim Risch had $8,828.90 cash on hand in his campaign account. Rep. Otter had $453,266.94 in his campaign bank account.

The Spokesman Review's "Eye on Boise" blog Notes, if confirmed, Gov. Kempthorne will not be the first Idaho governor to serve as US Interior Secretary. LINK

And Note this: "Mrs. Kempthorne didn't sound too excited about moving to Washington, but said she goes there every month already for her foundation work. 'There's airplanes,' she said. 'I'm not leaving Idaho -- neither one of us are leaving Idaho completely. We can go back and forth and feel very comfortable, but Idaho is home.'"

The Idaho Statesman's Rocky Barker takes a look at the environmental policies we should expect from Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID) should he be confirmed as Interior Secretary. LINK

Dan Popkey reports that Gov. Kempthorne already has plans for term as Interior Secretary. First on the list: reforming the Endangered Species Act. LINK

Brad Hem of the Idaho Statesman on Risch: LINK

"'My understanding from Jim is he will continue to seek re-election as lieutenant governor,' Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis said."

Environmentalists have voiced opposition to the nomination of Gov. Kempthorne as Interior Secretary, saying that Kempthorne, "fought to open national forests to logging, mining, and oil and gas drilling and worked to weaken safe-water and endangered species laws," per the Chicago Tribune's Baker and Eilperin. LINK

The Los Angeles Times includes this quote from Idaho Conservation League executive director Rick Johnson: "'The ideology that he brings to the office has more to do with anti-federalism, bringing issues back down to a state level,' Johnson said. 'He's not a wing nut. Not an ideologue. He comes in wearing cowboy boots, but they are polished.'" LINK

Sen. Feingold calls for censuring President Bush:

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) held a rare press conference on Thursday to pushback against those who have criticized his resolution to censure President Bush.

"If the right-wing really believes in this country that -- Rush Limbaugh and others -- that somehow they can turn the President's reputation around by saying, 'You're darn right he violated the law, and that's a good thing,' I think they're just as confused (about this) as they are about their Iraq politics," Sen. Feingold said, "People aren't buying it anymore."

The New York Sun on Sen. Feingold's presser. LINK

Most Democrats, afraid of alienating centrist voters, remain less than keen on Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-WI) censure proposal, Notes the Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny. LINK

Over at The New Republic online, Ryan Lizza shreds Feingold's censure strategy to bits: "At the nadir of Republican disarray, Democrats somehow managed to turn the spotlight back to their divisions. So which side really cares more about holding Bush to account? Feingold and the Bush-hating hordes or the consultant-driven Democratic wimps in the Senate? It's not even a close call." LINK

More Lizza: "So the partisans on the left cheering Feingold appear to have both the policy and the politics wrong. Censure is meaningless. Changing the FISA law is the way to address Bush's overreach. And the only way for Democrats to change FISA is for them to take back the Senate. This week, Feingold's censure petition has made that goal just a little bit more difficult to achieve."

Per Marie Horrigan of Congressional Quarterly, DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) said yesterday voters will be looking for Democrats to bring "change" in the 2006 elections. Emanuel also said he didn't want to spend time on the censure issue, but disclaimed, "I can only speak for this Democrat." LINK

Sen. Clinton's New York Senate opponent, former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer (R-NY), issued a statement yesterday saying: "Like Russ Feingold, Senator Clinton opposes the National Security Agency wiretapping that uncovered Al Qaeda's plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge. Senator Clinton just lacks the honesty to call for censure. While I strongly disagree with him, at least Senator Feingold has moral conviction. I'm afraid Senator Clinton's only moral conviction is her own personal ambition. It's time for Senator Clinton to do the right thing. Reject Senator Feingold's resolution, put ambition aside and put national security first."

Michael Myers of the Cedar Rapids Gazette has Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-IA) comments on his decision to jump in the Feingold boat: "'The only danger we face in the resolution is the danger we always face when you speak truth to power,' Harkin told reporters. 'Power always comes back at you when you speak the truth. The truth is out there -- the president lied to us, the president broke the law.'" LINK

Politics of surveillance:

The Bush administration could continue to obtain wiretaps for up to 45 days without a warrant according to legislation introduced yesterday by Sens. Mike DeWine (R-OH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), reports the Washington Post's Charles Babington. LINK

After 45 days, the Justice Department would have to do one of three thins: "It could drop the surveillance, seek a warrant from FISA's court, or convince a handful of House and Senate members that although there is insufficient evidence for a warrant, continued surveillance "is necessary to protect the United States'."

Big Casino budget politics:

Last night the Senate approved the 2007 budget plan which kept Bush's proposed cut of Medicare, added $11 billion to federal spending, and approved for Artic drilling, reports Bloomberg News. LINK

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Shailagh Murray Note that lawmakers "voted to spend well over $100 billion" yesterday "without making offsetting budget cuts." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes writes of the political implications of yesterday's Senate budget votes. ". . . by drawing attention to the record spending already in place, yesterday's action carries political costs: Republican leaders fear many conservatives are becoming so demoralized that they won't vote in the midterm elections, threatening Republican control of Congress."

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank describes yesterday's Senate vote to increase the federal debt limit by $800 billion to $9 trillion as the, "political equivalent of going on a shopping spree the same day you get a credit-line increase on your over-the-limit card." LINK

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) had his amendment to spend an extra $7 billion on domestic programs passed, but felt it was still inadequate.

"I don't have any apologies to make for this 7 billion. I'm still not satisfied."

Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) crossing of party lines on the budget vote avoided the need for Vice President Cheney to cast a tie-breaking vote. The Senate added an additional $16 billion in spending to what the Administration had requested, reports the New York Times.

"Referring to the day's accumulation of spending proposals in the Senate budget resolution, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, 'We're not yet ready to face up to the realities of having to make some tough decisions,'" write the Los Angeles Times' Simon and Havemann. LINK

"But McCain, who like Frist is eyeing a run for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, joined the majority leader in voting for the budget resolution, which passed 51 to 49." LINK

Politics of immigration:

Carolyn Lochhead of the San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at the unusual coalition formed yesterday within the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to Dr./Sen./Leader Frist' threat to bypass the committee and introduce his border security bill, stating that "the key compromise came when Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)., embraced the thrust of" the Kennedy-McCain bill. LINK

A compromise on legislation to let illegal immigrant workers apply for legal status came one step further after Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) proposed an amendment requiring workers to go home after two years to apply for green cards, reports Gebe Martinez of the Houston Chronicle. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is pushing for a waiver of the provision if employers say the workers are essential. LINK

Per, Michelle Mittelstadt of the Dallas Morning News, Sen. Kennedy agreed yesterday to a request by Sen. Arlen Specter, (R-PA), "to make explicit that illegal immigrants couldn't cut in front of the more than 3 million 'green card' applicants who have obeyed the law, remaining overseas while their paperwork is processed."

"There is no moving to the front of the line. There is no free ticket," Sen. Kennedy said. "This is not amnesty."

The Los Angeles Times Gaouette and Curtius write of the Judiciary Committee agreements on proposals dealing with a guest worker program and "a path to citizenship" for undocumented workers. LINK

"The measures face many hurdles to becoming law and significant opposition in both chambers of Congress, but their progress Thursday makes it increasingly likely that the Republican Party will be forced into a prominent election-year showdown over the most divisive aspects of immigration law."

Note, too, their reporting on "Capitol Hill observers" observing the Frist move yesterday.

Bush Administration agenda:

Steven Weisman of the New York Times looks within the Republican ranks at the "realists" vs. the "neo-conservatives" over the Bush Administration's goal to spread democracy and freedom throughout the world. (2008 watchers will Note the questioning coming from Sen. Hagel and former Speaker Newt Gingrich.) LINK

The nuclear deal with India announced during the President's recent trip to New Delhi is not going to be a congressional slam dunk, reports the New York Times' Brinkley. LINK

USA Today adds more on Bush's pre-emptive strike policy. LINK

In a time period when President Bush is facing struggling approval numbers, the Washington Times reports that at last night's NRCC dinner Bush was met by a "polite but tepid applause." LINK

Politics of national security:

Keying off of the Administration's national security strategy document, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman writes, "since we are not going to invade Iran, the best way we can influence it is by what we do in Iraq." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Schmitt writes up the first meeting of the White House civil liberties panel, which Lanny Davis (the sole Democratic member of the panel) seems to believe might have some teeth. LINK

Politics of Katrina:

The supplemental that passed the House yesterday included the $4.2 billion in hurricane relief aid the Administration and Louisiana officials had sought. Make sure you read all the way to the end for Rep. Melancon's (D-LA) kicker quote that is sure to get the attention of Tony Perkins. LINK

The Washington Times reports on the status of the New Orleans elections next month. LINK


The Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire" by John Harwood drills down on the latest NBC/WSJ poll numbers and includes one headline that will make DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel smile almost as much as a UTA and Endeavor merger: "Democrats enjoy favorable issue terrain for midterm elections" LINK

Speaking of Emanuel, the DCCC Chair has taken a lot of heat for having said "at the right time we will have a position" on the war.

At yesterday's pen-and-pad briefing, NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-NY) approached Rahmian levels of evasiveness when asked about permanent bases in Iraq.

After Chairman Reynolds invoked Jack Kemp's name while answering one reporter's question, the NRCC chairman was asked by ABC News if he agreed or disagreed with his friend and former colleague who has said in recent television interviews that he thinks the United States should announce "unambiguously" that it has no intention to keep permanent military bases in the Iraqi nation.

Kemp has also said during his recent round of television interviews to promote work that he and John Edwards have done for the Council on Foreign Relations that he thinks the U.S. should address concerns that it is in Iraq for oil by agreeing not to stay in Iraq beyond a "date certain" which Kemp has suggested should come at the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009.

Rep. Reynolds said Kemp was "a great football player" and an "elder statesman" in the Republican Party who is "entitled to his opinion."

When pressed to answer whether he disagrees with the Republican Party's 1996 vice presidential nominee, Rep. Reynolds let his reference to Kemp's gridiron talents stand.

In his National Journal column, Charlie Cook looks at the midterm election through his macro lens and does the 1994 vs. 2006 data comparison.

"By almost every relevant measurement, national polls indicate that Republicans are at least as bad off as Democrats were at this point in 1994, before suffering devastating midterm losses," writes Cook.

Per Rachel Kapochunas of Congressional Quarterly, Chairman Reynolds, unafraid of Democratic challenges, said yesterday that the NRCC was well-funded and organized while the Democrats don't have the agenda or the candidates to make an impact in 2006. LINK

If watching the mayor of Newark, NJ ride his bicycle around City Hall in a tank top to deliver petitions at the filing deadline for the May 9 election is your thing, you should click here: LINK

If you aren't yet familiar with just how entertaining and fascinating Newark mayoral elections can be, be sure to check out Marshall Curry's Oscar-nominated film, "Street Fight," about the 2002 campaign. The movie is set to open in Washington, DC today.

The Washington Times reports that a former Democratic operative will plead guilty on charges that she illegally obtained Maryland Lt. Gov. and Senate seeker, Michael Steele's (R) credit report. LINK

Phil Singer and Dan Ronayne square off in Deborah Orin's New York Post story on the illegally obtained records of Michael Steele (R-MD). LINK

'08ers on the budget vote:

Sen. Frist's statement, in part, on the budget vote: "While the bill does not go as far as I would like to control growth in mandatory spending programs, it is a responsible budget plan that meets the needs of the American people."

Sen. Bayh's statement defending his "no" vote on the budget: "This proposed budget is 'business as usual' in Washington at its worst. . . Going deeper into debt to China and Japan undermines our economy, our national security, and is deeply irresponsible to our children who must one day pay our bills with interest. We can do better."

Sen. Kerry's statement on the budget vote focused on ANWR: "For all the talk of America's addiction to oil, this budget vote proved it's Washington that's addicted to oil. Insisting on drilling in the Arctic Refuge is like treating a drinking problem by suggesting the alcoholic do more of his drinking at home."

2008: If it's Friday (or any other day, really), the New York Post's Deb Orin must be looking for some poll in some state to match-up Hillary Clinton with Rudy Giuliani or John McCain. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Sen. McCain made no news while chatting with Matt Lauer on "Today" this morning. On the President's current poll position McCain said, "Other presidents have had low points as well and we'll come out of this."

The rest of the interview was mostly dedicated to Iraq where McCain repeated his "it's hard and it's tough" mantra. He went on to say that he is not calling for additional troops in Iraq because it isn't feasible, but repeated his critique of the Administration for not going to into Iraq with sufficient troop strength initially.

Frank Phillips of the Boston Globe Notes that "caught between his support for expanded health coverage and his opposition to tax increases, Governor Mitt Romney is being urged by fiscal conservatives to veto part of a sweeping healthcare proposal because they say it includes a tax on businesses." LINK

The Boston Herald reports that Gov. Romney is advocating for big business nominees to the state's Appeals Court. LINK

C-SPAN's Brian Lamb recently sat down with Gov. Willard Mitt Romney for a "Q&A" interview that will air Sunday, Mar. 19 at 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm ET. LINK

In the interview, Gov. Romney discusses the "terrible" song, "Oh Where Have You Been, Billy Boy, Billy Boy? Oh Where Have You Been, Charming Billy?" that led him to renounce being called "Billy" while in kindergarten., almost dying in a car crash when a drunk driver hit him head-on going 70 miles per hour, and sharing a hole in the floor with four other apartments in Paris.

While talking about his affection for Dwight Eisenhower, Romney says he read a couple of books about Teddy Roosevelt last year and came away thinking of some of his policies, "gosh, I have the opposite view today. The Republican Party has a different view than it did back in 1900."

Gov. Romney is asked if he could keep up George Bush's fundraising schedule and answers by ascribing to Sen. Clinton a recent Washington Post report which said she is expected to raise $100 million. He also denounces the non-transparent money that is raised by 527s.

Gov. Romney says "you owe just as much political favor" to these new 527 organizations as in "the days of the past."

Gov. Romney says he doesn't have a great solution but offers that he would "far rather see a setting where people were able to make whatever contributions they make, they make it to the party and the candidate. It's reported so we know who is making the contribution and we can have accountability in that manner rather than having millions and millions of dollars given by wealth individuals to 527s, we don't know exactly who gave what to whom, and then the candidate cannot even control the spending."

The Boston Globe previews the CSPAN interview, spotlighting where he speaks out on how one's religion effects a presidential campaign. LINK

Nicole Boddington of the discusses up President Clinton and Gov. Huckabee's (R-AK) yesterday address at the inauguration of Heifer International's new headquarters. LINK

The AP has President Clinton saying that Gov. Huckabee "should not hold back" if he wants to run for president. LINK

2008: Democrats:

The Globe's Nina Easton reports that many Democrats are trying to appeal to the left wing individuals of their parties to further their re reelection chances, everyone that is but Hillary Clinton, Easton suggests. LINK

Susan Sarandon will probably not be a surrogate for Sen. Clinton anytime soon. Check out her comments in Page Six today. LINK

E.J. Kessler of The Forward previews Sen. Feingold's upcoming weekend journey to a Park Slope, Brooklyn synagogue. LINK

"Feingold said he would be speaking primarily about his Jewish upbringing at a Reform congregation in Madison, Wis., Temple Beth El, and about how the values he learned at that synagogue relate to his life and career. The senator, who is being honored at the synagogue gala in Brooklyn, also said he would be addressing 'some concerns' he has about how 'the White House has handled the war on terror,'" writes Kessler.

Sen. Feingold has lost the New York Times editorial board in his quest for censure -- not a good development for him. The ed board writes it understands the Senator's frustration, but. . . LINK

". . . the censure proposal is a bad idea. Members of Congress don't need to take extraordinary measures like that now. They need to fulfill their sworn duty to investigate the executive branch's misdeeds and failings. Talk about censure will only distract the public from the failure of their elected representatives to earn their paychecks."

Iowa: Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register has the Democratic gubernatorial candidates weighing in differently on the recent Iowa ban on slot-like Touchplay machines. LINK

The AP on the same: LINK

For more on the Touchplay controversy, check out the Des Moines Register editorial board chastising Gov. Vilsack (D-IA) for signing the ban and calling the move a "betrayal of investors who entered into good-faith partnerships with the state." LINK

Port politics:

Bloomberg News reports on the congressional reaction and calls for new legislation post Dubai port agreement, especially when it comes to national security and foreign assets. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

Michael Finnegan of the Los Angeles Times offers up an excellent news analysis looking at the impact Gov. Schwarzenegger's inability to persuade the legislature to put his proposed public works program on the June ballot may or may not have on his November electoral prospects. LINK

Mark Martin of the San Francisco Chronicle details Gov. Schwarzenegger's latest defeat by his own party on his public works spending plan, Noting that privately, Republicans said Schwarzenegger "did little to represent their interests in discussions with Democrats" and complained that he spent too much time working with democrats and "too little time creating the needed support among Republicans." LINK

More Martin: "Political observers said not having a bond proposal on the June ballot was a blow to Schwarzenegger, who has had several major policy failures since taking office, such as a government-reform plan that went largely ignored and last year's government-overhaul plans that were defeated by voters."

Katherine Harris:

Lelsey Clark and Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald write that Harris' touting of her father's inheritance might "turn off potential donors, and for every voter impressed by her financial commitment, Harris runs the risk of being painted as someone who wants to buy a U.S. Senate seat." LINK

March, Epstein, and Fetcher of the Tampa Tribune write that Harris' everything-I-have story "has obvious emotional appeal to voters but may not square with what's known of her personal finances" and have Jennifer Steen, a Boston College politics professor saying that "It looks like only one person thinks Katherine Harris is a good investment: Katherine Harris." LINK

Jerremy Wallace of the Herald Tribune has GOP strategist Mac Stipanovich saying that the move is "an interesting gamble, but if it were me, I would have just taken the $10 million, flown to Vegas and put it on red." LINK

Cory Reiss of the Herald Tribune reminds us of Harris' troubles that did not get enough media pickup since the "important announcement," saying that "Political analysts and Republican strategists say that whatever effect Harris' infusion of cash might have on her bid to unseat Nelson, Harris must answer questions about Wade that she has dodged for three weeks." LINK


National Journal's Kirk Victor profiles the first year in the Senate for "rising stars" Barack Obama and John Thune. LINK

The New York Times profiles John Aschroft the lobbyist and his quest to bring "integrity" to his new(ish) profession. LINK

Weekend politics:

This weekend, Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) and 700 students help out with rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Edwards will also headline a fundraiser for Ankeny Area Democrats in Ankeny, IA.

Also this weekend, Gen. Wesley Clark attends events for the New Hampshire House Democratic Caucus across New Hampshire.

While in New Hampshire on Saturday, Gov. Romney has four events: he is attending a Cheshire County GOP breakfast, a Concord GOP women's reception, a Hampton GOP/Rockingham County GOP reception, and a Derry GOP reception.

Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) attends fundraisers and events in Kensington, Hooksett, and Manchester, NH on Saturday. On Sunday, he celebrates St. Patrick's Day by attending a breakfast and parade in Manchester, NH and heading to a fundraiser in Hanover NH.

Sen. George Allen (R-VA) attends a fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party in Davenport, IA on Saturday.

Former President Clinton promotes the Earned Income Tax Credit in Little Rock, AR on Saturday. The next day, he promotes the EITC in Baton Rouge, LA.