The Note: The Sport of King(s)


Note quiz: which elements on the list below are the fruits of reporting and which are blatant homage to the old Larry King USA Today column?

You gotta wonder what Big Business has done over the congressional recess to put its money where its interests are on pressuring House Republicans on immigration reform. . . Look up "class" in the dictionary and there, my friend, you will see a picture of Mr. Tony Bennett . . . Nothing could be finer than to savor a Gang of 500 brunch at Lauriol Plaza this Sunday after watching George Stephanopoulos' exclusive Sunday interview with former presidential candidate Al Gore. . . . If there are mint juleps, why not rasberry juleps? And why not mint-lime rickeys? . . . Who are the senior Republican Senator and senior Administration official who have thought the most anew about Secretary Rumsfeld's future in the wake of Haditha? . . . Betsy Stark is the Irving R. Levine of our time. . . . For our money, proof of a Higher Being can be found everyday on the Game Show Network. . . When Speaker Hastert has lunch in Iraq with troops from the Land of Lincoln, does he have seconds? . . . After the election is over, if Democrats have won more than 20 House seats, which Republicans will belatedly acknowledge how gloomy the party's private spring polling was? . . . Waffles are for breakfast -- give us a sugar cone every time….Let's be serious: there's no better show on TV than ABC's "Lost" . . . You put Ron Howard and Tom Hanks together, people, and you get a surefire hit . . . We don't know about you, but to us Danielle was "America's Next Top Model" from the get-go . . . Anyone else see it coming that Beaver would turn out so bad on "Veronica Mars"?....Jim VandeHei seems to have sobered up . . .. Are George Pataki's approval rating highest in Des Moines, in Albany, or on 43rd Street? . . . From now on, the Old Media and New Media will believe any and all reports about alleged American atrocities in Iraq, until and unless proven false. . . . We've never seen a jobs report that couldn't be spun by both sides. Face it: the employment picture is mixed. . . . Karen Travers has been oddly silent on the Bikini Strangler story….Welcome back soon, Charlie Rose. We missed you, kiddo. . . Look up "handsome" on the Wikipedia thingy the kids are all using, and I'm told you get two pictures -- one of Jay Carson and one of George Clooney. . . .Not since Tom DeLay and Dick Armey have a Leader and Whip gotten along so, uhm, "well," as we say in Brooklyn. . . . When is that first big Josh Bolten profile coming out? . . . Just you watch the presidential tears flow like waterworks at Nicolle Wallace's going-away party . . .

A man who cries less often than his weepy dad, President Bush, meets with Chok Tong Goh, the senior minister of Singapore, at 10:05 am ET. He has a photo op with the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit at 10:40 am ET. He participates in the swearing-in ceremony for Rob Portman, the new OMB director, at 11:00 am ET. And he greets the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers at 1:45 pm ET.

On the heels of last night's announcement that the United States and five other major world powers have agreed to offer Iran a broad new collection of rewards if it halts its drive to master nuclear technology, Secretary Rice rebases from Vienna today.

Meanwhile, Secretary Rumsfeld is in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue -- a meeting of the defense chiefs of 23 countries. The meeting began Thursday and aims to address Asian security concerns.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) is in Iraq today with three other lawmakers: Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL), Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD). In a Baghdad press conference, the Speaker called on the Iraqi government to seek "national reconciliation in order to end the insurgency and disband the sectarian militias."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) holds private meetings in Los Angeles, CA.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) attends the 11:00 am ET ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) Center for Genetics and Pharmacology and the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences in Buffalo, NY. Sen. Clinton visits the St. Adalbert's Response to Love Center with Sister Mary Johnice at 1:15 pm ET.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) keynotes the Great Scranton Chamber of Commerce's 138th annual dinner in Scranton, OH.

Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) signs a preparation for adult living services bill and a foster parents' bill of rights bill at 3:00 pm ET in Des Moines, IA.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) campaigns with Mike McGavick at a reception with agriculture and community leaders in Yakima, WA at 6:00 pm ET.

Fresh off of his Thursday campaign launch, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) holds a stem-cell roundtable in Hackensack, NJ before welcoming Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for a meeting with African-American ministers in Newark, NJ and a 4:30 pm ET rally in East Orange, NJ.

The Cato Institute holds a discussion, "Reforming Government Health Insurance Programs," as part of its "Health Care University" at 12:00 pm ET in Rayburn B-338.

The grand jury investigating the CIA leak meets at 9:30 am ET.

On Saturday, Sen. Obama and Sen. Biden speak to the Ohio Democratic Party's dinner. Norm Kurz and Robert Gibbs have agreed to ban applause meters from the room. Former Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) speak at the New Hampshire Democratic state convention in Manchester, NH.

Sen. Feingold will also speak to the Maine Democratic convention -- a state party which, according to the Portland Press Herald, is likely to debate on Saturday whether or not their party platform should include a call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. LINK

Make sure to tune in on Sunday morning to "This Week" for that George Stephanopoulos sit down with former Vice President Al Gore in his first Sunday show interview in more than three years. They'll discuss Gore's new documentary, his possible 2008 aspirations, and so much more. Plus, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, George Will, and Washington's premiere power couple – Time's Jay Carney and ABC's Claire Shipman – all join George to debate the week's politics.

Can't wait until Sunday? Tune in to "This Week All Week," the best political webcast around to hear George Stephanopoulos, Mark Halperin, and Jessica Yellin weigh-in on the ramifications of the Administration's new diplomatic posture toward Iran and how Sen. Clinton did in her big acceptance speech. LINK

Politics of Iraq:

Just one week after President Bush said that the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib was the "biggest mistake that's happened" thus far in America's involvement in Iraq, the New York Times reports Prime Minister "Maliki said violence against civilians had become a 'daily phenomenon' by many troops in the American-led coalition who 'do not respect the Iraqi people.'" LINK

And there's this story too.

"The Marine Corps will file criminal charges, including some murder counts, against several enlisted Marines and a Navy corpsman in the fatal shooting of an Iraqi civilian in April, officials close to the investigation said Thursday," reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK

The combination of these stories may go some distance to mute any success the Administration had hoped to point to this summer as a new permanent Iraqi government begins to take more responsibility and control.

On "Good Morning America," ABC News' George Stephanopoulos said the "big question" is whether Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld can survive. A senior White House official told Stephanopoulos this morning that the President's support for Rumsfeld is "unwavering."

But ABC's chief Washington correspondent thinks Rumsfeld's support on Capitol Hill could "collapse" if these charges continue to grow and if they are seen as going up the chain of command.

Per the Washington Post's Josh White and Thomas Ricks, "Criminal investigators are hoping to exhume the bodies of several Iraqi civilians allegedly gunned down by a group of U.S. Marines last year in the city of Haditha, aiming to recover potentially important forensic evidence." LINK

Politics of immigration:

President Bush plans to take his immigration show on the road again next week -- this time to New Mexico, Texas, and Nebraska. The New York Times has more on his stern warning to Congress that there is no excuse to delay action on immigration reform. LINK

The Los Angeles Times looks at a procedural hurdle that may block the conference committee from beginning its work on immigration anytime soon. The Senate bill calls for payment of back taxes and fees and as most "Schoolhouse Rock" fans know, bills with revenue measures originate in the House. LINK

The Washington Post's Peter Baker saw President Bush's focus on bigger fines for illegal hiring yesterday as part of a campaign to "emphasize his focus on enforcement and to combat the conservative complaint that his immigration proposals add up to amnesty for millions of foreigners violating US immigration law." LINK

G. Robert Hillman of the Dallas Morning News writes that there is a sense in "some political quarters that any reconciliation of the issue will be pushed after the elections to a lame-duck congressional session at the end of the year, if at all." LINK

The AP Notes that President Bush "took on -- albeit gently -- those in the Republican Party who advocate a get-tough-only approach and staunchly oppose either a guest worker program or a path to citizenship." LINK

Bush said: "Listen, I appreciate the members that are acting on deeply felt principles. I understand that. Yet I also believe that the approach they suggest is wrong and unrealistic."

Keying off of a CBO report showing that the Senate's recently-passed immigration bill would increase the nation's population of legal immigrants by nearly 20 million over the next decade, the Washington Post's Darryl Fears has Tancredo spokesguy Will Adams calling "legal immigration 'the soft underbelly of the Senate bill.' It is overlooked in the debate, he said, 'but when it's exposed, the public is outraged.'" LINK

Gov. Schwarzenegger and the federal government reached an agreement yesterday under which California will contribute about 1,000 Guards people for border duty and the federal government will pick up the cost, the Associated Press reports. LINK

More from the AP: ". . . in an act that was not part of the agreement with the federal government, Schwarzenegger will sign an executive order that ends the California National Guard's participation on Dec. 31, 2008, state officials said." The Los Angeles Times on the same: LINK

Politics of Iran:

Should Iran reject the incentives offered yesterday, the New York Times sees differences likely re-emerging among the world powers as they consider specific punishments in the Security Council. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Wirey John Harwood writes that some neoconservatives are staying ideologically put and have come out strongly against the Bush Administration's new, more sensitive stance toward Iran.

Harwood has AEI's Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official, saying, "Rice has perfected the primacy of short-term solutions regardless of long-term ill."

Homeland security dollars:

The New York Times' Day Two coverage of the battle for federal homeland security funding for New York City. LINK

The New York Post's David Seifman has Bloomberg aides suggesting that politics is at play in federal homeland security money distribution. LINK

Picture postcards of New York landmarks are heading Secretary Chertoff's way courtesy of Sen. Clinton and Rep. King, reports the New York Post. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

On Monday, President Bush will once again throw his support behind a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, hours before the Senate votes "yay" or "nay" on Tuesday. LINK

The New York Daily News writes up the Quinnipiac poll with data suggesting a current public view that President Bush rates as the worst post World War II president. LINK

Paulson for Treasury Secretary:

The New York Times looks at the man behind the man and reports that Paulson's chief of staff at Goldman Sachs may come to Washington with him as a deputy secretary. LINK

Politics of gas prices:

Quinnipiac University has a new poll out this morning showing high gas prices affecting a majority of Americans and that Democrats seem to have an edge on the issue. "Democrats will do a better job managing gas prices, American voters say 46 to 25 percent. Among Republicans, 59 percent say the GOP will do a better job, while 78 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of independent voters say Democrats will do a better job," per the Quinnipiac release.


At 10 am on every Monday of June, both Democrats and Republicans will wait with baited breath for major decisions by the Supreme Court, so says John Harwood in WSJ's Washington Wire. Each decision--ranging from military trials for Guantanamo detainees to DeLayan gerrymandering in Texas--will hopefully "fire up ideological bases" on both ends of the political spectrum.


The Wall Street Journal's Sarah Lueck writes that the special election for convicted congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham's (R-CA) seat will probably hinge on immigration and thus be a harbinger of November trends. The race between lobbyist and former Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and Democratic opponent Francine Busby has both candidates walking the tightrope to line up voters behind their platforms.

In a bit of reporting that did not go unNoticed at the DCCC, Lueck reports that Bilbray met with a handful of members of the local chapter of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly on Tuesday night.

"Todd Garcia VanBoxtel, vice chairman of the group, said he was concerned that mass deportations of illegal immigrants would create an 'uproar' by separating families and disrupting neighborhoods. In response, Mr. Bilbray sounded a softer tone than he often does on the campaign trail. 'You're going to have displacement,' he said. But he also predicted the House and Senate dealmakers would find a 'moderate, middle ground' in their negotiations, including removing a provision in the House bill that would make illegal immigrants felons."

2006: 527s:

The AP's Ron Fournier has all the details on two Democratic 527s. Donnie Fowler's is focused on the House and the Gehrke/Jordan/Baldick venture is focused on the Senate. LINK

2006: House:

Rep. John Doolittle's (R-CA) connections to both Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham have put his primary race on the watch list for next Tuesday, reports Bloomberg News. LINK

2006: Senate:

Although most members of the Old Media are salivating at the prospect of using Jim Webb's Senate campaign as a peg to do stories about collapsing support for the Iraq war, the Washington Post's ed board is not on board.

In its Democratic primary endorsement, the newspaper's ed board shunned the Scotts Irish vet in favor of the "Democratic party apparatchik" and former lobbyist Harris Miller. LINK

Miller, who has astutely labeled himself a "shorter, poorer" Mark Warner in a state that adores its former governor, won over the Post's heart by defining his campaign by a host of issues ranging from education policy to tax reform to fiscal "sanity." Although the Post admits its qualms with some specific points in Miller's policies, Webb's "populist" bravado and anti-war focus could not convince the paper to abandon the "devoted"--albeit flawed--would-be lawmaker that it sees in Miller.

On the money front, Webb has raised $294,000 since April 1 and has about $220,000 on hand to spend while Miller has raised $199,000 and donated $500,000 of his own money, leaving his campaign with about $520,000 on hand. LINK

"Although the Bush administration's poor approval ratings have damaged the prospects of Republican candidates elsewhere in the country, the effects have been less severe for Mr. Kean because of the popularity in New Jersey of his father, who served as governor from 1981 to 1989 and was chairman of the 9/11 Commission," writes Richard Jones of the New York Times as he describes the New Jersey Senate contest as one of the most competitive in the nation. LINK

With the good doctor -- Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist -- by his side, Sen. Santorum lambasted Democratic Senate nominee Bob Casey Jr of ignoring an insurance crisis that's chasing women's health and other specialists out of the state in droves.


2006: Governor:

The AP writes up one watchdog group's claim that gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos (R-MI) has already spent $5.4 million on air time this year. LINK

Bob Beauprez's path to the nomination just got a whole lot clearer as the Colorado Secretary of State announced that Marc Holtzman failed to submit enough signatures to secure a spot on the primary ballot. LINK

Bloomberg News looks at former Gov. Don Siegelman's (D-AL) 'on trial by day, on the campaign trail by night' run for his old office. LINK

Thomas Fitzgerald profiles the Philadelphia suburbs as Lynn Swann's biggest hurdle in the quest to be Pennsylvania's governor. LINK

Scott Helman and Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe write that Deval L. Patrick is leading the Democratic pack in Massachusetts, receiving support from Sen. Obama. LINK

Pat Healy of the New York Times looks at William Weld's "major rebuke" from the New York Republican Party. Despite his acquiring enough delegates to secure a spot on the September primary ballot, his opponent John Faso won the official party backing. LINK

Fred Dicker and Maggie Haberman of the New York Post write up the sparsely-attended barbecue Weld threw at his Long Island home after his big convention defeat. LINK

"A source close to Weld insisted, 'The big loser here is Pataki,'" reports the Dicker/Haberman duo. LINK

The New York Daily News' convention coverage: LINK

The New York Daily News' Ben Smith hears New York Republican Party executive director Ryan Moses is "headed for the door." LINK


Adam Nagourney delivers a must-read on where the major 2008 presidential candidates currently stand on Iraq. Nagourney finds hints of position recalibrations on the part of the two frontrunners, McCain and Clinton. The story also includes the not insignificant difference for the Senators considering a run for the White House as compared to the governors who have dreams of the presidency. LINK

We urge you to read every word and then clip n' save because you will want to refer back to this time and again.

But we also want to make sure you see this mustest of must-read portion of the story:

"When Mrs. Clinton was heckled by war protesters last week, she said that she stood by her support for the war, but added that she was beginning to see circumstances where the United States would be able to withdraw."

"An adviser said this could prove to be the start of an evolution that would lead to Mrs. Clinton's increasingly distancing herself from the conflict."

Believing that neither Al Gore nor Sen. Obama are running for president in 2008, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza predicts that the "buzz" is likely to return to Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) who has made "37 trips to 22 states and four foreign countries (Israel, Jordan, Switzerland and the U.K.) since helping to elect Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) as his successor. LINK

On the Republican side of the aisle, the Roll Call alum writes: "Count us in the camp of folks who believe the former New York City mayor is leaning toward a presidential bid."

"Why?" he asks. "Because of events like the one next Wednesday in Chicago where Giuliani will collect cash for the campaign of David McSweeney, the Republican nominee against Rep. Melissa Bean (D) in the state's 8th House District."

2008: Republicans:

Roll Call's Paul Kane broke last night that the Federal Election Commission has fined the campaign committee of Dr./Leader/Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) $11,000 for failing to report a $1.44 million dollar loan taken out in November of 2000. The loan was part of an "elaborate effort to close down Frist's separate 1994 campaign committee and repay himself more than $1.2 million that he had loaned to his maiden political campaign."

More from the AP: LINK

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani stopped in Denver to talk about leadership to a doting crowd 30,000 in Denver. LINK

The hits keep on comin' for Gov. Pataki (R-NY). The New York Times' Cooper offers a news analysis which lays the majority of blame for a dismal-seeming New York GOP at Pataki's feet. LINK

2008: Democrats:

Democratic gubernatorial candidates remain divided over Gov. Tom Vilsack's (D-IA) economic policies. Gov Vilsack stays out of the debate. LINK

Gov Vilsack also signed an education bill yesterday that he describes as his proudest moment in eight years in office. LINK

Gov. Vilsack has until today to sign legislation limiting eminent domain. Vilsack say's he's "struggling" with the decision. LINK

While Sen. Biden quietly contemplates the presidency, his son, Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III eyes the Delaware Attorney General spot. LINK

Jefferson and the separation of powers:

Adam Liptak of the New York Times writes a calm and thoughtful news analysis on the legislative v. executive branch fight over seized documents from Rep. Jefferson's office. Liptak writes that the Justice Department may have searched the office legally, but it may not have been the "wise or prudent thing to do" given the history between the branches. LINK

"Why would House Republicans be so concerned with Jefferson, a Democrat from Louisiana who, according to prosecutors, kept $90,000 in cash in his freezer?" asks the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne. LINK

"One answer is high principle. The more plausible answer is that Republicans are worried that the next shoes to drop in the congressional probes will belong to Republican members."

ABC News' Aaron Katersky reports that embattled Rep. Jefferson began his remarks at Mayor Nagin's inauguration with "thanks to God" for letting him continue public service. He spoke about equality in recovery. He implored the mayor to provide opportunities for "marginalized" people and build a city of "enlarged opportunity." He said "people at the bottom" put Nagin back in office.


The Ohio Poll out of the University of Cincinnati released this morning shows two record low approval ratings. President Bush's approval rating in Ohio is 35 percent, the lowest presidential approval rating in Ohio Poll history - which dates back to 1981. Gov. Taft (R-OH) also scored a record low approval rating in the Ohio Poll's 25 year history. Gov. Taft's approval rating in the poll is at 26 percent. LINK


In his Style section review of "An Inconvenient Truth," the Washington Post's Desson Thomson calls Gore's film "surprisingly absorbing." LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

Teeing up a weekend of horserace coverage, the Field Poll in California out today shows Steve Westly and Phil Angelides in a statistical tie (35 percent to 34 percent, respectively) and that an astonishingly high (26 percent) of likely Democratic primary voters are still undecided about their Tuesday vote. LINK

The poll also shows Schwarzenegger with a two-point lead over Westly in a hypothetical general election match-up and a seven-point lead over Angelides.

"Sidestepping California's campaign contribution caps, state Treasurer Phil Angelides is using a loophole in the law to tout himself in statewide mailings that promote a preschool initiative on Tuesday's ballot," reports the Los Angeles Times' Dan Morain. LINK


As if journalists did not have enough problems at the moment, John Harwood of the Wall Street Journal reports that Washington's A-list reporters have lost one of their most treasured annual parties: the Fed Fourth of July. With the departure of Chairman Alan Greenspan, the roof of the Fed building will no longer host the Gang for food and fireworks.


The Wall Street Journal's Wirey John Harwood reports that 41 percent of voters will be senior citizens in 2040, according to the Census reports.