Political Pump


Are gas prices a voting issue? Do voters think the President and his party are doing a good job on gas prices? Can the price of gas be brought down by politicians quickly? Do the Democrats have ideas that would actually bring down the price of gas quickly? Do Americans pay less for gas than people in other industrialized democracies? Did reporters get a lot of press releases from Republicans yesterday about gas prices? Are energy company executives concerned with maximizing shareholder profits? Does former oilman and MBAer George Walker Bush know about supply and demand? Can Republicans neutralize the gas price issue by jawboning and feeling the pain of their constituents, even if prices do not go down?

Answers: Yes, no, no, no, yes, yes, yes, yes, maybe.

More: Could you pick the Secretary of Energy out of a line-up? Will the network Election Day exit poll include a question on gas prices? Will gas prices + Iraq keep the President's approval rating below 40% for the foreseeable future? Do politicians seem to like saying the word "gouging"? Is the limitless creativity of network journalists on display with coverage of the gas story? Does The Note prefer the Hu/Abbott and Costello jokes to all the gas puns?

Answers: Maybe, maybe, maybe, yes, yes, yes.

Finally: Can you name the news organization or interest group that has already done the most thorough analysis of Tony Snow's columns and television and radio appearance transcripts, on not just gas prices but the full range of topics?

Answer: OH, YES, WE CAN.

In the political energy wars, the main even today will be President Bush's 10:05 am ET remarks at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

ABC News' Ann Compton reports that President Bush will talk about gas prices remaining high over the summer and the current changeover to a different gas mixture pushing gas prices even higher while offering a four-point plan for relief.

The four components are: (1) making sure that consumers are treated "fairly" at the gas pump, (2) promoting more fuel efficiency, (3) boosting gasoline supply at home, and (4) promoting alternative fuels as a long-term solution.

Note that energy company profits are expected to be announced today.

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will offer some opposing sound while speaking at the Renewable Fuel Association Energy Summit at 1:30 pm ET.

Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) plan to send a letter to President Bush, asking him to take action to provide relief from increasing gas prices.

Specifically, the Senators are requesting that the President support an anti-price-gouging law, urge oil companies to refrain from additional price increases, urge oil companies to divert profits to pumps for alternative fuels, and, if necessary, support legislation to, "eliminate tax incentives or benefits now enjoyed by oil companies."

(Later in the day, the President will participate in the presentation of the Commander-in-Chief's trophy to the Naval Academy football team at 2:05 pm ET, and meet with members of the Senate in the Cabinet Room at 3:25 pm ET).

Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jack Reed (D-RI) unveil a bipartisan Iraq proposal at 9:45 am ET in the Senate Radio and Television Gallery.

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports that the bipartisan amendment to the supplemental by these three Senators would tell Iraqis that US presence in Iraq is not unconditional and depends on the formation of a unity government. The amendment would also force the President to provide progress reports every 30 days. The amendment is expected to include language that says. "We can't protect them," if the Iraqis don't seize the opportunity to form a unity government.

The Senate stands adjourned until 9:45am tomorrow. When the Senate reconvenes it will proceed to a period for the transaction of routine Morning Business for up to one hour.

The leaders of several conservative organizations hold a 10:00 am ET press conference calling on the Senate GOP to reel in out-of-control spending in supplemental appropriations.

The Senate resumes consideration of H.R. 4939, the Emergency Supplemental bill at 11:00 am ET. The Senate will stand in recess from 12:30 pm ET until 2:15 pm ET in order to accommodate the weekly policy luncheons.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) planned to discuss the newly-enacted Massachusetts health care plan at the US Chamber of Commerce earlier today.

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA), James Oberstar (D-MN), and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) hold an 11:00 am ET press conference on "port security, homeland security, and the Democratic Real Security agenda."

Sen. Clinton attends a 10:00 am ET congressional briefing on policies impacting grandparent caregivers and children in foster care. She joins Sen. Crapo at 11:30 am ET for a news conference focusing attention on teen dating violence. She attends the Tragedy Assitance Program for Survivors Honor Guard lunch at 12:00 pm ET at the Hall of the States.

Rudy Giuliani addresses the Washington, D.C.-area legal community in McLean, VA at 12:45 pm ET. LINK

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) joins Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa at a "Make Work Pay" rally sponsored by the "Change to Win" coalition at 11:00 am ET in Coral Gables, FL.

Senate Candidate Bob Casey (D-PA) delivers an 11:00 am ET speech on health care to the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals Conference.

Public Citizen holds an 11:00 am ET telephone conference discussing "A new report to detail how super-rich families are bankrolling lobbying effort to repeal the estate tax."

Politics of gas:

Sen./Dr./Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) appeared on "Good Morning America" to discuss gas prices with ABC News' Diane Sawyer this morning. Sen. Frist said gas prices that were over $3 in "some" areas "cannot be sustained." He cautioned, however, that there was "no silver bullet."

Sen. Frist said that he has called for an investigation into whether there is "any evidence of price gouging." Asked about the hearings that he called for a year ago, Sen. Frist said that the Congress was told at the time that oil company profits would be invested in the supply side of the equation. Sen. Frist suggested that Congress may have to bring the oil company executives back.

More generally, Sen. Frist said the price was determined by supply and demand and he noted the impact that booming economies in China, India, and the United States were having. Sen. Frist said drilling in ANWR and the outer-continental shelf may be needed. He also encouraged Americans to carpool and use mass transit.

In a preview of the President's speech, the Wall Street Journal reports that President Bush is expected "to instruct the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the Energy Department to vigorously enforce laws relating to price gouging. And the attorney general and FTC chairman will send a joint letter to all 50 state attorneys general calling on them to use their broader investigative powers to pursue illegal gouging, according to a senior administration official. They also will offer assistance to states that need it."

The preview from the New York Daily News: LINK

Bloomberg News: LINK

The AP's Nedra Pickler writes that it's unclear whether or not Bush's investigation would have an impact on the nearly $3 a gallon prices. LINK

The Washington Post Notes that top GOP members like House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL.), Sen. Frist, and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) have all called for aid to help Americans cope with the pain at the pump while Democrats continue to "hammer" away at Republicans and the President for their lack of response on this issue. LINK

Sudeep Reddy of the Dallas Morning News covers similar ground. LINK

The Des Moines Register's Jane Norman takes a look at Rep. Jim Nussle's "'Independence from Oil With Agriculture Act,' or IOWA for short" that is expected to be introduced today, pointing out that "democratic candidates for governor also are talking about their ideas for boosting ethanol and renewable energy." LINK

Under a "Denny Pelosi" header, the Wall Street Journal editorial board raps GOPers thusly: "Republicans can blame business all they want for high prices, but sounding like liberal Democrats won't save them in November."

Rummy and Congress:

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be on Capitol Hill today for a private breakfast with Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee. The breakfast will be hosted by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) in Russell 188. The chairman of the committee, John Warner, will [pointedly] not be there. (A few high profile Republicans who are not on the committee, including Sen. Frist and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), stopped by).

This comes as Sen. Clinton has asked Chairman Warner to hold a hearing with the six generals that have called for Rumsfeld's resignation. On Monday, Warner said he would hold a committee vote on whether to have such a hearing. All 11 Democrats on the committee can be expected to vote yes; which means it will only take two stray Republicans to make it happen.

Sen. Collins was asked on Tuesday whether she would such a hearing and avoided directly answering the question, wanting to defer to Chairman Warner. But given that Sen. Warner plans to call for a vote, a source on the committee says Sen. Collins is expected to support such a hearing based on her long-standing and outspoken criticism of Rumsfeld.

All eyes would then be on Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Will Sen. McCain, who has said Rumsfeld is "failing the troops," support such a hearing? The bottom line: a Senate hearing featuring six generals who want Rumsfeld's head now seems to be a distinct possibility.

Politics of immigration:

Per the AP, Gov. Schwarzenegger said Monday that the mayor of Los Angeles and California's lieutenant governor--both of whom are Latino-- have received threats amid a heated national debate over immigration policy. LINK

The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller posits that President Bush's immigration remarks in Irvine, CA "signaled that he preferred the Senate approach over a House bill that focuses on border security," a position which puts him "to the left of many conservative Republcians who say the enate plan's citizenship provisions amount to amnesty." LINK

The New York Post gives significant play to President Bush's comments on "massive deportation." LINK

The AP on the same: LINK

The Boston Globe header: "Bush slams mass deportation plan." LINK

Dana Boone of the Des Moines previews the May 1 National Day without Immigrants in Iowa. LINK

The Washington Post on President Bush's plan to begin meeting with Senators today on immigration reform. "White House aides emphasized that Bush has no intention for now of staking clear legislative positions on the immigration bill. He does not want to embrace a proposal, only to see it lose once House and Senate negotiators try to reach a final agreement." LINK

The New York Times' Randal Archibold explores the impact a growing Latino population has had on the town of Liberal, KS. LINK

Bolten's free hand:

The New York Times characterizes the Tony Snow as "leaning" toward accepting the job of White House press secretary, according to "a Republican with knowledge of the discussions." LINK

In a mini-profile of Joel D. Kaplan, the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg has Republican strategist Cesar V. Conda saying: "Kaplan is Josh Bolten's Josh Bolten." LINK

Liz Smith has Judy Miller chortling over Scott McClellan's retirement. LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

In a story that includes a photo of spending foe Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the New York Times' Stolberg and Andrews Note that Sen. Frist sent a letter to fellow Republicans on Monday, warning, "In the face of continued deficits, we must be careful not to blow the bank on the back of war." LINK

Some Senate conservatives may urge President Bush to veto the most recent emergency supplemental spending bill if actions aren't taken to strip amendments containing billions of dollars in pork, reports the Hill's Jonathan Allen. LINK

Families of United flight 93 make their way to Washington to lobby for a formal memorial site where the plane crashed on September 11th; meanwhile Congressman Rep. Charles H. Taylor (R-N.C.) is against the idea because of the excess of federal spending and land owning. LINK

House of Labor:

The New York Times' Steven Greenhouse reports that the AFL-CIO's John Sweeney has dismissed a proposal from "Change to Win's" Anna Burger to join a third union federation called "Alliance for Worker Justice" that would concentrate on political and legislative efforts." LINK

"'While we will always work to 'coordinate our strategies and resources in the interests of all working people in this country,' ' Mr. Sweeney wrote, 'the last thing we can imagine doing' a year after the other unions broke away 'is investing time and resources into 'co-founding' yet a third labor federation, with all the bureaucracy, expense and additional staffing that would entail.' "

GOP agenda:

The Wall Street Journal reports that Congress will meet today, "in their election-year pursuit of tax breaks on capital gains and dividends, Republicans are proposing to push business-backed research-and-development credits to a second tax bill that faces an uncertain fate in Congress." LINK

Democratic agenda:

E.J. Dionne Notes his thoughts on the "Left's Big Ideas," writing "after a long period of reacting to conservative initiatives, progressives sense that conservative failures have created a vacuum that needs to be filled." LINK

Politics of leaks:

The lawyer for a CIA official dismissed last week after being accused of leaking classified information said on Monday "that his client denied disclosing any classified information and was not the source for newspaper articles about secret C.I.A. prisons abroad," reports the New York Times' Mazzetti and Shane. LINK

The Washington Post on the same. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

The National Portrait Gallery unveils portraits of Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) last night in Washington, and the local paper does a nice job of writing it up. LINK

The New York Post has Bill Clinton immortalized and Ian Bishop thinks he resembles Ted Koppel. LINK (As does the Post's James Gardner: LINK.)

The New York Post wood: "WELL HUNG: Unveiled: Bubba's hip new portrait"

2006: New Orleans:

Roll Call's Steve Kornacki writes that "the 43 members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- all of whom, like both mayoral finalists, are Democrats -- are considered unlikely to pitch in with fundraising help or campaign appearances unless Rep. William Jefferson, the CBC member who represents New Orleans, personally asks them to."

Ron Forman, third-place finisher in the New Orleans mayoral race, endorsed Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu yesterday, Notes Washington Times' Greg Pierce LINK

Michelle Krupa and Gordon Russell of the Times-Picayune report that Forman "flipped his third-place finish in Saturday's mayoral election into an endorsement of Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu over incumbent Mayor Ray Nagin," Noting that "even as Forman chose sides, most of his supporters likely remain in political play." LINK

More form Krupa and Russell: "In other endorsement news, the Rev. Tom Watson, who received 1 percent of the vote Saturday, has had conversations with Landrieu and will likely make an announcement by the end of the week, spokeswoman Angela Anthony said. Watson has not spoken with Nagin, Anthony said."

2006: landscape:

In a Roll Call column sure to get him booked on television, Republican pollster David Winston writes that the days of local politics, where politics "boiled down to a simple equation, Candidate A vs. Candidate B," are long gone. "For the past 30 years, and maybe longer, the outcome of Congressional elections in non-presidential years has, with one lone exception, been determined by a focus on national, not local, issues."

2006: House:

Stu thinks the House is in play!

In the Rothenberg Political Report, Stu Rothenberg writes that the number of competitive House seats has climbed from 36 to 52. Rothenberg writes that the House is definitely "in play" while increasing his projection of Democratic gains from somewhere between 5 and 8 to somewhere between 7 and 10.

Under a "Once Boon, Ties to Bush May Be Bust" header, the New York Times' David Kirkpatrick keys off of Rep. Mike Sodrel's (R-IN) re-election race to report that that GOPers arround the country are "openly debating how to distance themselves from voters' dissatisfaction with Mr. Bush and the war, but without further tarnishing their party and its public face in the process." LINK

Molly Ball and David McGrath Schwartz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal write that "Bush's visit was seen as a risky move for Rep. John Porter (R-NV)," who "came under heavy criticism from Democrats, including his opponent in the race and a group of about 200 protesters outside the hotel's back entrance, for his apparent closeness to the increasingly unpopular president." LINK

Roll Call's Sara Hatch reports that freshman Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-MI), who will benefit from a McCain fundraiser Thursday on Capitol Hill, "received the blessing of President Bush -- which could help him tremendously in a race in which he is being challenged from the right."

2006: Senate:

Florida House Speaker Allan Bense "may reconsider" challenging Katherine Harris in the GOP primary, reports the AP. LINK

2006: Gubernatorial:

Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register writes up gubernatorial candidate Mike Blouin's (D-IA) proposal of "freezing tuition at state universities for about four years, instead counting on growth in state tax revenue to help cover rising costs." LINK

2008: Republicans:

In the May 2006 edition of GQ, Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) is praised by Wil S. Hylton as having "the kind of platform that wins primaries" and "the kind of charisma that makes presidents" and yet running for president in 2008 is "not an option."

During a visit to New Hampshire yesterday, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) discussed legislation he is co-sponsoring with another possible presidential candidate, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), that gives incentives for automobile companies to increase fuel efficiency standards, reports James Pindell of PoliticsNH.com. LINK

The Boston Herald reports on the controversy surrounding Mitt Romney's recent trip to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. LINK

Upon returning from his trip to Guantanamo Bay, Gov. Romney said he was surprised at the stressful conditions faced by the troops and discussed suggestions for how to better run the facility with his correction commissioner, per the AP's Glen Johnson. LINK

"Both Romney's remarks prompted criticism from the president of the state's 5,000-member correction officer union, who contended the trip was little more than a political junket for Romney, who is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination."

Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register writes up Sen. Frist's second visit to Iowa since 2004 yesterday, where the 2008 hopeful argued that he "would push for passage by Memorial Day of comprehensive immigration reform that would allow some people in the United States illegally to stay, despite resistance from conservatives." LINK

2008: Democrats:

Roll Call's Paul Kane takes a look at how the Democratic nomination landscape is being reshaped by "the financial juggernaut" that is Sen. Clinton, arguing that "a year from now true contenders are likely to need eight-figure cash balances simply to give the appearance of being competitive."

Sen. Clinton wants to let retired generals have their say, the New York Daily News reports. LINK

Former Gen. Wesley Clark continued his cross-country promotion of Democratic veteran candidates with a stop in Stockton, California yesterday to campaign for former Navy pilot Steve Filson, reports the Record's Hank Shaw. LINK


Andrew Barr of the Hill reports that mudslinging has already begun in the race to replace Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) and the dirt isn't likely to stop flying any time soon. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

Gov. Schwarzenegger said yesterday that prominent Hispanic elected officials have received threats the wake of the heated immigration debate and he has called for district attorneys to take action on these hate crimes, writes AP's Juliet Williams LINK


The Wall Street Journal looks into the attention-grabbing real estate deal of Rep. Alan Mollohan's (D-WV).

New Hampshire:

Setting itself up as a competitor to New Hampshire for the nation's first presidential primary, California is considering a bill that would, "require California's secretary of state to schedule the election as early as Jan. 2 in Presidential election years and conduct it by mail," writes the AP. LINK


The Washington Post reports on possible political corruption in Ohio during the 2004 elections. "Two complaints filed with the tax agency say that the large Columbus area churches, active in President Bush's narrow Ohio win in 2004, violated their tax-exempt status by pushing the candidacy of J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is the secretary of state and the favored candidate of Ohio's religious right." LINK

Politics of the environment:

The nuclear industry has hired former EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman to tout nuclear energy, the New York Times' Matthew Wald reports. LINK


The New York Post reports that the mayors at the "gun summit" won't be sitting down with the firearms industry. LINK

The Washington Post's Zach Goldfarb catches up with Steven "Scoop" Cohen, telling the world about the former Clinton '92 campaign press aide and deputy communications director for First Lady Hillary Clinton, and his move to the ABC series, "Commander-in-Chief". LINK