The Note: 7/8th Full


Yesterday, The Note obtained this memo from Dan Bartlett, who, for those of you who don't know, is like Karen Hughes and Karl Rove rolled into one.

-----Original Message-----

From: [mailto:bounce-237407-] On Behalf Of White House Communications

Sent: Monday, June 05, 2006 5:02 PM

To: top media players

Subject: Memo From Dan Bartlett, Counselor To The President


From: Dan Bartlett, Counselor to the President

To: the Gang of 500

Subject: The Full Story

Date: June 5, 2006

In today's political climate, daily headlines and fast moving events make it easy to lose the forest for the trees. Some historic developments over the past few weeks, however, warrant a second look. Last week alone, the President appointed a green bean Treasury Secretary who received praise from both sides of the aisle and the President proposed a strategy to stop Iran from making a nuclear weapon that received praise from both sides of the Atlantic, including from many in out-of-touch Old Europe -- and appears likely to produce progress on the diplomatic front. The challenges of Iraq and immigration reform remain as Congress reconvenes this week, but there is a clear tide of positive developments (in a raging sea of death, setbacks, and mailed bricks) that reflects the President's ability to get things done. We would tell you about the important work of outlawing gay marriage here, but our legislation affairs people tell me the constitutional amendment has no chance of passing the Senate, and I happen to know, based on your questions at Tony's briefing yesterday, that y'all think gay marriage is fabulous.

CA-50: By reaching out to the San Diego community with robo-calls from the First Lady and other Republican bigwigs, the President turned the tables on Rahm and Company and strengthened the consensus among Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg, and their hard-working staffs that this race is winnable, and if we don't win it, we can plead special circumstances. I mean, there won't be contested gubernatorial Democratic primaries in November and Duke Cunningham only represented one district. The situation out there will not be resolved until late tonight, and by then, Nagourney's editors might have gone home. As Bloomberg points out, the President is leading an effort to ensure Republican candidates have all the money they need. Bottom line: if we win, great. If we lose, whatever.

Iraq: I refer you to the Pentagon on this one.

Immigration: When the Senate adjourned for Easter recess, the conventional wisdom was that Democrats led by Minority Leader Harry Reid had successfully killed a vote on immigration reform to advance their political agenda. But just ten days after the President discussed his vision for comprehensive immigration reform in an Oval Office address to the nation, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform package.

The same people who predicted the Senate would fail to pass any bill are now saying that the House and Senate will never be able to compromise, but the President is focused on enabling both houses of Congress to work together. This week, the President will make another trip to the border and continue to advocate for comprehensive reform. I've been assured by someone (I forget who) that members of Congress home for the Memorial Day recess found that their constituents were remarkably swayed by the President's primetime address on immigration and they now believe, as Teddy Kennedy does, that the President is on the right track here. OUR BASE IS STOKED!!!.

Although we loath polls here, surveys show Americans strongly support a comprehensive approach. For example, proposals to allow illegal immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years and meet other requirements (pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn English, have a clean criminal record) to apply for legal status garner the support of nearly 80 percent of Americans in a CNN poll (5/16-5/17) and 77 percent in a CBS News poll (5/16-5/17), including 76 percent of Republicans. With numbers like that, we are on the precipice of forgiving that whole National Guard/forged documents thing. Any outfit that can poll so well must know what it's doing.

Economy: America's economy is flourishing; why no one seems to appreciate that is totally beyond me. Statistics may seem like abstract numbers -- until you put yourself in the shoes of an American worker filling one of the 5.3 million new jobs created since August 2003 (less so in the shoes of people who have lost their jobs to one of those illegal aliens). And while the critics will continue to focus on everything that could go wrong with our economy, or on the trade deficit, or on income inequality, or on rising health care costs, or on the bleeding of manufacturing jobs, or on sky-high college tuition, or on the broad-based economic insecurity that our own three pollsters say exists in every region of the country, the President and our allies in Congress are working to ensure we build on the economic momentum underway.

I would cite a New York Times columnist here to support my position, but that is a slippery slope this old Texas boy will not get on.

Conclusion: From uniting the world community in preventing Iran from making a nuclear weapon to successfully installing qualified officials at home, and from assisting the Iraqi people in setting up a unity government to overseeing a strong economy that continues to create jobs for American workers, President Bush's leadership is achieving a steady flow of results that do not always dominate the day's headlines on their own but that together represent real progress for the American people.

The President knows more work must be done, which is why I have to stay late at the office again tonight. But I can tell you this: if no one but The Note picks this thing up, I'm not going to waste any more time writing these happy talk memos.


As Bartlett suggests, the California U.S. House seat special election is the marquee race for the Gang of 500 in today's primaries, but nationally, it's the Super Tuesday of the 2006 primary season. Eight states are holding primaries.

Most political observers will be watching that special election in CA-50 for any signs of what is to come in November, though we aren't convinced any such signs will exist. Gubernatorial primaries in California (to determine the Democrat to take on Gov. Schwarzenegger in November - polls open at 10:00 am ET and close at 11:00 pm ET), Iowa (polls open at 8:00 am ET and close 10:00 pm ET), and Alabama (polls open at 7:00 am ET and close at 8:00 pm ET) will also be of some interest as will the senatorial primary in Montana (polls open from 9:00 am ET to 10:00 pm ET) and the special House election in northern New Jersey (polls opened 6:00 am ET and close 8:00 pm ET).

Brendan Miniter of writes that warning signs abound in CA-50 this day: LINK

Secretary of State Bruce McPherson (R-CA) predicts 38 percent of the Golden State's registered voters will cast ballots in the California primary election today.

Republican candidate Brian Bilbray participates in sign waving at 10:30 am ET, he participates in GOTV activities at his campaign headquarters at 12:00 pm ET, and he attends an election party at the Westgate Hotel in San Diego, CA at 11:00 pm ET.

Francine Busby, the Democratic candidate, meets with commuters at Encinitas Coaster Station at 9:10 am ET, she waves signs at 10:00 am ET, she meets with voters at Encinitas diners at 11:00 am ET, she greets volunteers at her Cardiff office at 12:30 pm ET, she meets with voters outside Vons in Solana Beach at 1:15 pm ET, she meets with voters outside supermarkets in Carmel Valley and Del Mar Heights at 2:00 pm ET, she meets with voters outside supermarkets in Clairemont at 4:30 pm ET, she waves some more signs in Encinitas at 6:30 pm, and she attends an election party at D Street Bar and Grill in Encinitas, CA starting at 11:00 pm ET.

At about one second after 11:00 pm ET, absentee results which could make up 20-25% of the vote will be reported as initial precincts. There are no network exit polls; please don't call us, unless it is just to say "hi." (Note to Edsall: this means you, too.)

Fifty percent of the vote total is expected to be reported by the AP by 2:00 am ET.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) casts his primary day vote at 1:00 pm ET at the Crestwood Hills Recreation Center in Los Angeles, CA. This evening, Gov. Schwarzenegger plans to visit his Sacramento, CA campaign headquarters after the polls close at 11:00 pm ET.

Steve and Anita Yu Westly cast their primary ballots at Fire House #4 in Menlo Park, CA at 12:30 pm ET. The Westly campaign primary night headquarters will be at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles, CA. Festivities get underway at 9:30 pm ET.

California State Treasurer Phil Angelides votes at the Eskaton Monroe Lodge in Sacramento, CA at 2:30 pm ET and gathers with supporters for an election night party at 11:00 pm ET at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento, CA.

Here are your primary day weather forecasts:

San Diego, CA: LINK

Des Moines, IA: LINK

Billings, MT: LINK

Birmingham, AL: LINK

Newark, NJ: LINK

Albuquerque, NM: LINK

Jackson, MS: LINK

Sioux Falls, SD: LINK

As he waits for Karl Rove to phone in results and tea leaves, President Bush tours a federal law enforcement training center in Artesia, NM at 12:25 pm ET as a part of this week's road show on immigration reform. Mr. Bush is expected to "participate in the swearing-in of the new head of the US Customs and Border Patrol, Ralph Basham," reports ABC News' Karen Travers. The President is also scheduled to make remarks in Artesia, NM at 1:00 pm ET and receive a briefing at 4:30 pm ET at the Laredo Border Patrol Sector headquarters in Laredo, TX before heading to Omaha, NE where he will remain overnight.

Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO), Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, and religious and community leaders hold a 10:30 am ET press conference in support of the "Marriage Protection Amendment" at the Senate swamp.

The Senate continues debate on the marriage amendment with the cloture vote expected tomorrow.

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) holds a 2:00 pm ET pen and pad briefing with reporters.

First Lady Laura Bush delivers remarks at the "Helping America's Youth" first regional conference in Indianapolis, IN at noon ET. Mrs. Bush then travels to St. Louis Park, MN, where she will host a discussion, do some bird-watching, and participate in other activities with more than 40 young people at 5:00 pm ET. While in Minnesota, Mrs. Bush is also scheduled to appear at a fundraiser for GOP Senate candidate Mark Kennedy at 6:15 pm ET.

Sens. Clinton (D-NY) and Collins (R-ME) co-chair a 10:00 am ET briefing for the congressional task force on Alzheimer's disease. At 6:00 pm ET, Sen. Clinton addresses the National Hispanic HIV/AIDS Initiative dinner in Washington, DC.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) signs legislation renaming a bridge in Carver, MA at 11:15 am ET. in honor of Sergeant First Class Robert Rooney, a Massachusetts National Guardsman who was killed while on active duty in Kuwait. This evening, Gov. Romney heads to Orchard Lake, MI for a Commonwealth PAC closed press fundraiser.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman makes remarks at a New York City fundraiser for Van Taylor's congressional campaign.

Be sure to check out our expanded schedule section below.


If Francine Busby (D) defeats Brian Bilbray (R) in a district that President Bush carried by 11 points in 2004, Democrats will argue that it is a sign that a tidal wave is coming in November. If the GOP retains the seat, Democrats will still work to hype that they forced Republicans to spend somewhere on the order of $5 million while dispatching over 100 Republican operatives to hold onto what normally would have been a secure seat.

In an effort to tap into voter anger over illegal immigration, Bilbray has emphasized securing borders and cracking down on employers who hire illegal workers. Not content to cede the issue, national Democrats are running kangaroo-themed ads to remind voters that Bilbray, who became a lobbyist after losing a seat in Congress in the 1990s, missed a vote to put an extra 1,000 agents on the border because he was hanging out in Australia on a "special-interest paid trip"

Fearing that Busby has maxed out at 45 percent support, her campaign has launched a radio ad on conservative stations that talks up the credentials of independent candidate William Griffith, a Minuteman-backed candidate who is running as a "conservative alternative" to Bilbray.

In a sign of just how turbulent the politics of immigration are, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) canceled a recent visit to San Diego for a Bilbray fundraiser. McCain and Bilbray are both Republicans but they are at odds on a Senate immigration bill that would allow millions of illegal immigrants in the US to eventually become citizens.

Bilbray opposes the measure; McCain is a chief proponent.

The DCCC's Bill Burton offers this to The Note this morning: "I stipulate only that this has been one of the most unexpectedly competitive races in congressional history. The panic shivers that Francine Busby has sent down wobbly GOP spines has caused them to spend north of $5 million in a reliably Republican seat. In an election cycle that is shaping up to be a change vs. the status quo contest, Busby has shown that a strong change message can make even former members of Congress vulnerable in ruby red Republican districts."

More Burton: ". . . the question remains whether or not they can spend $5 million on safe Republican seats and still have enough to hold on to endangered incumbents like Gerlach, Pryce and Shaw."

Republicans point to 125,000 combined phone and door-knock contacts in the district as well as to 52% of the returned absentee ballots coming from Republican voters as hopeful signs for Bilbray.

As we have reported previously, there are about 150 GOP staffer/volunteers on the ground and more than 400 combined Democratic staffer/volunteers.

The Bilbray-Busby race to replace Republican former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham may be a test that measures the level of voter discontent with both the Republican leadership and border security, Notes USA Today's William Welch. LINK

The Associated Press on the old-school mudslinging that will end today: LINK

David Drucker of Roll Call reports that in California two candidates and their parties are using all their resources to gain victory as Cunningham's replacement. Busby has "pushed ex-Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) to the limit in the special election runoff that was forced by Cunningham's resignation." Democrats say the NRCC has spent almost $ 5 million dollars to defend Rep. Cunningham's seat whereas Democrats have spent about $2 million.

Per the AP's Allison Hoffman, some Democrats are already claiming victory just by forcing a fight for the seat in a "surprisingly close House race." LINK

It's not just Bilbray v. Busby. Meet William Griffith -- perhaps the man on whose shoulders the DCCC's hopes rest -- courtesy of AP photographer Denis Poroy. LINK, LINK, and LINK

Griffith is the Minuteman-backed candidate who videotapes people hiring day laborers along El Camino Real to discourage people from hiring illegal immigrants.

The Schwarzenegger Era:

What could end up being the most expensive gubernatorial primary in state history will occur today. State Treasurer Phil Angelides (D-CA) and State Controller and former Ebay executive Steve Westly (D-CA) are in a statistical dead heat heading into primary day. The winner will have the perhaps dubious honor of taking on a Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been quite successful at rehabilitating his once-awful standing with the California electorate. The Steve Schmidt 2008 Primary basically begins today.

This Democrats' race has gotten typically nasty. Angelides has the backing of labor and the Democratic establishment. The main issue in the race has been Angelides' call to raise taxes on the wealthy and Westly's belief that tax hikes should "only be a last resort."

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Schwarzenegger might be asleep tonight before he finds out whether he will face Angelides or Westly in November. Analysts predict a bleak turnout at the polls, and predict the influx of absentee ballots combined with San Diego County's manual counting system could potentially leave the outcome uncertain for up to a week. LINK

The AP's Aaron Davis points out that it is unclear whether Steve Westly and Phil Angelides's last-minute campaign pushes this morning will make a difference. LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle ed board recommends Westly to be the Democratic candidate running against Schwarzenegger. LINK

Bloomberg News' Michael B. Marois writes that the vicious personal attacks that defined the Democratic primary race "may make it harder for" today's winner "to defeat. . . Schwarzenegger in November." LINK

Unlike Westly, who battled Los Angeles traffic in a bus yesterday, Seema Mehta and Robert Salladay of the Los Angeles Times reports that Angelides chartered a Boeing 737 and made pit stops in San Diego, Burbank, Oakland, and Sacramento in final attempts at rounding up votes. LINK

Angelides should hope that union members' fire is still strong enough to push them to the polls, for according to Joe Matthews of the Los Angeles Times, "The fate of Angelides campaign" hangs in whether or not unions vote in force. LINK

2006: Alabama:

In tight races for both the Republican and Democratic nominations, all four gubernatorial candidates in Alabama predicted victory Monday night during last-minute campaign stops, as Tom Gordon of The Birmingham Times reports. LINK

And in one of the odder sound bites of the day, incumbent Republican Bob Riley shouted to a crowd outside an airport hangar, "If we restore the trust of the people of Alabama in its state government, you're going to see an Alabama that's absolutely unleashed."

2006: Montana:

An estimated 67,000 Montanans will vote for a Democratic senatorial candidate to face three-term incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) in November. The primary has gained added significance in recent months since the likelihood of a Democratic win has grown as Burns' approval ratings have tumbled due largely to his association with lobbyist Jack Abramoff..

The Democrats vying to take on Burns are John Morrison, a Helena trial attorney and state auditor, and Jon Tester, a Big Sandy organic grain farmer and president of the state senate. According to a Billings Gazette poll released May 31, the two Democrats are running neck-and-neck with Morrison drawing 42 percent to Tester's 41 percent.

The substantive differences between the two candidates have largely been ignored during the campaign in favor of a "who is more likely to beat Burns" platform. Initially, it seemed that Morrison had the advantage: well-spoken, handsome, and moderate.

But Morrison lost that advantage -- and a sizable lead in the polls -- when news of his "zipper problem," as Tester campaign workers have labeled the extramarital affair, leaked to the press. Even worse for Morrison, the woman's fiancé was under investigation by the state auditor's office, and allegations abounded about blackmail, extortion, vindictiveness, and sentencing deals. Although Morrison has denied those claims, and said that he did not involve himself in the case, Democrats began to worry that if Morrison were their nominee, he would blunt their edge in the "culture of corruption" war.

Morrison and Tester received last-minute donations from out of states residents and political action committees that dwarfed the contributions from their own constituents. LINK

2006: Iowa:

Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register writes that the three leading Democratic candidates for governor -- former state economic development director Mike Blouin, Secretary of State Chet Culver and state Rep. Ed Fallon -- are struggling to invigorate primary voters. LINK

Beaumont also Notes that Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack's decision not to run for a third term goes against precedent in the non-term-limited Iowa, where popular governors have served up to sixteen years in the past. LINK

He points out, "A Des Moines Register poll taken last week showed 50 percent of Democratic primary voters were ready for a change, while 41 percent wanted the next governor to continue in the same direction as Vilsack."

Again, turnout is expected to be "light." LINK

The Quad-Cities Online's Janee Jackson lists the "tough competition" among Democrats and Republicans for the 1st Congressional seat: LINK

2006: New Jersey:

"The turnout is expected to be light, which is not surprising, since in the Senate race, Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat, is expected to trounce token opposition, while State Senator Thomas H. Kean Jr., a Republican, is expected to prevail easily over a more conservative rival," reports the New York Times. LINK

Primaries today in New Jersey are expected to be a "light affair" per the Newark Star-Ledger. Most eyes will dart to the Garden State's thirteenth congressional district, where Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) left his seat up for grabs when he filled Gov. Jon Corzine's vacated seat. LINK

Politics of same-sex marriage:

In our latest poll, ABC News' Gary Langer looks at how the intensity of views on same-sex marriage informs the political debate. LINK

People who "strongly" oppose gay marriage -- 51 percent of the public -- outnumber strong supporters by 2-1. And those strong opponents are nearly three times as likely as other Americans to say they would vote only for a candidate who shares their view on the issue.

The New York Times' Rutenberg looks at how social conservative groups such as Focus on the Family and Family Research Council plan to use lawmakers' position on the marriage amendment as a litmus-test for support. LINK

The Washington Post's Michael Abramowitz and Charles Babington report that Republican leaders "appear to be betting that a new thrust against same-sex marriage could help" in "such states as Pennsylvania, Montana, Missouri, and Ohio, where Senate GOP incumbents face stiff challenges." LINK

The Washington Post duo cast the decision to move yesterday's event from the Rose Garden to the EEOB as a sign that the President "appeared mindful of the minefield he was navigating."

Kimberly Atkins of the Boston Herald writes that Gov. Romney was riding on President Bush's anti same-sex marriage "coattails" yesterday as he circulated a letter post Presidential speech urging Senators to vote yes on the amendment. LINK

Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune gives a good wrap up of the Presidents pull to conservatives with his appeals to curb same-sex marriage in hopes of gaining his conservative base back. LINK

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne columnizes that the people who should be angry this week are "not liberals or gays or lesbians, but the president's most loyal supporters." LINK

"After using the gay-marriage issue shamelessly in the 2004 campaign, Bush and Republican leaders left opponents of gay marriage out in the cold as they concentrated on the party's real priorities: privatizing Social Security and cutting taxes on rich people."

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) says a ban on same-sex is a product of "the political machine of the White House and Republican party," but New Yorkers are more concerned about terrorism and gas prices, Notes the New York Sun's Brune. LINK

Estate tax politics:

In a piece that also looks at gay marriage, the Wall Street Journal's Sarah Lueck and Brody Mullins report that Sens. Kyl, Baucus, and Schumer "hope to reach a deal" on an estate tax compromise "in the next couple of days," according to aides.

The Free Enterprise Fund is quite pleased with this statement on Sen. Mark Pryor's (D-AR) Web site: "I support the permanent repeal of an estate tax that harms small businesses and family farms."

The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray and Charles Babington Note that pro-estate tax repeal organizations are targeting "possible swing votes such as Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Max Baucus (D-MT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME). LINK

Playing the Paris Hilton angle, repeal opponents are running an ad with a "blond woman in a slinky dress" who asserts, "The last thing a rich heiress needs is a $1 trillion raise in her allowance."

Privately-funded congressional travel:

The Boston Globe writes up the $50 million price-tag in the Center for Public Integrity report on privately funded congressional travel. LINK

Keying off of the new study, the Washington Post puts Republicans Joe Barton (TX), Whip Blunt (MO), Leader Boehner (OH), Tom DeLay (TX), Speaker Hastert (IL), Michael Oxley (OH), Billy Tauzin (LA), Bill Thomas (CA), and Don Young (AK) in a "frequent fliers" box on the front page along with Democrats Gregory Meeks (NY) and Robert Wexler (FL).

The front-page write-up from the Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum: LINK

The New York Times on same: LINK

Rep. Patrick Kennedy:

Per the New York Times, Rep. Kennedy (D-RI) "was discharged from the [Mayo] clinic, in Rochester, Minn., on Friday and spent the weekend with relatives in Washington before returning to Rhode Island on Sunday night. His private medical insurance policy paid for the stay in the clinic, he said." LINK

The Boston Globe reports that at a press conference at Brown University yesterday, Rep. Kennedy was apologetic, reflective and ready to get back to work for Congress. LINK

The Boston Herald Notes that although Rep. Kennedy is out of treatment and speaking about his substance abuse issues, there is still the continued "booze controversy" over that evenings incident. LINK

The Washington Post's Reliable Source Notes that "ears perked up" at Brown University yesterday when Rep. Kennedy, a 38-year-old bachelor, disclosed that on the night of his late-night car crash a "female friend spent the evening at his place." LINK

The Abramoff affair:

David Safavian offered "insight and advice" to Jack Abramoff from his perch at the General Services Administration, according to his testimony. Here's the New York Times with more: LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation:

The Wall Street Journal ed board writes that Patrick Fitzgerald's case against indicted former VPOTUS aide Scooter Libby "is a lot weaker than his media spin."

Big Casino budget politics:

Per the Wall Street Journal's David Rogers, "A $92.2 billion wartime spending bill taking shape in Congress has been cut substantially since passing the Senate last month but still provides at least $2 billion more in Katrina aid than the White House first requested."

The economy:

"In his toughest comments yet about the risks of inflation, Mr. Bernanke said consumer prices were rising faster than he would like. He gave short shrift to evidence of a slowdown in hiring, and he conspicuously avoided repeating his earlier suggestion that the Fed might consider a 'pause' in its two-year program of steady interest rate increases," writes Edmund Andres of the New York Times on the comments that sent the markets downward. LINK

More from the Washington Post: LINK

Rep. Jefferson:

Roll Call reports that Rep. William Jefferson's seat on the Ways and Means Committee could be in jeopardy as Democrats meet in a members only session today.

Separation of powers:

Susan Page speculates in a USA Today cover story that Congress is beginning to stand up against what she calls the "greatest expansion of presidential powers in a generation or more." LINK

2006: landscape:

In a must-read for the front page of the Wall Street Journal (for those of you who aren't otherwise paying attention), Jackie Calmes reports that "expectations are growing that Democrats could capture at least one house of Congress, ending one-party dominance of the nation's capital and crippling President Bush for his final years." LINK

With last month's AP-Ipsos poll that said 73 percent of the electorate thinks the nation is on the wrong track, AP's Rob Tanner writes that "the old adage" that "all politics are local" has vanished during this primary season. LINK

Bloomberg's Catherine Dodge does the 'Bush-still-welcome-as-fundraiser-in-chief' thing. Dodge Notes: "Some lawmakers have failed to show up by his side as he raises money in states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland. Polls show that voters are unhappy with Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, energy prices and budget issues, and Democrats are looking to link Republican candidates to his record." LINK

2006: House:

Adam Nagourney of the New York Times travels through the vulnerable Democratic seat in IL-08 (McSweeney v. Bean), the vulnerable Republican seat in PA-06 (Gerlach v. Murphy), and the open seat in NY-24 (Meier v. Acuri) and finds an unusually early intensity to the campaign season in which national issues are the dominant topics of debate. LINK

2006: Senate:

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Carrie Budoff reports that Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) will address the Pennsylvania Environmental Council tonight in a move to show up opponent Bob Casey, Jr. LINK

As Budoff Notes, "In a race with only subtle differences between the candidates on some key issues, the environment could emerge as one of the sharpest dividing lines, testing Santorum's record of often deferring to the marketplace for solutions against Casey's support of increased government regulation."

The AP has Republican Senate hopeful Katherine Harris attributing her lack of party support to Republicans' perception that she "can't be controlled." Harris gabbed to the nonpartisan Forum Club, where she said she wouldn't "kowtow" to the man she helped save in 2000, President Bush, and his party. LINK

Harris: "I will be beholden to no one but the people, not the party elite, not the press and certainly not even doing what's popular . . . I'm going to be doing what's right."

2006: Governor:

The New York Times' Healy and Medina on New York Republican Party efforts to nudge Bill Weld out of the primary so that the party can unite behind John Faso and begin putting together its general election strategy against Eliot Spitzer. LINK

"Mr. Weld spent yesterday in talks with a half-dozen aides and consultants in Manhattan, as well as sounding out some donors. According to advisers, he told Mr. Pataki that he was considering dropping out of the race. Several advisers put the odds at 50-50."

Healy and Medina also report that Weld is considering pouring $5 million of his personal fortune into the race should he decide to continue his campaign.

"Republican gubernatorial hopeful William Weld, crushed last week at the state GOP's convention and abandoned yesterday by his most important backer, may quit the race as soon as today, sources said last night," reports the New York Post's Dicker, Lovett, and Haberman. LINK

The New York Daily News on same: LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

Bill Clinton's 2006 $20 million fundraising circuit gets the New York Times Ray Hernandez treatment today, including reporting on the combined childhood obesity/fundraising trip to New Hampshire in the coming weeks. LINK

Here is a bit more on that New Hampshire trip from Gov. Lynch's spokeswoman, cagey Pamela Walsh:

"The trip is scheduled for June 27. The policy event with Dr. Susan Lynch (New Hampshire's first lady) is likely to be in Manchester, and it will be with kids -- although details are still being finalized. Dr. Lynch is a pediatrician who specializes in cholesterol management and childhood obesity, and that has been her signature issue as first lady."

More Walsh: "The event came about from a conversation Gov. Lynch and Sen. Clinton had about the work their spouses were doing on childhood obesity and fitness issues."


The New York Daily News' Helen Kennedy looks at some shoring up Sen. Clinton needs to do with the anti-war left and Sen. McCain and Rudy Giuliani need to do with the social conservative right. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Without ever citing George Will by name, Sen. McCain used his Imus interview this morning to rebut criticism that the Arizona Senator recently received from the conservative columnist.

In a May 11 column, Will blasted McCain for telling Imus on April 28 that he would ". . . rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government." LINK

"I was a little glib and it got interpreted a little wrong," McCain said today. "I believe that free speech is obviously something that we cherish. McCain-Feingold -- with all its warts -- has been upheld by the Supreme Court."

Asked how he restrained his temper when he received a hostile reception at the New School University's commencement, McCain said: "I was just sad. You had a group of young people who are liberals and they don't want to listen to the news of someone who disagrees with them. . . We have to remember who the real enemy is. . ."

On the topic of Haditha, McCain said "some of it is understandable but not so understandable that they should not be" punished to the fullest extent of the law. As to the argument that the US is fighting an enemy that targets civilians, McCain said, "We can't be horrible people as well."

As for his potential '08 rival, Sen. McCain said he and Sen. Clinton have a "very friendly relationship" and he told Imus, "Oh, stop" when he suggested that she was the anti-Christ.

Perhaps biting his nails a bit, Sen. George Allen (R-VA) will launch a state-wide television ad tomorrow for his Senate re-election campaign before he dwells on a 2008 presidential bid. LINK

The Washington Times ed board on taking Newt Gingrich's almost 40 percent win in a Minnesota straw poll of potential presidential contenders with a grain of salt. LINK

If you missed ABC News' Jake Tapper's interview with former presidential candidate Gary Bauer on 2008 GOP frontrunner John McCain, make sure you take some time to read it today. LINK

Columnist Brian McGory Notes another missed Bay State appearance by Governor Mitt Romney, who happened to be in Washington yesterday. LINK

Roll Call's John Stanton looks at Senator Bill Frist's congressional agenda that could help him rally his conservative base and the foundations to a 2008 Presidential run. LINK

2008: Democrats:

In his New York Post column/book promotion John Podhoretz attempts to debunk the "Hillary Clinton is too polarizing and can't win" theory percolating in Democratic circles. LINK

Hurting his chance to use "the culture of corruption" battle call in 2008, presidential candidate Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) was labeled "the #1 moocher" among a group of very talented moochers by a new report on congressional travel: Bayh embarked on the most privately funded trips of any Senator from 2000 to mid-2005, reports the Northwest Indiana Post-Tribune. LINK


Peter Cannellos writes for the Boston Globe on Al Gore's new film, "An Inconvenient Truth:" LINK

"But like a fake beard that keeps slipping off, it can't seem to help revealing its liberal roots."


Per the New York Times, Alan Greenspan has chosen Fortune magazine editor Peter Petre to collaborate with him on his memoir. LINK


On Friday night in Houston, "The Big Buy" -- a documentary about the "precipitous rise and fall" of "the bully" Tom DeLay -- premiered in a theatre surrounded by yellow crime tape. Wayne Slater of The Dallas Morning News writes that Democrats are not only villianizing DeLay in order to win his former seat, but also seats across the nation in order to take back the House. LINK

Patrick O'Connor of The Hill Notes Rep. Tom DeLay's low-key departure goodbye dinners and open houses as he prepares for his final day of work this Friday. LINK


In a unique position to defend both New York City and Omaha, NE, former Sen. Bob Kerrey takes to the New York Times op-ed page to bemoan the Homeland Security funding formulas. LINK

Other Tuesday schedule items:

ABC News' John Cochran reports that "anti-pork group, Americans for Prosperity, will launch a television ad campaign in three states today trying to get earmarks out of the Iraq/Afghanistan/Katrina emergency spending bill. Two states are Michigan and Rhode Island. The third, interestingly, is West Virginia. And surprise, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), is giving partial cooperation on this." The press conference is scheduled for 10:00 am ET.

The Center for American Progress holds a 1:00 pm ET panel entitled, "Re-Building Economic Security in the 21st Century," featuring Paul Krugman, Gene Sperling, Louis Uchitelle, and Jared Bernstein.

Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Rep. Carolyn Mahoney (D-NY) hold a 1:00 pm ET press conference to push for reforms proposed by the 9/11 Commission in Washington, DC before the 2:00 pm ET House National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations Subcommittee holds a hearing on the topic with 9/11 Commission Co-Chairs Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton scheduled to testify.

The Senate Judiciary Committee meets at 2:00 pm ET to debate and vote on whether or not it should subpoena phone company executives to testify about their involvement in aiding the NSA in its data mining activities.

The American Civil Liberties Union holds a 1:00 pm ET conference call briefing to discuss the first court hearing on whether the National Security Agency's disputed warrantless surveillance program is constitutional. Ann Beeson, ACLU associate legal director, and James Bamford, author, journalist and client in ACLU v. NSA, participate.

The Heritage Foundation holds a 1:00 pm ET presentation by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on "Comprehensive Budget Reform: The Need has Never Been Greater" in Washington, DC.