WASHINGTON, June 17
Between the Middle East conflict (Larry Kudlow thinks it is World War IV, Matt Drudge does not), the Shuttle, North Korea, other world events, and the Gang of 500's staggered decampment for points north, east, and west, politics would appear to be receding just a bit.
Our advice, with the POTUS in the air for much of the East Coast news cycle: Watch VPOTUS Cheney closely today.
Having been caught on a major-league open microphone expressing some frustration about the continuing violence in the Middle East toward the end of the G8 Summit, President Bush is now winging his way back to Washington, DC. The President and Mrs. Bush are scheduled to return to the White House at 3:30 pm ET. There is nothing else on the President's public schedule, but that open microphone did pick up Mr. Bush telling Tony Blair that he had to get back home because he had something to do tonight. LINK
The network and cable morning show coverage was likely just the beginning of a news cycle full of open-mic Bush coverage. Before too long, the Naperville footage and the Tucker Carlson interview will be hauled out as well, we bet.
Vice President Dick Cheney attends campaign events in Iowa. Cheney makes 1:30 pm ET remarks at a luncheon on behalf of congressional candidate Jeff Lamberti. He then speaks at a rally for the Iowa Air and Army National Guard in Johnston, IA at 2:35 pm ET. He then heads to a reception for congressional candidate Mike Whalen at 6:30 pm ET. Here's a fundraising primer on the two key congressional races from the Iowa papers. LINK and LINK
The Senate convenes this morning and considers three stem-cell bills: the "Fetus Farming Prohibition Act," the "Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act," and the "Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005." All three are expected to pass when the roll is called tomorrow, bringing about the expected first presidential veto for George W. Bush.
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) holds a news conference to highlight successes of stem-cell research at 12:00 pm ET at the Capitol.
The AP reports on the House GOP "American Values" agenda moving forward this week with pledge-of-allegiance protection and same sex marriage ban votes planned. LINK
The NAACP continues its 97th annual "Voting our Values, Valuing our Values" convention at 8:45 am ET with remarks by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC) at 9:30 am. The conference began Saturday and is scheduled to take place at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC until Thursday. See the NAACP website for a more detailed agenda of the convention: LINK
Sen. Reid then attends the Senate Democratic Policy Committee's 1:30 pm ET hearing on the Medicare "donut hole" along with fellow Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Mark Dayton (D-MN), and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) is scheduled to discuss "The American Middle Class: Future of the Nation, Future of the Democratic Party" at an event at the National Press Club this morning at 10:00 am ET, before heading off to Des Moines, IA to deliver it again.
Fellow Senators make appearances across the country today, as Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) attends a reception hosted by Saul Anuzis of the Michigan Republican Party in Jackson, MI and Sens. John Sununu (R-NH) and John Thune (R-SD) attend a fundraiser hosted by Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) in New York City along with Senate candidate Tom Kean, Jr. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) serves as the headliner.
President Bush's week ahead schedule has lots of room for additions in it. He has a couple of photo opportunities tomorrow (one with the Indy 500 winner), a TBA event (NAACP?) on Wednesday LINK, no public schedule on Thursday, and a campaign trip to Englewood, CO on Friday before heading to his Texas ranch for the weekend.
Be sure to check our look at the rest of the political week ahead below.
Dan Balz and David Broder took to the Washington Post's front page on Sunday with gusto. Their must-read analysis of some experimental Washington Post focus-grouping on the power of 9/11 imagery in campaign advertising is both fascinating and important. It is also something that Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman, George Bush, and others keenly understand. Read it all: LINK
The story also wisely Notes the near-immediate dissipation of the post-9/11 harmony in American politics.
Thomas Mann -- someone who knows a thing or two about Congress -- offered a Sunday Washington Post op-ed explaining why he sees a Democratic wave building this midterm election year. LINK
(You may want to clip and save the list of things that Mann writes may prevent a tidal wave this year. That lists of caveats is something!!!)
And doing their best to turn West Virginia into a Blue State, the DCCC's Sarah Feinberg and Evan Bayh's Dan Pfeiffer's wedding announcement graced the pages of the New York Times yesterday. We wish them a heartfelt congratulations. LINK
The Wall Street Journal's Sarah Lueck reports on the 3 upcoming stem cell bills in the Senate, saying that the debate will give "Democrats the chance to make political hay before the November elections." LINK
And if you were wondering about the Administration's take on this: "With many Republicans supporting expanded funding, even the White House didn't push hard to stop the Senate vote."
Be sure, too, to Note Sen. Gordon Smith's (R-OR) comparison of the politics of the issue to that of immigration. The Los Angeles Times: LINK
The Washington Times: LINK
USA Today: LINK
Associated Press: LINK
Politics of Iraq:
"U.S. war commanders think some level of American forces will be needed in Iraq until 2016," reports the Washington Times' Scarborough. LINK
Republicans banking on the potency of the economy for the November elections may be less than thrilled when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers his monetary-policy report this week since it is expected to say "the economy is slowing and inflation remains a risk." Bloomberg's Rich Miller has more. LINK
The New York Daily News' Mahoney has some exclusive details on a taxpayer-funded dinner Gov. Pataki hosted for New Hampshire Republicans at the official gubernatorial mansion in Albany, NY -- which provided an easy target for New York State Democratic Committee Chairman Denny Farrell. LINK
"Bay State Democrats and the national GOP machine will be watching Gov. Mitt 'I'm in Control' Romney like a hawk as he takes on tunnel safety -- and Matt Amorello," writes the Boston Herald's Atkins. LINK
Democrat Karl Agne made his best case for Rudy Giuliani as a strong presidential candidate in Sunday's New York Daily News. LINK
"The Giuliani speculation is inevitable," wrote the prolific James O'Toole of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a Sunday piece following on the heels of Giuliani's recent Pennsylvania campaign swing. "But on another level, his potential candidacy strains political plausibility," adds O'Toole. LINK
Frank Luntz takes a guest columnist turn in the New York Daily News to debunk the conventional wisdom about Sen. Clinton's potential presidential campaign and offers her advice on what to do to best help her chances at winning the White House. LINK
The AP's Julie Carr Smyth argues that Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) comments in Ohio last week insinuating Secretary of State and GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell was corrupt may not help her should she run for national office, as Ohio has a tradition of allowing state election officials to actively participate in the political process. LINK
The Des Moines Register reported on Sunday about Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-WI) Hawkeye State weekend trip urging Iowa Democrats to be not afraid of opposing the war. LINK
More from the Quad City Times: LINK
The Clintons of Chappaqua:
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) returned to her first Arkansas home Saturday amid much fanfare, speaking before a 700-strong audience at the Arkansas Federation of Democratic Women's state convention (on such diverse matters as energy independence, the challenges facing the middle class, the deficit, Katrina, and Social Security), followed by a tour of the Fayetteville public library and a nostalgic visit to what was once her and former President Clinton's house. The Springdale Morning News' Doug Thompson reports: LINK
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette on the same: LINK
Sen. Lieberman's primary politics:
Ned Lamont has contributed another $500,000 to his campaign, bringing the total he has funneled toward his own campaign to $2.5 million, reports the Hartford Courant. With only $276,976 on hand as of June 30, however, even these new funds will not bring Lamont's coffers up to par with Sen. Lieberman's $4.3 million campaign chest. LINK
Per the Hartford Courant, Sen. Lieberman touched base yesterday with African-American and labor voters. LINK
In his Chicago Sun-Times column, Bob Novak looks at Sen. Lieberman's support for certain legislative earmarks. LINK
On Saturday, the Hartford Courant's David Lightman informed his readers of Sen. Lieberman's Democratic credentials. LINK
Apparently, it takes nearly 4,000 words to fit in quotes from Dotty Lynch, John Zogby, Ron Kaufman, Mark Halperin, and many, many others, in a story about how the Nutmeg State is sort of the center of the universe this cycle. LINK
Two top NRSC target races receive new polling numbers today. One set the NRSC will certainly enjoy, the other set -- not so much.
The Associated Press has the latest Quinnipiac University poll results from the Garden State showing a statistical dead heat (Kean 40 percent vs. Menendez 38 percent). LINK
Roll Call's David Drucker reports that Team Kean "is bringing new blood to invigorate his New Jersey Senate campaign as he attempts to satisfy supporters critical of his operation and address a vast fundraising disparity" with Menendez.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune shows a 19-point advantage for Democrat Amy Klobuchar over Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-MN), with Klobuchar hitting 50 percent. The headline reads, "Wide gap a surprise in race for Senate," and we suspect that surprise extends itself inside the Klobuchar campaign as well. However, mix in this poll with Klobuchar's coming out on top in second-quarter fundraising and you've got a little Minnesota momentum for the Democrats. LINK
In its first fact-check installment of the cycle, the Minneapolis Star Tribune slams the NRSC for a misleading press release. LINK
The Baltimore Sun has a poll this morning showing the Democratic primary between Rep. Ben Cardin and Kweisi Mfume a statistical dead heat with lots of undecided Democratic voters. The primary is September 12. LINK
The New York Post carries the AP's comparison of Sen. Clinton's fundraising to that of her Republican opponents. LINK
The Associated Press in Missouri reports on the cash-on-hand advantage enjoyed by Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) over his Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill. LINK
The New Hampshire Union Leader's DiStaso looks at how Reps. Jeb Bradley (R-NH) and Charles Bass (R-NH) and their Democratic challengers are positioning themselves on the Iraq war in advance of the November election. LINK
The Los Angeles Times has a priceless profile of Rep. Henry Waxman, which might be helpful to the GOP in its effort to remind voters who will be running the store if the Democrats gain control of the House. LINK
"Yet at a time when many of his Democratic colleagues have spent the last decade in a defensive crouch, outmaneuvered by their GOP rivals, Waxman has found another way to have an impact -- going outside normal legislative channels to exert influence on issues he cares about. In the process, he has also made himself into what many Republicans consider the biggest pest east of the Mississippi."
Howard "The Enforcer" Wolfson fires a warning shot at Tom Suozzi via the New York Post's Fred Dicker. LINK
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Angela Couloumbis reports Gov. Ed. Rendell (D-PA) -- in a Cheney-esque move -- will not allow the press on his bus tour of Pennsylvania this weekend. LINK
The GOP primary for Florida's governorship intensifies, with front-runner Charlie Crist and opponent Tom Gallagher each boasting his conservative bona fides in attempts to curry favor with the state's Christian conservatives, who comprise an expected one-third of the primary vote. LINK
The Baltimore Sun also polled the gubernatorial contest between Gov. Robert Erhlich (R-MD) and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D-MD) and found that Ehrlich has somewhat improved his standing with voters, but O'Malley still leads in what is expected to be a very competitive contest. LINK
The AP's Greg Bluestein reports on yesterday's final debate between the two GOP primary candidates for Georgia Lieutenant Governor, former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed and State Senator Casey Cagle (R-GA). Reed labeled his opponent a state senate insider, while Sen. Cagle was quick to remind voters of Reed's ties to Jack Abramoff and a recent lawsuit claiming Reed used illegal methods to shut down an Indian tribe's casino. LINK
The $1 million voter may be heading to Arizona. The New York Times has the details of the initiative -- recently certified to be on the November ballot -- aimed at boosting voter turnout by offering $1 million to a lucky winner drawn by lottery. The only requirement to enter the contest is voting. LINK
"If the general election in 2004 is a guide, when more than 2 million people voted, the 1-in-2-million odds of winning the election lottery would be far better than the Powerball jackpot (currently about 1 in 146,107,962) but not nearly as great as dying from a lightning strike (1 in 55,928)."
Note to morning show bookers: some think the measure might run afoul of state and/or federal statutes.
USA Today's Kathy Keily takes a two-part look at lackluster voter turnout in this year's primaries, which she sees as a troubling kink in the democratic process as primaries become more and more determinative of ultimate November victories. LINK and LINK
The Washington Post's Jim VandeHei and Chris Cillizza analyze the first year of Democracy Alliance, a group of the top one hundred or so Democratic donors. LINK
Essentially, " If a group does not receive the alliance's blessing, dozens of the nation's wealthiest political contributors as a practical matter become off-limits for fundraising purposes."
And Note the unhappiness among some in the Democratic Party about the group's ideological bent.
Net-neutrality opponent Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-AK) not-so-hip comments about the Internet get some New York Times coverage today. LINK
Bloomberg's Al Hunt calls Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) "a John McCain-in-waiting," terming him a "bright, inclusive, press-friendly conservative Republican with a decidedly independent streak." LINK
The political week ahead:
On Tuesday, the Senate convenes for a morning meeting to complete discussion of the three stem-cell bills considered yesterday. The NAACP convention continues with remarks by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) at the Washington Convention Center. Also, Tuesday is primary day in Georgia with the Reed/Cagle battle for the GOP nomination for Lieutenant Governor serving as the marquee event.
On Wednesday, the NAACP convention continues with remarks expected from Sens. Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama, Sam Brownback, and Hillary Clinton (D-NY).
On Friday, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Tom Vilsack, and Wesley Clark address day two of the College Democrats of America's annual convention in St. Louis, MO. Also on Friday, the National Organization for Women celebrates its 40th anniversary and begins Day One of its weekend NOW Conference and Youth Feminist Summit in Albany, NY.