Steven Weisman of the New York Times profiles the new US Trade Representative Susan Schwab and the immediate difficult task before her. LINK
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) continued his criticism of the Bush Administration yesterday, calling into question President Bush's use of "signing statements" to exempt himself from certain pieces of legislation, reports Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe. LINK
The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes looks at whether 2006 will be 1994 and appears unconvinced. To wit: the GOP being less complacent this year than Democrats were 12 years ago, fewer competitive seats, the Social Security failure coming in 2005 instead of 2006, the friction with Chairman Dean, and the outcome of the CA-50 special election. On the other hand, Democrats only need 15 seats to regain a majority this year; in 1994, GOPers needed around 40 seats. LINK
Charlie Cook is clearly not afraid of provoking Bill Burton's ire.
In his National Journal column, Cook writes: "Given the fickleness of public opinion, it's probably risky to say this, but it looks like President Bush's free fall has bottomed out, as have other key indicators that were trending against Republicans. Combined with last week's Republican victory in the special election in California's 50th Congressional District (an almost near-death experience for the GOP), the improving poll numbers for Bush and his party should give Democrats reason to pause and Republicans reason to get out of bed in the morning."
More Cook: "The situation remains very serious for Republicans, but perhaps not quite as bad as it looked a month ago, and we still have more than four months to go before Election Day."
The Note idolizes Cook, but we would have made that "and" an "and/but."
Tom Bevan columnizes in the Chicago Sun-Times today that while the Democrats' Karl Rove frog marching fantasy will remain just that, much can change for either party between now and November. LINK
Though he cautions against demography as destiny, Timothy Egan of the New York Times examines the voting patterns of people in inner suburbs, outer suburbs, and exurbs and efforts in both parties to use those patterns to their electoral advantage. LINK
The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Sandalow analyzes Leader Pelosi's ability to hold her caucus together in the face of intra-party fighting over Iraq, the decision to remove Rep. Jefferson (D-LA), and Murtha's decision to challenge Hoyer (D-MD) if the Democrats take the House in November. Such divisions are making it difficult for Pelosi's Democrats to present a "unified front" a la Contract for America; when questioned about the issue of disunity, Pelosi replied, "That's just not true. That's simply not true. I hate to disappoint you, it's simply not true." LINK
The Herald Tribune's Jeremy Wallace reports that Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) has been cited by the FEC for her acceptance of 26 donations over the legal limit of $2,100 per individual during the Republican primary, amounting to more than $60,000 in question (and a third strike against a politician who has twice before accepted illegal campaign donations). LINK
Political bigwigs filed out in tow to a fundraiser for Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) hosted by "the ultimate political celebrity," Sen. Clinton at her Washington home. LINK