The Note: The 2008 Invisible Primary Ratings

The AP's Andrew Miga reports on John Kerry's recently created defense fund to help "pay his legal costs in a federal defamation lawsuit filed last fall by a Pennsylvania filmmaker." LINK

In response to the story we included yesterday about boxer Danny Romero invoking Gov. Richardson's name and claiming he had just come from the governor's residence when police charged him with a DWI, Richardson communications director Pahl Shipley tells The Note, "It's absolutely not true. The governor had a private dinner with the first lady alone at the mansion that night after returning from Washington. He hasn't seen Danny Romero in over a year and it's unfortunate that Romero decided to drop some names to try to talk his way out of the situation."

Other political stories:

Bloomberg's Brendan Murray writes that the stock market's performance "hasn't accommodated" President Bush's effort to sell Americans on an "ownership society" that would create "more wealth" and "more Republicans." LINK

David Brooks uses his expensive New York Times column to rail against Republicans who have begun to "veer overboard into a vulgarized version of Huntingtonist cultural determinism" and warns the GOP that it may be about to "walk off a cliff on the subject of immigration." To fully appreciate Brooks' wisdom, you must read the column in its entirety: LINK

USA Today's Richard Benedetto takes Note of the fact that President Bush today surpasses James Monroe and becomes the longest-sitting President since Thomas Jefferson not to veto a single bill. LINK and LINK

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Elisabeth Bumiller report on the latest speculation regarding staff changes at the White House, which, they write, now focuses less on replacing Andy Card and more on perhaps finding some help for Karl Rove. LINK

"Republicans outside the White House said Wednesday that they had pushed Mr. Bush not to replace Mr. Rove, but rather to bring in someone at the same level or above, perhaps as minister without portfolio. One Republican said Mr. Bush should view it as replacing a top-notch pitcher struggling in the later innings of a baseball game, rather than as a vote of no-confidence in a friend."

Nagourney and Bumiller toss out the names of Michael Leavitt, Marc Racicot, Don Evans, Ed Gillespie, Thomas Loeffler, and Bill Paxon as possible candidates for the "relief pitching" position.

Howard Fineman, quite obviously out of ideas, goes Hollywood in his MSNBC column in which he does the George W. Bush as Jack Bauer thing in reviewing the President's Tuesday press conference. LINK

Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey of Newsweek wonder if the President's recent "candor" on Iraq is enough to boost his poll numbers. (Be sure to read that anonymous GOP aide quote a couple of times.) LINK

Bloomberg's Jonathan D. Salant reports that House Democrats may have to agree to restrictions on donations from some of their biggest backers in exchange for lobbying reform legislation. LINK

2006:

The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes reports that DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and DLC President Bruce Reed have penned a new book (set for Labor Day-ish release) entitled, "The Plan," that "lays out 'specific ideas' for universal health coverage and college education, and initiatives on retirement security and national security, energy, tax overhaul and deficit reduction." LINK

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