Stubborn Facts on the Ground


If we live in such interesting times, why has the Gang of 500 been so excruciatingly bored for a fortnight?

At the White House senior staff meeting, it's the usual old gallows humor, with anxiety channeled into an office pool on which happens first: Bonds hits 714, the Dow hits 12,000, or wrong track hits 75%. (The White House counsel, already uncomfortable with wagering taking place on government property, put her foot down on a dunking machine tethered to POTUS job approval.)

But it's the same old same old -- another national media poll with Bush/GOP numbers just plain bad, and yet so in line with the Fox numbers and the private polling that even the bloggers barely burn time challenging the methodology; an intractable Iran; the Bush family reaping the Katherine Harris whirlwind it sowed; primary results that mean less for November than a pile of chicken bones; White House and RNC press releases that look starkly indistinguishable; senior Republicans more delighted with Nancy Pelosi's leadership than senior Democrats are; Al Gore doing something politically brilliant (that is, if he were interested in running for president); congressional Republicans cutting taxes without having to answer for the raw dollar amounts of the distribution of benefits (as opposed to meaningless percentages); Jim Rutenberg continuing to find Dan Bartlett to be an exceedingly pleasant and accessible man; Jeff Zeleny continuing to become a major force; butter continuing to melt in Gary Ginsberg's mouth; and The Note continuing to make spritely inside jokes that even the waitresses at Lauriol Plaza don't get.

And President Bush continues to sell his domestic agenda, with his Medicare prescription drug benefit road show in Florida at a 9:30 am ET "conversation" on the topic at Asociación Borinqueña de Florida Central, Inc. in Orlando, FL.

The group is the oldest Puerto Rican organization in Central Florida where the President hopes to grab the attention of many Hispanic elders who qualify for new drug benefit. The President then heads back home and meets with victims of identity theft at 1:40 pm ET in the Roosevelt Room. (Insert your own joke about how they get cleared into the White House here.)

Apparently oblivious to the fact that President Bush is a man who says what he means and means what he says, Senate and House Democratic leaders are expected to be joined by "hundreds of seniors" to call for a Part D enrollment deadline extension at 1:30 pm ET. Earlier, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her colleagues in the House Democratic leadership will also hold a post-conference 10:00 am ET media availability at which they are expected to push for an extension.

Vice President Cheney delivers remarks at the "Distinguished Service Award" ceremony at the US Capitol at 2:30 pm ET. Apparently delighted to appear on "The Daily Show," Vice President Cheney and outgoing CIA Director Porter Goss are expected to receive the award this year.

Speaker Hastert has a packed public appearance schedule today. At 10:00 am ET, the Speaker will be available to the press following the House Republican caucus meeting. Speaker Hastert will partake in the House Republican suburban agenda roll-out at 1:00 pm ET. A tax reconciliation press conference is scheduled for 2:00 pm ET, followed by the Distinguished Service Award ceremony.

The Federal Reserve announces its latest decision on short-term interest rates at 2:15 pm ET. Investors expect the central bank will lift the nation's key interest rate another quarter percentage point to five percent.

ABC News' Jason Ryan reports Judicial Watch expects it will receive the Secret Service logs of Jack Abramoff's comings and goings at the White House at some point before 5:00 pm ET. The documents will be posted on their website at: LINK

At 11:00 am ET, Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) hold a press conference to discuss the effects of the Bush/Enzi Bill on "access to contraception and abortion prevention efforts."

The Senate Intelligence Committee meets in closed session at 2:30 pm ET on the Iraq pre-war intelligence investigation.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee meets at 11:30 am ET to vote on the nomination of Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID) to Secretary of Interior.

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) host a pen & pad briefing on CFIUS legislation at 2:30 pm ET.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) holds a 3:00 pm ET press conference on health care and neglected diseases.

Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) discusses the economic and societal healthcare implications of chronic disease in the United States at 8:30 pm ET in St. Louis, MO. Gov. Huckabee is the first speaker as part of the 2006 "Healthy Futures Series" of the Holden Public Policy Forum at Webster University.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) and 1199 SEIU president Dennis Rivera attend a 10:00 am ET rally for "fair wages and benefits" for home health aides on the steps of City Hall in New York City. A media availability is scheduled to follow the rally at 10:30 am ET.

Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark (D-AR) was scheduled to address the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire at 9:00 am ET in Nashua, NH.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman delivers remarks to approximately 250 Republican women leaders from 17 states today who are in Washington, DC for the annual summit of the "Excellence in Public Service" program.

Phil Angelides and Steve Westly participate in a televised debate at 10:00 pm ET in San Francisco, CA. California GOP Chairman "Duf" Sundheim will be on hand for rebuttal purposes following the debate.

The Nebraska GOP holds a 9:00 am ET post-primary "unity" press conference in Lincoln, NE.

New York Times/CBS News poll:

After a week in which two polls have given Republicans heartburn (AP-Ipsos for its conservative numbers; Gallup for its Bush approval rating), the latest New York Times/CBS poll piles on, with yet more bad news for the GOP.

This time, it's about the issues -- and values. On immigration, "about a quarter" approve of the President's handling of the issue; on gas prices, the figure is down to 13 percent. Support for the war in Iraq has fallen to a new low of 39 percent. The poll has the country's wrong-track figure at 70 percent. And Ken Mehlman, take Note: on values, 50 percent say Democrats share their moral values, while just 37 percent say the same of Republicans.

The poll also finds the arguments of congressional Democrats are starting to make headway. Those surveyed said Republicans are more likely to be corrupt than Democrats; they believe Democrats have more new ideas than Republicans; and they prefer divided control of Congress.

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Megan Thee's fine craftsmanship is on display in the paper's lede story. LINK

Maureen Dowd takes the poll numbers and does a victory lap. LINK

Nebraska and West Virginia results:

Nebraska GOP gubernatorial primary:

Dave Heineman 50%

Tom Osborne 44%

Dave Nabity 5%

Nebraska GOP Senate primary:

Pete Ricketts 48%

Don Stenberg 36%

David Kramer 16%

West Virginia GOP Senate primary:

John Raese 58%

Hiram Lewis 23%

Thus, Gov. Dave Heineman (R-NE), former Ameritrade executive Pete Ricketts (R-NE), and millionaire John Raese (R-WV) all move onto November.

"Football coach-turned-congressman Tom Osborne tried -- and failed -- to take down Gov. Dave Heineman on Tuesday" in Nebraska's GOP primary, the AP's Larry Sullivan reports. LINK

The Lincoln Journal Star on Heineman's win in "the battle of GOP titans." LINK

The Omaha World Herald on the same: LINK

The Omaha World Herald credits deep pockets with GOP candidate Pete Ricketts' win. LINK

The Lincoln Journal Star has Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) framing the upcoming race for Nebraska's Senate seat as "Main Street versus Wall Street." LINK

The Charleston Gazette on multimillionaire John Raese's win in West Virginia. Raese will face Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) come November. LINK

The politics of tax cuts:

Keying off of yesterday's agreement between House and Senate Republican budget negotiators, the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Paul Blustein write that GOP leaders hope to pass the agreement swiftly with House consideration scheduled for tonight and the Senate likely to send the measure to the White House for the President's signature by the end of the week. The Washington Post duo Note, however, that the package "remains controversial" with "Democrats and a few Republicans saying the (tax) cuts would mainly benefit the wealthy and add to the long-term deficit." LINK

The Washington Times on the same: LINK

With agreement reached on the first tax cut bill, attention now shifts to the second tax bill, which the New York Times reports is expected to "extend scores of other popular tax cuts that are expiring," but about which Republican leaders are maintaining radio silence. LINK

Bloomberg's Ryan Donmoyer reports that lawmakers said they were "near agreement on a second measure that would extend as much as $30 billion in tax breaks, including a lapsed research credit that has benefited companies such as Chicago-based Boeing Co. and Dow Chemical Co., based in Midland, Michigan." LINK

The New York Times previews House Democrats' latest tax cut talking point, set to be unveiled today, which will try to convince taxpayers making $75,000 to $500,000 that the AMT "takes back a third or more of the Bush tax cuts." LINK

In the Wall Street Journal's "Personal Journal" section, Robert Guy Matthews Notes that yesterday's deal, which included a temporary fix for the AMT, leaves "unresolved what will happen to the unpopular levy in future years."

The Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins ledes his Big Casino coverage with the "range of tax breaks" going to "special interests including General Electric Co. and the University of Texas."

The politics of Iran:

On ABC's "Good Morning America," Rice explained President Bush's dismissive response to the letter sent from Iranian President Ahmadinejad to President Bush, saying, "The letter really doesn't address any of the issues that are there between the Iranians and the international community."

Elsewhere on morning television, Secretary Rice said that the UN Security Council is unified in its desire to take action pertaining to Iran, but not yet unified on how to take that action. Secretary Rice guaranteed that some action will be taken, but would not get into details of what that action may entail.

Hayden for CIA Director:

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence intends to hold both open and closed confirmation hearings on General Hayden's nomination as early as May 16, according to Chairman Roberts' communications director Sarah Little.

ABC News' Liz Marlantes reports that ranking member Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) who is still recovering from surgery will not likely be able to attend the hearings.

And ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf makes this interesting point: "A four-star general cannot be reassigned without the say-so of the Armed Services Committee. So, President Bush has essentially nominated Hayden to two posts. One as CIA Director and the other as a reassigned four-star general."

"So, if they were so inclined, Sens. Warner and Levin could demand hearings in the Armed Services Committee as well. Or they could simply vote him out with no hearings. But both the Intelligence and the Armed Services committees will have to vote on this nomination before it hits the Senate Floor."

Bloomberg's Jeff Bliss reports that Democrats say they will "focus their fire" on Hayden's military background and suitability to head the CIA and that they won't emphasize the nominee's role in running the warrantless wiretapping program. LINK

The New York Daily News takes Note of Sen. Hillary Clinton's attempts "to stay out of the fray" on Hayden, offering only a bland "I'm going to wait for the hearings" when asked to comment. LINK

The Washington Post's Thomas Ricks has Speaker Hastert telling reporters: "I don't think a military guy should be head of CIA, frankly" while Defense Secretary Rumsfeld dismissed talk of bureaucratic feuding over intelligence as "pedestrian." LINK

The New York Times on Gen. Michael Hayden's successful Tuesday meeting and greeting (and winning over) of lawmakers on Capitol Hill: LINK

Eric Schmitt offers a primer on the politics, history, and philosophies that form the foundation of the coming "clash" between the C.I.A. and Pentagon. LINK

Politics of Medicare:

"President Bush insisted yesterday that the May 15 deadline for picking a Medicare prescription drug plan will stand, even as key Republican lawmakers suggested they may take action retroactively to protect people who miss the Monday cutoff," report the Washington Post's Murray and Fletcher. LINK

The Hill's McCormack and Sheffield report that dozens of Republicans running for office in November are pushing for an extension to the enrollment deadline for the Medicare prescription drug benefit program. LINK

The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg and Marjorie Connelly turn the (Democratic) conventional wisdom about the politics of the prescription drug program on its head. LINK

As Rutenberg and Connelly write, new data from the latest NYT/CBS poll support the White House's argument that the drug program, "rather than angering a crucial bloc. . . gives older voters, who go to the polls more reliably than younger ones, something that always endears politicians to constituents -- money in the pocket."

Even DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel goes on the record admitting that the public's support for the program is growing.

However, David Jackson of USA Today has Democratic pollster Celinda Lake saying "it's a 'ticking time bomb' politically, that bomb is going to go off around election day.'" LINK

So maybe the old CW will be right; only time will tell. The Los Angeles Times, in its writethru of the President's visit to Florida, mentions yesterday's Families USA report that three out of four low-income seniors eligible for the prescription drug program are not yet participating. LINK

Orlando Sentinel's Robyn Shelton and Jim Stratton preview President Bush's visit to Orlando today. LINK


The Washington Times reports that a committee vote, most likely a party-line vote, on Brett Kavanaugh could come as early as tomorrow. LINK

The Washington Post's Charles Babington ledes his coverage of yesterday's Kavanaugh hearing with the judicial nominee testifying that he knew nothing about the "warrantless surveillance program, a now-rescinded memo on torture and White House visits by former lobbyist Jack Abramoff until they were in the newspapers." LINK

Jonathan Allen of the Hill writes that judicial nominee Terrence Boyle is in more danger of drawing a filibuster from Democrats than Brett Kavanaugh. LINK

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank describes the hand-rubbing and leg-jiggling Brett Kavanaugh as "elusive" even on "such simple maters as why it took him so long to respond to the committee's questions after his first hearing two years ago." LINK

When Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wondered whether he might recuse himself in cases involving his former White House colleagues and boss, Milbank writes that "'I will analyze those closely' was all" Kavanaugh "would commit to."

Bush Administration:

The Los Angeles Times predicts the Enzi health insurance bill may have a "chance of passing," despite the possibility it could "trigger a race to the bottom as employers cut costs by replacing existing plans with bare-bones policies." LINK

In a story that should be of interest to Dan Pfeiffer, Bloomberg's Rich Miller reports that the Bush administration "may stop short of branding China a currency manipulator, while criticizing the country's export-driven economic policy in a report to Congress today." LINK

Politics of Iraq:

The Wall Street Journal's Yochi Dreazen reports that the supplemental approved last week effectively barred the government's Iraq watchdog from overseeing new reconstruction spending, which will be overseen by the State Department instead.

Politics of immigration:

The Wall Street Journal's June Kronholz writes that the recently-released census estimates could "stiffen" the opposition of cultural conservatives to a compromise Senate bill that they see as an amnesty for illegal immigrants

Immigrant leaders from several cities will converge in DC on May 17 to deliver postcards addressed to Sen. Frist and Speaker Hastert requesting a "path to citizenship" and to meet with their own congressional delegation, reports the Washington Post. LINK

Politics of gas prices:

The Los Angeles Times examines the push in Washington to increase CAFÉ standards and asks whether, despite bipartisan support, automakers and auto workers will be able prevent Washington from raising fuel standards yet again. LINK

Alphonso Jackson:

The DNC and House Democrats are calling attention to this Dallas Business Journal report that claims HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson recently told a real estate forum that a government-approved advertising contractor expressed displeasure with President Bush and then did not get awarded the government contract for which it was selected. LINK

The Washington Post's Al Kamen writes that Jackson may have violated the Constitution's prohibitions on government retaliation of speech as well as federal procurement law. LINK

GOP agenda:

The Boston Globe's Rick Klein Notes the new Republican congressional agenda to vote only on bills that will "rally voters in November." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers offers this bit of history: "Since taking power in 1994, House Republicans have never failed to pass at least their own budget resolution, and a major push is under way now to avoid such an embarrassment. But last evening, Mr. Boehner was still hesitant to commit to calling a vote this week, and whatever happens, there is a tacit understanding that coming to agreement with the Senate is out of reach." The Hill's Patrick O'Connor takes a look at House Majority Leader John Boehner's (R-OH) first 100 days. LINK

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed that will be music to Mallory Factor's ears, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Tom Feeney (R-SC) make the case for mitigating the effects of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Dean's Democrats:

In a Washington Post op-ed that should bring a different smile to Jennifer Crider's face, Harold Meyerson calls Leader Pelosi "one of the smartest pols on the political landscape" and says the Democrats' Contract with America (a minimum wage hike, letting Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices, full implementation of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations, and a return of pay-as-you-go) "ain't bad." LINK

Jim Drinkard of USA Today writes on the ethical scandals of Democratic congressional members that may stand in the way of a majority come November elections. LINK

USA Today's Charisse Jones reports that attempts to raise minimum wage by congressional members could surge Democratic turnout on election day. LINK

The Abramoff affair:

Roll Call's Ben Pershing reports that Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) will explain to the Republican Conference this morning why he is still planning to run in the face of corruption allegations.


The Washington Times' Christina Bellantoni includes House Majority Leader Boehner's undercutting of a couple of his members' desire to have Rep. Mollohan (D-WV) step down from the Appropriations Committee as well. LINK

House of Labor:

The AFL-CIO and Change to Win have agreed to work together on voter mobilization. The Wall Street Journal's Kris Maher reports that the groups had been feuding since AFL-CIO President John Sweeney "barred locals of the farm workers union from participating in state and local AFL-CIO groups after that union disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO." Anna Burger, the head of Change to Win, then advised her unions to "stop paying dues to state and local AFL-CIO groups."

The pact announced yesterday paves the way for Change to Win unions, including the farm workers, to participate in state and local AFL-CIO groups.

2006: landscape:

In a deft front-page look at what could be the year of the black Republican, the Washington Post's Dan Balz and Matthew Mosk have Cornell Belcher, the DNC pollster whom Chairman Dean praises every chance he gets, saying: "The Republicans have a longer-term view of things than we Democrats sometimes have." LINK

2006: Senate:

The President's tarmac greeting yesterday with Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) was part of a "final attempt to nudge Harris out of her doomed Senate race," reports the New York Daily News' DeFrank and Kennedy, who also write House Speaker Allan Bense "will jump" into the race soon. LINK

"One well-connected GOP strategist in Florida said he heard Bense secured promises of high-level help and will jump in soon."

"'Jeb will be making calls for Bense, and the biggie - the President - will do fund-raisers for Bense against Harris,' he said."

In a front-page story for the Wall Street Journal, John D. McKinnon works in a reference to the cost of Katherine Harris' Citronelle meal with Mitchell Wade which can only make Bob Shrum feel good about what he used to pay at Galileo.

Jeremy Wallace of the Herald Tribune Notes that "it's been 32 years since a North Florida resident won the governor's mansion, and 60 years since one has won either of the two U.S. Senate seats," and that "another reason that North Florida candidates lose is money," but argues that Bense's "not-so-secret weapon," his alliance with Gov. Jeb Bush, might help. LINK

Steve Bousquet of the St. Petersburg Times writes that "some Republicans say Bush's increasingly pessimistic assessment of Harris' chances sends a clear signal to the wide universe of Bush loyalists that a path is being cleared for a Bense candidacy." LINK

Michael Fechter of the Tampa Tribune writes on "President Bush turned salesman" and Notes that yesterday's visit "also illustrated the President's delicate dance in Florida's U.S. Senate campaign." LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Sen. Clinton "is scheduled to headline a [Casey fundraising] luncheon Saturday at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza in Center City. Clinton appeared at an April 11 Casey fund-raiser in Chicago, and her political action committee, HILLPac, has donated $10,000 to his campaign against Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.)." LINK

Senate Democrats are following the lead of Republicans by focusing on issues important at the local level, reports Roll Call's John Stanton.

NRSC Executive Director Mark Stephens emailed a fundraising appeal to supporters with his apocalyptic predictions should the Democrats become the majority party. "They want nothing more than to create a three-ring political circus they know will get favorable coverage from the liberal media so that they can discredit, and then undo the Bush tax cuts and other important elements of the Bush agenda," writes Stephens.

"And it's even likely that Democrats - should they take over the House and Senate - will try to impeach President Bush."

Bash the liberal media, remind about the importance of tax cuts, and invoke a "likely" impeachment attempt -- quite the rally-the-base-trifecta!

2006: House:

As the polling data in the CBS/NY Times poll show, the issues dominating the headlines are not currently playing to the majority party's advantage -- which is precisely what some House Republicans hope to address today with their "Suburban Caucus Agenda" rollout.

The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny and Susan Kuczka curtain raise the plan "designed to win back suburban voters for the midterm elections and beyond" by "chang[ing] the subject from the Iraq war and immigration to matters far less controversial." LINK

They plan to "announce poll-driven policy ideas, including the promotion of tax-free college accounts, the expansion of background checks on teachers and coaches and the creation of a state-by-state database for sex offenders."

2006: Governor:

Just in time for Scott to get to work, Carole Keeton Strayhorn has turned in more than enough signatures to challenge Gov. Rick Perry as an independent in the Texas gubernatorial race, the Houston Chronicle reports. Independent candidate Kinky Friedman plans to turn in his petitions Thursday. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

The Los Angeles Times takes Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's move to put $37 billion in construction projects to a statewide vote as a stroke of political genius which "has complicated efforts by his Democratic rivals to portray him as a failed governor who is too conservative for California." LINK

Note to Maria: it isn't too early to be thinking about a huge bonus for Schmidt.

2006: New Orleans:

Michael Krupa of the Times Picayune Notes that because the political strength of displaced voters is far less then previously expected, both mayoral candidates are cutting back on travel and "sticking close to home" to tout their campaign messages. LINK

Times Picayune's Frank Donze takes a look at Mayor Nagin's fundraising trip to Chicago on Monday and estimates according to organizers that Nagin cashed in about $500,000 for his "mostly depleted" war chest. LINK

2008: Republicans:

While it is his graduation speech at Liberty University that has been getting most of the front page (and op-ed page) attention, the New York Times reports it is Sen. John McCain's planned appearance as the New School's commencement speaker that is drawing a greater uproar among students. LINK

Of course, the Times' David Herszenhorn Notes that the Liberty speech is related to the protests at New School. The AP writes it up too: LINK

Sen. McCain is expected to introduce a bill this week that would give cable companies incentives to provide channels "a la carte", a move opposed by some Christian broadcasters who feel they will lose viewers, reports Alexander Bolton of the Hill. LINK

The Young Republicans National Federation announced that Sen. Allen (R-VA) won its 2008 presidential straw poll, the Washington Times reports. LINK

New York Gov. George Pataki takes heat from both the New York Daily News and the Post for problems with the World Trade Center Memorial and Memorial Museum, just days after the Memorial's Foundation halted its fundraising. LINK and LINK

The Arkansas Times Aaron Sadler reports on Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R-AR) plans for a refund from the state's budget surplus "to help defray escalating energy costs." LINK

2008: Democrats:

The Washington Post's indefatigable Dan Balz describes yesterday's unveiling of "With All Our Might," a collection of essays on national security policy published by the Progressive Policy Institute, as underscoring "the division" within the Democratic Party between elected officials such as Sen. Bayh, Sen. Biden, and Sen. Clinton "who have resisted calls for setting timetables for withdrawal of US forces in Iraq, and those such as Leader Pelosi, Sen. Feingold, and Rep. Murtha, "who have embraced such timetables." LINK

Fellow '08ers Bayh and Warner were both on hand for the unveiling -- though they did not appear together at the same time.

In answering a question from a member of the audience, Sen. Bayh explained that the oft-talked about division within his party will not be diminished in 2006, but more likely not until a 2008 presidential nominee emerges as the leader of the Democratic Part who can set the agenda with a single voice behind which (most) Democrats can unite.

While chatting with reporters after the event, Warner asserted that he will remain neutral in the Harris Miller v. Jim Webb Democratic Senate primary in Virginia. He has already headlined a Miller fundraiser and will do one for Jim Webb this week.

When asked if George Allen's presidential aspirations will have an affect on his reelection race for the Senate, Warner replied, "One of the things about Virginians -- as we saw 15 years ago when Gov. Wilder had one job and was thinking about another job -- I think Virginians expect you to stay focused on what they hire you to do. . . I think that will be a consideration."

Gov. Warner said he could not speak to how New Yorkers might feel in a similar scenario.

It also appears Gov. Warner is able to joke about that New York Times photo-flap from a couple of month's ago.

Before departing the Progressive Policy Institute event at the National Press Club, an attendee asked Gov. Warner to autograph a photo. Warner clearly liked the photo and held it up to show his aide, the seersucker-clad Ellen Qualls, and declared, "This is a great photo. Why couldn't they have used this on the cover of the New York Times Magazine?"

The Richmond Times-Dispatch's Pamela Stallsmith puts the 2008 magnifying glass on former Gov. Mark Warner's (D-VA) fundraising and travel. LINK

The New York Times' Anne Kornblut tries to get at the "why" question for the Sen. Clinton-Rupert Murdoch pairing and quickly concludes the alliance has benefits for both sides. LINK

The New York Daily News has Sen. Clinton offering a "no comment" when asked about "constituents who don't like Murdoch's brand of news-gathering." LINK

The New York Post and New York Daily News both have Clinton's response to a question yesterday that asked her to name her favorite things about the President: "He's been very willing to talk. He's been affable, he's been good company. . . He is someone who has a lot of charm and charisma, and in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, I was very grateful to him for his support for New York." LINK and LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Antonio Regalado reports that former Vice President Gore is helping to launch an educational group called Alliance for Climate Protection that intends to spend millions of dollars convincing Americans that global warming is an urgent problem and that stopping global warming will require fundamental changes to energy policy, such as higher fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles.

The group will have board members spanning the political spectrum. In addition to Lee Thomas, who ran the EPA during Reagan's second term, the board includes Clinton EPA chief Carol Browner and, "according to a person familiar with the matter," 41 friend/43 critic Brent Scowcroft.

Bloomberg's Kim Chapman reports that the Alliance for Climate Protection, which will be co-chaired by Lehman's Theodore Roosevelt IV, is trying to corral Wall Street out of a belief that environmental groups alone aren't doing enough to alert the public to the dangers of global warming. LINK


In midst of what is looking like a dismal year for New York's Republican Party, the New York Daily News reports the state's Republican boss, Stephen Minarik, is likely to leave his post later this year, before his term ends. LINK

The Reliable Source reports that Jack Quinn, the Democratic half of Quinn Gillespie, "popped the question" to Susanna Monroney, former aide to Reaganites Ed Meese and David McIntosh. LINK

The Hill's Josephine Hearn writes that opportunities for Democrats may be opening up in the Washington lobbying game. LINK

The Washington Post's Nora Boustany Notes that Melanne Verveer, who was the First Lady's chief of staff in the Clinton White House, now chairs a bipartisan board of directors for Vital Voices, which works to promote the standing of women. LINK

Sally Rider, who served for five years as the top staff aide to then-Chief Justice Rehnquist, will become the inaugural director of the William H. Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law. LINK