The Note: Long Ball Lay-up

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

Mollohan:

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."

Abramoff:

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

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