The Note: The Future Usually Goes Up and Down


Say you are White House press secretary Scott McClellan and you come back from your office after one of those why-are-they-now-so-much-longer-than-they-used-to-be-? meetings and on the top of your stack of pink telephone message slips is one that catches your eye.

It says, "Nedra Pickler, Associated Press, she says it is *super* urgent." So you say to yourself, "Huh. Nedra doesn't call up here much any more (what with our having broken her spirit, like everyone else's), and when she does, she never says it is 'urgent.' So something must be up."

So then you go on for a while, just to browse around and laugh at the latest campaign video.

Then, after watching a Robert Pear speech replay on C-SPAN for a bit, you call Pickler back.

Now, with that set-up, our regular Thursday Note quiz.

If you are McClellan, what do you guess, as you dial, is the topic of Ms. Pickler's call?

A. "Do you have any reaction to this latest retired general calling for Secretary Rumsfeld to resign?"

B. "Do you have any reaction to the latest indictment in the Abramoff case?"

C. "Do you have any reaction to the latest report about various top officials, including the President, citing claims about Iraq's pre-war weapons of mass destruction capability that the intelligence reports at the time said were overblown or false?"

D. "Do you have any reaction to the latest rise in gas prices?"

E. "Do you have any reaction to the latest indictment in the Plame case?"

F. "Do you have any reaction to Tom Tancredo's very existence?"

G. "Do you have any reaction to the Gang of 500's widespread belief that you yourself are moving on to greener pastures?"

H. "Do you have any reaction to Senator Clinton's vision for a new American economy?"

I. "Do you have any reaction to David Sanger's story on Iran?"

J. "Do you have any reaction to David Sanger's story on North Korea?"

K. "Do you have any reaction to what Senator Hagel said?"

Luckily for you, it is none of those. Instead, it is a question to which your response is clear and sweet.

Pickler: Do you have any reaction to the latest poll showing the President's approval ratings in the toilet?

McClellan: The polls will go up, the polls will go down. The President is going about his hard work on behalf of the American people. The only poll the President cares about is the one on Election Day.

If that last point is true, then the President should be awfully glad that Election Day was not conducted last Saturday through Tuesday, which are the precise dates of the new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll, which shows that if the election were held those days, things might not have turned out so well for Mr. Bush.

According to the poll, Massachusetts Senator John Forbes Kerry (distinguished war hero, former prosecutor, loving husband and father, owner of homes in many nice places, the man who caught Noriega with his bare hands and on his own passed several vital fishery and hatchery laws -- that John F. Kerry) would beat George Walker Bush in a rematch by ten points. LINK

"One final question offered perhaps the most dramatic expression of the nation's discontent with Bush's second term," writes the Los Angeles Times' Ron Brownstein.

"Asked whom they would support today in a rerun of the 2004 presidential election, 39% of registered voters picked Bush, whereas 49% said they preferred the man the president defeated only 17 months ago," writes Brownstein, failing to include any Electoral College analysis that might show the President still winning 270 electoral votes under this scenario.

The new poll features more hideous, and-now-routine numbers for the President and his party, as well as interesting data on Iran and immigration (see below for that other stuff).

But it is just a snapshot of a nation and the man who leads it -- President Bush, who makes 10:45 am ET remarks to the Small Business Administration's National Small Business Week conference at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. The President and First Lady depart at 1:55 pm ET for Camp David where they will spend the Easter holiday. The President will discuss low taxes, reduced spending, more affordable health care, and expanded business opportunities at home and abroad.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) is scheduled to visit a levee in Firebaugh, CA in the (local time) afternoon. Earlier in the day, he discusses the benefits of solar energy with environmental leaders in Sacramento, CA at 1:30 pm ET.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will be in Iowa today -- a state whose presidential contest he skipped in 2000 to focus on New Hampshire.

Sen. McCain held an 8:30 am ET open press breakfast fundraiser in Dyersville, IA for state Rep. Steven Luskan (R-IA).

Sen. McCain attends a 1:00 pm ET luncheon fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Rep. Jim Nussle (R-IA) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cedar Rapids, IA. According to Nussle's campaign, they are expecting somewhere between 200-250 people.

Sen. McCain holds a closed press roundtable discussion with Iowa Republican Party donors in Muscatine, IA in the mid-afternoon.

He holds a 6:00 pm ET fundraiser for state Sen. Jeff Lamberti (R-IA), a candidate for Congress, at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines, IA. There will be a press availability following the fundraiser.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks to Victory New Hampshire's inaugural leadership forum in New Castle, NH.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) signs legislation naming a bridge on Route 18 in East Bridgewater in memory of Army Corporal Gordon M. Craig, who gave his life to save four fellow soldiers in Korea in 1950, at 11:00 am ET.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice holds a closed meeting at the State Department with the governors of Florida, Iowa, West Virginia, and Indiana -- all of whom are traveling to the Middle East, South Asia, and Belgium.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) join the Campaign for America's Future on a 2:30 pm ET conference call with reporters to discuss college affordability.

The Senate is in recess until April 24; the House is in recess until April 25.

"Commander in Chief" returns Thursday night at 10 pm ET on the ABC television network, as President Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis) breaks with history and delivers her first State of the Union from an unlikely location. Perhaps overshadowing the President's vision for the country is the mention of The Note by a young DNC intern in the first five minutes of the episode.

(And, no, we aren't kidding. True Note fans, Googling monkeys, and Nielsen families, please tune in.)

Bloomberg/LAT Poll:

Ron Brownstein's write up of the latest Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg numbers is indeed a must-read so we urge you to read it all. LINK

Brownstein ledes with immigration: "By a solid 2-1 margin, those surveyed said they would prefer such a comprehensive approach, which a bipartisan group of senators has proposed, to an enforcement-only strategy, which the House of Representatives approved in December. Support for a comprehensive approach was about the same among Democrats, independents and Republicans, the poll found."

Brownstein on the midterms: "Although President Bush's job approval rating was essentially unchanged from his 38% showing last month, the new poll found Democrats opening double-digit leads on the key measures of voters' early preferences for the November balloting."

"Democrats lead Republicans 49% to 35% among registered voters who were asked which party they intended to support in their congressional districts this fall. When registered voters were asked which party they hoped would control the House and Senate after the midterm election, 51% picked the Democrats and 38% the GOP."

(And be sure to Note the caveats and assertions related to 1994!) But it is Doyle McManus' write up of the question about trusting President Bush to make the "right decision" on Iran that may prove most startling: LINK

"Americans are divided over the prospect of U.S. military action against Iran if the government in Tehran continues to pursue nuclear technology -- and a majority do not trust President Bush to make the "right decision" on that issue, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found."

Bloomberg's Przybyla and Keil write up the poll and Note that while 62% of Americans aren't happy with President Bush's policies, 61% still like him as a person. LINK

Bloomberg's Johnston and Simon report that while Republican politicians are split on the immigration issue, the Bloomberg/Los Angeles poll shows that 64% of Republican voters favor, "legislation that combines tougher enforcement of immigration laws with new temporary-worker programs." LINK

Janine Zacharia of Bloomberg looks at polling numbers and sees that, "37 percent (of Americans) said they believe Bush when he says a lot of progress is being made" with Iran while "54 percent said they 'don't trust' Bush to make the right decision about whether the U.S. should go to war with Iran, compared with 42 percent who said they do trust him." LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny looks at the Laura Bush factor in 2006, in a must-read and ready-for-tv-to-steal way. LINK

"While Bush and Cheney remain popular in most Republican circles and many candidates or office holders would be delighted to host them, there also are districts in some parts of the country where GOP political strategists are fashioning a backup plan to build upon a successful strategy from the 2004 campaign: Send Laura Bush."

Carl P. Leubsdorf of the Dallas Morning News warns against expecting tax reform any time soon. LINK

Rumsfeld rumblings:

"A recent surge in public criticism of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld by retired military leaders is the culmination of months of intense but largely private debate among active duty officers about how best to voice dissent over Bush administration policies, according to officers involved in the discussions," write the Los Angeles Times' Spiegel and Richter. LINK

Former Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste became the latest in a series of retired generals to pile on Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. The Washington Post looks at whether the criticism is helpful or damaging. LINK

Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News calls it "the extraordinary 'Revolt of the Generals'" LINK


Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is under the magnifying glass of a government watchdog group for allegedly, "millions of dollars in federal earmarks toward foundations he established and has close links to," per Beth Gorczyca of the State Journal. LINK

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza has Democrats labeling the anti-Mollohan National Legal & Policy Center as a "right-wing extremist group" and NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-NY) calling on Mollohan to step down from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. LINK

2006: House:

Keying off of the failure of a massive anti-incumbent mood to wash ashore in Tuesday's special election to replace convicted Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA), the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports that Democrats have produced "nearly a dozen strong candidates with the potential for unseating House Republicans, but probably not enough to take back control of the House absent a massive anti-incumbent wave." LINK

Be sure to Note the Washington Post's super handy clip 'n save insert on Democratic House contenders.

In tier one, "races in which Democrats are fielding a candidate universally considered a strong threat to an incumbent," the Washington Post places: State Attorney General Patricia Madrid (New Mexico 1st), Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth (Indiana 8th), state Sen. Ron Klein (Florida 22nd), law Prof. Lois Murphy (Pennslvania 6th), and former Westport first selectwoman Diane Farrell (Connecticut 4th).

In the second tier, "races in Republican-leaning districts in play on the strength of the Democratic candidate and the national political environment," the Washington Post places: labor lawyer Kirsten Gillibrand (New York 20th), former Tempe Mayor Harry Mitchell (Arizona 5th), state Sen. Christopher Murphy (Connecticut 5th), Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio 15th), Cincinnati City Council member John Cranley (Ohio 1st).

In the third tier, "races in swnig districts where Democrats should have recruited stronger candidates," the Washington Post places: lawyer and Iraq veteran Patrick Murphy (Pennsylvania 8th), Iraq war veteran Andrew Horne (Kentucky 3rd), former Senate aide Tessa Hafen (Nevada 3rd), former Microsoft executive Darcy Burner (Washington 8th), and prosecutor Paul Hodes (New Hampshire 2nd).

In the "clear recruiting failures" category, the Washington Post places Pennsylvania 15th, Iowa 4th, and Arizona 1st.

Whatever happened to those "Contract with America" term limits, asks Andrea Stone of USA Today. She Notices that Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is "one of at least seven House Republicans who had vowed to leave Congress next year but will be on the ballot in November." LINK

Politics of Iraq:

The Washington Post wraps the response to its splashy WMD story yesterday: LINK

In a Washington Post op-ed, Wade Zirkle, the executive director of Vets for Freedom who served two tours in Iraq with the Marines before being wounded in action, has this to say about Rep. John Murtha (D-PA): "While we don't question his motives, we do question his assumptions. When he called for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, there was a sense of respectful disagreement among most military personnel. But when he subsequently stated that he would not join today's military, he made clear to the majority of us that he is out of touch with the troops. Quite frankly, it was received as a slap in the face." LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation:

The Washington Post on the latest filing, in which Scooter Libby's lawyers argue that, per Libby's grand jury testimony two years ago, he was not asked by President Bush or Vice President Cheney to leak Valerie Plame's name. LINK

The New York Times catches up to the New York Sun and Washington Post on Fitzgerald's corrected filing. LINK

And be sure to Note the paper's correction of its own. LINK

David Johnston of the New York Times reports on yesterday's defense filing which points to Fitzgerald's mentioning the President and Vice President Cheney's involvement as a reason to allow Libby and his team access to a much broader range of evidence in preparing for his defense. LINK

Bloomberg's Dick Keil on the documents: LINK

Politics of domestic surveillance:

The New York Times reports on the emergence of an AT&T technician's documents detailing how the NSA "works with the private sector in intercepting communications for intelligence purposes." LINK

Politics of immigration:

The Wall Street Journal reports on how the immigration issue is hitting some heartland races: "Immigration is going to be a big issue in some nontraditional states because of the 'culture clash' that residents experience when confronted with Hispanic immigrants. The issue roiled the Virginia governor's campaign last year, with candidates sparring over a day-laborer center in northern Virginia. This year, immigration is expected to be a factor in the governor's race in Ohio." LINK

The Republican Party of New Mexico has launched a radio ad entitled, "Si, Se Puede," which picks up on the Hastert/Frist talking points attempting to blame the Democrats (and their 191 votes in the House) for the felony provision in the House border security bill passed in December.

USA Today's Kathy Kiely on the wrangling to remove the "felony" language in the House's immigration bill (and who wants to keep it). LINK

Leslie Fulbright of the San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at how the immigration issue is playing out among African-American voters and writes that "although polls show frustration in black communities over a perceived loss of low-wage jobs to illegal immigrants, they also indicate the issue is not dampening African Americans' sympathy with the struggles of Latinos." LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

Government spending hit an all-time high of $250 billion in March, reports the Associated Press. The administration predicts the deficit to continue to rise this year, as a result of spending on the Iraq War and the Gulf Coast rebuilding effort.LINK

The Wall Street Journal's ed board comes down hard on House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA), and his facilitation of earmarks. "If Republicans lose control of Congress in November, they might want to look back at last Thursday as the day it was lost. That's when the big spenders among House Republicans blew up a deal between the leadership and rank-in-file to impose some modest spending discipline."

New Orleans:

The Los Angeles Times provides a primer on the upcoming mayoral election under the headline, "A Jambalaya of Mayoral Candidates" LINK

Supporters of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin have spent over $100,000 on radio and billboard advertising in Houston, Atlanta, Memphis, and Baton Rogue to help re-elect Nagin, report Russell and Donze of the Times-Picayune. LINK

Ron Forman's mayoral campaign has issued the first negative ad of the race, targeting the voting record of Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu on tax issues.

The city's first nationally broadcast mayoral debate is scheduled for Monday, April 17 at 8pm ET on MSNBC.

2006: Senate:

Ed Goeas' Tarrance Group has conducted a poll testing Florida House Speaker Allan Bense's strength against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in a general election match-up, reports the Tampa Tribune. LINK

New Jersey Senate race first quarter figures are in and both candidates raised quite a bit of cash, but Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) has more than three times the amount his Republican opponent, Tom Kean, Jr., has in his bank account, the Gray Lady touts. LINK

The Washington Times reports that Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R) has raised more than his Democratic competitor Rep. Benjamin Cardin so far this year, although Cardin's coffers still hold more campaign cash. LINK

2006: Gubernatorial:

The New York Times looks at the potential spoiler in the closer-than-expected Pennsylvania gubernatorial contest this year. LINK

Mark Caputo of the Miami Herald writes about gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Charlie Crist's (R-FL) recent troubles, Noting that "Crist's political opponents are attempting to define him as an incompetent do-nothing beholden to a major corporation ..." LINK

The New York Times on Eliot Spitzer's campaign promise to "push for a $1 billion bond to pay for stem cell and other medical research," should he be elected governor. LINK


Adam Nagourney of the New York Times does the on-the-one-hand-on-the-other analysis of the special election results. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Barabak and Perry on Busby's uphill battle in June. LINK

"'It didn't demonstrate the existence of a wave,' threatening Republicans coast-to-coast, said Stuart Rothenberg, an independent elections handicapper in Washington. 'But it didn't disprove the existence of a wave.'"

The Hill's Patrick O'Connor writes that former Rep. Bilbray "must now rally the support of his Republican opponents to make up for Busby's wide margin of victory," especially since "eighteen candidates ran for the seat, and turnout was very low." LINK

Discerning Chris Reed writes at the San Diego Union-Tribune On-Line: "I think Dems have a real chance of winning the House in November. I don't think Busby has a real chance of winning the run-off. Bilbray 52, Busby 46 is my guess." LINK

Competing everywhere: McCain goes to Iowa:

Timed with Sen. McCain's Hawkeye State arrival, the Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont turns in a must-read on what could go wrong with the Arizona Senator's courtship of Iowa GOPers. LINK

Per Beaumont: "his positions on immigration and, more locally, ethanol -- not to mention his bypass of Iowa in 2000 -- could complicate McCain's national campaign launch, should he make a play for the lead-off caucuses."

Check out this Steve Scheffler quote on McCain's challenge with conservative activists that Mike Glover plays appropriately very high up in his AP preview of McCain's quick trip through the Hawkeye State today: LINK

"'I don't want to say it's an insurmountable hurdle, but it's a big, big hill to climb,' said Steve Scheffler, who heads the Iowa Christian Alliance, formerly the Christian Coalition. 'There's no support for McCain in this constituency, and I don't see how you can make a scenario where you can bypass us.'"

The Arizona Republic's Billy House writes that "McCain's activities today in Iowa, and future events in the state, provide the latest evidence that the man many in the nation regard as a political 'maverick' may be readying a more conventional campaign for president. He is seeking to embrace and be embraced by the party's most faithful and powerful." LINK

Slate's John Dickerson contends that that Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) biggest challenge in a 2008 run may not be attracting support from across the conservative spectrum, but, "building a coalition between Front-Runner McCain and Crusading McCain." LINK

Also on, Jacob Weisberg wisely writes of McCain thusly: "He's trying to win over enough of his party's conservative base to win, for sure. But this is a stratagem -- the only one, in fact, that gives him a shot at surviving a Republican presidential primary. Discount his repositioning a bit, and McCain looks like the same unconventional character who emerged during the Clinton years: a social progressive, a fiscal conservative, and a military hawk. Should he triumph in the primaries, we can expect this more appealing John McCain to come roaring back." LINK

Weisberg's brilliant, right-on analysis is fatally marred by his inexplicable contention that McCain and the President disagree on immigration, however.

Keying off of the joint presser they held in Minnesota yesterday, the AP's Patrick Condon writes that McCain and Gov. Tim Pawlenty "sounded a lot like two guys who wouldn't mind sharing a national ticket." LINK

The Union Leader's John DiStaso observes that Sen. McCain's Granite State visit paid off as he gained several new supporters, including state Sen. Jack Barnes, who supported Bush in 2000, former Attorney General Gregory Smith, an independent who backed Lieberman in 2004, Greg Tewksbury, Rep. Christopher Irish, Lebanon City Councilor James Dean, Dave Cioffi, a former owner of the Dartmouth Bookstore, and former Rep. Charlie Sova. LINK

The Massachusetts Miracle:

The New York Times on the mostly "congratulatory" tone at yesterday's bill signing in Boston. (Note applauding communications director Eric Fehrnstrom in the photo.) LINK

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) made history and at least one amusing joke during yesterday's signing ceremony for the state's unprecedented health care plan, reports the Washington Post. LINK

The Boston Globe looks at the cloud of disagreement and last minute vetoing which accompanied yesterday's signing. LINK

Lisa Wangsness, of the same newspaper, writes, "For a governor with presidential ambitions, yesterday's signing ceremony for the new healthcare bill was a campaign commercial waiting to be cut." LINK

The Boston Herald has angry state lawmakers saying that they were "surprised and disappointed" that Gov. Romney "didn't discuss with them the changes he planned and accused him of putting his political agenda ahead of the good of the commonwealth." LINK

The Boston Globe's Stephanie Ebbert has Cato's Michael Tanner saying that Romney's health-care plan puts him "squarely" in the camp of "big-government conservatives" who believe you can "use government power to achieve conservative ends." LINK

2008: Republicans:

Newt Gingrich had a handy New Castle, NH locator above his box in the Today show's double boxes this morning.

On Iran: Gingrich says the United States needs to take steps to encourage an uprising in Iran as a first step. "It's the least dangerous and least violent," said Gingrich.

"I think the right option, if you have to go to a military option, would be to replace the government. . . And I think you can do that without nuclear weapons," he added.

On Iraq: "If you are playing the blame game, the President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief," he said before going on to blame Ambassador Bremer.

"I am totally for staying as long as it takes to defeat the terrorists, murderers, and rapists who dominate the country. . . I don't think we should cut and run," Gingrich said in clarifying his South Dakota comments which he said were focused on following the Afghanistan model as opposed to what Bremer set up in June 2003.

On GOP chances in 2006: "If we understand the meaning of the polls and pass a series of reforms this summer. . . I think we'll be fine in the fall. If we pretend everything is fine. . . I think we can be in real trouble this fall."

While in New Hampshire yesterday, Gingrich said "America needs to move from a money-oriented HMO health system to one that emphasizes the individual and stresses prevention instead of acute care." LINK

The Denver Post's Anne C. Mulkern has Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) saying that a White House run in 2008 is "unlikely" now that immigration has been taking up by others trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo." LINK

Michael Cooper provides an excellent New York Times analysis of Gov. Pataki's budget moves this week. "After being relegated to the sidelines for much of the legislative session, in part because of a lengthy hospitalization after his appendix was removed, Governor Pataki reasserted himself here with a vengeance this week, issuing 202 vetoes to block about $2.9 billion worth of budget items the Legislature had passed without his approval," writes Cooper. LINK

More Cooper: "The governor's strategy is not without its risks, especially for someone who is still flirting with a run for president. Vetoing more than $1 billion in tax cuts is not the kind of thing that plays well in Republican primaries, and is the kind of factoid that has been known to make its way into attack ads. How will the veto of $200,000 for a tractor rollover protection program play with those Iowa farmers he has been courting?"

What would you guess Michael Cooper thinks the odds are of George Pataki being elected the 44th President of the United States?

Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) criticized the "anti-tax, anti-big government" Club for Growth's characterization of him as a liberal yesterday, "calling himself the most conservative governor in Arkansas history," writes Aaron Sadler of the Arkansas News Bureau. LINK

David Royer of the News Leader sets the scene on the second official day of Sen. George Allen's (R-VA) re-election campaign. LINK

2008: Democrats:

Gov. Vilsack (D-IA) is "expected to sign" a bill that "requires that 25 percent of all fuel sold in 2020 be renewable" passed by the Iowa House yesterday, writes Tim Higgins of the Des Moines Register. LINK

Per the Union Leader, John Kerry and John Edwards will return to the Granite State next week. LINK

"Edwards will speak at the IBEW union headquarters in Concord next Thursday. The fund-raiser will benefit the Committee to Elect House Democrats."

"Kerry will return on April 23 for a fund-raiser for the Senate Democratic Caucus at the home of Alderman Mark Roy in Manchester."

The New Mexican's Barbara Ferry writes up Gov. Bill Richardson's guest-teaching yesterday of a world history class where the hot topic was immigration. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank Sketches former President Clinton's latest appearance back in DC: "Clinton is also auditioning for two quite different honors: following Jimmy Carter to Stockholm as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and following Hillary Clinton to the White House as the first first gentleman." LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign said Wednesday he would not endorse a universal preschool initiative that filmmaker Rob Reiner has championed, citing the governor's long-standing opposition to tax increases," reports Peter Nicholas of the Los Angeles Times. LINK

New Hampshire:

DNC Chairman Howard Dean has taken up the New Hampshire phone-jamming incident, forcing RNC Chairman to address the issue after avoiding it for three years, per the Union Leader's John DiStaso. The RNC is denying any involvement, but Democrats aren't satisfied with the answers. LINK

The Boston Globe's Rick Klein on the phone jamming controversy. LINK

Casting and counting:

Per the Washington Post's Dan Eggen, the ACLU's Voting Rights Project complained to the Justice Department last week about revelations that FEC Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky wrote a law review article while he was a staff lawyer at the Justice Department supporting a photo identification program for voters in Georgia. The ACLU's Voting Rights Project said the article "shows von Spakovsky had already made up his mind on the issue and that his attempt to hide his views may have violated Justice Department guidelines." LINK

2006: Down ballot:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) said Wednesday he is "concerned by revelations that the bank owned by Illinois Democratic treasurer nominee Alexi Giannoulias' family gave loans to a Chicago crime figure and said the candidate owes him and the public a full accounting," report the Chicago Tribune's Pearson and Jackson.


While speaking to students at the University of Connecticut's law school, Justice Scalia said, "I think the proudest thing I have done on the bench is not allow myself to be chased off that case." LINK

"For Pete's sake," he added, "if you can't trust your Supreme Court justice more than that, get a life."

Abramoff affair:

"With the assistance of Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), a DeLay political ally, [Ed] Buckham had $1.55 million set aside in late 2003 in a federal appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Labor to fund a program for small businesses," reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK

"The money was awarded to the Florida Institute of Technology, which promptly signed a contract with Map Roi Inc., a client and partner of lobbyist Buckham."

Casting and counting:

The AP writes up former Gov. Roy Barnes' (D-GA) lawsuit against the voter ID law in Georgia. LINK


The Washington Times writes up Rep. Jack Kingston's (R-GA) push to get the GOP blogging. Says Kingston: "What worries me is that conservative thought is moving quickly, but we're kind of the pachyderms in Congress because things move so slowly." LINK