WASHINGTON, May 9
Like Steve Hess, The Note did its best work during the Eisenhower years.
Still, it's pretty obvious The Note could be an effective modern White House chief of staff.
What would be on The Note's to-do list if it had the position today?
1. Whatever it takes, do not let the President's job approval rating fall into the 20s in any public survey. (Comfort yourself with the fact that maybe if that happens in a CBS poll it will rally the base.) (Worry that such a poll might rally the other side's base too.)
2. Whatever it takes, get Speaker Hastert and Chairman Hoekstra to stop trashing Mr. Hayden. (Comfort yourself with the knowledge that Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are coming nicely on board, and you just might get that we-are-for-spying-on-terrorists-and-they-aren't debate.) (Worry that the press will keep interviewing Hoekstra until he stops saying this stuff, and he doesn't appear inclined to stop.)
3. Get Speaker Bense into the Florida Senate race. (Comfort yourself with the confidence that he is getting in.) (Worry that Representative Harris is not getting out.)
4. Re-read the memo that Tony Snow sent you last week. (Comfort yourself with the delight that you made the right pick.) (Worry that the missive might have been a parody.)
Understanding his audience and armed with this list of 4, President Bush got an early start today with a 8:30 am ET Medicare prescription drug benefit enrollment event in Coconut Creek, FL. He then heads to Sun City Center, FL to make remarks on the Medicare drug program. He'll be introduced by his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), at 11:15 am ET.
After the speech, President Bush travels to Orlando, FL where he remains overnight with no public schedule for the remainder of the day as of this writing. Though, we are pretty certain Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times (and others) will be on the lookout for a Bush-Bense-Bush meeting. LINK
ABC News' Sunshiney Karen Travers reports, "President Bush will be greeted by Katharine Harris at MacDill Air Force Base this morning in Tampa, FL, but she will not be attending the event in Sun City Center, FL.
Judicial nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies in his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 2:00 pm ET.
The White House put out a press release last night touting Kavanaugh's qualifications for the US Court of Appeals - the sheet calls him "superbly qualified for the DC Circuit" and highlights bipartisan support for his nomination, reports ABC News' Karen Travers.
Nebraska and West Virginia hold primaries today. The polls opened in West Virginia at 6:30 am ET and are scheduled to close at 7:30 pm ET. In Nebraska, the polls opened at 9:00 am ET and are scheduled to close at 9:00 pm ET. You can monitor results here: LINK and LINK
The weather forecast for Omaha, NE: LINK
The weather forecast for Charleston, WV: LINK
And the Sharpe James era in Newark, NJ takes a step closer to its end. Cory Booker is poised to win the mayoral election there today which begs the question if he would receive as much glowing press as an incumbent mayor as he has as a two-time mayoral candidate over the last five years. Polls opened at 6:00 am and will close at 8:00 pm ET.
House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) holds a pen and pad briefing at 11:30 am ET. Former Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) attend the DLC and PPI-sponsored release of the book "With All Our Might: Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty" at the National Press Club in Washington, DC at 10:00 am ET.
At 10:00 am ET, Sens. Durbin (D-IL) and Kennedy (D-MA) join "health advocacy organizations" in opposition to the Enzi bill (S. 1955) scheduled for debate in the U.S. Senate. The Enzi bill is a "piece of legislation that would permit insurance companies to offer 'affordable' coverage plans to small businesses by allowing them to bypass many state health care regulations that mandate payment for mammograms, cervical, prostate, colorectal cancer screenings and mental health services," reports ABC News' Tom Shine.
ABC News' Roger Sergel reports, "Among those opposing the bill are the American Cancer Society, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and Families USA. Opposition among medical specialty organizations is widespread."
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), and other GOP House members honor Patriot Guard Riders at 2:30 pm ET. LINK
FBI Director Mueller addresses the City Club of San Diego at 3:00 pm ET. ABC News' Jason Ryan advises that Mueller is expected to speak about public corruption and likely to mention Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff, and others. Mueller is scheduled to conduct a brief media availability after his speech.
First Lady Laura Bush delivers remarks at Mosaic Foundation's Ninth Annual Benefit Gala at 7:20 pm ET at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.
Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) attends the funeral of Marine Lance Corporal Michael Ford, who was killed in action in Iraq. The funeral is at 10:00 am ET in North Dartmouth, MA.
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), co-chairs of the "Senate Manufacturing Caucus," host a roundtable discussion at 10:30 am ET about "the future of the defense industry in a global economy."
At 6:45 pm ET, Sen. Clinton will join Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein as part of the "American Conversations" series at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton MeetUp in Arlington, VA this evening.
Hayden for CIA Director:
The Wall Street Journal ed board endorses Gen. Mike Hayden's nomination and points out that he "deserves not criticism but a national medal" for heading the NSA wiretapping program. The ed board criticizes Senate members for "political score settling" rather than a focus on intelligence needs. LINK
The Washington Times' ed board raves about Gen. Mike Hayden given their headline "A top choice for CIA." LINK
Now that the White House has the Wall Street Journal and Washington Times on board, perhaps a little more attention can be paid to Speaker Hastert.
The Chicago Tribune paints Republican resistance to Hayden as a "measure of Bush's falling political fortunes." LINK
In an interview with WGN in Chicago, Speaker Hastert continued to have very nice things to say about Porter Goss and not much else to say about Gen. Hayden other than the fact that he doesn't know anything about him. And then this from the Los Angeles Times' Greg Miller:
"Hastert 'believes a military figure should not be the head of a civilian agency,' said Ron Bonjean, Hastert's spokesman. Bonjean also said that Hastert had been 'informed but not consulted' about Hayden's selection."
Miller also Notes Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) worries about Hayden's ability to hold up over time -- "He's going to have to jump through a lot of hoops, and he may not make it," said a LaHoodian-sounding LaHood. LINK
ABC News' Geoff Morrell reports "a Senior Administration Official says they had more outreach for Hayden than any prior nomination. (Often they just give the Hill a half hour's Notice.) For Hayden they began talking to members (including Hoekstra) Friday and continued over the weekend with Negroponte taking the lead. Outreach continues today with Hayden courtesy visits."
The New York Times' Bumiller and Hulse on the aggressive White House rollout of the Hayden nomination and the mostly cautiously favorable reaction from members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. LINK
And they have this intense detail: "Mr. Rove spent time on Monday in the office of Senator Bill Frist, the Republican majority leader, but it was unclear how much the meeting touched on General Hayden."
Support of Gen. Mike Hayden from Sens. Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) pitted against strong opposition set the battleground for contentious confirmation hearings, reports Bloomberg News' Jeff Bliss. &LINK
NBC's David Gregory reported this morning on "Today" that Gen. Hayden is considering retiring from the Air Force before his confirmation hearings begin.
The New York Times on why some are concerned about a military man taking charge at the civilian CIA. LINK
The Washington Post's coverage includes a look at the end of the Goss era. LINK
USA Today includes the Kyle "Dusty" Foggo departure from the CIA in its news-of-day piece on the Hayden nomination. LINK
The politics of tax cuts:
The GOP will finally push a bill through Congress this week extending lower tax rates and removing the alternative minimum tax on this year's income, writes the Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins. LINK
Big Casino budget politics:
The Washington Post reports another possible bump in the federal debt ceiling may be in the offing as the House again attempts to pass a budget. LINK
The New York Times on Kavanaugh's downgraded ABA status from "well qualified" to "qualified." LINK
USA Today also looks at Kavanaugh's second date with the Senate Judiciary Committee. LINK
Karl Rove and Harriet Miers met with, "conservative activists and Senate staff," yesterday to announce that the Administration will soon be sending, "the names of more than 20 judicial nominees to Capitol Hill for confirmation," per Alexander Bolton of the Hill. LINK
The New York Post's John Podhoretz columnizes on the "cognitive dissonance" exemplified by a strong economy and bullish stock market with the President's 31 percent approval rating. LINK
In addition to many Democrats and independents active dislike of President Bush, Podhoretz writes up this theory: "Republicans and conservatives have grown weary of defending Bush. They've been fighting and fighting and fighting for years, and they see no letup in the hostility toward him or in the energy and determination of his critics. Faced with that implacable opposition, they've grown not disaffected but disheartened."
The Hill's Jonathan Kaplan reports that President Bush has recently stepped up White House visits with Republican lawmakers in an attempt to gain good will while facing low poll numbers and general discontent within the party. LINK
Despite low poll numbers, "The president already has been dashing across the campaign trail, hitting 15 fundraising events so far in the 2006 election cycle and bringing in $12.4 million for House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates. He plans stops soon with Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Rep. Geoff Davis of Kentucky," reports the Washington Times' Joseph Curl, who includes Sara Taylor and her long call sheet in his story. LINK
Politics of Iraq:
ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports, "The Pentagon announced this morning that an Army brigade (that's 3,500 troops) based in Germany will not be going to Iraq as scheduled. This is a first step toward an expected draw-down of U.S. troops, but it will not immediately affect troop levels."
"The 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry division based in Schweinfurt, Germany had been scheduled to begin deploying to Iraq later this month. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the decision not to deploy was made by General Casey and Secretary Rumsfeld and was 'conditioned based.' Says Whitman: 'Obviously there has been a degree of political process made in the past couple weeks.'"
"Whitman cautioned that in the short-term, this will not effect U.S. troop levels in Iraq, which remain at 133,000. Casey could decide to send this brigade at a later date; and the troops they were to replace aren't scheduled to come home until early July. But, unless Casey reverses his decision or keeps other troops in Iraq longer, troops levels would drop in July by roughly 3500 as a result of this decision. If Casey decides to move forward with plans to reduce troop levels in Iraq, you can expect more decisions like this in the coming weeks and months."
Per Bloomberg News' Heidi Przybyla, the fact that 57% of Americans believe sending troops to Iraq was a mistake compared to the 48% of those who disagreed with the Vietnam war in 1968 suggests much at stake. &LINK
Politics of immigration:
The New York Times writes up the plethora of state legislative measures popping up in statehouses aimed at curbing illegal immigration and Notes that relatively few of them have been enacted into law. LINK
Yesterday marked "the fourth time in the past three years that Republicans had tried, and failed, to bring medical malpractice legislation to a vote in the Senate," reports the New York Times. LINK
Does Dr. Frist get credit for calling for the vote or blame for failing to get it passed? The RNC research department -- doing its part to make 2006 a choice election as opposed to a referendum election -- pulled together some quotes from Rep. Pelosi's (D-CA) "Meet the Press" appearance this past Sunday and placed them under a banner heading that reads, "The Real Dem Agenda: Higher Taxes, Impeachment, Cut and Run, Obstruction"
Keying off of Michael Tomasky's much-talked-about American Prospect essay, Robin Toner of the New York Times explores the intra-party debate among Democrats about how best to seize the opportunity provided by the current political landscape and a desire by some in the party to move beyond the consultant and poll-obsessed style of the last several cycles and return to a set of core beliefs and broad vision. LINK
Toner also writes up a sidebar on Tomasky: LINK
By downplaying Rep. John Conyers' (D-MI) role in a potential impeachment process, "[Nancy] Pelosi (D-CA) seems to be walking a fine line between striking a moderate public posture and not irritating the Democratic base," writes Roll Call's Steve Kornacki. Roll Call's Lauren Whittington and Erin Billings write that DSCC's Charles Schumer "could opt to take another turn in the job next cycle."
The Abramoff affair:
The Neil Volz plea agreement makes clear that Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) "remains a central focus of the Justice Department's influence-peddling investigation," reports the New York Times. LINK
Volz's guilty plea is expected to turn the pressure on Rep. Ney, reports Anne Marie Squeo of the Wall Street Journal. LINK
Roll Call's Paul Kane and John Bresnahan write that "Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) and his legal team defiantly fought back against Monday's plea agreement by his former chief of staff" but Note that "any testimony from Volz against Ney would be particularly damaging because of his close relationship with the lawmaker" and that "Notably, neither Ney in his statement nor his lawyers attacked Volz's credibility Monday."
The Columbus Dispatch includes Ohio Republican Party Chair Bennett's reassertion that if Rep. Ney is indicted, he will call for him to resign his congressional seat. LINK
D.C. restaurant owners are none too pleased with a bill that would ban free meals for lawmakers paid for by lobbyists, according to Bloomberg News. LINK
GOP lawmakers are requesting that Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) be removed from the House Appropriations Committee in response to allegations of inappropriate, "financial dealings with private contractors and nonprofit organizations that received millions of dollars in federal funds," writes Patrick O'Connor of the Hill. LINK
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) had no problem getting the his party's endorsement at last night's state Democratic convention despite being absent to attend rehab for an addiction to prescription drugs, reports Scott Mayerowitz of the Providence Journal. LINK
The Lincoln Journal Star breaks down each of today's races. LINK
The Lincoln Journal Star's Don Walton on Gov. Dave Heineman and Rep. Tom Osborne's last ditch efforts. LINK
The Omaha World Herald has Heineman and Osborne's unsurprising optimism and self-predicted victories. LINK
The Columbus Telegram runs the AP's write-up of Osborne, Noting his pigskin roots maybe help him in this "football-crazy state." LINK
Many West Virginians will be casting their votes on shiny, new electronic machines, the Charleston Gazette reports. LINK
The Chaleston Gazette's wrap-up of primary campaigning: LINK
Susan Page of USA Today uses the latest Gallup numbers to write up the five issues dominating the national landscape this election year: Iraq, immigration, scandals, gas prices, and Medicare. LINK
New York State Senate majority leader Joe Bruno wants to see both William Weld and John Faso on the primary ballot in September, reports the New York Times. LINK
(Note, too, those kind words Sen. D'Amato has for Eliot Spitzer.) "As Republicans have struggled in statewide races this year, D'Amato has increasingly praised Democrats," writes the New York Post's Maggie Haberman. LINK
The Chicago Tribune reports that gay marriage will likely be an election issue for Illinois, especially after Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) extended benefits of state employees to domestic partners. LINK
The Des Moines Register writes up gubernatorial candidate Ed Fallon's (D-IA) TV ads launch. LINK
Gov. Bush's (R-FL) "extraordinary comments" yesterday "are another reminder that heavyweight Republicans are unhappy with the idea of having Rep. Harris (R-FL) at the top of the ticket in Florida and are no longer shy about saying so," write Anita Kumar and Alex Leary of the St. Petersburg Times. LINK
"Bense said he was exercising his 'due diligence' with back-to-back phone calls to supporters and strategists Monday to determine the costs of a successful campaign," write Liz Babiarz and Joe Follick of the Gainesville Sun. LINK
Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald has Bense supporters arguing that the time is for him to run is appropriate, seeing that "Harris' campaign has been wrecked by staff turnover" and that "high-level Republican contributors are ready to agree to Bense's demands that they back him in the primary against Harris." LINK
"While the suburban vote has become a political battleground in recent elections and comprised 50 percent of the vote in 2004, neither party can lay claim to 'owning' it. Since 1992, the winning presidential candidate has won the suburban vote by an average margin of just 3.5 percent," writes the majestic Charlie Cook in his Congress Daily/ AM column which highlights the poll-tested initiatives of Rep. Mark Kirk's (R-IL) 45 member-strong "Suburuban Agenda Caucus."
Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL) "raked in more than $800,000" yesterday as the Campaigner-in-Chief lent a helping hand, but Democratic challenger Ron Klein "claims the visits by Bush and Cheney will ultimately hurt Shaw by linking him to an unpopular White House," writes Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald. LINK
Brittany Wallman of the Sun Sentinel writes on the same, adding a bit about 60 "galvanized" protesters to the scene. LINK
The Associated Press reports that conservative, Eric Roach, is bowing out of the congressional race to replace former Rep. Duke Cunningham -- causing smiles in Camp Bilbray, no doubt. LINK
2006: New Orleans:
The Times Picayune's Jeff Duncan takes a look at the first runoff votes cast yesterday in the mayoral race, Noting that "the turnout in the metro area on the first day … was higher than during the primary, but statewide the numbers were down, creating a slightly smaller overall tally." LINK
Rudy Giuliani's support for Rep. Jim Nussle's pro-ethanol IOWA Act gets Deb Orin's New York Post treatment who Notices daylight between the former mayor and Sen. McCain on the issue. LINK
The Financial Times reports on Rupert Murdoch's plans to host a July fundraiser for Sen. Clinton's reelection campaign. LINK
Now at the New York Daily News, Smith blogs these quotes from Sen. Clinton's Saturday night LCA show remarks: LINK
"'Some of you think people in public life have no feelings,' she said. 'We don't. . . And if we ever did, by the time we got through with all of you, we can no longer afford them.'"
"She continued: 'The problem when you employ people. . . as I do, to to deal with all of you [in the press] is that they end up liking you. . . they feel some compulsion to carry your water.'"
The Des Moines Register reports that Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) is scheduled to be in Iowa May 19, Noting that this "will be [his] second Iowa trip this year." LINK
In his address to the National Press Club yesterday, Sen. Feingold was asked if he discussed and shared advice on a possible presidential run with Sen. John McCain. Feingold replied that "we kid around about this," and, when asked if he believes he can "beat" Sen. McCain in a general election, Sen. Feingold said that "he would beat me [including] in Wisconsin."
More Feingold on McCain: "It would be wonderful if we'd be able to elect a president that the American people feel good about, whom we could trust, and these are some of the qualities that I see in Sen. McCain."
Jeff Jones of the Albuquerque Journal and his editors work Rolling Stones puns into both the headline and the lede of his story on Gov. Bill Richardson's (D-NM) strong fundraising for his reelection campaign. LINK
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Gilbert writes up Sen. Feingold's battle cry for Democrats to display the "practical and emotional readiness to lead in the fight against terrorism. . . " LINK
In his play-by-play of Iowa politics, the Des Moines Register's David Yepsen warns Democrats in the gubernatorial race not to do Jim Nussle's work for him, predicts Vilsack siding with " the enviros over the aggies," and observes that Rudy Giuliani has a lot to learn about campaigning in Iowa. LINK
Veteran New Hampshire political activist John Rauh is taking his plan for publicly financed elections to the people with some help from former Sens. Warren Rudman, (R-NH), Alan Simpson (R-WY), Bob Kerrey (D-NE), and Bill Bradley (D-NJ), reports the Union Leader's John DiStaso. LINK