The Note: The Choice Is Clear


Riddle us this, Note readers and Batman fans:

Which party's fall message is already clear and which party's is not?

For the Democrats, there is: the Biden view on Iraq; the Murtha view on Iraq; the Kerry views on Iraq; the Senate caucus's ever-dynamic debate about what the party should stand for; the mass conspiracy of silence over taxes and health care, taxes and the rich, and taxes and taxes; Together, We Can Do Better; Together, America Can Do Better; Better, America Can Be, Together; opportunity, responsibility, and community; community; the modern communication skills of Leaders Reid and Pelosi, and their control over their own public images; Six in '06; New Direction for America; Rahm's view on Iraq; the Pelosi-Hoyer friendship; Murtha's abortive leadership bid; Howard Dean's discipline; and the bloggers. (For a super smart take on all this, see Noonan, Peggy -- on Jim Webb as "Nancy Pelosi with medals.") LINK

For the Republicans, there is what the Strategist-in-Chief laid out in the Rose Garden yesterday (for those Democrats and reporters too lazy to track down a transcript of Monday's Granite State Karl Rove fan dance):

"I believe we're going to hold the House and the Senate, because our philosophy is one that is forward-looking and optimistic and has worked. We've got a record to run on.

"There's an interesting debate in the Democrat Party about how quick to pull out of Iraq. Pulling out of Iraq before we accomplish the mission will make the world a more dangerous place. It's bad policy. I know it may sound good politically; it will endanger our country to pull out of Iraq before we accomplish the mission.

"See, Iraq is a part of the global war on terror. It's not 'the' global war on terror, it's a theater in the global war on terror. And if we fail in Iraq, it's going to embolden al Qaeda types. It will weaken the resolve of moderate nations to stand up to the Islamic fascists. It will cause people to lose their nerve and not stay strong.

"And so I look forward to taking the debate -- that's not quite right -- kind of getting warmed up as a result of your question -- the timing is not right for me to get out there yet. But I think the Democrat economic policy of raising people's taxes isn't going to work either. I know they'll couch it in all kinds of language, but really what they're saying is we're going to raise your taxes."

For those of you too thick to figure out the answer to our question, may we suggest tuning into Sean Hannity's radio show today, when you can expect the Vice President of the United States to spell things out in his own unique style.

Also: It isn't too early to tip you off to the Notion that November might see one party with a huge advantage on the strength of their ground game of turnout in key races and on the last-minute spending of tens of millions of dollars by "independent" groups (TV, radio, robo calls, direct mail, church parking lots) on targeted message delivery.

All of this is our way of setting up today's debate in the House in Iraq.

Eager to capitalize on the formation of an Iraq government and the recent killing of Abu Musab al Zarqwi, the House of Representatives debates a resolution this morning declaring "that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq."

The resolution also "declares that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq." No amendments will be allowed.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), who recently visited Iraq, will kick off the debate by challenging Democrats to go beyond their support for the troops in Iraq and to challenge them to declare their support for the US mission in Iraq.

"I came home from Iraq believing even more strongly, that it is not enough for this House to say 'We Support Our Troops,'" Hastert plans to say according to remarks obtained by ABC News. "To the men and women in the field -- in harms way -- that statement rings hollow if we don't also say we support their mission."

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), the DCCC's honcho and the Democrats' "field marshal" for taking back the House, will counter by saying that Democrats have provided the President everything he wanted in the war on terror while Republicans have denied him the one thing he needed: oversight.

The House debate comes on the same day that the Pentagon Memorial Fund hosts a 1:30 pm ET groundbreaking ceremony for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Participants include Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

President Bush speaks at 2:30 pm ET today about his plan to create the largest protected marine reserve in the world by designating the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a national monument.

More from the New York Times on the President's plan to use the National Antiquities Act. LINK

Earlier in the day, he participates in the 9:25 am ET swearing-in ceremony for the new United States Trade Representative in the Oval Office; he then scoots over to the Willard Hotel where he will make 9:50 am ET remarks to the Initiative for Global Development's 2006 National Summit.

At 11:00 am ET, the President signs S. 193, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005, in Room 350 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. At 11:30 am ET the President signs S. 2803, the MINER Act, in Room 450 of the EEOB. He ends his day by attending the congressional picnic on the South Lawn at 6:30 pm ET.

Majority Leader John Boehner delivers a 1:00 pm ET keynote address to the Real Estate Roundtable's Annual Meeting at the Mandarin Hotel in Washington, DC.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly press conference at 10:45 am ET in H-206.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), the NRCC's communications chairman, hosts an 11:30 am ET conference call with local reporters to discuss the SC-05 congressional election match-up between Republican Ralph Norman and Democrat John Spratt.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) delivers 10:15 am ET testimony in front of the Presidential Advisory Board on Worker Radiation and Health at the Marriott at Metro Center in Washington, DC. She then delivers 3:00 pm ET remarks at the Katrina National Justice Commission hearings at Lutheran Church of Reformation on East Capitol Street in Washington, DC. This evening, she is hosting a fancy fundraiser to raise money for Rep. Harold Ford's (D-TN) bid to succeed Dr./Leader/Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) in the Senate.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) signs legislation at 10:00 am ET dedicating a bridge in Amesbury, MA in honor of Army First Lieutenant Derek S. Hines, who was killed in action in Afghanistan. At 10:30 am ET, he joins state and federal officials to recognize Massachusetts employers that hire veterans.

Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) addresses the 72nd Annual Arkansas Municipal League Convention in Hot Springs, AR. Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) eats breakfast with the Hampton Democratic Committee in Hampton, NH. And former Vice President Gore, who has no plans to run for president but never says "never," keynotes the AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival in Silver Spring, MD.

The Healthcare Leadership Council holds a 9:30 am ET discussion at Union Station on "Medicare Today and Tomorrow: A Discussion on Part D and the Program's Future" with Medicare administrator Mark McClellan.

While most of the attention on Capitol Hill will be focused on the House today, the Senate proceeds to a vote on the Supplemental Appropriations Bill conference report. Following the vote, Senate will resume consideration of S. 2766, Defense Authorization Bill, with the Santorum amendment regarding Iran pending.

In memory of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, a special session of the Supreme Court will be held at 3:15 pm ET. Solicitor General Paul Clement and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty will address the Court. Chief Justice Roberts will respond on behalf of the Court.

The Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision could come as soon as today, reports ABC News' Ariane DeVogue. At issue in the Hamdan case is whether the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to hear the case and whether President Bush's military commissions are lawful as presently established.

Politics of Iraq:

"The Iraq war is the most immediate foreign policy problem besetting the Bush administration. But as a political issue, the White House and top Republican strategists have concluded that the war is a clear winner," write the Los Angeles Times' Wallsten and Reynolds in a must-read story with wise quotes from Ed Gillespie, Dianne Feinstein, and others. Read it all! LINK

Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune has an extensive analysis of President Bush's latest maneuvers and possible implications for 2006 elections. LINK

Per Silva, "President Bush is trying to frame congressional elections this November as a contest between a Republican Party resolute on the war in Iraq and a Democratic Party riven by divisions."

The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Sandalow Notes that President Bush is invoking recent "favorable developments" in Iraq -- the killing of Zarqawi, the successful assembly of the new cabinet -- as evidence of Republicans' continued success in the region and proof that their opposition to a deadline for troop withdrawal was the correct position, one that will serve them well in November. LINK

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman highlights intra-GOP tension over House Majority Leader Boehner's call for debate over the war today. Says Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL): "When the country is war-weary, when the violence is still playing out on TV, I don't know why we want to highlight all that." LINK

"These parties are divided on Iraq like I have never seen on an issue," said Tim Russert on "Today" of the party breakdown on whether going to war in Iraq was the right or wrong decision in the new GE/Dow Jones data.

The unified front presented by House Democrats this week was threatened by an anti-war faction unsatisfied with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's stand on Iraq, the Hill reports. LINK

The Iraq debate in the House may prove somewhat tricky for the three vulnerable Republican Connecticut incumbents who represent districts where the war is very unpopular. The Hartford Courant's David Lightman has the story. LINK

Per Christina Bellantoni of the Washington Times, House Democrats are angered that what was meant to be an serious discussion of Iraq policy today has turned into "political spin." LINK

The Washington Post uses yesterday's Rose Garden presser as a jumping-off point for a thoughtful look at where things stand in Iraq. LINK

Or, skip the think pieces inspired by the President's Baghdad blitz and instead evaluate this survey from a Shiite lawmaker that caps the Washington Post's story on Prime Minister Maliki's latest moves in Iraq: "Not as optimistic as I was six months ago. More than I was three months ago." LINK

George Will begins his column by imagining Zarqawi having luxuriated in gore with "an almost erotic enjoyment" and ends it by wondering if Iraqis are "difficult raw material for self-government." LINK

HRC talks privacy:

Hillary Clinton last enjoyed hers back when Dynasty was ABC's #1 show in primetime, so she will know of what she speaks Friday morning when she delivers the third in a series of major policy addresses, this time on the hot-button issue of privacy, which Rick Berke has been predicted for years will become a big deal in elections.

Echoing themes from her two most recent major policy speeches that have focused on her call for fundamental changes in the economy and a need for a 21st Century approach to energy independence and efficiency, Clinton will suggest that privacy is at the crossroads of many issues as the economy becomes increasingly data driven and surveillance is continuously ramped up to fight the war on terrorism.

Highlighting ongoing news coverage of how the security of the records of millions of consumers, veterans, patients have been compromised, Clinton will discuss how the American ideal of the cherished right to privacy needs to be reconciled with the technological realities of the new century.

Until that happens, though, she's going to continue to legally purchase John Edwards' cell phone records to see exactly who he's calling across Iowa.


The Wall Street Journal ledes what is essentially a numbers story with the ones likely to make the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania happiest: a majority of Americans are on board with his immigration plan (although conservative opposition means the smart money stays on a lame duck outcome). Other numbers from the new WSJ/NBC poll: On Iraq, 53% thought Zarqawi's death would improve things in Iraq, but the same number think the war was a mistake. Domestically, 61% said things are on the wrong track, and 49% said they want Democrats to control Congress in 2006.


"A criminal defense attorney for a Marine under investigation in the Haditha killings says he will call a senior Democratic congressman as a trial witness, if his client is charged, to find out who told the lawmaker that U.S. troops are guilty of cold-blooded murder," the Washington Times reports. LINK

POTUS speaks:

"Hinting at a return to a strategy that proved successful for his party in 2004, Mr. Bush said he believed his course in Iraq was correct and vowed to 'keep talking about it and talking about it,'" writes the New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the "energized" President's post-Baghdad press conference. LINK

Stolberg, showing a Bumillerian love for her own question, adds, ". . . the president hinted at the tension between his competing roles as world leader and leader of the Republican Party" when he declared that it was not quite time yet for him to fully engage in midterm politics.

Deb Orin of the New York Post describes the President as "upbeat" during his press conference which she writes is "part of the new more aggressive strategy of stressing positive news." LINK

The Washington Times' Dinan saw President Bush appearing to "blink back sleep" during yesterday's presser. LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper reports that President Bush personally called the Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten on his cell phone yesterday afternoon to apologize for his gaffe about the reporter's sunglasses. Wallsten, unbeknownst to the President, suffers from Stargardt's Disease and wears sunglasses to curb the disease's advance. Tapper Notes that he readily accepted President Bush's apology and insisted none was necessary. LINK

"Soul Man" departs:

"There's no way to replace him -- he is a once in a generation," Karl Rove tells the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg about Michael Gerson's departure. LINK

(Rutenberg continues to show a Bumillerian ability to get Rove on the record.)

Washington Post: LINK

Chicago Tribune: LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

In the forthcoming New York Times Magazine, James Traub contests all claims that President Bush's Administration is similar to that of William McKinley and that he could achieve the same level of popularity for which McKinley is remembered.

Although "today's Democrats are much closer to the mainstream" and, unlike McKinley, "Bush came along three decades after Republicans broke into the Democrats' solid South to establish a new majority," the bottom line, simply and mercilessly argued, is that "George Bush is no William McKinley" -- he is characterized here as a "profoundly self-confident leader willing to stake all on his unshakable inner convictions."

Paul Burka's "Topic A" column in Texas Monthly takes a humorous left-leaning approach to some advice for President Bush. LINK

(And you won't want to miss Burka's July cover story on the "Weirdest Governor's Race of All-Time.")

Environmentalists find what some say is an unlikely ally in President Bush, the San Francisco Chronicle's Zachary Coile reports; the President, like conservationists and politicians from states that ban offshore oil drilling, opposes a House proposal to share royalties from offshore drilling with the states, though the Administration's concerns relate more to the bill's "excessive short- and long-term costs." LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation:

An anonymous source close to Rove tells the Washington Post: "He did nothing wrong, he was not involved, he did everything right and owes nobody any apology." LINK

The New York Times' Rutenberg and Lewis on President Bush's "sigh of relief" when he learned Rove will not be indicted in the case and on the questions that remain unanswered: LINK

The economy:

". . . when the government reported on Wednesday that the core measure of consumer prices. . . edged up 0.3 percent in May and was up 2.4 percent from 12 months earlier, analysts greeted the numbers as uniformly bad," writes the New York Times' Edmund Andrews. LINK

Congress discloses:

Rep. William Jefferson's (D-LA) financial disclosure forms made nary a reference of his business interests, now being investigated by the FBI, the Hill reports. LINK

David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times Notes House Majority Leader Boehner's $2,700 lottery win last year in his look at the financial disclosure forms of the congressional leadership. LINK

Mike Dorning and Andrew Zajac of the Chicago Tribune report that Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) made more than $1.5 million after selling land that was "conveniently" located near the proposed major highway he was supporting, and which he sold 3 months after the bill was signed. LINK

Despite recent lobbying scandals, members of Congress are still traveling in style (including, apparently, to a lot of slot machines), reports the Wall Street Journal.

The Los Angeles Times' focuses on Jeffrey Shockey's adjusted report and the finances of California MOCs. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

The New York Times' Hernandez on the Clintons' $8 million year. LINK

The New York Post's Ian Bishop compares the Clinton financial disclosure information to Sen. Schumer's "more modest lifestyle." LINK

The New York Daily News on same: LINK


Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) "smell[s] a coverup" at the FDA: LINK

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA):

The Wall Street Journal's ed board dubs Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) "Earmarker in Chief", questions the appropriateness of the Appropriations Chairman, and warns that "if Republicans aren't spooked by the Lewis investigation, they should be."

Democratic agenda:

The Democrats' "New Direction" platform receives coverage from Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune LINK and Rick Klein of the Boston Globe. LINK

The Hill on Democrats using the Harry Truman by-way-of-Newt-Gingrich "had enough" slogan. LINK

"A group of Democratic operatives have launched a website,, to serve as an information clearinghouse for left-leaning policy," the Hill reports. The site is the "brainchild" of Stan Greenberg, Bill Galston, and Ruy Teixeira. LINK

2006: House:

House Majority Leader-wannabe John Murtha (D-PA) will visit New Hampshire next month to raise money for Democrats, reports PoliticsNH. LINK

2006: Senate:

The Virginian Pilot reports that Sen. George Allen (R-VA) will travel to Iowa this Saturday to attend a state GOP fundraiser, leaving him vulnerable to attack from his new Senate opponent, Reagan-aide-cum-Democrat James Webb. LINK

The Washington Times has national "heavy-hitters" saying that Webb's win should have GOPers "running scared." LINK

Roll Call's Lauren Whittington has DSCC honcho Schumer saying: "George Allen's sweating."

In a primary that saw paltry voter turnout, the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Tyler Whitley Notes that the Rockingham County poll site saw zero voters in the 13 hours it was open. LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Suddenly, Senate Race is All About Immigration" LINK

The issue of illegal immigration has taken the forefront in the minds of incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Democratic challenger Bob Casey Jr., resulting in aggressive ads in an attempt to sway voters.

The Tampa Tribune's William March and Ketih Epstein report on Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) challenger Katherine Harris alienating Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), "one of few Republican leaders anywhere who supports her," with an attack on Sen. Nelson's support of an immigration-friendly bill that Sen. Martinez crafted. LINK

Since he doesn't seem to be getting any love from national Republicans, John Spencer is launching a radio ad today urging listeners to send their money to him and not to the national GOP -- which he clearly does not consider an ally in his Senate battle.

The New York Times' Pat Healy: LINK The New York Daily News' Kennedy has more: LINK

Spencer campaign manager Kevin Collins would not divulge the amount of money being spent on the radio spot, but did tell The Note that the ad is expected to be heard on conservative talk radio stations mainly in the New York City and Albany markets.

"Continued frustration with President Bush and the war in Iraq have helped the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate keep an edge over his Republican challenger, according to a new poll released this morning," reports the Associated Press on Sen. Menendez's seven point lead over Tom Kean, Jr. in the latest Quinnipiac University poll. LINK

2006: Governor:

The AP's Brendan Farrington has Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) slamming Representative Jim Davis (D-FL), a Democrat who is vying to succeed him, for sending an email to supporters the day before Alberto hit that criticized Republicans' incation in the face of "rising insurance rates" with a subject that read, "Alberto is here. Are we ready?" Gov. Bush called Rep. Davis' email "a stupid statement." LINK

More from the Palm Beach Post. LINK

Fifteen hours after polls closed, Peter Mills finally conceded the Maine GOP nomination for governor to Chandler Woodcock. Although the losing candidates supported Woodcock at an afternoon press conference attacking Gov. John Baldacci (D-ME), according to the Portland Press Herald's Paul Carrier, "the head of the Maine Democratic Party" reported "that Democrats are gleeful about Woodcock's win because he is too conservative to appeal to the mainstream."LINK

The Press Herald's Mark Peters credits smart money management and efficient grassroots outreach as the causes of Woodcock's late push. LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Swann Plan Cuts Legislature by 40%" LINK

Republican gubernatorial nominee Lynn Swann's proposed plans appear to some to lack detail and practicality.

The Schwarzenegger Era:

Michael Finnegan of the Los Angeles Times on Phil Angelides' post-primary pivot to the center: LINK


The New York Sun's Gosh Gerstein reports that billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R? D?-NY) "won't have much trouble getting on the ballot as an independent" in 2008. John Anderson, who received 7% of the vote in 1980 as an independent candidate, told Gerstein, "'It poses an interesting possibility that he could be the standard bearer for a new body of political thought that wants to get rid of the monolith of the two-party system.'"LINK

Speculation about Bloomberg's potential run continues to grow, the Sun's Jill Gardiner reports, as Bloomberg tours the country to address both national and Manhattan issues, and she adds, has grown a "newfound affection for the national stage." LINK

2008: Republicans:

Gov. Mitt Romney's (R-MA) promised that the 2008 contender would veto some aspects of the $700 million spending plan in front of the Massachusetts state legislature. LINK

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) is in Dallas raising money for local Republicans and meeting with prominent business leaders in possible preparation for a Presidential run. The Note adores alliteration. LINK

As he prepares to return to the Hawkeye State on Friday, the Des Moines Register reports that Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) has recruited key Iowa Republicans like Ed Failor Jr. and former Senate GOP leader Steward Iverson for his PAC 21st Century Freedom. LINK

More from the New York Daily News: LINK

2008: Democrats:

"Mrs. Clinton has spent millions of dollars on databases for fundraising and voter outreach. Those lists and cross-references and demographic details are hers to keep and use in the future. While her presidential opponents will be scrambling to make and buy and refine these highly important lists, Mrs. Clinton will only need to download a computer file," writes the New York Sun's Davidson Goldin. LINK

"On Iraq, Clinton's problem is that it's such an intensely polarizing issue where there's no middle ground -- and most Democrats are intensely against it. That leaves Clinton twisting herself in bizarre pretzel shapes. . .," writes Deb Orin in her New York Post column in which she declares Clinton's strategy on Iraq "starting to backfire." LINK

While speaking to the Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, D.C. yesterday, Sen. Clinton tied America's foreign relations to its inefficient use of energy: "Instead of national security dictating energy policy, our failed policy dictates our national security."

While calling into Don Imus' program, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) responded to the question "I guess you still are running for President, huh?" with an extended laugh and added that he is more comfortable with people questioning his electability than his capacity for governance: "At least they're not saying, 'I don't think the guy can do the job.'" On Iraq, Biden declined to set a withdrawal date for troops and said of Bush and recent developments: "You can't confuse an event with a strategy."

The Union Leader's indefatigable John DiStaso Notes that Gov. Vilsack split with some Democratic leaders when he supported keeping the New Hampshire primary the first of the season while being squishy on what should come between Iowa and New Hampshire, while testing presidential waters in the Granite State yesterday. Vilsack did agree to do some checking assigned to him by the influential DiStaso. LINK

Per always, there is much to must read in DiStaso's opus.

Per the Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont, Gov. Vilsack looked more presidential campaigning in New Hampshire yesterday than he has recently in his own state. Vilsack told Manchester Democrats that America "has that special responsibility in the world today . . . to be that beacon of hope" and was treated to a standing O by the end of his speech. LINK

The Quad City Times' Tuohy Notes that Gov. Vilsack likes wild berry smoothies and fro-yo. LINK

While speaking to the liberal "Campaign for America's Future: Take Back America" conference in Washington, DC on Wednesday, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) implicitly rebuked Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and John Edwards (D-NC) for only speaking out against the Iraq war after having voted to authorize it in 2002.

"I didn't just write an op-ed," said Feingold, "I didn't just say, 'I made a mistake.' I just plain voted against it."

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), of Pentagon Papers fame, is canvassing in Iowa to seek the Democratic presidential nod in 2008. LINK

2008: conventions:

The St. Petersburg Times' Janet Zink reports that Tampa has joined Minneapolis, New York, and Cleveland as a potential host city for the 2008 Republican National Convention. The choice will not be easy, for, as RNC spokesman Aaron McLear explains, "'All four cities have their own good times to offer.'" LINK

The Tampa Tribune's Ellen Gedalius has more: LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

Despite concerns snaking across party lines and throughout Congress about the war... LINK

. . . the Senate will vote today to send the President an emergency spending bill to the tune of almost $95 billion to aid hurricane victims and the country's two wars. LINK

The Washington Times' Amy Fagan reports that Sens. Bill Frist (R-TN) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) are taking a more proactive approach to spending reform.LINK

South Carolina:

Infighting among Palmetto State Republicans over a $6 billion budget "may benefit Democratic candidates this fall," reports the New York Times. LINK


In his New York Times op-ed column, David Brooks writes of a new paradigm in American politics. It is no longer conservative versus liberal, Brooks argues, but "populist nationalism against progressive globalism." He goes on to place Rev. Al Sharpton and Dr. James Dobson in the former category and McCain, Clinton, Romney, Warner, and Giuliani in the latter. LINK

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times writes up a watchdog group's questioning of Speaker Hastert's nearly $2 million profit on an Illinois land deal. LINK

New York City will soon learn if City Hall can possibly be the same without Jordan Barowitz in it. (Most gamblin' folk are betting on "no.") Jordan has worked on both the mayor's side and the City Council's side of the Hall for both Republicans and Democrats with skill and kindness for nearly eight years. He's got that place wired like few others. Jordan's last day in the public sector will be on June 30 before he heads off to cash in as director of external affairs for the Durst Organization. LINK

We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.