Immigrant Nation


We are not sure why, but about 1/4 of the Googling monkeys did not show up for work overnight, so today's Note is a little short and patchy.

Activists for immigrant rights are calling today's planned demonstrations "A Day Without Immigrants." Proponents of the demonstrations say the nationwide work stoppages and consumer boycotts are aimed at showing the economic power undocumented workers hold. Planned activities are varied but some expect millions to turn out across the country.

In New York City, thousands of workers are expected to take breaks shortly after noon ET to link arms with shoppers, restaurant-goers, and other supporters along city sidewalks. Officials in Los Angeles are bracing for huge crowds: Assistant Police Chief George Gascon said as many as 500,000 people could take part. The demonstrations are also schedule to take place in smaller cities such as Allentown, PA, Omaha, NE, and Knoxville, TN.

Jonathan Weisman and Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post remind readers this day of action refocuses the immigration spotlight back on the Senate work on the topic as well. See our immigration section below for their excellent placeholder on the topic awaiting that a possible Frist/Reid agreement.

In other news, today, Secretary Rice and Secretary Rumsfeld met with the President this morning in the Oval Office to brief him on their recent trip to Iraq. At 10:30 am ET, President and Mrs. Bush make remarks at the "Preserve America" presidential awards ceremony in the Rose Garden. The President's marquee event for the day is scheduled at 1:15 pm ET where he will take the stage at the Washington Hilton Hotel (without his twin expressing his subconscious thoughts) to discuss his health care initiatives.

Senate Democrats plan to bracket the President's remarks on health care with a 3:00 pm ET background briefing on their health care proposals sponsored by Sens. Durbin (D-IL) and Lincoln (D-AR).

The Secretaries of HHS, Labor, and Treasury hold a 3:00 pm ET press conference Medicare and Social Security trustees report. The report details the long-term fiscal outlook of the nation's retirement entitlement program.

The Energy Information Administration releases the most reliable survey of retail gasoline prices at 4:30 pm ET.

Vice President Cheney delivers remarks at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia luncheon honoring Professor Bernard Lewis in Philadelphia, PA at 12:10 pm ET.

The daylong conference on "Islam and the West" also includes speeches by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) and others. Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will "lay out a new strategy for how to move forward in Iraq," according to a news release from his office; he was scheduled to speak a 9:15 am ET. Sen. Biden co-authors a New York Times op-ed today with former Council on Foreign Relations President Leslie Gelb describing the path forward in Iraq is to create three (Kurd, Sunni, Shiite) autonomous regions with a decentralized central government as well as a near-total American troop withdrawal/redeployment from Iraq by the end of 2008. LINK

Sen. Biden also keynotes at the Galivants Ferry Stump in Galivants Ferry, SC. Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) makes his first trip of the cycle to Iowa today. The former mayor attends a fundraiser for Rep Jim Nussle (R-IA) in Davenport, IA and an Iowa GOP event in Des Moines, IA.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) makes an announcement regarding the implementation of the new health insurance reform law in Boston, MA at 2:00 pm ET. Later in the evening, Gov. Romney hosts a Fenway Park fundraiser for Gov. Mark Sanford's (R-SC) reelection campaign.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is in Purchase, NY this morning speaking at a Title IX symposium. At noon ET, Sen. Clinton addresses the 2006 Rockland County Non-Profit Summit in Suffern, NY.

Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright speaks to the Council on Foreign Relations about religion and foreign policy in New York, NY.

At 4:00 pm ET, Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) holds a new conference in Albuquerque, NM to unveil new DWI statistics that show declines in alcohol-related fatalities.

The House convenes at noon ET for a pro forma session. The Senate convenes at 2:00 pm ET to continue its work on the supplemental. Don't expect gas prices to retreat into the background just yet. House Democrats plan to make it their issue of the week again this week. Look for a bicameral Democratic press conference on the topic tomorrow.

Be sure to check out our look at the week ahead in politics below.

Politics of immigration:

With Senate Democratic and Republican leaders closing in on a bipartisan deal to "secure the nation's borders, create a guest-worker program for foreign workers, and offer citizenship to illegal immigrants who clear certain hurdles," Jonathan Weisman and Jim VandeHei report in a Washington Post must-read that President Bush's growing confidence that he will secure an immigration victory runs "in direct contrast to the House Republican leadership, which is prepared to block legislation that offers illegal immigrants a path to citizenship without sending them home." LINK

On morning television today Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) faced off with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) discussing immigration. Richardson agreed that "we need to secure our borders first" and argued for an "earned legalization path."

On today's demonstrations, Gov. Richardson said that "my concern is that these demonstrations will be a distraction from what the real problem is, and that is comprehensive immigration reform," and when prompted to comment about the National Anthem in Spanish, Richardson was Bushian when he said that "the national anthem should be in English. I don't believe that immigrants want to learn the anthem in Spanish; I think that was a side-show."

The Los Angeles Times ledes with LA residents and business owners bracing with a mix of "excitement, anxiety and even some anger" over today's protests and possible boycotts. LINK

"In separate news conferences, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Cardinal Roger Mahony reiterated their plea that students not take part in the day's activities until after school."

"A spokesman for Villaraigosa said the mayor has no plans to take part in the marches but will monitor them from City Hall. He was also scheduled to fly to Texas to urge National Football League officials to bring a team to Los Angeles. The mayor has not supported a boycott but has said that it is a personal decision."

Oscar Avila and Antonio Olivo preview today's immigration march in Chicago that is expected to eclipse the March 10 protest. LINK

The New York Times looks at how employers are preparing for today's events. LINK

Politics of gas:

Sen. Frist's $100 rebate plan to help alleviate the pain at the pump being felt by many Americans seems to be getting some harsh reaction, reports the New York Times. LINK

The New York Post wraps the Administration's Sunday morning chatter intimating that no major relief in the short-term is in sight. LINK

The Washington Times writes up Secretary Bodman's MTP appearance under a "Gas to remain costly, energy secretary says" header. LINK

Josh Bolten, in his first interview since taking over as Bush's chief of staff on Fox News Sunday, expected only a modest impact from the President's plan to lower gas prices and called for the need to wean off of American's foreign oil dependence, reports the AP's dazzling Nedra Pickler. LINK

In Sunday's Los Angeles Times, Ron Brownstein wrote that despite all the outrage that was expressed last week about spiraling gas prices, "no one seemed outraged enough to seriously reassess any of the tired and rigid thinking that has paralyzed America's energy policy for years." LINK

Bloomberg News' Brendan Murray reports on how high oil prices are weakening the President's ability to achieve foreign policy goals. Organizing a coalition to challenge Iran's nuclear ambitions and influencing energy-rich nations such as Russia, Venezuela, and Sudan have become increasingly difficult for the Bush Administration. Per Murray, skyrocket prices are also straining U.S. ties with China. &LINK

Earmark reform:

Beware appropriators: In his inimitable and influential style, Bob Novak's must-read Chicago Sun Times column paints House Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader Boehner, and Sen. Tom Coburn as the champions of earmark reform and the leaders in last week's attempt to end "the tyranny of the appropriators over the spending process." LINK

Politics of Iraq:

In his first "comprehensive and detailed" report on Iraq to Congress today, Gen. Stuart Bowen points out serious delays in reconstruction efforts and calls for Congress to pass the extra $3.2 billion emergency spending bill in the Senate, writes Jeff St.Onge of Bloomberg News. LINK

In this week's New Yorker, George Packer criticizes Sen. Kerry's call for immediate withdrawal of US troops if Iraq doesn't form an effective unity government by May 15. Packer is more positive towards a proposal put forward by Sen. Biden and Leslie Gelb in a New York Times op-ed which calls for a division of Iraq into three autonomous regions.


The Boston Globe reports that with the November elections nearing, Republicans are considering whether or not to get rid of the financial penalty for seniors who miss the May 15 deadline under the new Medicare prescription drug program. LINK

Bolten's free hand:

The Washington Post's Peter Baker draws Sunday show duty and writes up Josh Bolten's debut as chief of staff on Sunday television. LINK

Bolten "forecast no shifts in the substance of Bush's presidency," but he described recent personnel changes at the White House as an attempt to "get our mojo back."

In a look at President Bush's "Fox-y New Spokesman," Mike Allen reports for Time magazine that Snow "knows how much easier it is to 'sit on the outside and throw rocks.'" LINK

"An occasional Bush critic, Snow says he was a liberal until he read Marx in college 'and realized it was all indecipherable hokum.'"

Holly Bailey and Richard Wolffe of Newsweek detail how what began as a lunch between two old friends and colleagues (Tony Snow and Josh Bolten), turned into a job interview. LINK

Bush Administration:

The Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva took a look on Sunday at how the Bush Administration maintains a leak-proof White House by classifying more information than its predecessors and wondered why the Vice President's office refuses to release the number of documents it classifies. LINK

With an assist from Spencer Hsu, the Washington Post's Al Kamen Notes that former department of Homeland Security inspector general Clark Kent Ervin is set to publish a tell-all book tomorrow which singles out port security, air cargo screening, and the borders as the nation's most vulnerable points. LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation:

"It is impossible to know if Fitzgerald will make a case against Rove. But it is possible now to trace how Fitzgerald came to suspect Rove of not telling the whole truth. The Bush administration has been particularly quick to trigger leak investigations. Often, these probes in high-profile cases are intended to punish political enemies. But this is one that has boomeranged," write Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas of Newsweek. LINK


The DCCC has decided that Francine Busby and the current political climate are an attractive enough combination to gamble in this Republican-leaning district. The House Democratic campaign arm has put up an anti-Bilbray spot with no mention of Duke Cunningham and plans to remain on the air in this race for the duration.

2006: Governor:

In polling before Ohio's Republican gubernatorial primary, "Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has an imposing 21 percentage-point lead over Attorney General Jim Petro," while likely Democratic nominee Rep. Ted Strickland (D-OH) is 10 points over Blackwell in a head-to-head polling, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mark Naymik. &LINK

The Dayton Daily News' William Hershey reports that both Blackwell and Petro will be on the road today for a final primary push. LINK

At their state convention over the weekend, California Democrats gave their official party nod to Phil Angelides over Steve Westly as the Democratic candidate to challenge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) in November despite Westly's better poll position of late, reports Reuters. LINK

In a Los Angeles Times analysis, Michael Finnegan and Mark Z. Barabak report that Angelides' win over Westly by a "lopsided" 67%-28% margin among almost 1,800 delegates came as "welcome news to a campaign that, despite its establishment dominance, has foundered in recent statewide polls. A Los Angeles Times poll published Saturday showed Angelides trailing Westly by 13 percentage points." LINK

Bob Mulholland, a senior Angelides advisor, looks at the results and says: "This is an angry Democratic primary electorate. What the Democratic voters want is someone to stand up and take punches at Schwarzenegger and Bush."

Garry South, a senior Westly advisor, counters by saying: "If Phil Angelides has fallen way behind with all of the other legions of credentials he claims, one more endorsement is hardly going to bail him out. He's not selling well to the voters. That's his basic problem."

Carla Marinucci and John Wildermuth of the San Francisco Chronicle have former Davis communications director Phil Trounstine saying that Angelides' endorsement "only matters if it translates into money and ground troops." LINK

Ken Lovett of the New York Post writes up Eliot Spitzer spokesguy Darren Dopp's email missives to reporters last year trying to quell the Whitehead/Spitzer headline-making feud. LINK

The Washington Times reports that the abortion stance of Democrat Bill Ritter has created "an awkward situation" for Democrats in Colorado, who are presented this year with an opportunity to "capture both the legislature and the governor's mansion." LINK

2006: Senate:

Common Cause "will ask the Justice Department today" to investigate Rep. Katherine Harris for her ties to disgraced defense contractor Mitchell Wade, writes Jim Stratton of the Orlando Sentinel. LINK

William March and Keith Epstein of the Tampa Tribune Note that many GOP strategists worry that Harris "won't just lose her own race for the U.S. Senate but injure other Republicans on the ballot, too." LINK

2006: House:

The Washington Times reported on Sunday that two redrawn Georgia congressional districts may help vulnerable GOPers maintain control of the House this year. LINK


Roll Call's Paul Kane observes that, as authors of campaign finance reform legislation, both Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) will feel some pressure to accept federal matching funds and effectively limit their fundraising in a presidential run.

2008: Republicans:

In Iowa today, Rudy Giuliani is "slated to meet with consultants involved in President Bush's 2004 campaign," reports the New York Post's Maggie Haberman. LINK

Don't miss Lee Bandy's Sunday story in The State on some South Carolina Republicans' recent travels to New York City for a sit-down with Rudy Giuliani. LINK

Ben Smith's debut column for the New York Daily News is Giuliani-centric including the former mayor's hiring Jon Avlon (a former City Hall speechwriter cum New York Sun columnist) as his communications director for his PAC. LINK

Much like Newt Gingrich did recently, Rudy Giuliani is touting the crime-fighting success he had in New York City in a New York Daily News op-ed. LINK

Tony Bertuca of the Union Leader wrote on Saturday about Gov. George Pataki's (R-NY) speech at "Politics and Eggs" -- a "must stop" for every serious presidential candidate -- where Pataki framed the War on Terror as a "clash between civilization and barbarism." LINK

The Des Moines Register's Lisa Rossi wrote up former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's speech at the state Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Iowa, where Gingrich fed the supporters his 'not-yet-decided-but-Iowa-is-a-great-state' stand up routine. LINK

In a Saturday write-up, Lisa Rossi had Gingrich saying that "If enough people think those solutions work, I'll probably run." LINK

This weekend on "Iowa Press," Gingrich became the first potential '08 candidate to endorse Nussle's "IOWA Act" -- a plan to increase the renewable fuel standard by 60% in the next six years.

ABC News' Teddy Davis looks at Gov. Romney's efforts to confront the religious element of terrorism and has Mary Habeck, author of "Knowing The Enemy," saying that Romney's focus on Jihadism "could change the entire center of the conversation." LINK

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE/West Village), a Democratic member of the 9/11 Commission, tells ABC News that "the governor is on the right track" with his effort to go beyond the terrorist label when identifying America's enemies though Kerrey would prefer to see the United States declare war on Al Qaeda, rather than on Jihadists, believing that there is a "peaceful jihad."

For his part, Romney discusses which books he's read on the subject, what he thinks the ultimate aims of the Jihadists are, and his support for wiretapping "individuals wherever they are who are preaching doctrines of hate."

Religion expert John Podhoretz warns in a Boston Herald op-ed that Gov. Romney's Mormon faith could cost him in 2008, pointing out that Romney "is not the man to defeat Hillary." Podhoretz speculates, "the fact that [Mormonism] considers itself the true version of Christianity rather than one of the branches of Christianity will be very disturbing to base Republican voters." LINK

Per Matt Viser of the Boston Globe, Gov. Mitt Romney and Senate Republicans may stir a ruckus against those who support a state bill that would legalize over-the-counter sales of syringes, which supporters contend would help save lives and those opposing it argue it would promote drug use. The Governor's spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom predicted Gov. Romney likely vetoing the bill. LINK

On Sunday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Katherine Orth reported Sen. George Allen said that "he will pursue a proposal for a congressional resolution apologizing for slavery." LINK

Times Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams on Sen. Allen's race-image makeover: "Sorry. Not buying it." LINK

Billy House of the Arizona Republic writes up Sen. McCain's speech in Belgium, where the '08 hopeful asserted that "Unites States efforts to promote human rights worldwide could be affected by the immigration reform debate in Washington, D.C." LINK

In a Time 100 article, Ralph Nader asks: "Can McCain, 69, juggle what he sees as a problem-solving, independent pragmatism rooted in conservative philosophy with what others see as expediency and pandering?" LINK

Nader's answer: "My guess is he can."

2008: Democrats:

Of the potential Democratic '08ers, Sen. John Kerry leads the donation efforts thanks, in large part, to funds from the three million-strong email address list he built up in 2004, per Roll Call's Nicole Duran in a story that John Geisser will do his best to make sure each of Kerry's big donors read.

The Indianapolis Star's Maureen Groppe compares and contrasts former jogging buddies Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC). LINK

The New York Post's Ian Bishop bizarrely views Sen. Clinton's moves on potential Puerto Rican statehood through the 2008 lens instead of the 2006 one. LINK

In a Time 100 article, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) writes that Sen. Clinton's political future is "both unpredictable and unlimited." LINK

"She already has very high name recognition combined with a political network second to none. She has one of the best political strategists in history -- former President Bill Clinton -- on her team. And money will never be a problem. Senator Clinton would be a formidable opponent for Republicans in November 2008 as the nation remains closely divided. Some say she cannot be elected President. I say those who underestimate Hillary Clinton do so at their own peril."

"After his half-hour speech," Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) "said he would wait until after the fall elections to decide whether to run for president," reported Tony Leys in the Saturday Des Moines Register. LINK

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Greg Borowski reports that Sen. Feingold received a warm welcome from a small group of dedicated supporters during his weekend junket to Iowa. Meanwhile, critics are already framing Feingold as a great nomination candidate who would have trouble in the general election. LINK

Lee Bandy of The State captured the requisite presidential demurrals from Gov. Vilsack over the weekend. Vilsack was in the Palmetto State as the Jefferson-Jackson keynoter for the state party. LINK

Newsweek's Darman goes once around the track and explores Gov. Mark Warner's (D-VA) Red State appeal. LINK

New Hampshire:

The Real ID Act's requirement that states check whether applicants for driver's licenses are in the country legally and to require documents showing their birth date, Social Security number and home address is stirring "passionate protest" in New Hampshire, the Washington Post's David A. Fahrenthold reports. LINK

Dean's Democrats:

Some Democrats seem to believe that attempting to raise the minimum wage could increase their party's chances of gaining seats in November, writes the Wall Street Journal's Jeanne Cummings. The new Democratic effort hopes to transform the minimum wage issue into a moral one, taking on conservatives with a values agenda. LINK

The Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb and Chris Cillizza break down the highlights of the Democrats' "50 state strategy" neighbor-to-neighbor debut: at least one event in every state, 78 events in Ohio, and 30 events in "Republican-leaning" Montana. LINK

WHCA dinner:

In her New York Times "White House Letter," Elisabeth Bumiller takes her readers behind the scenes of the Presidential comedy routine and writes of how Mr. Bush and his impersonator came to know one another and how they prepared for Saturday's big performance. LINK

USA Today's recap of Saturday's festivities including post-dinner celebrity reax: LINK

Lloyd Grove of the New York Daily News writes up the strange bedfellows after-party chat between Justice Scalia and Ludacris. LINK


Keying off of Tony Snow's move to the White House, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz looks at the Washington "merry-go-round." LINK

The week ahead:

Ohio, North Carolina, and Indiana hold primaries tomorrow.

President Bush plans to be in town this week. He talks about tax and spending issues on Wednesday and meets with the German Chancellor. On Thursday, he meets with the President of Uruguay and makes Cinco de Mayo remarks. President Bush also marks the "National Day of Prayer" on Thursday.

Tomorrow evening, Rudy Giuliani headlines a NRSC fundraiser in Washington, DC. On Wednesday, Giuliani speaks at the Commerce Bank Arts Centre in Sewell, NJ.

On Thursday, Vice President Cheney travels to Lithuania, Kazakhstan, and Croatia.

The Republican National Committee's annual meeting of state chairs gets underway on Thursday in Colorado Springs, CO. RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman delivers the keynote remarks on Thursday. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) addresses the state chairs on Friday.