The Note: Cash and Carry

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

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