The Note: Stars of All Stripes


All eyes will be on the Senate today when it proceeds to the Flag Desecration Amendment for debate at 4:00 pm ET. No vote is expected before Tuesday.

With the majority whip set to vote against the measure, who is whipping the majority? And who is in charge of making sure that Democrats with past support for such an effort stay in line?

In order to help you understand the debate and its context, The Note offers the following lists and transcripts:

Here is the list of national political reporters who think amending the constitution to allow for the outlawing of flag burning is a good idea: LINK

Here is a full transcript of all conversations involving Gang of 500 members of the media in which they discuss the difficulty of keeping their pro-amendment bias from infecting their coverage of the issue: LINK

Here is the list of elected officials who currently hold national office who think that it is substantively important to pass such an amendment: LINK

Here is a list of all the former chiefs of staff to Republican presidents who think it is substantively important to pass such an amendment: LINK

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports that as of Friday there were between 66 and the magical 67 Senators (including 52 Republicans and 14 confirmed Democrats) who appeared open to a flag desecration amendment. By our count, there aren't a lot of whole numbers between 66 and 67.

Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times had Leader/Dr./Sen. Frist chief of staff Eric Ueland in Sunday's newspaper saying the flag amendment "will win or lose by a vote." LINK

The fourteen Democrats who have expressed support for the amendment under consideration are Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN),), Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

The only Republicans against the amendment are Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT), Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

There is at least one catch: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the chief proponent of a flag amendment, might think he has found the necessary 67 votes, but Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), one of the supporters of the amendment, has been out for several months recovering from back surgery. His aides say he is due to return this week. But if he doesn't, the vote will be one short.

Another thing to consider is that amendment foes might be able to get Sen. Dayton, who is retiring, to switch to "no" in order to block passage of the amendment. Or some other Democrat might fall under the hypnotic spell of Bob Kerrey.

Anti-amendment Democrats like Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) may also team with Sen. Bennett to push alternative legislation that would attempt to ban some forms of flag desecration (in a way that the Supreme Court finds permissible) without amending the Constitution, thus giving potential cover to some lawmakers who have supported the amendment in the past, but are having second thoughts now.

President Bush meets with organizations that support the United States military in Iraq and Afghanistan at 10:00 am ET. ABC News' Karen Travers reports that around 14 different service organizations have partnered with DOD's "America Supports You" program to send care packages, letters and other items of support to American military. Some groups build homes for wounded veterans and provide financial assistance to military families.

The meeting is an opportunity for the President to thank the representatives of these groups for their commitment to America's military and hear what they are doing, according to White House spokesman Ken Lisaius. Actor Gary Sinese and members of the America Supports You organization hold a 12:15 pm ET news conference at the White House stakeout position after meeting with President Bush at 10:00 am ET.

The President's big political event of the day comes at 12:00 pm ET when he attends a (closed press) RNC finance luncheon with 84 attendees at Evermay which the RNC says is expected to raise $1.3 million.

The President is also scheduled to participate in a photo op with the 2006 presidential scholars at 10:35 am ET and a celebration of Black Music Month at 5:30 pm ET.

Vice President Cheney delivers 1:30 pm ET remarks at a luncheon for congressional candidate Adrian Smith in Grand Island, NE. He also delivers 5:30 pm ET remarks at a fundraiser for congressional candidate Michele Bachmann at a private residence in Minnetrista, MN.

After being criticized by some in the press last week for not having a united position on Iraq, Democrats plan to hit back this week.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Sen. Dayton, and Sen. Reid hold a 1:30 pm ET Democratic Policy Committee "hearing" focusing on the Bush Administration's "manipulation" of pre-war intelligence. Witnesses include Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Paul Pillar, the CIA official responsible for coordinating intelligence on Iraq from 2000 to 2005, Carl Ford, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, 2001-2003, Michael Smith, reporter for the Sunday Times of London who broke the story of the "Downiing Street Memo," and others.

The Democrats' security message is expected to focus on the amnesty-for-insurgent issue and on Gen. Casey's comments regarding troop withdrawals from Iraq.

Sen. Reid is expected to say: "While the Iraqis, our top generals and Democrats are working to change the course in Iraq; Bush Republicans stand alone in staying the course. It is time to start the phased redeployment of US troops by the end of this year. Bush Republicans stand alone in their desire for an open-ended commitment with no goals, no benchmarks and no plan for success. . ."

House Democrats' main focus will be on the "New Direction for America" as we head into the July 4th district work period. Last week, House Democrats highlighted the minimum wage and college affordability. This week's focus will be on the Medicare prescription drug benefit, Social Security, and college affordability (the deadline for student loan consolidation is July 1). House Democrats will be doing "New Direction" events in their districts next week.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was scheduled to deliver 8:00 am ET remarks at the Magen David Adom breakfast at the Jewish Museum in New York City. At 1:00 pm ET, she co-hosts New Jobs for New York's "Alternative Energy in New York: Expo 2006" -- a conference that will bring together leading businesses, potential investors, and higher education representatives from across the state to showcase the research and development that is taking place in Rochester in alternative energy.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) meets with HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt in Washington, DC at 4:00 pm ET on the subject of health care. Dr./Leader/Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) hosts fundraiser for VOLPAC and 2006 Senate candidates in New York City. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) attends a fundraiser for the Michigan Republican Party in Rochester, MI.

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) delivers an address on energy policy in Boston, MA at 12:00 pm ET.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) discusses public safety and addresses California's "prison crisis" when he speaks to the California District Attorneys Association conference at 2:00 pm ET at the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach, CA.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman attends the 6:30 pm ET reception and the 7:40 pm ET dinner for Sen. Frist's VOLPAC in New York City this evening.

Beginning today and continuing through Wednesday, the DNC site selection committee for the 2008 convention visits Minneapolis, MN.

Pentecost 2006 convenes in Washington, DC today. Featured speakers at the three-day conference include Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). The Rev. Jim Wallis speaks at the evening general session at 7:30 pm ET.

Environmental and energy groups hold an 11:30 am ET press briefing in the Cannon House Office Building to propose an "array of cleaner, faster and more affordable solutions" as the House of Representatives begins Energy Week. The Sierra Club, PIRG, NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Alaska Wilderness League are expected to participate.

ABC News' Ariane DeVogue reports that we will hear about the cases the Supreme Court might take for next term. The interesting cases that the Court might grant today include a major greenhouse gas case involving Massachusetts and a big patent case.

Federal Judge Sam Sparks is scheduled to hold a hearing today in Austin, TX on the lawsuit filed by the Texas Democratic Party which argues that Tom DeLay's name cannot be replaced on the ballot despite his resignation from the House.

A restraining order issued earlier this month has the effect of possibly postponing the naming of DeLay's successor by the GOP.

Politics of Iraq:

Jon Cohen of ABC News' Polling Unit reports that Americans are divided about evenly on whether the Bush Administration should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. military forces from Iraq, a shift in views from last year. In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 47 percent say the Bush Administration should set a deadline for troop withdrawal; 51 percent say it shouldn't. In December, 39 percent favored setting a definitive date and 60 percent were opposed. Among the nearly half of Americans who support a deadline, about half say it should be within six months; the other half, a year or longer.

The full ABC News poll, with much more material, will be available after 5:00 pm ET.

ABC News' Jake Tapper teases the forthcoming poll numbers on his blog. LINK

The Note is confused: If General Casey (and President Bush) are going to do what the Democrats want anyway in terms of troop withdrawals (as Democrats are now claiming), how can they justify all this yelling about Bush not listening to the American people? Do they care more about the name calling or the policy?

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: First, the bottom line: it's too early to expect deep troop reductions in Iraq, but if all goes well, that could happen next year.

Senior Pentagon officials say Gen. Casey outlined a plan for possible troop reductions this week to Rumsfeld and other senior officials. One senior official familiar with Casey's discussion described it as "the most optimistic thinking" about what is possible assuming political and military progress in Iraq.

Under this best-case scenario, there would be a modest reduction of about 7,000 combat troops by the end of 2006. This would leave about 120,000 troops in Iraq (and possibly a bit more) by the end of the year. That's a far cry from where the Pentagon had hoped to be (earlier this year they hoped to be at 100,000 by the end of the year).

Casey also said that under the best-case scenario, the number of combat troops could be reduced by about half by the end of 2007. There are now about 42,000 combat troops in Iraq. The rest of the 127,000 US troops in Iraq are support troops and trainers for the Iraqi Army.

BUT --

A senior Pentagon official described the discussion of '07 as "like trying to look into a crystal ball" and noted "we're talking about the end of 2007. Casey isn't even going to be the commander at the beginning of 2007!" Casey is expected to be replaced at the end of the year.

"There are too many variables to be able to talk with any certainty" about what troop cuts will be possible next year, the official said.

The official said the discussion of troop reductions next year was not a plan but "a look at what is possible if everything proceeds in a way that is predictable, and everything is not predictable"

Further context: In December, Casey predicted "substantial reductions" this spring. Spring came and went without substantial reductions.

Gen. Casey's optimistic plans for possible troop withdrawals led Sunday's New York Times, courtesy of Michael Gordon: LINK

Keying off of that New York Times report, Michael Abramowitz and Thomas Ricks report in Monday's Washington Post that Senate Democrats reacted "angrily yesterday to a report that the US commander in Iraq had privately presented a plan for significant troop reductions in the same week they came under attack by Republicans for trying to set a timetable for withdrawal." LINK

The New York Times on the same: LINK

Days after a renewed partisan debate on the war in Iraq, Senators have coalesced against the Iraqi Prime Minister's proposal for amnesty to insurgents not connected with al-Qaeda, the Washington Times' Eric Pfeiffer reports. LINK

The Los Angeles Times Louise Roug and Doug Smith reported on Sunday that "at least 50,000 Iraqis have died violently since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to statistics from the Baghdad morgue, the Iraqi Health Ministry and other agencies -- a toll 20,000 higher than previously acknowledged by the Bush administration." LINK

"Last year, President Bush said he believed that '30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis.'"

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek writes that the overwhelming Democratic support for the Reed-Levin amendment last week may indicate that Democrats are prepared to keep Iraq front and center to their political advantage and battle back against Karl Rove's attempt to succeed electorally by painting them as the party of "cut and run." LINK

In a column that makes reference to Sen. Kerry's "continuing slow-motion self-immolation," Time magazine's Joe Klein urges Democrats to unite by calling on the President to make support for operations like Forward Together -- the American military's highest priority. LINK

". . . it would have been a mistake for the Senate to endorse even the "soft" redeployment language in the Levin-Reed bill. Advisory or not, such a statement could have emboldened Iraqi insurgents," writes the Los Angeles Times editorial board. LINK

More: "If the president does discernibly diminish the U.S. role -- citing military advice, not congressional pressure -- Republicans, not Democrats, are likely to get the credit. In that event, the Democratic proposals defeated last week will look like bad politics as well as bad policy."

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Saddam Hussein expects the United States to come to him for assistance in ending the insurgency between Iraqis and Americans, using his trial verdict as a "bargaining chip." LINK

Politics of the flag:

USA Today's Andrea Stone sees the potential flag burning amendment as fodder for 2006 congressional races. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Sarah Lueck looks at Daniel Wheeler's 17-year crusade to pass an antiflag-burning amendment to the Constitution and Notes that Sen. Clinton has "tried to balance her party's liberal and centrist wings" by supporting federal legislation outlawing flag desecration but not an amendment. LINK

According to a WSJ/NBC News poll conducted June 9-12, 44 percent of poll respondents are "more likely" to vote for a candidate who favors a flag amendment while 27 percent of poll respondents are "less likely" to vote for such a candidate. For another 27 percent, a candidate's position on a flag amendment makes no difference.

Politics of warrantless wiretapping:

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) appeared somewhat hopeful on Sunday television that the Congress and the White House can soon reach an agreement on bringing the President's warrantless domestic wiretapping program under judicial review. The New York Times' Kornblut has more: LINK

Politics of immigration:

The New York Times' Nagourney, Hulse, and Rutenberg reported on Sunday on the political miscalculations made by the Bush Administration which led to an all but certain sidelining of comprehensive immigration reform pre-election this year and wisely placed it in the context of the President's seeming inability to push top-tier domestic agenda priorities through a Republican-controlled Congress. LINK

"Unless a compromise is reached, it will mark the second time in two years, after Social Security in 2005, that Mr. Bush has failed to steer his major domestic initiative through the friendly terrain of a Republican Congress," wrote the trio.

Dick Morris calls President Bush's immigration plan "inspired" in his New York Post column and lambastes the House Republican leadership for defying recent Republican polling showing more tolerance for a legal/earned path to citizenship for illegal immigrants than House Republicans seem to think exists. LINK

Sen. McCain pins the delay in immigration reform on Rep. Brian Bilbray's (R-CA) victory this month, the Sacramento Bee reports. LINK

The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt writes that if the President makes an "effort" to secure the borders (i.e. build fences, hire troops), he should be rewarded with extra visas, as approved by Congress. LINK

Bloomberg's Richard Keil Notes that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is not about to toss in the towel with his immigration plan, saying on Bloomberg television over the weekend that the House bill as it stands is "anti-Hispanic" and any potential compromise between both chambers cannot carry that perception. LINK

Bloomberg's Heidi Przybyla reports that some economists are challenging President Bush's assertion that immigrants are taking jobs that Americans don't want. LINK

Lobbying reform:

Six months after Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) resignation as House majority leader and a heady rush of bold House and Senate proposals to drastically curb the influence of lobbyists upon Washington's lawmakers, the furor has subsided and constructive dialogue about the resulting legislation, "a shadow of its initial expectations," has ground to a halt in both chambers, report the Washington Post's Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Jim VandeHei. Sen. McCain, who Notes that "a sense of urgency disappeared as we went through the committee process," at least partially blames the public, not the objections of senior lawmakers that others say stalled progress: "'There's a belief among my colleagues that our constituents are not concerned.'" LINK

The Abramoff affair:

In Sunday's Washington Post, Susan Schmidt and James Grimaldi reported that newly released documents in the Abramoff investigation "shed light on how the lobbyist secretly routed his clients' funds through tax-exempt organizations with the acquiescence of those in charge, including prominent conservative activist Grover Norquist." LINK


David Brooks of the New York Times used his Sunday column to explore the latest saga in the liberal blogosophere. LINK

Newsweek's Darman does the Daily Kos-becoming-a-part-of-the-establishment thing and writes up the "Kosola" controversy as well. LINK

Hugh Hewitt's merging of the Internet with talk radio is a "blog-broadcast synergy" that could become the next netroots phenomenon, writes Newsweek's Romano. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

In an analysis that ran in Sunday's Washington Post, Peter Baker reported that while congressional GOPers have been persuaded to stick with the President on Iraq, "he has failed to convince them that his approach to immigration is good politics." LINK

Be sure to Note former Gingrich adviser Joe Gaylord saying ". . . the guys who are up this fall are scared as hell."

In this week's New Yorker, Jane Meyer profiles David S. Addington, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff and his longtime principal legal advisor, as the "legal mind behind the White House's war on terror."

Time magazine's Mike Allen reports that species like the Hawaiian monk seal have Laura Bush to thank – "she invited Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jacques's son, to the White House in April to screen a film on the" Northwestern Hawaiian Islands which President Bush subsequently protected after talking ocean policy with Cousteau over a fish-less super.


Karl Rove looks at the seven lessons of Teddy Roosevelt for Time magazine's TR special. LINK


With legal observers predicting that the Supreme Court will affirm the principles of partisan gerrymandering and mid-decade redistricting as early as today, Roll Call's David Drucker and Steve Kornacki report in must-read fashion that the most likely potential targets for Democrats are Illinois, Maine, New Mexico, New Jersey, North Carolina, Louisiana, Washignton, and West Virginia. In those eight states, Democrats now enjoy executive and legislative control.

"The party is poised for similar dominance -- with either very winnable gubernatorial races or a few stubborn state legislative seats standing in the way -- in Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and possibly even Tennessee and Montana."

2006: landscape:

The New York Daily News' Bazinet writes up the GOP's 2006 campaign agenda and the President's push to have his party embrace the war. LINK

2006: Senate:

The New York Times' Hernandez explores the candidacy of Sen. Clinton's anti-war opponent on the left, Jonathan Tasini. LINK

In their first debate, Democrat Jon Tester told Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT): "You continue to spend money like a drunken sailor back in Washington D.C.," the Great Falls Tribune reports. LINK

Sunday marked the first television debate in the race for New Jersey Senator between incumbent Sen. Robert Menendez and challenger Thomas H. Kean, Jr., characterized mostly by intense stare-downs and raised voices in blatant efforts to prove one another "unethical." Today's Philadelphia Inquirer has the details. LINK

The hostile and heated debut debate focused largely on ethics, reports David Chen of the New York Times. LINK

Pollster John Zogby pens a letter to the editor in the Virginia Daily Press, calling Sen. George Allen's (R-VA) campaign manager "delusional" and suggesting he wake up and smell the poll numbers.

After Allen's campaign manager Dick Wadhams took a swipe at a Zogby poll showing Allen leading opponent James Webb by only six points, Zogby retaliated, writing: "The race is close, his client has a fight on his hands, and perhaps Allen may want to consider finding a new campaign manager: one who can read a poll and one who will not alienate the public (or at least a major global polling firm and leading pollster who not only gets elections right but has also called the last two Virginia elections right on the money)." LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman travels to Connecticut and reports on the struggles of "standard bearer" Joe Lieberman (D-CT) to win the Democratic primary in his state. "Fueled by unhappy bloggers and a grass-roots campaign by Democratic activists," Zuckman writes, millionaire challenger Ned "Lamont is forcing Lieberman, who was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000 and a candidate for president in 2004, to campaign hard in Connecticut for the first time in years." LINK

With bloggers, his constituents, and Connecticut Democratic officials still angry about his support for the Iraq war, Time magazine's Perry Bacon, Jr. in East Lyme reports that Sen. Lieberman could be headed for a "shocking fall." LINK

Phoebe Eaton's New York Magazine look at the blue-collar vs. the blue blood Senate GOP primary in New York provides some excellent insight into John Spencer and KT McFarland and indicates the Clinton campaign may need to rent extra office space simply for the oppo research. However, it is a letter that McFarland wrote to her parents years ago that has garnered the most attention. LINK

"Shortly after she discovered [her brother] Mike had aids, she wrote her parents lengthy, angry, almost Gothic letters in which she outed her brother, blamed her father for his troubles as well as those of her and her other siblings, and cut off contact with her parents. 'Have you ever wondered why I have never had anything to do with Mike and have never let my daughters see him although we live only fifteen minutes away from each other?' she wrote. 'He has been a lifelong homosexual, most of his relationships brief, fleeting one-night stands.' The father's behavior had surfaced for McFarland as recovered memory. She said a shrink put her up to writing the letter; reached for comment, her mother, Edith Troia -- KT has since made up with her parents -- denied the account. 'Wouldn't that make a great book?' she said. 'Please be kind. You could be casting dark shadows on this whole race.'"

Unanswered: where did Eaton get the letters, what was McFarland doing in London, will Ed Rollins keep talking to the press (or, at least, to Eaton), and what does Pat Healy know about the Brewers?

The Arizona Republic's Joe Kamman reports that Jim Pederson, Democratic challenger to Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), has exclusive access to an emergency fund should his campaign go south: his enormous personal wealth, which may be valued at as much as $139 million, more than one hundred times his opponent's and more than "all 10 members of the Arizona congressional delegation combined." LINK

Schwarzenegger Era:

The Sacramento Bee's Kevin Yamamura reports that the California Republican Party launched two ads on Friday that use tax-hike accusations made by Steve Westly during the primary against fellow Democrat Phil Angelides. LINK

2006: House:

Glen Warchol of the Salt Lake Tribune reports that businessman John Jacob and incumbent Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) -- a supporter of a guest-worker approach -- are locked in a statistical tie coming into today's primary. LINK

More from the Washington Times: LINK

Rep. Cannon tells the Desert News that the Senate bill has "major problems" and that the House bill is a start while maintaining that the entire system begs an overhaul. LINK

The New York Daily News keeps its focus on Rep. Vito Fossella today after publishing a detailed accounting of his use of campaign funds for travel yesterday. Today's installment looks at a bill he supported aimed at curbing some of the SEC's investigative authority on Wall Street. The bill is supported by the Financial Services Roundtable whose members have contributed to Fossella's campaigns. LINK

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal's Yochi Dreazen reported that a recent fundraiser for David McSweeney marked Vice President Cheney's "68th fund-raiser of the election cycle, and the appearances have raised a total of $22.4 million, according to the Republican National Committee." The Wall Street Journal identified Reps. Melissa Bean (D-IL), John Spratt (D-SC), Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Jim Marshall (D-GA), Chet Edwards (D-TX), and Leonard Boswell (D-IA) as the six Democratic House members whom both parties consider the most vulnerable.

Although last week's President's Dinner was hardly a failure--it raised $15 million for the National Republican Congressional Committee--Roll Call's Ben Pershing reports that some individual House members disappointed organizers by falling far short of fundraising targets, including lawmakers high in the Republican leadership.

The St. Petersburg Times' Anita Kumar has the scoop on the seven-way race to replace Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL), who is vacating her seat in a Republican-leaning district in a bid to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL); the candidates have raised a combined $3.3 million and one has already aired TV ads, demonstrating the competitiveness of this race, both generally and particularly among Republicans, one of whom lamented voters' inattention to the campaign: "'It's all about Katherine.'" LINK


On Bloomberg News' "Political Capital" television program with Al Hunt, Bloomberg's own Roger Simon placed the chances of John Kerry running for president again at 110%. Simon also said he thinks Al Gore and Rudy Giuliani end up staying out of the 2008 race.

2008: Republicans:

Sen. McCain told Hunt that while he wouldn't propose a tax hike, he would ask for certain "sacrifices" from the wealthiest Americans and tsk-tsk'ed the government's deficit spending. LINK

2008: Democrats:

The Hartford Courtant reports that Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-CT) PAC raised about $1 million in his first major fundraiser since he said he was considering a WH '08 run. LINK

Michael McAuliff of the New York Daily News Notes Sen. Feingold's "Meet the Press" remarks, where he displayed confidence that his view on the war would be much better received in a Democratic nomination contest against Sen. Clinton. LINK

Following her NDN speech on Friday, Sen. Clinton said Democrats on Iraq are "not blindly united like the other side where they are like the three monkeys, 'hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.'" The former First Lady said she has gone back and read what GOPers were saying about Bosnia and Kosovo when her husband was in office. She concluded that what Republicans were saying back then was "much harsher than anything any Democrat has said" about President Bush during the Iraq war.

More from Dan Balz in Saturday's Washington Post. LINK

New York Magazine's Chris Smith writes up Sen. Clinton's consistent (if unpopular with some Democrats) position on the war and Notes it is difficult to distill into sound-bite form. LINK

"Clinton's position on the war isn't small-minded. And it isn't constructed merely to maintain her political viability. It happens to be what she believes. Hillary Clinton has long been more hawkish than her husband. . .," writes Smith.

Given a recent New York state poll showing Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) to be a more effective lawmaker than Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) by a 2:1 ratio, Roll Call's Mary Ann Akers asked the Schumer camp whether he might be contemplating a presidential campaign, only to come up empty-handed: "Sen. Schumer is focused on being the best Senator he can be for New York."

The New York Post writes up a report in the Times of London indicating Sen. Clinton's ancestry and George Washington's ancestry can be traced back to the same part of northeast England. LINK

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza reported on Saturday that John Edwards held a gathering in Washington, DC on Tuesday that showcased his reach into "several key constituencies within the party." LINK

"Dave (Mudcat) Saunders, an architect of [Gov. Mark] Warner's successful NASCAR-themed strategy in 2001, will join [John] Edwards to reach out to former Democrats in rural areas," reports Richard Wolffe of Newsweek. LINK

The Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb reported on Sunday that the FEC announced last week that Tab Turner, a prominent trial lawyer, and his Little Rock law firm have agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty for violating a federal law that prohibits corporate contributions and contributions made in the name of another person" with its 2003 contributions to Edwards. LINK

The Boston Globe's Susan Milligan sees Democrats as unable to agree on whether to embrace Sen. Kerry or whether to kick him off the presidential-hopefuls-island. LINK

The Baltimore Sun has Sen. Biden telling CNN that the New York Times was right to publish the story about the Bush Administration tapping into bank records of potential terrorists. LINK

Line-item veto:

After the House's passage of legislation affording the President the power of the line-item veto last week, it will join the Senate in conference committee to consider compromise with Sen. Judd Gregg's (R-NH) broader budget reform plan, Roll Call's Jennifer Yachnin details; yet some Republican lawmakers are still worried about the premise of the line-item veto. Succinctly put, to quote House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA), "There may not always be a Republican President in the White House."

Health care:

In Sunday's Los Angeles Times, Ron Brownstein Noted that both SEIU's Andy Stern and Rep. Jim McCrery (R-LA), the GOPer favored to succeed Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA) as head of Ways and Means if Republicans keep control of the House, both believe it's "time to replace the central arch of the American healthcare system: the link between health insurance and work." LINK

In the same newspaper on Sunday, Elizabeth Mehren reported that three states have adopted universal coverage plans (Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont); six states recently passed laws that seek to reduce the ranks of the uninsured (Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Montana); and four additional states have enacted measures targeting this issue (Iowa, West Virginia, Hawaii, and New Mexico). LINK

Minimum wage:

USA Today reports on the Congressional salary boost and the lack of minimum wage boosts. "Feingold said last week that he'll try to stop the pay increase; Clinton has authored a bill that would tie increases in congressional pay to increases in the minimum wage. Congress hasn't raised the minimum wage -- $5.15 an hour, or $10,700 a year -- since 1997. During the same period, annual congressional pay has increased by $31,000." LINK


The Washington Post reports that House leaders are pushing for a vote on restructuring FEMA for the week of July 10. LINK

Oil Drilling:

The St. Petersburg Times' Wes Allison reports that those opposed to House efforts to open the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil drilling have lost much leverage recently, what with divisions among Florida and California congressional delegations, once united in opposition to such measures, as well as high energy costs and pressure from industry and labor. "On a bipartisan level, they can roll us," said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) of oil drilling proponents. LINK

New Hampshire:

The Union Leader continues its coverage of politicos supporting New Hampshire's first in the nation primary: LINK

The Union Leader's John DiStaso curtain raises former President Clinton's Tuesday trip to New Hampshire and speculates as to what role he might play in persuading the DNC not to go forward with its plan to place a nominating contest between Iowa and New Hampshire. LINK


USA Today chronicles the day to day life of Dad/Chief Justice John Roberts. LINK

Al Gore:

Keying off of Al Gore's interview on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan professor of atmospheric science at MIT, disputes Al Gore's claim that "the debate in the scientific community is over" regarding the climate crisis in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.


Rep. Peter King (R-NY) accuses the New York Times of committing treason for its reporting on "terrorist surveillance" programs, reports Deb Orin of the New York Post. LINK

The Los Angeles Times on the same: LINK

Politics of '24':

ABC News' Jake Tapper looks at the conservative "lovefest" for '24.' LINK

Week ahead:

On Tuesday, President Bush makes 10:50 am ET remarks on the line-item veto at the JW Marriott Hotel; he participates in a 1:20 pm ET photo op with staff Sergeant Christian Bagge; he participates in a 1:45 pm ET meeting with National Endowment for Democracy award recipients; and he participates in run with Staff Sergeant Christian Bagge on the South Lawn at 3:35 pm ET.

Also on Tuesday, Utah holds its primary elections and Alabama holds its runoff elections. Former President Bill Clinton visits New Hampshire, were he participates in an event about his efforts to end childhood obesity with New Hampshire first lady Dr. Susan Lynch and attends a fundraiser in Manchester. Sen. Sam Brownback, Sen. Clinton, Rep. Jim Clyburn, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, and Sen. Rick Santorum attend a Capitol Hill reception being put on by Pentecost 2006. RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman begins traveling through Michigan for grassroots organizing events and fundraisers. DNC Chairman Howard Dean and an RNC representative discuss how Democrats and Republicans plan to overcome poverty at 8:30 am ET at the Sojourner's Pentecost 2006 conference.

On Wednesday, President Bush attends a 6:15 pm ET fundraiser for Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) in St. Louis. DNC Chair Howard Dean speaks at the 77th annual League of United Latin American Citizens convention and joins Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton at a meeting of the Latino/Hispanic Caucus of the Democratic Party in Milwaukee, WI. Sen. Obama and Marian Wright Edelman speak at the Amos and Joseph Awards Ceremony at the Pentecost 2006 conference. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani keynotes the general session of Bowl Expo 2006 in Las Vegas, NV. Martin O'Malley holds a filing rally in Annapolis, MD.

On Thursday, President Bush and Mrs. Bush participate in a 9:00 am ET South Lawn Arrival ceremony for Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan. The President meets with the Japanese prime minister at 9:50 am ET before holding a joint press availability at 11:50 am ET. Later that evening, the President and Mrs. Bush participate in an official dinner and East Room entertainment with the prime minister of Japan. Sen. McCain attends the State GOP Victory 2006 event in Columbia, SC

On Friday, the President and First Lady participate in a tour of Graceland with Koizumi at 11:30 am ET. At 5:45 pm ET, President Bush attends a Mike DeWine for Senate reception at a private residence in Columbus, OH. The President RONs at Camp David. Sen. Bayh attends a fundraiser for the tenth congressional district Democrats in Highland Park, IN. Sen. Biden discusses American foreign policy at the Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, NH. The Secretary of Commerce speaks to the Federalist Society about immigration and the economy at 12:45 pm ET at Tony Cheng's restaurant in Washington, DC.