WASHINGTON, May 12
Senators Specter and Snowe, Sunday morning pundits, reporters from the Nation's Newspaper and the nation's newspapers, and all MOCs with "(D)"s after their names want to know more about the domestic telephone record harvesting that the Bush Administration apparently has engaged in.
The American people and Tony Snow, however, just might know as much as they want to know about it.
On "Good Morning America," Charlie Gibson reported that ABC News crunched the numbers overnight and found that "by nearly two to one" (63 to 33 percent) Americans say that the phone tracking being done is justified. (Stand by for twin RNC and White House press releases!!)
ABC and our Washington Post polling partners also asked Americans if they would be bothered if the government had your phone records, 66 percent said they would not be bothered; 34 percent said they would be bothered.
ABC News' George Stephanopoulos said that the USA Today story would raise more questions for Gen. Hayden during his confirmation hearings but that the White House thinks this issue works for them.
Here is some more from the ABC News/Washington Post overnight poll from Gary Langer and Dalia Sussman. LINK
The Washington Post writes up the poll too for the World Wide Web. LINK
President Bush participates in a meeting with the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, former Secretaries of State and former Secretaries of Defense in the Roosevelt Room at 9:45 am ET. The pool will be ushered in at the bottom of the meeting.
ABC News' Karen Travers reminds us that "President Bush had a similar meeting with former Secretaries of Defense and Secretaries of State in the Roosevelt Room on January 5, 2006."
"The subject-to-change list of expected attendees include: Secretary of State Alexander Haig (Reagan), Secretary of State James Baker (Bush 41), Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger (Bush 41), Secretary of State Warren Christopher (Clinton), Secretary of State Colin Powell (Bush 43), Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (Kennedy and Johnson), Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird (Nixon), Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger (Nixon and Ford), and Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci (Reagan)."
Later in the day, President Bush makes remarks at a celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and participates in the presentation of the President's volunteer service awards in the East Room at 1:55 pm ET.
Mrs. Bush delivers remarks at the National Convention of the American Red Cross at 11:35 am ET. Then she sits down with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos for an interview set to air this Sunday on "This Week."
The President and the First Lady are scheduled to head to Camp David for this Mother's Day weekend.
The new White House press secretary Tony Snow conducts his first off-camera gaggle at 9:30 am ET and he has moved the venue. The gaggle will move from the briefing room to the more traditional forum in the press secretary's office. The liberal bloggers will spend their weekends speculating as to why.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) holds a 2:45 pm ET photo opportunity with Michael Hayden. Vice President Cheney headlines a luncheon honoring Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) with co-hosts Rep. Frank Wolf and Rep. Tom Davis in Washington, DC.
Sen. McCain (R-AZ) shares the Liberty University commencement stage with Jerry Falwell tomorrow morning at 9:30 am ET at the Vines Center Basketball Arena in Lynchburg, VA. McCain is not expected to hold a media availability, but with all those big feet political reporters around - you just never know. The ceremony is expected to last an hour. Then Sen. McCain heads to Salt Lake City, UT to address the Utah State Republican Party convention.
Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) addresses the "Salute to West Michigan Business" awards luncheon in Grand Rapids, MI at noon ET. At 7:00 pm ET, Gov. Romney addresses the Muskegon County Republicans Lincoln Day Dinner in Norton Shores, MI.
Sen. George Allen (R-VA) travels to Charlottesville, Dolphin, and Lawrenceville, VA this weekend.
Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) is in Manchester, NH today where he meets privately with people struggling to make ends meet and hold a media availability with reporters afterwards. Sen. Edwards is also expected to attend a fundraiser for State Senator Joe Foster. Tomorrow, Sen. Edwards delivers the commencement address at the University of Maine in Orono, ME. Note to our New England colleagues: Senator Edwards has not decided yet if he is running for president in 2008.
Sen. Clinton (D-NY), in conjunction with Working Mother magazine, will commemorate Mother's Day by "applauding working mother's and companies like JP Morgan Chase who have gone above and beyond in providing family-friendly benefits that support both working mom's and dad's" at JP Morgan Chase in New York City at 1:45 pm ET. Sen. Clinton will spend part of her Mother's Day delivering the commencement speech at Long Island University in Brookville, NY on Sunday.
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) addresses attendees of the "Camp Bayh" training session for future campaign workers, activists, and candidates in Indianapolis, IN. Sen. Bayh also speaks at the Indiana Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Indianapolis, IN with keynote speaker Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN). "Keynote" seems like a fancy word to us.
RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman and the Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao make 5:00 pm ET remarks at an RNC reception honoring Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at RNC headquarters in Washington, DC.
Tune into "This Week All Week" on the Web to see which possible '08 candidates took positive strides this week to advance their candidacies. ABC News' Martha Raddatz weighs-in on how the NSA phone records data mining story is playing politically and Mark Halperin has all the latest from the 2008 campaign trail (including Joe Biden's rocking Palmetto fortnight). Check it out here: LINK
And then get ready to settle in for an excellent Mother's Day version of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." As mentioned above, George sits down with First Lady Laura Bush to talk about Gulf Coast recovery and other issues of the day. And two presidential hopefuls will also join George on Sunday. Sens. Hagel (R-NE) and Biden (D-DE) will be on hand to discuss the Hayden nomination, the NSA data mining story, Iraq, Iran, and much more. You won't want to miss it. LINK
The Portland Press Herald has the reaction of Intelligence Committee member Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME): "I believe the story raises serious concerns and significant and troubling questions that are all the more disturbing, given the program solely involves domestic phone calls. Both national security and issues of privacy and civil liberties protections must be of paramount concern." LINK
"'This is going to make [confirmation] a little more difficult for Gen. Hayden,' warned Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a key Republican on the committee," reports the New York Daily News. LINK
In a story that indicates that Sen. Specter "appeared to be on a collision course" with Dr. Frist, the Washington Post's Charles Babington Notes that the USA Today report carried an extra punch on Capitol Hill not only because it coincides with the upcoming Hayden hearings but also because it comes on the heels of Wednesday night's news that the Justice Department has closed an inquiry into its own lawyers' role in the warrantless wiretaps because investigators could not obtain the security clearances needed from the administration." LINK
The New York Times news-of-day piece includes Sen. Feinstein's prediction for more complicated confirmation hearings for Gen. Hayden, divided legal opinion on the program's legality, Sen. Specter's intention to call telecommunications companies involved in the program before the Judiciary Committee, and President Bush's attempt to "defuse a tempest on Capitol Hill" by quickly going on camera to make remarks in defense of his Administration's efforts to protect Americans. LINK
In the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Intelligence Committee member Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), defends the Administration's stance and opinion on NSA tactics. LINK
Writing in the Los Angeles Times under a double byline, Ron Brownstein and Maura Reynolds report that the rekindled argument over surveillance is "likely to complicate the push from Specter and other Republicans for legislation providing explicit legal authority for the NSA warrantless surveillance." LINK
Barton Gellman and Arshad Mohammed of the Washington Post report that President Bush said that "the intelligence activities I authorized are lawful," while Noting that the President "specified no source of statutory or constitutional authority." LINK
USA Today follows yesterday's stirring disclosure on the NSA's phone call database with a report on the Bush Administration's hasty and defensive reaction. LINK
USA Today on the familiar and fiery political debate it stoked on the rights of individuals versus government. LINK
USA Today rounds out its coverage with the Hayden hearings now taking center stage. LINK
Matthew Stannard of the San Fransisco Chronicle provides a thorough explanation of the uses of data mining. LINK
The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers writes that House Republicans "abruptly" pulled back from a vote on the 2007 budget, while Senate Republicans struck a deal with Democrats that revives chances for Senate passage of a major immigration bill by Memorial Day.
More Rogers: "The president's goal is to get a Senate bill to conference with the House, where he can try to use his power to strike some deal. The agreement gives so much leverage to Senate Democrats in those talks that it will require major concessions by reluctant House Republicans before any legislation can emerge."
Politics of immigration:
Charles Hurt of the Washington Times reports the Senate has reached an agreement on immigration that would allow those here illegally for two years or more to apply for citizenship. LINK
"Procedural quagmire" averted, the New York Times reports on the immigration deal in the Senate and includes a pleased-sounding Sen. Kennedy. For the sake of narrative flow, the paper pretends the Sen./Leader/Dr. Frist and Sen. Reid like and respect each other. LINK
Politics of tax cuts:
The New York Times reports the Senate's passage of the $70 billion tax cuts package is a "sigificant victory" for President Bush and Republican leaders. LINK
Big Casino budget politics:
A Senate bill to pay for the Iraq and hurricane relief entered its own war zone yesterday with administration and House conservatives determined to shake out $14 billion of election-year extras. LINK
Adding no new names of MoC's being investigated, the New York Times follows yesterday's Los Angeles Times report on the preliminary investigation into House Appropriations Committee members including Chairman Jerry Lewis, which has grown out of the Duke Cunningham investigation and prosecution. LINK
The New York Times also looks at Kyle "Dusty" Foggo's time at the CIA and the current FBI and CIA investigations into his activities. LINK
The Boston Globe's Scot Leigh writes his op-ed on Stu Rothenberg's political forecasting of a Democratic shift in 2006. LINK
The Chicago Tribune's Zeleny and Biemer report on Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth's EMILY's List luncheon appearance and how the abortion issue is playing out in the campaign to succeed pro-life Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL). LINK
Former Republican congressman Steve Stockman sought certification to run as an independent candidate in his district after accusing the GOP of back-room deals to pick Rep. Tom DeLay's successor. LINK
DeLay informed Speaker Hastert yesterday that June 9, 2006 will be his final day in the US House of Representatives.
Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) has opened up a 22-point lead over NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann (55 percent to 33 percent) in the latest Quinnipiac University poll in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race. Rendell's approval ratings have gone up as well since the last Quinnipiac poll in early April.
In his 169,154-signature bid for governor, Kinky Friedman threw his hat in the ring with talk of ". . . the new Texas revolution. . ." from the steps of the secretary of state's office. LINK
Former President Clinton is heading to Maine in three weeks to raise money for Gov. John Baldacci (D-ME), the Bangor Daily News reports. LINK
In her McCain-Falwell curtain-raiser, the Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes has Tom McClusky of the conservative Family Research Council saying that he would be "shocked" if McCain won the GOP's presidential nomination: "He's been squeamish on cloning, he's been squeamish on embryonic stem-cell research, he has supported fetal-tissue research. And these are all things that for family groups are make or break."
Grab yourself a hard copy of today's New York Post to re-read George Will's column on McCain and another piece on Falwell (plus some Hillary Clinton letters).
The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne contrasts the "remarkable" work being done on health care in Massachusetts with the way in which the U.S. Senate is considering a plan by Sen. Enzi that would sweep away state insurance regulations and "destroy the Massachusetts plan by making insurance unaffordable for many." LINK
Andrea Estes of the Boston Globe reports that Gov. Romney was quite displeased that his name appeared on a gay pride press release in Boston. Romney threatened to strip the group of its funding, but softened his approach to expressing his displeasure in the end. LINK
A.O. Scott's New York Times' mixed review of "Giuliani Time," which opens in limited release today. LINK
John Rodgers of the Nashville City Paper contrasts Sen. Frist's in-state popularity with his nationwide appeal. LINK
The New York Post's Bishop on Sen. Clinton's Chamber of Commerce convention remarks in which she lambasted the desire for instant gratification among America's youth and a sense of entitlement rather than a desire to work. LINK
"It starts in Iowa," reads the subject line of WesPAC's most recent email sent to supporters soliciting contributions for Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA). Followers of Clark's 2004 presidential campaign will no doubt find that subject line rich with irony.
Stay and Fight: A 2000 Flashback:
With "An Inconvenient Truth" about to be released, speculation is rampant in Washington about Al Gore's 2008 plans.
Many Democrats are excited about the thought of the "new Al Gore," the post-2000 Gore, the Gore who goes around the media, says what he thinks, and lets the chips fall where they may.
Let's just say that Bill Bradley is not one of those Democrats.
"He's moving left. It's a calculation," said Bradley, who believes Gore will emerge in 2008 as an "environmental populist."
Speaking to ABC News on the same day that the New York Post's Deborah Orin had a "well-placed Democrat" saying in an unconfirmed report that Gore "owns a ton of Google" that he could invest in a presidential race, Bradley was supremely confident that his former rival is planning to get back in the game.
"I don't think there is any question," Bradley told ABC News. "He made $50 million on Google. He's got the money to do it."
(Whether or not Arlie Schardt is a part of any of this remains unclear. LINK)
Bradley made his comments to ABC News after joining former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) at the National Press Club to push a plan to publicly fund campaigns for the House, Senate and White House for "just six dollars" a year for each American.
Following his press conference with Simpson, Bradley challenged the irreplaceable Mark Shields to report how much money Bob Shrum made in 2000, believing that Americans would be outraged to know how much the legendary wordsmith-turned-admaker made that year.
Bradley stressed that he wants Shields to report Shrum's haul for 2000 when his clients included Gore and Jon Corzine and not the "$800,000," or so, that Bradley speculates Shrum made in an off-year like 2001.
He added, however, that he would take Shrum's 2004 take, when his firm worked for Sen. Kerry's presidential campaign, as "a bellwether."
To dramatize how much money Corzine has spent to get elected in New Jersey, Bradley took out his money clip, grabbed a wad of cash, and threw it on the floor.
The former Senator said that he thought publicly funded campaigns were "a long shot" while adding that "everything is a long shot until the system cracks."
"It's at that point," he said, "that people might say: 'Oh, my God. What do we do? That's when $6 might be the answer."
Learn more about the plan: LINK
The Clinton of Chappaqua:
Former Independent Counsel Robert Ray surrendered himself to police in New York City last night where his ex-girlfriend has filed a stalking complaint against him.LINK
Let the Begala-Kennedy-Mills forwarding begin!!
Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R-KY) was indicted Thursday "on three misdemeanor counts alleging that he directed an illegal conspiracy to place his political allies in state jobs at the expense of those who might oppose him," the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. LINK
Casting and Counting:
The New York Times looks at alleged security risks in some Diebold Election System's touch-screen voting machines. LINK
House of Labor:
CBS' "60 Minutes" profiles SEIU's Andy Stern on Sunday. The interview is expected to cover how his daughter's death has propelled him, splits in the labor movement, and his push to organize across national boundaries.