The Note: Cash and Carry


The obvious twin ledes: what Tom DeLay's departure and Mitt Romney's health care plan mean for 2006, 2008, and the future of public policy in America.

But those have to wait, since our twin ledes are Note exclusives from the Empire State.

ABC News has learned that Senator Hillary Clinton is planning to give a major speech on the major topic of the economy, and that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a plan to apply his normal system of leverage and incentives to solving New York City's donor-city problem, whereby Washington and Albany pols use Manhattan as an ATM and then fail to vote consistently for policies that benefit Gotham City.

As Mike Sneed of the Chicago Sun Times reports, next Tuesday, the Clintons of Chappaqua will become the Clintons of Cook County as they head together to the Windy City for Her and His speeches. LINK

His is a private deal address to a biotech outfit.

Hers is the Junior Senator from New York's "first economic address of the year" in the important venue of "the powerful Economic Club of Chicago."

As she runs for re-election in 2006, prepares the Democratic Leadership Council's issues agenda (remember that?), and considers her, uhm, future opportunities, Hillary Clinton is still a policy work in progress. Try to recall the last time she gave a major speech on the economy, recall how important the economy is as an issue, and recall that the Democratic Party is still searching for a positive agenda to trump lowertaxesandlessgovernment and you will understand why this speech will be what Bill Clinton would call a "big deal."

The Note has learned from a source familiar with Seamus' favorite dog toy that the speech -- set before a prestigious full house of several thousand Midwesterners clad in black tie -- will allow the Senator to offer her 2.3 cents (2 cents adjusted for inflation since 42 left office) and pose the question: How does America succeed in a global economy?

While still taking shape, the speech will reportedly look at what policies the Unites States needs to pursue to secure the future for America's middle class and for the nation's manufacturing base.

The policy wizards are still working their magic, but those looking in advance for clues (Attention: Anne Kornblut.) would be smart to look at the work of the Manufacturing Caucus that Clinton has worked on with South Carolina's Lindsey Graham and of the New Jobs for New York gig she has done with the clear-thinking Roger Altman.

So book your flights now, Jeff Zeleny and Dan Balz.

As for Mayor Bloomberg's gambit -- the man likes to solve problems using his business acumen. According to our own eyes, the Mayor is sick and tired of his constituents filling the coffers of politicians from Albany and Washington and then watching said politicians head to various capitals to vote against the interests of what is called "The City." So, per usual, Mr. Bloomberg has a plan to solve a previously unsolved problem.

Today at the plush Four Seasons restaurant at 12:45 pm, the Mayor will join with some big bundlers from both parties to announce the kind of accountability plan that pols and donors from both California and New York have long dreamed about (but not implemented).

Since roughly 95% (or so) of all political fundraising in the United States is done in Manhattan between 14th Street and 96th Street – in places such as the Sheraton, the Hilton, and fancy apartments -- it is appropriate that the Mayor's group is convening on East 52nd Street for this announcement. That is right in the heart of Cash Central.

Bloomberg is bringing together over 100 key donors from both parties to launch "The New York City Card" – a credit-card-size card that will list The City's top legislative priorities in Washington and in Albany. Now when out-of-state or upstate candidates come calling for cash, the biggest donors in The City can reach for their wallets and ask the candidate where they stand on, say, threat-based appropriations for homeland security, or eminent domain. Detailed information on The City's pending federal and state issues priorities will also be distributed regularly.

The full list of machers LINK who are involved is too long to print here, even in small type, but the lunch hosts (who, sources say, are also paying for the grub) are Donald Marron, Herbert Allen, George Walker, and Joshua Steiner. If you don't understand the cosmic significance of those four names -- and our dual ledes -- you might want to consider either reading The Note more closely every day, or no longer reading The Note at all.

(Note to candidates: you better start bringing your policy aides -- along with your finance staff -- when you come into The City by tunnel, bridge, or chopper.)

(Note to Bob Rubin: once again, you are the center of the universe.)

In more obvious political news, President Bush will get a chance to lay hands on the spanking new Massachusetts health care plan when he participates in a panel on "Health Savings Accounts" in Bridgeport, CT at 10:55 am ET.

"The President will talk about the rising costs of health care, especially for small businesses that want to cover their employees, and how health savings accounts work," reports ABC's Karen Travers. You can learn more here: LINK

A coalition of labor unions will rally to protest the President's health care proposals at 11:00 am ET at the Bridgeport City Hall annex.

Before departing the White House for the Constitution State, the President made a statement about immigration to the pool. The President urged Members of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a guest worker program. He said such a plan does not mean amnesty, ABC News' Jessica Yellin reports.

Three congressmen from the President's party will join with other Members of Congress and with the anti-war group, "Win Without War. . . to announce their support of House Resolution 543 and call on colleagues to adopt the resolution. H. Res 543 would require a full and immediate debate on U.S. policy in Iraq and provide up to 17 hours of deliberation on the House floor." The press conference with Reps. Jones (R-NC), Paul (R-TX), and Gilchrest (R-MD) is scheduled for 11:00 am ET.

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 am ET to resume consideration of a bill (S 2454) that would overhaul U.S. immigration policy. Roll call votes are expected throughout the day.

At 10:00 am ET, Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) and his Senate colleagues will join evangelical leaders speaking out on the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

Sen. Durbin (D-IL) and Gov. Richardson (D-NM) host a 2:00 pm ET conference call on immigration reform.

House Democratic leaders including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hold a 10:00 am ET press conference to denounce the Republican budget plan which they claim does not provide "real security."

Citizens against Government Waste releases its 2006 "Congressional Pig Book" in Washington, DC this morning. CAGW President Tom Schatz will be joined by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

Sen. Clinton (D-NY) delivers keynote remarks to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's 16th annual legislative conference in Washington, DC.

After endorsing gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell (R-OH) yesterday, Newt Gingrich is expected to be in Southern California today raising funds for Brian Bilbray's congressional campaign and addressing the Association of Health Underwriters.

Rudy Giuliani is also in Los Angeles, CA today to deliver the keynote address at the 2006 Investment Capital conference.

DeLay: news of day:

In a story that has been gleefully embraced by the DCCC tag team of Burton and Feinberg, the Washington Times ledes its DeLay coverage with the former Leader saying that GOPers have no agreed upon agenda, and ends with the Congressman's response as to whether lobbying could be in his future: "Maybe." LINK

DeLay's concerns about his political fortunes date back to 2004, report the Washington Post's Jeffrey Smith and Jonathan Weisman. LINK

"Several of DeLay's associates said that yesterday's announcement was jarring only to those not privy to DeLay's political anxieties stretching back to the 2004 race, when he won by his slimmest margin ever."

"Starting in December, DeLay's private polling pointed out serious political problems."

Michael Hedged of the Houston Chronicle checks out the motivations for DeLay's departure. LINK

DeLay: analysis:

In the Los Angeles Times, Janet Hook writes that DeLay's departure does not eradicate the tough political environment in which the GOP currently finds itself. LINK

Bloomberg's Kristin Jensen and Laura Litvan buy the DeLay's-departure-hurts-both-Republicans-and-Democrats argument. LINK

Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune writes that DeLay's announced departure "spared his party a bloody and expensive battle to save his seat and gave his colleagues a long-sought sense of relief," but that it "does little to mend the deep divisions among House Republicans.… Nor does it erase a public perception of wrongdoing between some Republicans and corrupt former lobbyist Jack Abramoff." LINK

Robin Toner of the New York Times offers a news analysis looking at DeLay's "fierce partisanship" and wonders if his departure may mark the beginning of the end of the current era of polarization. (And don't miss the must-read Paul Weyrich quotes.) LINK

DeLay's exit provides House Republicans just the right opening to tackle ethics reform thoroughly and swiftly, reports the Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins and David Rogers. LINK

"Is a tidal wave gathering?" ask Susan Page and Richard Wolf of USA Today. LINK

The Washington Times gives play to Rep. Christopher Shays' (R-Conn.) comment that "Congress needs to be rescued." LINK

Patrick O'Connor of the Hill writes that DeLay's announcement "signals the official end of an era in Republican governance" and has Majority Leader Boehner saying that "at the end of the day, the members are responsible for what happens in their offices and responsible for their staff." LINK

In the Los Angeles Times, both Ray LaHood and Paul Weyrich appear somewhat skeptical about how powerful DeLay can be from the sidelines. LINK

Jackie Kucinich of the Hill catches up with Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), the man Democrats would like to make the new Tom DeLay, and has the following says-it-all quote from the optimist Congressman: "we turned over the material [the Justice Department] requested. … They have my telephone number." LINK

The Washington Post's Libby Copeland analyzes DeLay's "classic" and politically savvy exit yesterday. LINK

"Ron Bonjean, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, puts it this way: Rather than DeLay standing before cameras with '15 mikes on a podium' and 'bright shining lights' and the possibility of becoming emotional or displaying 'a sense of being hunted,' DeLay 'controlled the environment.'"

DeLay: TX-22:

If DeLay formally resigns after Friday, April 7 (as he is expected to do) Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) will have two options:

Option #1: Gov. Perry could declare an "emergency election" for a Tuesday or Saturday somewhere between 36 and 50 days after he accepts DeLay's resignation. (This is the more likely scenario.)

Option #2: The governor could decide to leave DeLay's seat in the House vacant until the next uniform election (Nov. 7).

If DeLay were to resign before Friday (which he is not expected to do), Gov. Perry would also have the option of scheduling a special House election for May 13 to coincide with the municipal elections taking place around Texas on that day.

The New York Times on the convoluted process to replace DeLay in the short and long term. LINK

Carl P. Leubsdorf of the Dallas Morning News looks at the DeLay legacy and Notes that a DeLay resignation puts the GOP in a better situation to retain the 22nd District seat. LINK

Republicans in the 22nd congressional district of Texas quickly began debating the merits of a special election to fill DeLay's seat after he resigns, report the Houston Chronicle's Ratcliffe and Mack. LINK

The Washington Times reports on the lack of hesitations by DeLay's potential predecessors. LINK

When Rep. DeLay leaves the House, he'll be taking his clout and seniority with him, writes Levine and Mason of the Houston Chronicle. LINK

The Houston Chronicle pulls together the names of possible candidates for a special election to replace DeLay: LINK

Harris County Judge Robert Eckels (R-TX)

Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace (R-TX)

Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt (R-TX)

Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R-TX)

Lawyer Tom Campbell (R-TX)

Former State District Judge John Devine (R-TX)

State Rep. Robert Talton (R-TX)

Former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX)

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman (I-TX)

Libertarian Party nominee Bob Smither (L-TX)

DeLay: legal proceedings:

The New York Times on the impact of the federal investigation into some of DeLay's closest associates on DeLay's decision to resign: LINK

Texas lawyer Cris Feldman, who has previously fought in court against DeLay's PAC, reiterates the legal arguments against TRMPAC in an op-ed in the Washington Post. LINK

According to Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle says of DeLay's decision to resign: "This changes nothing." LINK

With re-election out of the picture, DeLay's lawyers are no longer pushing to get a trial finished by November, reports R.G. Ratcliffe of the Houston Chronicle. LINK

USA Today's Jim Drinkard's sources tell him that the House ethics committee has decided not to pursue an investigation into DeLay. LINK

DeLay: editorials and op-eds:

The Washington Post ed board prays DeLay's exit also means the end of "DeLayism." LINK

"In Mr. DeLay's House, money was king: Members had to raise so much for chairmanships, so much for leadership posts. He presided over a sprawling financial empire of leadership PACs, nonprofit groups, charitable foundations and campaign committees that at least pushed the envelope of campaign finance laws, if not outright violating them."

"Mr. DeLay in his heyday got a lot done, but at a terrible cost to the institution -- and, we would argue, the party -- that he helped lead."

Cheer up, Democrats upset about DeLay's departure, writes David Broder in the Washington Post, who suggests that DeLay's exit may turn into a "rout" of the dominant party in Washington. LINK

"With DeLay's departure, the Democrats lose their most convenient symbol of abuse of power by the Republican majority -- but they have not lost the issue. DeLay's successor as majority leader, John Boehner of Ohio, continues to manage the House on the same partisan basis, looking for votes almost exclusively on his own side of the aisle and declining to offer Democrats any incentives to cooperate."

"And that raises an interesting challenge for the new White House chief of staff, Josh Bolten. If he is the realist that his admirers believe, he has to acknowledge the odds that there will be fewer Republicans in Congress after November than there are today -- and perhaps not a majority."

If the G.O.P. wants to recover from DeLay in time for the November elections, it can't continue ducking the issues, the Wall Street Journal editorializes. LINK

"[The biggest Republican problem now is the demoralization of their own voters. Their lack of meaningful achievements this Congress (beyond the two Supreme Court Justices), all of their spending, and troubles in Iraq have left conservative voters wondering what the point is to voting for the GOP. If Republicans want their supporters to show up on election day, they'll need more of a message than wearing a 'Speaker Nancy Pelosi' fright mask."

The Hill's editorial board takes a look at DeLay's past troubles and accomplishments, and opines that "it is a measure of pugnacity and political skills that he acknowledged no weakness until he made the decision to quit." LINK

More: "The Republicans are losing a dominant figure, the Democrats are losing a bogeyman and a giant they looked to be slaying, and Congress is losing one of the most effective and controversial operators in a history not short of them."

The Boston Herald's ed board wishes DeLay goodbye, and good riddance: "DeLay has spent years playing fast and loose with the few rules that govern political conduct - in part because, well, he could. All of that finally came back to haunt him. Frankly, he can't leave Congress soon enough." LINK

Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson writes that if "the Democrats were still alive," DeLay wouldn't have lasted as long as he did. LINK

John Podhoretz of the New York Post writes of DeLay's love of the Republican Party above all else. LINK

DeLay: bio:

The Washington Post offers a reader-friendly timeline summarizing DeLay's political moves -- as well as his ongoing "ethical troubles" -- over the last 22 years. LINK

DeLay: what's next:

The Washington Post's Al Kamen looks at DeLay's lucrative prospects in the private sector. LINK

DeLay plans to push the conservative agenda from outside Congress, but inside the Beltway, according to Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News. LINK

DeLay: Texas reaction:

USA Today's Andrea Stone reports that, love him or hate him, most Sugarlandians think DeLay did the right thing by stepping down. LINK

DeLay: Democratic reaction:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) tells the Boston Globe: ''If it happened Oct. 1, it would be better. But on the whole, it's a net plus that he had to quit." LINK

Democrats have already begun widening the scope of their attack on the, "culture of corruption," reports the Dallas Morning News. LINK

Many state Democratic organizations and campaigns are using the DeLay resignation to call on any Republican who has received DeLay-related contributions to return them.

"He's ground zero in Congress' culture of corruption. Apparently this hasn't dawned on them yet, or they don't care. Most of them are still hanging on to the money, " said Eli Pariser, director of Political Action which called for the return of donations as well.

And national Democratic organizations including the DNC and the DCCC emailed DeLay-related fundraising appeals to supporters yesterday, but neither organization was able to provide fundraising totals from those appeals by deadline.

Josephine Hearn of the Hill has the Democrats' reactions to "their arch-nemesis'" decision to resign, who maintain that "the unexpected announcement would not derail their election-year plans to run against Republicans' 'culture of corruption'" LINK

"'I don't think it changes anything,' said House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). 'We have run against a culture of corruption . . . Tom DeLay was a practitioner of that, but he was not what we were running against.'"


House Democratic leaders Pelosi and Hoyer are distancing themselves from Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) who is alleged to have hit a Capitol Hill police officer, reports Sheryl Gay "1600" Stolberg of the New York Times. LINK

Rep. McKinney did the morning show rounds and told NBC's Ann Curry that she joins her colleagues in the House in commending the work of the Capitol Hill police and that the entire department should not be judged by the actions of one officer.

The Washington Times writes up the McKinney "brouhaha" from the Capital Police perspective. LINK

The Atlanta Journal Constitution on McKinney's violation of House ethics and campaign rules: LINK

In op-eds in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Cynthia Tucker asks what the big deal is LINK, while Bob Barr argues that the incident shows the value of pre-emptive arrest, citing the Tom Cruise flick "Minority Report" as an example. LINK

The Washington Times reports on Rep. McKinney's special entertainment at a fundraiser last year, Issac Hayes. Shaft's travel and accommodations were paid for by taxpayers. LINK

"The political furor over the fracas could have reverberations beyond McKinney herself. Two Georgia Democrats, Reps. John Barrow and Jim Marshall, face tough reelection races in the Peach State," writes Josephine Hearn of The Hill discussing yesterday's reactions to McKinney. LINK

USA Today's ed board tells her to "stop exploiting a phony race issue and apologize for her overbearing behavior." LINK

The Massachusetts Miracle:

This New York Times graph on the Massachusetts health care bill can be cut and pasted into Gov. Romney's next prospecting spiel in Manhattan and Florida living rooms: "The bill does what health experts say no other state has been able to do: provide a mechanism for all of its citizens to obtain health insurance. It accomplishes that in a way that experts say combines methods and proposals from across the political spectrum, apportioning the cost among businesses, individuals and the government." LINK

The recently-passed Massachusetts health care bill makes it above-the-fold on the front page of the Washington Post. LINK

"'We insist that everybody who drives a car has insurance,' Romney said in an interview. 'And cars are a lot less expensive than people.'"

If this thing is embraced by Howard Dean and Newt Gingrich, say, what does that mean for Romney's future?

Kerry sets a deadline for extricating US troops from Iraq:

John Kerry takes to the op-ed page of the New York Times to set some deadlines for Iraq. LINK

"So far, Iraqi leaders have responded only to deadlines -- a deadline to transfer authority to a provisional government, and a deadline to hold three elections."

"Now we must set another deadline to extricate our troops and get Iraq up on its own two feet."

"Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 to put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military. If Iraqis aren't willing to build a unity government in the five months since the election, they're probably not willing to build one at all. The civil war will only get worse, and we will have no choice anyway but to leave."

"If Iraq's leaders succeed in putting together a government, then we must agree on another deadline: a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year's end."

In a letter, former Sen. Gary Hart (D-CO) advocates Sen. Kerry's time-table and indicates that both the Bush administration and Democratic leaders must respond to the plan.

Feingold endorses same-sex marriage:

The Washington Post's Dan Balz reports that Sen. Russ Feingold said yesterday that he thinks bans on same-sex marriages have no place in the nation's laws. LINK

"Feingold said in an interview that he was motivated to state his position on one of the most divisive social issues in the country after being asked at a town hall meeting Sunday about a pending amendment to the Wisconsin state constitution to ban same-sex marriages."

"Feingold called the amendment 'a mean-spirited attempt' to single out gay men and lesbians for discrimination and said he would vote against it. But he went further, announcing that he favors legalizing same-sex marriages."

The Washington Times has Sen. Feingold saying: "As I said at the Kenosha County listening session, gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy."

"Denying people this basic American right is the kind of discrimination that has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue." LINK

This is the first time that Sen. Feingold's office has issued a statement endorsing marriage equality. In the past, Sen. Feingold has said that he did not believe that it was his place as a United States Senator to pass judgment on who should be married. This is how he answered a question about gay marriage while appearing on the Feb. 6, 2005 edition of C-SPAN's "Q&A": LINK

LAMB: "Should gays be allowed to marry?"

FEINGOLD: "You know, I don't believe that's something that is up to me to have a strong opinion on. I grew up believing that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's the way I understood it. But I don't think it's my job to sit in judgment on people on that issue."

"I believe this is up to the states. And I generally think a society where people who are monogamous, where people who love each other come together and form stable families is better than the opposite."

"And so, I don't think it's my job as a United States senator to pass judgment on who should be married."

Politics of immigration:

Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) calls the tone of the immigration debate in Washington, "hurtful" to him and his Mexican-born wife, reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK

The Los Angeles Times on the "showdown" immigration vote: LINK

"Immigration Measure Stalls in the Senate," reads the New York Times headline over an article detailing the search for compromise. LINK

A letter released yesterday by 50 evangelical leaders endorsing the McCain-Kennedy approach to immigration "marks a deepening split" among the "nation's large, politically influential evangelical organizations" over the issue of immigration, reports the Washington Post. LINK

The Washington Post's Charles Babington writes that the divide between Arizona's two Republican senators on illegal immigration exemplifies the larger divisions among members of the party. LINK

Senators are turning up the heat on President Bush to intervene in the immigration stalemate, per the Wall Street Journal. LINK

Robert Samuelson offers his ideas for a compromise on immigration: LINK

Sen. Frist has said he wants a vote on an immigration bill by the end of the week, but there hasn't been much progress on a compromise, reports Roll Call's John Stanton.

Chris Lewis of the Nashville City Paper on the same thing. LINK

Politics of Iraq:

In a must-read sure to be overlooked while the spotlight focuses on DeLay, the Washington Post's Peter Baker writes of the cuts in funding by the Bush Administration of groups trying to promote democracy in Iraq. LINK

Ted Kennedy gets his jab in: "The solution to Iraq lies in the political process, and it's reckless for the White House to cut funds to strengthen democracy in Iraq at this time."

"Sixteen Wisconsin communities Tuesday approved referendums calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq," writes Emily Fredrix of the AP. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

Here's a New York Times lede that can likely unify the Democratic Party in a hurry. LINK

"The first data to document the effect of President Bush's tax cuts for investment income show that they have significantly lowered the tax burden on the richest Americans, reducing taxes on incomes of more than $10 million by an average of about $500,000."

The New York Times analysis "found that the benefit of the lower taxes on investments was far more concentrated on the very wealthiest Americans than the benefits of Mr. Bush's two previous tax cuts: on wages and other noninvestment income."


"Treasury Secretary John W. Snow has expressed interest in leaving his job in the next several months, a person close to him said Tuesday, as speculation raced through Washington that the White House was seeking Mr. Snow's replacement," writes Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times. LINK

More Bumiller: "Names circulating in Republican circles as possibilities for the Treasury job include Stanley O'Neal, the chairman and chief executive of Merrill Lynch, and Henry M. Paulson Jr., the chief executive of Goldman Sachs"

Like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal has "one person familiar with Mr. Snow's thinking" saying Treasury Secretary is considering quitting his post before year's end. LINK

Democrats' agenda:

Alexander Bolton of the Hill details The Prevention First Act sponsored by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), which is expected to "strengthen the party's position on abortion rights." LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

House Majority Leader John Boehner said the budget will reach the House floor this week, per Jennifer Yachnin of Roll Call.

Abramoff affair:

John McCaslin, of the Washington Times, bumped into Abramoff lawyer Abbe Lowell who told him: "The media always gets it wrong. He'll serve less than that." LINK


Brian Bilbray and Eric Roach top the GOP field for next week's special primary election to replace Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA) in California's 50th District, reports Roll Call's David M. Drucker. Francis Busby leads the Democratic field.


The DCCC is all smiles this morning at the sight of two stories showing the reluctance of Republican House Members to be seen with President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Neil Modie of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes up of Rep. Dave Reichert's decline and eventual acceptance of an invitation to attend a fundraising event with Vice President Cheney LINK and the AP's Susan Haigh has Reps. Rob Simmons (R-CT) and Nancy Johnson (R-CT) staying in Washington while President Bush visits their home state. LINK

"Democrats are eager for President Bush to appear in Connecticut today, visualizing his embrace with" Rep. Shays "as just the picture they need to defeat the veteran congressman," the Hartford Courant's David Lightman reports. "But Shays, who plans to travel to Bridgeport with Bush today for a discussion of health savings accounts at Bridgeport's Playhouse on the Green, regards the visit differently." LINK

The New York Daily News writes up Rich Galen's move to KT McFarland's campaign to defeat Sen. Hillary Clinton. LINK

The Washington Post gives A1 treatment to a new Maryland voting law that critics believe will give Democrats an unfair advantage in the state's key gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races this November. LINK

"After studying the bill, Republican lawmakers discovered that it spells out 21 addresses where polls must be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week leading up to Election Day. The bill also enhances the power of the state elections administrator -- a Democratic appointee -- to oversee actions of local election officials appointed by Republicans."

The Washington Post editorial board condemns the new Maryland law: LINK

"Republicans insist that these measures will open the door to electoral fraud; if fraud does mar the November ballot, the Democrats will be responsible. But they are not unfair on their face. By contrast, tilting the early-voting system toward heavily Democratic areas in strategically key jurisdictions taints the election even before it occurs. With such arrogance and abuse, the Democrats will only erode their majority in Maryland."

Larry Lipman of the Palm Beach Post lists Rep. Katherine Harris' new staff, and has the unvaryingly delighting reactions from Harris ("I look at our campaign today and I am so excited") and former campaign manager Jim Dornan ("would be surprised if these folks are still with her in a few weeks"). LINK


Iowa Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Chet Culver is proposing new programs to seduce the female vote, the Des Moines Register reports. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Ron Fournier of the Associated Press writes of Sen. McCain's "contentious session" with the AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department yesterday. LINK

The Union Leader highlights the many facets of John McCain, leading with the loyalty he inspires. LINK

Chicago Tribune's Josh Noel writes up former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's speech yesterday, where Giuliani "repeatedly lauded President Bush, and laughed off suggestions of his own presidential ambitions." LINK

Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times has more on Giuliani's speech yesterday. LINK

2008: Democrats:

Colleen McCarthy, the DLC's national fundraising director, will be leaving the DLC on April 11 to go work for Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM).

The New York Post's Maggie Haberman writes of Al D'Amato's jumping to Hillary Clinton's defense. LINK

The AP's Andrew Miga writes that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) is considering a 2008 presidential run. LINK

"It's an itch," Dodd said. "Could grow. Could disappear. It's an itch. It's not a bad word to use."

(Is Dodd feeling the "itch" kinda like Biden feeling the "tingle"?)

Clintons of Chappaqua:

The New York Observer on President Clinton's potential new role: "First Lady on steroids." LINK

Campaign finance:

The Washington Post ed board encourages the House to pass legislation it will consider today that would regulate 527s. LINK

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) will likely oppose a bill to subject 527 groups to the contribution limits as PACs after the Republican leadership refused to consider his competing measure, reports Roll Call's Tory Newmyer.

Kennedy's book:

The Boston Globe previews Sen. Ted Kennedy's (D-MA) upcoming book, in which he contrasts his brothers' restrained leadership during the Cuban missile crisis with President Bush's decision to make a preemptive strike. LINK


The Hill's Jonathan Allen on Sen. Landrieu's yesterday threat to "hold President Bush's executive-branch nominees hostage" until her additional funds are approved. LINK


The inimitable Ben Smith has moved from the New York Observer and his Politicker blog there to the New York Daily News. You can find his new blog (with snazzy photo) here: LINK (The URL may have changed, but its must-read status has not.)