WASHINGTON, May 16
There are three main possible pre-election outcomes on immigration:
1. No bill.
2. The President and a majority of the Senate accept an enforcement-only bill.
3. A serious number of House Republicans accept a comprehensive bill, agreeing to the President's definition of "amnesty" and risking the wrath of town hall meeters, talk radio hosters, column writers, and Internet bloggers.
In a classic contest of the-prisoner's-dilemma-meets-a-game-of-chicken, Republican leaders in the White House and on Capitol Hill both want to avoid Outcome 1 but are a million miles away on choosing between Outcomes 2 and 3 -- which could lead back to 1.
Remember, the baby can be given a haircut -- maybe a limb or two could even be amputated -- but the baby cannot be split.
As an exercise to see if the President can win this, assume that House leaders do not abandon their majority-of-the-majority rule, then go ahead and try to make a list of 116 Republican House members who would potentially vote for a guest worker program as part of a majority-of-the-majority coalition.
Feel free to monitor citizen opinion, talk radio, columns, and blogs today (You will not find many conservative voices agreeing with John Podhoretz's pro-Bush take.). LINK
But better if you want to understand the President's problem: try to name the senior, persuasive, skilled vote-counting Republican House member who will whip for the President's side if there is a conference report. And try to imagine HastertBoehnerBlunt giving that person permission to whip. And PelosiHoyer-Rahm giving Democrats full permission to bail the President out.
Possible? Sure. Likely? Let Tony Snow be the judge -- if he has enough information. (And if you can't follow the above, may we suggest you enroll in a little School House Rock? LINK)
The Tony Snow (on-camera) era officially gets underway today. The new White House press secretary will hold his first televised briefing at 12:30 pm ET.
As part of the Bush Administration's effort to show real progress on the border over the next few weeks, President Bush meets with members of Congress at 2:40 pm ET and DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff holds a 10:00 am ET briefing on border security.
President Bush will also be focused on the US-Australian relationship today. The White House has already held an arrival ceremony, to be followed by a joint press availability, and an official dinner with Prime Minister Howard. ABC News' Karen Travers reports that today's joint press availability with Bush and Howard will be their seventh; their first came on Sept. 10, 2001.
The US District Court holds a 1:30 pm ET hearing before Judge Walton on former Cheney aide Scooter Libby's request to subpoena NBC News, Time magazine, and the New York Times to turn over drafts and documents related to the Valerie Plame outing.
A status conference hearing in the case of David Safavian is scheduled for 9:30 am ET. ABC News' Jason Ryan reports that the judge may be going over final details including whether Jack Abramoff will testify at the trial and the submission of even more e-mails from Safavian, Abramoff, and others.
The Congressional Black Caucus holds a news conference and demonstration on the Darfur crisis outside the Sudanese Embassy.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) delivers Columbia's College Class Day address in New York City.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean attends a fundraiser for the New York Democratic Lawyers Council at the Yale Club in New York City.
Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky hold primaries today.
The Associated Press highlights the Noteworthy primary races of the day including a tough battle for incumbent Gov. Kulongoski (D-OR), Bob Casey, Jr. and Lynn Swann's formalizing their challenging nominee status, and a "fightin' Dem" seeking the chance to take on Rep. Anne Northup (R-KY) in Louisville. LINK
Oregon: (vote by mail)
County elections offices open: 10:00 am ET
County elections offices close: 11:00 pm ET
Polls Open: 7:00 am ET
Polls Close: 8:00 pm ET
Polls open: 6:00 am ET
Polls close: 7:00 pm ET
Bush speech: morning shows:
On "Good Morning America," ABC News' George Stephanopoulos said senior White House officials acknowledge that "the ice has not yet cracked" with House Republicans on the President's push for a guest-worker program.
Despite President Bush saying that his plan does not amount to amnesty, Stephanopoulos Noted that House GOPers view any plan that allows illegal immigrants now in the country to earn citizenship without first going home as amnesty.
Bush speech: analysis:
Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times delivers a must-read news analysis focusing on the President's long record on recognizing the immigrant community's hard work and seeking ways to welcome immigrants into American society. (It's not an analysis likely to help his cause in assuaging concerns among many Republican MOCs -- especially with those Hernandez and McKinnon quotes!) (How did Izzy get booked for that gig, Mr. Snow???!!???) (Assuming you know who Izzy is, that is.) LINK
"Now immigration, as divisive as it is, remains as Mr. Bush's last major domestic issue and a test of his remaining powers as president," writes Bumiller.
The Washington Post's Dan Balz ledes ominously: "President Bush once saw the immigration issue as an opportunity to expand the Republican Party by attracting more Hispanic voters with a message of tolerance and inclusion. His nationally televised speech last night was an admission that the issue has now become a problem that, if not managed carefully, could quickly become a historic liability for his party." LINK
The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan Notes that it's not clear whether the President "won any new supporters among the competing factions of enforcement-only conservatives in the House and Senate Republicans who demand a path to citizenship for some illegal aliens in any final bill." LINK
The Chicago Tribune Notes that Bush's utilization of the National Guard "is a measure of how much resistance the president faces within his own party in Congress balking at his plans for immigration reform when his own job-approval is at an all-time low." LINK
"President Bush gambled last night that sending the National Guard to police the border would persuade get-tough Republicans to back citizenship for illegal aliens," writes Deborah Orin in her New York Post analysis. LINK
"At first blush, it looks like a bad bet. Republican skeptics say what Bush calls tough action is really just a token gesture."
USA Today highlights the GOP split. LINK
". . . the president's big initiative is heavy on symbolism but will be small in scale -- and largely invisible on the ground," write Julian Barnes and Peter Spiegel of the Los Angeles Times. LINK
Roll Call has Democratic and Republican aides saying that significant changes to the Senate immigration bill "will likely doom the bill."
Peter S. Canellos from the Boston Globe concludes that the speech was "noteworthy"(sic) in that the President remained in the center, bringing together all sides. LINK
The Des Moines Register writes up Rep. Steve King's skepticism. LINK
Bush speech: ledes and headlines:
The Washington Post's Jim VandeHei and Jonathan Weisman write that President Bush's proposal would give illegal immigrants who have lived here for an extended time "preferred" status in obtaining citizenship. The Washington Post duo also report that in conversations with lawmakers on Monday, Karl Rove "made it clear that Bush supports, in principle, a Senate-backed plan that would provide immigrants who have lived here for five or more years a clear path to citizenship if they pay a penalty, according to participants." LINK
"President Bush vowed to strengthen borders that he acknowledged weren't yet secure, but it was unclear if his tough talk would be enough to tamp down the immigration debate roiling the Republican Party and angering many of its voters," ledes the Wall Street Journal's immigration coverage.
The New York Post's Orin includes the President's "we do not yet have full control of the border" line in her lede. LINK
Ken Bazinet and Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News lede with the 6,000 National Guard troops and spend the first 10 paragraphs on the President's border security focus before mentioning his renewed push for a temporary worker program in graph 11. LINK
Charles Hurt from The Washington Times reveals the paper's clear opposition, leading with the fact that the Senate immigration bill would allow up to 193 million new legal immigrants over the next two decades, "a number greater than 60 percent of the population." Hurt also Notes that some liberals are "growing increasingly uneasy about increasing the competition for American jobs." LINK
"Bush Calls for Buildup on Border," reads the Los Angeles Times headline above its lede-all. LINK
(Note the Jones and Hayworth quotes.)
Coverage from the Boston Globe: LINK
Bush speech: reaction:
The Los Angeles Times includes Gov. Schwarzenegger's reaction statement: "Border state governors were not consulted about this proposal in advance, and there are many outstanding questions about the impact of the president's proposal on Californians. . ." LINK
Bush speech: op-eds and editorials:
In his New York Post column, John Podhoretz focuses almost exclusively on the President's border security language and asserts that President Bush "did himself some good" last night. LINK
The Wall Street Journal editorial board asserts that President Bush is far more in line with Ronald Reagan on immigration than some of the more conservative/"nativist" Republicans may like to believe.
The Boston Herald editorial board points out the Bush Administration's policy "flaw" in offering a short term "political stop-gap" rather than long-term solutions to border security. LINK
The Los Angeles Times editorial board writes that President Bush used the right words in his speech last night, but questions whether it will inspire the action he seeks. LINK
The Washington Times editorial board blasts the Hagel-Martinez bill with costly numbers. LINK
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank writes that Rove was sent into a "syntactical tailspin" after he uttered, "We're doing a heck of a job." LINK
Michael McAuliff of the New York Daily News chats with some pollsters who seem to disagree with Rove's analysis of President Bush's recent poll position. LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Wallsten writes up the Bush-Rove one-two punch to soothe the base yesterday, but seems to wonder if it may be too late. LINK
E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post contrasts Rove's somewhat defensive posture at AEI yesterday with his more offensive posture in his January address to the RNC, and takes issue with Rove's math. LINK
The Nation's David Corn blogs about "Asking Rove One Question." LINK
Anne Marie Squeo of the Wall Street Journal debunks the Truthout.org report on a Rove (non)-indictment and explores the effect of the sometimes inaccurate blogosphere. LINK
(Also, Judith Miller offers a Wall Street Journal op-ed on WMD.)
Politics of Medicare:
The inimitable Robert Pear of the New York Times on the rush to enroll in Medicare Part D before last night's deadline. LINK
Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) said yesterday that she did not want seniors who sign up for the Medicare prescription drug benefit after yesterday's deadline to face any penalties.
"So I don't want them to have penalties and my bill would eliminate the penalty for this second round of sign-ups," said Rep. Johnson. "I don't want any senior in America to pay a price for the fact that some Democrats made the political choice to dissuade seniors from the biggest benefit expansion that Medicare has offered since its founding."
Rep. Johnson is one of four incumbent House Republicans who has been criticized in television ads by MoveOn.org for allegedly letting down seniors by not allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.
Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org's executive director, reacted to Johnson's bill to get rid of the post-deadline penalty by telling ABC News, "Johnson's last-minute opportunism doesn't get her much praise in our book. It's nice to see that a few MoveOn members and a big cardboard check with Johnson's drug company contributions on it can have an impact. But where was she when she actually could have made a difference on this issue? . . . This looks to us more like blatant pandering to an electorate that's moving away from her. After taking so much money from the drug companies, it's no wonder that her voters don't trust her."
From April 26 through May 5, MoveOn spent $305,000 to air ads criticizing Reps. Johnson, Deborah Pryce (R-OH), Chris Chocoloa (R-IN), and Thelma Drake (R-VA) on Medicare.
MoveOn has switched back to the energy issue against Pryce, Chocola, and Drake. But has renewed its Medicare attack on Johnson. MoveOn is spending $86,000 to air its anti-Johnson Medicare ad this week. Johnson has responded with an ad that tries to link Chris Murphy, her Democratic opponent, to the MoveOn ads, whom she refers to as Murphy's "special interest friends."
BellSouth denies the USA Today report from last week naming it as one of the telecommunications companies that handed over customer calling records to the NSA, reports the New York Times. LINK
USA Today on the same. LINK
The Philadelphia Enquirer on PA's "moment of truth." LINK
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Pennsylvania's new voting machines. LINK
The Washington Post's Goldfarb and Slevin report that Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D-OR) has had to open his war chest earlier than expected to fend off state treasurer Jim Hill in what has become "an increasingly competitive nominating contest." LINK
The Oregonian on the lack of voters in today's primary. LINK
The Salem Statesman Journal's comprehensive list of primary participants, complete with links for more info on the candidates. LINK
The Louisville Courier-Journal breaks down the races by district. LINK
Following Roll Call's reporting from yesterday, the New York Times reports that lawyers for House Republicans claim that Justice Department requests for documents from the House Appropriations and Intelligence Committees -- as a part of the expanding legal probe into activity surrounding former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham -- are too broad. LINK
Keying off of recent talks between lawyers to Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) and the Justice Department, Roll Call's John Bresnahan and Steve Kornack report that it won't be long before an indictment is handed down.
National Democrats have launched a new ad in California that includes a kangaroo that jumps around and mocks former Rep. Bilbray for missing a week's worth of votes to go to Australia. The spot ends by saying that Bilbray enjoyed hanging out with lobbyists so much that he became one after he left Congress.
Per Roll Call, multimillionaire Bill Hauf (R) announced yesterday he will challenge GOP-special election nominee Bilbray in the November general election. Bilbray will now have to face off Democrat Francine Busby from the left and Hauf from the right in order to secure ex-Rep. Duke Cunningham's seat.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer has Democratic congressional candidate Betty Sutton using Vice President Cheney's fundraising appearance on behalf of her opponent, Craig Foltin, to suggest that Foltin would be "another yes man" for the Bush-Cheney Administration. LINK
First Lady Laura Bush (the Administration headliner most likely to fundraise for Blue State Republicans) plans to be the featured attraction at two fundraising events for Martha Rainville in Vermont on Friday, reports The Hill. LINK
Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) "kicks off his 'Progress for Pennsylvania' tour tomorrow, barely 16 hours after the primary polls close," reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. LINK
Iowa Democratic gubernatorial candidates are sparring over ethanol use, the Des Moines Register reports. LINK
The Schwarzenegger Era:
The Los Angeles Times on the "unlikely partnership" forged between Gov. Schwarzenegger and Mayor Villaraigosa: LINK
San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci on Gov. Schwarzenegger's endorsement, or lack thereof, for GOP Californian candidates: LINK
Bush Administration personality:
The Washington Post says that President Bush and his wife had assets valued between $7.2 million and $20.9 million last year -- up from as much as $18.1 million the year before.
2006: New Orleans:
The New York Times on the important role displaced residents may play in the mayoral run-off with their absentee ballots: LINK
The New Orleans Times-Picayune sees Mayor Nagin's public outrage with the slow pace of emergency fudning as implying Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu is to blame. LINK
In Roll Call column, Donna Brazile calls McCain's decision to speak to Falwell's Liberty University a "smart political move." She writes that Rupert Murdoch's "endorsement" of Sen. Clinton should be seen as similar to the "bellwether" 1992 moment when conservative business leaders from Orange County such as Roger Johnson, the CEO of Western Digital, broke with George H.W. Bush and endorsed Bill Clinton. Brazile dismisses talk that Sen. Clinton is having problems with the left as nothing more than "elite buzz." Though Brazile does think that the recent flap over whether young people are lazy does show that Sen. Clinton need to be "careful with her words."
"It seemed almost Biblical." That's how Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) described the rising water in Massachusetts while chatting with ABC News' Diane Sawyer about the floods that have hit New England on "Good Morning America."
Romney said that his state is most concerned about the back-up of sewage and water in people's basements that could cause them to lose electricity. He said that he is confident that no one has lost his or her life while adding that efforts are being taken to prevent "looting of any kind."
Per the Boston Globe's Andrea Estes: "The Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee is expected to issue a report today accusing the Romney administration of neglecting the state's dams by not inspecting and maintaining them." Officials from Romney's camp yesterday defended the dam safety program. LINK
Behind that TimesSelect wall, New York Times metro columnist Clyde Haberman keys off of the "Giuliani Time" documentary recently released and writes of the post 9/11 honeymoon coming to an end for Rudy Giuliani. LINK
Davidson Goldin of the New York Sun traveled to North Carolina to size up Giuliani as a potential presidential hopeful and appears quite impressed. "His stump speech is a winner, gently touching on his accomplishments as mayor at reducing crime and welfare, without overselling his leadership on September 11, 2001," writes Goldin. LINK
The Des Moines Register's David Yepsen achieves must-read status with his op-ed on Gen. Wesley Clark's promising start. LINK
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues his push for greater gun control with a federal lawsuit against 15 gun dealers. LINK
Per The Hill, Reps. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) are competing to lead the Congressional Black Caucus next year, with the vote scheduled to take place after the November elections. LINK