The Note: Long Ball Lay-up


President Bush is scheduled to name Gen. Michael Hayden as his choice to replace Porter Goss as CIA Director at 9:30 am ET in the Oval Office. (In other news, the President will also make a 11:40 am ET statement on Darfur.)

Those with in-cycle news responsibilities and who know nothing about how to track politics can obsess all week in the abstract about whether General Hayden (a/k/a at the White House as "Mr. Hayden") will be confirmed.

Those with a sense of the long game will glance at the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Note the following names: DeWine, Lott, Snowe, and Hagel, and realize that, even with those names, it's all about the Chair -- if Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is for Hayden, game over.

The smartest among you will realize that today's must-read stories unlock the key to our shared future. So ignore the day's meaningless soundbites from House members and Democratic Senators about their "serious concerns" about Hayden and read these:

1. The Los Angeles Times' breath-takingly perfect Brownstein and Hook, telling you exactly what needs to be known to answer your boss, your neighbor, or your dinner party companion when asked if Republicans will lose control of the House and/or the Senate. Perfect pitch: LINK

Money quote: "[As] Democratic pollster Mark Mellman put it: 'The question is: Which is going to be more important, the stability of the structure or the size of the wave?'"

So: maybe.

2. The Wall Street Journal with the definitive piece on Al Gore 2008 (?) with the startling well-sourced anti-CW claim that Gore is more likely to make the race if Hillary Clinton runs than if she doesn't. And it is free cone week at Dow Jones, so the article is available to everyone. LINK

3. The Washington Post's Diamond Jim VandeHei on the state of Fitzgerald v. Rove, reminding all of us of what is at stake, and the point of view that says that if everyone who ever forgot a phone conversation they had with Matt Cooper was in prison, the prisons would be crowded indeed. LINK

4. The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg, apparently having gotten Bumiller to tell him how to get Rove on the record, gets Rove on the record on the midterm strategy of taxes, national security, health care (!), Chairmen Conyers and Rangel, and contrast contrast contrast. LINK

5. Bob Novak on Chairman Grassley and taxes. Nuff said. LINK

6. The Los Angeles Times' Havemann, indirectly, on why Democrats can't win even the easy fights, and thus, maybe, elections. LINK

7. The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman on yesterday's front page: "Democratic leaders, increasingly confident they will seize control of the House in November, are laying plans for a legislative blitz during their first week in power that would raise the minimum wage, roll back parts of the Republican prescription drug law, implement homeland security measures and reinstate lapsed budget deficit controls." LINK

8. (For 2008 presidential candidates only): Sunday's Boston Globe story about the closing of a mill in Berlin (and you better know how to pronounce "Berlin.") LINK

The campaigner-in-chief, President Bush, tries to close the sale with seniors on the Medicare prescription drug benefit prior to the May 15 enrollment deadline and is heading to the senior citizen capital of the country to do so. The President will be in Florida for a two-night stay this week. He is scheduled to attend a 5:50 pm ET fundraiser for Rep. Clay Shaw's (R-FL) reelection campaign in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and will remain overnight there. Tomorrow, he is expected to attend a Coconut Creek, FL enrollment event at 8:30 am ET and deliver 11:10 am ET remarks on the prescription drug program in Sun City Center, FL. The President wakes up in Orlando, FL on Wednesday where he is scheduled to attend a Medicare prescription drug benefit event at 9:30 am ET before returning to Washington, DC.

Your assignment: count the number of times he praises Katherine Harris and talks about what a great United States Senator she will be.

Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR) and the liberal advocacy groups Campaign for America's Future and Americans United hold a press conference call at 2:00 pm ET to unveil a "report" on former Rep. and current PhRMA President Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and what they claim is "the corrupt nature in which Part D became law."

The Senate Democratic Policy Committee holds an "oversight hearing" at 1:30 pm ET on gasoline prices and energy trading. Sens. Dorgan (D-ND) and Cantwell (D-WA) co-chair the hearing.

Sen./Dr./Leader Frist (R-TN), Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), and Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) join more than 300 doctors with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology at a 4:00 pm ET press conference to call for a "fair up-or-down vote" on two medical liability reform bills before the Senate.

The House is in a pro forma session today. The Senate convenes at 1:00 pm ET to take up medical malpractice liability.

First Lady Laura Bush is in Costa Rica today, where she will attend the inauguration of President Oscar Arias Sanchez. Mrs. Bush will also participate in an education roundtable with local education experts and in a greeting ceremony for the new president.

Sens. Kerry (D-MA) and Biden (D-DE) address the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire convention in Nashua, NH. (Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark (D-AR) is expected to address the group on Wednesday.)

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) gives a speech entitled "Redeploying from Iraq and Refocusing on Terrorist Threats" at the National Press Club luncheon in Washington, DC at 1:00 pm ET.

Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) holds a 3:30 pm ET in Des Moines, IA honoring "Iowa's Eternal Patriots."

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) hosts a NGA-sponsored event on college and work readiness skills in Washington, DC at 9:00 am ET.

US Senate candidate Tom Kean, Jr. (R-NJ) holds a 10:30 am ET press conference on immigration in Trenton, NJ.

US Senate candidate Pete Ricketts (R-NE) holds statewide rallies on the final day of the primary campaign in Grand Island, Columbus, Norfolk, and Omaha, NE.

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

Hayden for CIA Director:

The New York Times ledes with Mark Mazzetti and Sheryl Gay Stolberg's wrap of the bipartisan concern over having a military man at the top of the Central Intelligence Agency as well as Hayden's role in the NSA domestic warrantless wiretapping program. LINK

Dafna Linzer and Fred Barbash of the Washington Post. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jay Solomon. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Schmitt. LINK

USA Today's Diamond and Jackson. LINK

Hayden for CIA Director: bio:

Scott Shane of the New York Times takes a look at Gen. Hayden's experience and biography. LINK

USA Today's John Diamond gives some background on Hayden, who was director of the NSA from 1999 to 2005. LINK

Hayden for CIA Director: morning shows:

On ABC's "Good Morning America," White House National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley touted the President's choice.

"The President believes he's the right man in the right place at the right time," said Hayden.

When asked if Gen. Hayden will resign his military commission before becoming CIA Director, Hadley said there is, "no reason to do so."

Hadley also rejected the notion that Porter Goss was forced out of his position as CIA Director.

"(Porter Goss) has begun the reform process I described but several times over the last months he has indicated a desire to leave from public service and the president decided he wanted to put together the team that he will have for his second term as soon as possible and that had the effect of accelerating porter's decision."

"Drawing Fire," was NBC's "Today" show headline this morning. Andrea Mitchell reported on "Today" that "Hayden is not close to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld."

Once again keying off of Rep. Hoekstra's (R-MI) Sunday quote, NSA Hadley told NBC's Katie Couric that Hayden is "the right person, at the right time, in the right job," before heralding Hayden's 20 years of "broad" experience in the intelligence business.

"He will not be reporting to Don Rumsfeld," added Hadley in an attempt to quell critics who may believe having a military officer as the head of the CIA is cause for concern.

On CBS both Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) and former CIA Director Stansfield Turner agreed that Michael Hayden might not be the man for the job. Rep. Hoekstra argued that the nomination of a military person to head the CIA is "a serious erosion of rebuilding the intelligence community," and said that "in this nomination you see a splitting apart of the agreement that we had on the department of intelligence [overhaul]."

Former CIA director Stansfield Turner disagreed with that argument, saying that he sees "no reason why not" to have a military person running the CIA. However, Turner argued against Hayden's nomination saying that the general's support for the NSA wiretapping program "is a major barrier in his confirmation."

Per Turner, "I happen to think it was illegal. I believe that's the one cloud over the general's nomination."

Asked if this nomination will be successful, Turner repeated his previous statement about the NSA wiretapping: "I happen to think not, because I happen to think that the wiretapping was illegal."

The politics of tax cuts:

"Republican lawmakers, facing the prospect that their power to cut taxes may soon be curbed, plan to extend breaks that mostly benefit the wealthy and Wall Street at the expense of reductions for middle-income households," per Bloomberg News. LINK


Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times writes of the Republican strategy in the Senate to excite the party's base with two looming judicial battles. Stolberg reports you can expect tough questioning for Brett Kavanaugh and a possible filibuster for Terrence Boyle. LINK

Bush Administration:

In Sunday's New York Times, David Leonhardt explained how both Republicans and Democrats intend to use the Bush-Cheney economy to their advantage this election year. LINK

The GOP is hoping that improved economic numbers will translate into support in the November elections, reports Roll Call's Ben Pershing.

Elisabeth Bumiller's "White House Letter" in the New York Times is dedicated to President Bush's legacy plans as he begins to formulate his vision for this presidential library/policy center. LINK

The New York Daily News' McAuliff writes up the President's German newspaper interview musing on one of his best moments in office -- the day he caught a 7.5 pound perch in his lake. LINK

Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News writes up his travels with Vice President Cheney and reprises the Purdum theory that Cheney is well aware that his popularity (or lack thereof) may be a drag on the Administration. LINK

Politics of gas:

Dick Morris columnizes in the New York Post that Americans largely place the blame for high gas prices on the oil companies, which is a potential political problem for the GOP. LINK

Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla promote ethanol-based fuel alternatives in a New York Times op-ed. LINK

Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News reports that most Dallas-area Members of Congress still love their SUVs and support increased domestic drilling to bolster oil production. LINK

Politics of Iraq:

"National Guard troops in Iraq, which once constituted half the Army's fighting force, have been dramatically reduced and could be largely phased out of major combat responsibilities next year as military officials debate their performance and what role they should play in future conflicts," reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK


Roll Call's John Bresnahan reports that a trip to Spain for Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), his wife, and two aides was paid for by, "a group of government contractors for whom Mollohan steered tens of millions of dollars in earmarked funds."


ABC News' Jason Ryan reports, "Neil Volz, former chief of staff to Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), is expected to plead guilty to conspiracy (to commit honest services fraud and to violate the one-year lobbying ban), this morning at US District Court in DC, Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle. The hearing is scheduled for 10:30 am ET. This is the forth plea since Michael Scanlon's plea last year, followed by Jack himself, Tony Rudy and now Neil Volz.

"Prosecutors have e-mails showing Rep. Tom DeLay's office knew lobbyist Jack Abramoff had arranged the financing for the GOP leader's controversial European golfing trip in 2000 and was concerned 'if someone starts asking questions,'" reported the Associated Press on Saturday. LINK

The Washington Post's editorial board offers some advice to Tony Snow: "Rather than a steady drip, drip, drip of Abramoff news, get it all out, quickly and with enough details to make clear what, exactly, transpired between the corrupt lobbyist and the president's aides." LINK

2006: landscape:

Adam Nagourney and Ian Urbina's Sunday New York Times' look at Ohio as a microcosm of the national political picture at large is a fascinating read and explains just how tough it may be for Democrats to have sweeping victories this fall despite the uneasiness about Iraq or headlines about political corruption. LINK

Under a "GOP candidates running scared" headline, Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny wrote on Sunday that "Republicans across the country are beset by anxieties about the fortunes of their party and fearful that their dominance could be upended by an electorate hungry for a change." LINK

U.S. News & World Reports' Dan Gilgoff offers a special report on how very tilted the country's political map is toward incumbents. LINK

While Democrats lead public opinion polls on national issues, Republicans up for reelection in November are planning to counter with campaigns focusing on local issues in their states and districts, reports Donald Lambro of the Washington Times. LINK

Bloomberg News' James Rowley predicts that the issue of tort reform may play a role in several House and Senate campaigns this year. LINK

strong>2006: New Orleans:

Times-Picayune's Brian Thevenot gives readers a heads up on the runoff early voting that starts today. LINK

"In a manner befitting their surroundings," Mitch Landrieu and Ray Nagin "respectfully shared their views on issues such as education, crime and housing" at a forum Sunday sponsored by All Congregations Together, writes Times Picayune's Lynne Jensen. LINK

2006: Governor:

The Lincoln Journal Star's Don Walton covers the final leg of the Nebraska GOP gubernatorial primary campaign between Gov. Dave Heineman, Rep. Tom Osborne, and Omaha businessman Dave Nabity. LINK

The New York Post's Fred Dicker reports that Empire State Republicans no longer believe Tom Suozzi's Democratic primary run against Eliot Spitzer can do any significant damage to the popular attorney general's gubernatorial campaign. LINK

2006: Senate:

Roll Call's Stu Rothenberg writes up why he believes that New Jersey is the GOP's best shot at picking up a Democratic Senate seat.

2006: House:

Republicans in Texas' 22nd District met behind closed doors yesterday to interview seven candidates to replace Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) on the November ballot, reports Zeke Minaya of the Houston Chronicle. LINK

2008: Republicans:

"Hundreds of New School students, staffers, and faculty members want the university to rescind its invitation to Senator McCain," and "are planning a variety of ways to protest his speech, including turning their backs on the senator while he is speaking," reports the New York Sun. LINK

James Lynch of the Cedar Rapids Gazette writes up Gov. Mitt Romney's weekend visit to Iowa Noting that although Romney explained his visit as due to "a connection between Coe President James Phifer and his lieutenant governor's staff" the '08 hopeful "added with a smile, [that] the excuse for a trip to Iowa, which hosts the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, made the invitation more attractive." LINK

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) "faces a two-hour grilling by members of the Iowa Christian Alliance" today, reports Hotline's On Call. LINK

Page Six ledes with some Republican presidential hopefuls hitting up wealthy potential donors at the Kentucky Derby this past weekend. LINK

Rudy Giuliani's lobbying ties with oil companies "could cause Giuliani some serious political agita if he runs for president in 2008," writes Newsday's Glenn Thrush. &LINK

2008: Democrats:

While far less publicized than its Washington brethren, Albany's Legislative Correspondence Association (LCA) annual event is not to be trifled with, and it's clear that Senator Clinton took her appearance there this past Saturday night very seriously. She cut a very unserious video showing her very unserious side, all to serious laughs, guffaws and applause from the 400 political elite in attendance.

As Bob Hardt well knows, New York reporters agree on nothing. Yet, a sampling of those at the LCA afterparty revealed that they all agreed that "No Public Schedule" was very well done. And we hear from sources familiar with what was left on the cutting room floor that the Chuck Schumer outtakes are laugh out loud funny, and could be the basis of a "making of" video.

If you have 5 minutes and 50 seconds to spare, make sure to watch this short film (in fact, even if you don't, make time): LINK

WARNING: If it is important for you to believe that Sen. Clinton is angry, brittle, and humorless, watching this video might be detrimental to your talking points, and therefore, your health.

Sen. Kerry said on Saturday that "the war is being carried out by 'incompetents' and 'ideologues' whose actions are killing American troops" and named Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as one such person, reported Bert Dalmer in the Sunday Des Moines Register. LINK

Per Dalmer, "Kerry said before his speech Saturday that 'it is way too early' to begin talking about a presidential run in 2008."

Sen. Biden's visit to South Carolina in the early part of last week was still resonating with Lee Bandy of The State for a Sunday story with tons of praise. LINK

The week ahead:

Nebraska and West Virginia hold primary elections tomorrow. Also tomorrow, former Gov. Mark Warner and Sen. Evan Bayh attend the DLC and PPI-sponsored release of the book "With All Our Might: Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty" in Washington, DC and supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton MeetUp in Arlington, VA.

Sen. McCain keynotes the Clean Cities Congress and Expo in Phoenix, AZ on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Karen Hughes addresses the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, Lindy Boggs and her daughter Cokie Roberts participate in the "American Conversation" discussion series at the National Archives in Washington, DC, and Ann Lewis and Judith Lichtman host a "Team Hillary" conference call to discuss a range of national issues with campaign supporters.

On Thursday, President Bush delivers the commencement address at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Biloxi, MS.

The Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing considering the nomination of Robert Portman as Director of the Office of Management and Budget on Thursday and EMILY's List holds a Washington, DC luncheon featuring Sen. Barack Obama and House candidate Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). Gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann (R-PA) holds a "Hall of Fame Tribute" fundraiser in Washington, DC on Thursday as well.

First Lady Laura Bush delivers remarks on Thursday at Vanderbilt University's "Senior Class Day" in Nashville, TN.

President Bush meets with the current and former Secretaries of State and Defense at the White House on Friday morning.

Former Sen. John Edwards heads to the Granite State on Friday to attend a reception in honor State Sen. Joe Foster (D-NH) in Manchester, NH.