The Note: And Don't Forget Health Care, Part IV

The two leading candidates for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in the Golden State -- Treasurer Phil Angelides and Controller Steve Westly -- will "put aside their campaign differences" and come together at 1:30 pm ET on Wednesday to announce their support for Proposition 82, the "Preschool for All" initiative.

Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) leads a 3:45 pm ET classroom discussion on immigration reform while visiting Espanola Valley High School in Espanola, NM. Gov. Richardson will encourage the students, who are participating in an advanced placement program, to talk about the issues being debated in Congress and the marches taking place across the nation.

Gov. Richardson will also lead a town hall meeting in EspaƱola, as well as meet with the members of the EspaƱola City Council, the Rio Arriba County Commission. The governor will also lead a community conversation on substance abuse.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is expected to announce changes to the nation's federal disaster response at the National Hurricane Conference today in Orlando, Florida at 1:40 pm ET.

Politics of immigration:

Sen. Frist and Speaker Hastert's joint statement on declaring their intent not to make felons of illegal immigrants in the United States was nothing short of political jujitsu, attempting to hang any failure to pass immigration reform on the Democrats.

Wasn't it just Sunday that Majority Leader Boehner professed satisfaction that the House Republicans accomplished their job on this matter?

In a must-read, the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman looks at the role House Democrats played in defeating Rep. James Sensenbrenner's (R-WI) effort to water down his immigration bill when he took it to the floor on Dec. 16. Rep. Sensenbrenner wanted to amend his immigration bill to downgrade the offense of being an undocumented worker from a felony to a misdemeanor. But the Democratic leadership "pushed its members to vote against the amendment, and 191 Democrats did." LINK

"'The Democrats were not going to do anything to make it easier for Republicans to pass an atrocious bill,' said Jennifer Cider, a spokeswoman fro House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif)."

The Washington Post's Weisman also reports that Republican lawmakers are "increasingly saying they will now consider some avenue to grant illegal immigrants access to legal employment. And Democrats who voted for the House bill with an eye on their political futures or to preempt feared attacks from conservatives are rethinking their position." (Note Ted Strickland's (D-OH) regret.)

The AP's David Espo deconstructs the Frist-Hastert statement and writes of some of the remaining unanswered questions. LINK

The Boston Globe's Rick Klein writes of the "unprecedented wave of Latino political activism" represented in the recent immigration rallies around the country. LINK

Need more proof that the immigration issue is upsetting the paradigm? How about a New York Times story that has Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) being praised by Frist's chief of staff and criticized by an anonymous Democratic colleague. (Though the story makes clear that the greater intra-party problem exists in the GOP.) &LINK

The Washington Post's Harold Meyerson Notes that "many among the march's organizers had quiet thanks for Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate leader who pulled the plug on the steadily worsening compromise legislation that was rushing through the upper house of Congress last week." LINK

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