The Note: Capital Expenditure


President Bush continues his "Global War on Terror" sales tour with a speech at Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling, WV at 12:15 pm ET. The event is being billed as a town hall-style meeting which will allow the President to take questions from the crowd. The audience is expected to be filled with mostly military families.

While you wait for that dominating event to begin, feel free to read these Notes obtained by The Note's warrantless surveillance program:

Note from America to the White House politico-communications staff:

Denver Post: "Bush Admits War's Cloud" LINK

Columbus Dispatch: "Withdrawal Won't Come Under Bush" LINK

Tampa Tribune: "Bush Talks of Troops in Iraq Until 2009" LINK

Note from the White House political staff to the communications staff:

Forget about the "timetable" that the press is obsessed with. Focus on THIS timetable for an October, 2006 full of surprises:

Oct. 4: gas prices drop below $1.50/gallon

Oct. 9: Ron Bonjean writes a press release heralding the strong economy that actually gets quoted in newspapers

Oct. 14: Bin Laden is caught

Oct. 15: Howard Dean says he isn't sure that America is safer now that bin Laden is in U.S. custody and worries aloud about the prisoner's due process rights

Oct. 19: Harry Reid walks into the Radio-TV Gallery without a script

Oct. 22: Katherine Harris finds a vision for her message for her vision

Oct 27: Jenna Bush's Great Big White House wedding

Oct. 28: every righteous pastor in the country explains to his parishoners that if they don't vote correctly in November, it is a biblical certainty that a gay married couple will soon be living next door to them

Oct. 30: major RNC money hits the airwaves, the streets, and targets the DNC will figure out in 2012

Note from Isikoff, Birnbaum, Ross, and Allen to OldHandGrayBeard who is coming into the White House to steady things ("things"=the nerves of the Gang of 500): You probably think your long career in public life means you won't get any investigative scrutiny. Best not to tell your partners, clients, or family that.

Note from Ed Chen to President Bush: Miss me yet?

Note from The Note to Tom Friedman: Making a Lugar speech a must-read is ballsy!!

Note from Bumiller to Rutenberg: Sleeping and eating are overrated.

Note from The Note to Jeff Greenfield: "He's a what? He's a what?"

Note from Some People on Tom Edsall's softball e-mail to Other People on Tom Edsall's e-mail: Please develop the wisdom to know when to use "reply" and when to use "reply all."

Note from Sara Taylor, Bill Weld, and Harold Ickes to Kevin Sheekey: Not very oblique, fella.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tours the U.S. -- Mexico border at San Ysidro, CA with Sheriff Bill Young of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department at 5:15 pm ET.

The other Senator from Nevada, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), will launch his reelection campaign at 11:30 am ET at the Leatherneck Club in Las Vegas, NV. Sen. Ensign also holds a kick-off event at 3:00 pm ET in Reno, NV.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce decisions at 10:00 am ET. The High Court will also hear oral arguments today.

AFL-CIO executive vice president Linda Chavez-Thompson, immigrant rights groups, and community allies plan to announce their grassroots mobilization plan to defeat what they view as "anti-immigrant" legislation at 11:30 am ET. Their "National Day of Action on Immigrant Rights" is planned for April 10.

Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) holds a 10:30 am ET press conference in Des Moines, IA to discuss his recent trip to India and its "impact on Iowa's economic opportunities."

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) presides over a meeting of the Governor's Council at the State House in Boston, MA at noon ET.

And in your 2008 travel schedule news, the Nussle campaign is set to announce later today that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is scheduled to campaign with Rep. Jim Nussle (R-IA) in Davenport, IA on May 1, marking Giuliani's first trip to the Hawkeye State of the 2008 cycle.

"Mayor Giuliani helped bring our country together during a time when we needed it most and I am honored to have his support and commitment. Under Rudy Giuliani's management, New York City went from being known as the 'ungovernable city' to being the safest large city in America. I am thrilled to have the man known as 'America's Mayor' support me in my vision for energizing Iowa's future," Jim Nussle is expected to say in the release.

Rudy Giuliani's quote from the draft release: "I look forward to working to help Jim Nussle as he campaigns to rally supporters and continues to excite Iowans about the future of their state under his leadership."

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman is in Ohio for part of the day participating in fundraising events and meeting with party activists. This afternoon he heads to Pennsylvania where he will visit a phone bank, meet with party activists, and speak at a Westmoreland County Lincoln Day dinner.

POTUS presser:

The Washington Post's ed board thinks President Bush's "sometimes blunt, sometimes joking and sometimes unpolished" presser "sounded authentic." LINK

The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller points to two problems for those who claim yesterday's press conference was a positive step forward for the President. LINK

First: "Mr. Bush admitted mistakes and acknowledged chaos on the ground… The speech tactic worked in late 2005 when another series of Iraq addresses helped to stabilize the president's poll numbers temporarily. But analysts said that with his message now familiar to the nation, it was not clear whether people were listening."

Second: "White House officials are hopeful that the communications offensive by Mr. Bush will stop the decline that has sunk his job approval ratings to the lowest levels of his presidency, but some military analysts said they were skeptical because he announced no new policies in his news conference or in his speeches."

The Washington Post header: "Bush says US troops will stay in Iraq past '08." LINK

"The news conference was vintage Bush, a mix of playful banter, stern glares and defiant assertions. He dismissed as "needless partisanship" calls by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) to censure the president for authorizing the secret National Security Agency spying program, which involves eavesdropping on U.S. citizens. Telegraphing the GOP's election plan to portray Democrats as weak on terrorism, Bush dared his opponents to campaign in the 2006 elections on a platform that includes eliminating the spying program," writes Diamond Jim VandeHei.

The Washington Post's Sketch of Tuesday's presser is quintessential Milbank and quintessential Bush. LINK

The Washington Times headline: "Bush commits until 2009" LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva begins his analysis of the press conference writing that "President Bush is displaying increasing frustration with the gulf between Main Street America's perception of the conflict and his own unflinching optimism." LINK

Bloomberg's Holly Rosenkrantz and Richard Keil have Leon Panetta, who was chief of staff under President Bill Clinton and was named last week to a bipartisan group established by Congress to assess U.S. Iraq policy, speaking for the entire Gang in saying that President Bush is unlikely to sway public opinion through speeches. LINK

"'The only way he's going to turn this around is if in fact he can show that there's a unity government in Iraq, that there's a reduction in violence, that we've got security forces that we've deployed and that we're beginning to withdraw troops,' Panetta, a Democrat, said."

Politics of Iraq:

Fareed Zakaria writes in a Washington Post op-ed that for all of his "misgivings about the way the administration has handled Iraq," he is not convinced that Iraq is a "hopeless cause that should be abandoned." LINK

An inquiry into the so-called "paid propaganda" in Iraqi newspapers has cleared the Lincoln Group of any violation of military policy, reports the New York Times. As Thom Shanker Notes, the "results of the investigation have been awaited with apprehension across the military and within the Bush administration," yet they may do little to assuage the concerns already expressed by members of Congress. LINK

The Wall Street Journal editorial page asks what would happen if the U.S. lost in Iraq. Its answer: a laundry list of scary things, from losing credibility on nuclear proliferation to an increase in terrorist attacks in the U.S. But, the ed board writes, all those nattering nabobs of negativity aren't helping win the war: "the desire among so many of our political elites to repudiate Mr. Bush and his foreign policy is creating a dangerous public pessimism that could yet lead to defeat -- a defeat whose price would be paid by all Americans, and for years to come."

Illinois primary:

"With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Duckworth was declared a winner with 44 percent, or 14,019 votes, to Cegelis' 40 percent, or 12,939 votes," reports the AP's Christopher Wills. LINK

Duckworth "narrowly won the Democratic nomination for Congress to run against Republican state Sen. Peter Roskam for the west suburban seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde," the Chicago Tribune reports. LINK

Rick Pearson and John Chase of the Chicago Tribune look ahead to the Ryan verdict and the expected "spirited and contentious" general election campaign. LINK

The good news/bad news graph for the current governor: "Blagojevich's victory was the first time an incumbent Democratic governor had won the party's nomination for re-election since the late Gov. Otto Kerner in 1965. Yet the vote for Eisendrath, who ran a low-key campaign, reflected concern among Democrats about Blagojevich's first-term leadership and his promises for the future."

The Chicago Tribune editorial board also looks ahead to the Balgojevich vs. Topinka match-up and each candidate's vulnerabilities from the start. LINK

"Illinois will have a campaign for governor between two of the most engaging, upbeat, fun and energetic people in local politics. Expect it to be absolutely brutal."

More: "But there were some rumblings in the results. A lot of Democrats told the governor: no dice. They opted for an underfunded, little-known, quixotic challenger, former Chicago Ald. Edwin Eisendrath. Topinka wakes up Wednesday knowing that more than half of the Republicans who voted wanted somebody other than her."

Tammy Duckworth "appeared victorious this morning," reports the Washingon Post on the close Democrartic congressional primary in Illinois' sixth congressional district. LINK

Self-funder/investment banker David McSweeney emerged victorious in the GOP primary in Illinois' eighth congressional district to take on Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL), an incumbent on most endangered lists due to the make-up of the district.

"Bean -- who was unchallenged in Tuesday's primary -- is a top congressional money raiser among Democrats and has $1.5 million on hand as the general election campaign gets under way," cautions the Chicago Sun Times. LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman, using the oldest trick in his childhood book, reports that Public Citizen sued yesterday to block a recently-signed major budget-cutting bill/law. LINK

Jonathan Allen of the Hill details how Senate Republicans facing reelection in November had to make a choice between their fiscal conservative rhetoric and Sen. Arlen Specter's (R-PA) domestic spending increase. LINK

(Make sure to Note Dr./Sen./Leader Frist's acrobatic evolution on the issue.)

The economy:

The Washington Post's ed board criticizes Treasury Secretary John Snow for choosing post-stock market bubble statistics which, in the ed board's opinion, obscure the larger trend of growing inequality. LINK

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he spent his first day in China, alongside Sens. Schumer (D-NY) and Coburn (R-OK) telling Beijing officials "if you think the relations between our two countries are good, you're misreading the tea leaves back home [in the U.S.]. They're not good, and they're getting worse," reports the Wall Street Journal.

Bush agenda:

Reversing itself, the White House will bar statements made under torture from its military courts at Guantanamo Bay, reports the Wall Street Journal. The new rule is expected this week, before next Tuesday's Supreme Court arguments over the legality of the courts.

The Washington Post's Tom Edsall reports that the Bush Administration has funneled "at least $157 million to organizations run by political and ideological allies, according to federal documents." LINK

Politics of immigration:

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony continues to insert himself into the immigration debate, today with an op-ed in the New York Times reiterating his opposition to the immigration bill approved by the House in December and his support for the alternative McCain-Kennedy immigration bill. LINK

The Washington Post's Darryl Fears reports that pro-immigrant activists are planning an April 10 protest in 10 cities that could "pull tens of thousands of immigrant workers from their jobs." LINK

"In addition, activists, churches and labor unions are planning a national 'Day Without an Immigrant,' hoping to shut down farms, hotels, restaurant kitchens, meatpacking plants and chicken-processing plants on a large scale in places where immigrants work."

The Washington Post's Robert Samuelson doesn't seem to like guest worker plans being pushed by President Bush, or Sens. McCain and Kennedy, because he thinks such programs represent a "conscious policy of creating poverty in the United States while relieving it in Mexico." LINK

The politics of stem cells:

Bloomberg's William Roberts reports that Senate Democrats are planning to force a debate on the issue of stem cell research while Republicans are planning their own debate over bioethics in an effort to "limit the damage from letting stem cells become 'a wedge issue that divides Republicans,' in the words of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). LINK

Lobbying reform:

In a story looking at the efforts DC restaurants are making to persuade Congress not to enact a meal ban, the Los Angeles Times' Faye Fiore writes that the three positions "with the most sway over Congress, it can be argued, are majority leader of the Senate, speaker of the House and maitre d' of the Palm." LINK

(If we agree, can we get a better table next time?)


Matt Taibi offers an in-depth Abramoff profile in the current issue of Rolling Stone, but it is his sidebar on disguising himself as a lobbyist and attending a Conrad Burns birthday fundraiser that is the must-read. Be sure to check them both out.

Politics of energy:

The New York Times' Thomas Friedman on the emerging "split" among conservatives on the issue of energy independence: LINK

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Bush Administration is considering applying tougher fuel-economy standards to the largest SUVs on the road. Hit hardest would be GM, which produces three of the four vehicles in question.

A Page One story in the Wall Street Journal asks whether Greenpeace was audited at the urging of its nemesis, ExxonMobil.

Politics of national security:

The Washington Times continues its reporting on the Reid memo urging Democrats to incorporate military imagery into their public events. Sens. Allen and Dole and Boehner spokesman Kevin Madden all get a whack at the piñata while Jim Manley plays defense. LINK

New Orleans mayoral election:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is touring Southern cities this week to rally opposition to the upcoming mayoral election in New Orleans, saying too many Katrina victims scattered around the country will be unable to vote, the AP's Errin Haines reports. LINK


Tuesday's edition of Nightline aired a John Donvan interview with Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) that included a short pop quiz.

DONVAN: "And then -- only because Harris had told me she felt quite well versed in foreign affairs -- with a master's degree from Harvard -- I ran a short pop quiz."

DONVAN: "Okay, who is the leader of China?"

DONVAN: "And no . . . she didn't know . . . that's Hu JinTao . . . who has held the job for two years . . . though she did name his predecessor . . . Jiang Zamin . . . and in truth . . . I asked several big time Washington journalists the same question . . . and only one of them got the right answer."

Florida's former secretary of state also discussed the $10 million she is spending on her Senate run, the Republican establishment's tepid support for her, flag burning, sexual predators, completing the job in Iraq, and abortion. LINK

You may recall that among the Valentine's Day "gifts" the DCCC delivered to its Republican counterparts at the NRCC was a "bucket of change to give them an idea of what's coming." LINK

Well, that bucket of change amounted to something: $22.34 to be exact. And here is the page of the NRCC's FEC filing in which that generous DCCC contribution was reported: LINK

Might Sen. Clinton's manager of her 2000 campaign appear on the ballot with her this year as a congressional candidate? City Councilman Bill de Blasio (D-Park Slope) is considering taking on incumbent Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY). Whether or not this turns into one of those "DCCCDELUSIONS" releases from the NRCC is still very much TBD. Here's the New York Times with more: LINK

The Hill's editorial board writes how the self-imposed chairmanship term limits sometimes serve as obstacles for the GOP and provide "sleepless nights" for NRCC's Tom Reynolds. LINK

Tim Dunn, one of seven Democratic Iraq war vets running for Congress in 2006, announced yesterday that he is dropping out of the race for the North Carolina House seat held by Republican Robin Hayes, the AP's Tim Whitmire reports. LINK

"Dunn, whose fundraising has lagged behind his GOP opponent's, said he was exiting because the campaign endangered his ability to meet his financial obligations to his family."

The New York Observer looks at the intra-GOP fighting between former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer and Kathleen Troia McFarland over the privilege of challenging Sen. Hillary Clinton for her Senate seat this November – and how their fight benefits Clinton. LINK

Note Senator D'Amato's less than glowing review of the McFarland campaign on NY1 last night.

The New York Post breathlessly reports that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's spokesman refused to rule out the possibility that the mayor would endorse Democrats Eliot Spitzer or Hillary Clinton in their 2006 races. LINK

Former Montana State Senate President Bob Keenan emailed the Associated Press to announce he had put his filing in the mail and will challenge Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) in a June 6 GOP primary. LINK

Per the Billings Gazette, if Sen. Burns drops out of the Montana Senate race, either Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) or former Gov. (and former BC'04 chair) Marc Racicot would "instantly hold big leads over the top two Democrats against whom Burns is struggling, a poll released Monday shows," the Gazette reports. LINK

In a story Noteworthy only for its headline, the New York Post reports, "Spitzer goes both way on gay nups." LINK

Billion dollar tax increases, the 10 Commandments, and Jack Abramoff all play key roles in the fascinating -- but largely under-covered by national media outlets -- Alabama gubernatorial race, the New York Times reminds us this morning. LINK

The Boston Globe reports that Christopher Gabrieli, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2002, is surveying Democratic delegates for a look at his chances should he jump into the race for governor. LINK

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes up pollster Matt Towery's analysis that Ralph Reed is a potential drag on a Perdue-Reed ticket. LINK

2008: Republicans:

McCain's recent move of hiring Terry Nelson did not go unnoticed by the DNC, which is eager to discuss Nelson's alleged involvement with DeLay's money laundering schemes, writes Elana Schor of the Hill. LINK

J. William Lauderback, executive vice president of the American Conservative Union, sent an email to supporters lambasting the "draconian" McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and urges conservatives to express support the "Online Freedom of Speech Act" designed to exempt the Internet from BCRA.

Per the Associated Press, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's non-campaign for president generated a grand total of $103 in campaign funds last month – all of which came in the form of interest on previously raised money. LINK

But before Giuliani decides to take the plunge into more active campaigning, New York Post columnist Eric Fettman has a warning for him: Remember Sept. 16, 1992. LINK

"Middle America has a firm image of Rudy Giuliani - one grounded in the renaissance of New York under his mayoralty and the rock-like determination with which he led this city after 9/11. But it hardly jibes with the out-of-control Rudy of 1992."

The Boston Herald writes that when the city's archbishop, Sean O'Malley, is elevated to cardinal in Rome on Friday, Massachusetts will be represented not by its plethora of Catholic politicians, but by its Mormon governor, Mitt Romney. Romney tells the paper: "I think by and large people of faith are going to have similar views on many issues." LINK

New York Gov. George Pataki returned to his office in Albany yesterday after more than a month of sick leave. LINK

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Sen. Hagel kept the focus on domestic issues on Tuesday while in the Granite State. He touched on Iraq "only in answering a question." LINK

2008: Democrats:

"Former IBF junior bantamweight champion Danny Romero, who has fought just once in the past three years, told police officers that Gov. Bill Richardson would 'take care of' his arrest on aggravated drunken driving charges, according to a police report," reports the Associated Press. LINK

More: "Asked where he had been drinking, the report says Romero reported he had been 'partying with Bill,' referring to the governor, at the Governor's Mansion in Santa Fe."

If Senators' Iraq war votes are as salient an issue in the 2008 presidential race as they were in 2003-2004, Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-WI) March 17, 2006 Charlie Rose interview might help Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) defend her left flank.

"I don't believe either John McCain or Hillary Clinton would have invaded Iraq when President Bush did," Sen. Feingold told Charlie Rose on Friday. "They may disagree with me. But I've watched these two people, and I don't see them as falling for this sort of advice from their advisers, if they were commander in chief. Who knows, but my sense is they would not have done this at that time."

With regards to The New Republic's cover story dubbing him the "Hillary slayer," Sen. Feingold said, "You know, she and I had a good laugh about that cover on 'The New Republic,' and she didn't look too worried." LINK

As for Sen. Feingold's opinion that Sen. McCain would not have invaded Iraq when President Bush did, McCain adviser John Weaver tells ABC News: "In all due respect to Sen. Feingold, Sen. McCain's record is clear and speaks for itself. He co-authored the Senate resolution authorizing the President to go to war, worked to secure co-sponsors, and led the debate on the Senate floor for passage. The Senator continues to support the war effort, not withstanding his disagreements about certain tactics used in conducting the war and the lack of enough troops, in his opinion, to achieve our goals in the Iraq theater."

In a story sure to be posted to the Web site of Senator Russ Feingold's PAC before 10:00 am ET, the New York Observer takes on Democrats for not supporting the Wisconsin Senator's censure resolution -- and has a host of former Democratic operatives going on the record about their confusion over why the resolution hasn't received more support from party leaders. LINK

The hiring of former Tim Kaine campaign aide Matthew Felan by Hillary Clinton's HILLPAC is a "twofer" for Clinton, according to an analyst quoted by the New York Daily News: "She gets his ability to raise money and she gets his knowledge of Virginia politics and players, which includes Mark Warner." LINK

Note to Mike McAuliff of the Daily News: Before reporting breathlessly that Roger Altman "is back in the fold" for the Junior Senator from Chappaqua (LINK), you probably should have looked at this low hanging fruit available to any inquisitive Googling monkey: LINK

And haven't they done a bunch of events together all around upstate New York that your desk is always receiving advisories about?

"I was fuming," writes John Edwards in a "special message" to supporters of his "One America" committee about comments recently made by Treasury Secretary John Snow.

Snow provoked the North Carolinian's ire by telling the Wall Street Journal that skyrocketing CEO pay can be explained by America's movement to a "star system." In his missive to supporters, Edwards accuses Snow of "fudging the numbers" on wage disparities by pointing to an increase in average incomes when median family income has "actually fallen under Bush."

Edwards ends his e-mail by inviting supporters to tell Secretary Snow that he has "his facts -- and his priorities -- all wrong."

The dean of the Palmetto State political press corps, The State's Lee Bandy, writes up Sen. Joe Biden's (D-DE) recent trip to South Carolina and includes the Senator's comparison of Delaware to South Carolina as reason for why he is comfortable there as well as Biden's thesis that the Democratic Party has moved from "the Saturday party" to "the Monday party." LINK


Rep. Tom DeLay tells the Houston Chronicle he expects the "bogus" charges against him to be dropped after his reelection bid. The case, which is in a sort of legal limbo, takes a step forward today. LINK

District Attorney Ronnie Earle will try to convince a panel of three appeals judges that he should be allowed to charge DeLay with conspiracy to violate the state election code.


Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is heading up the effort to counter Democrat criticism on the Senate floor, saying that "he hopes that Democrats will become dissuaded from attacking Bush and his party on the Senate floor once they learn to expect that colleagues will respond to their remarks armed with voting records and other research," writes Alexander Bolton of the Hill. LINK