WASHINGTON, July 6
The North Korea narrative continues to block out the political sun on other storylines. And we still have no idea what it all means (WIAMs) for the midterms or 2008.
So/but to remind you (and them), here are both parties' dirty dozen to-do lists for the balance of the year:
1. Get the national security and taxes contrast machine (a/k/a "fog machine") out of the closet.
2. Deal with the immigration issue (somehow).
3. Figure out a backlash-free way to publicize the identities and records of the men and women who would chair committees if the Democrats take the House.
4. Figure out which newbie Democratic candidates running for open seats and against Republican incumbents have glass jaws (and get ready to smash those jaws).
5. Bring some troops home!!!
6. Figure out, without fingerprints, which rich friends of George W. Bush, Karl Rove, and Don Evans have $35 million to spend on "independent" expenditures.
7. Get through the September primaries.
8. Convince the television networks that the five-year anniversary of 9/11 is a bigger story than the one-year anniversary of Katrina.
9. Check state ballot access rules to see if it is possible to get the New York Times listed.
10. Clone Rudy and McCain and get them on the road.
11. Micro-target like mad, the Hazelwood way.
12. Do something about Rahm.
1. Check the heart rate of the AFL-CIO.
2. Get through the September primaries.
3. Find some consistent and credible national security spokespeople.
4. Proffer a message that the Gang of 500 will consider to be acceptable enough that they stop saying that Democrats don't have a message.
5. Learn to play together nicely.
6. Match the combined RNC/NRCC/NRSC cash-on-hand with the combined DNC/DCCC/DSCC cash-on-hand.
7. Convince the television networks that the one-year anniversary of Katrina is a bigger story than the five-year anniversary of 9/11.
8. Convince the blogosphere that taking back Congress may merit more attention than the effort to defeat Sen. Lieberman.
9. Clone Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and get them on the road.
10. Paging George Soros.
11. Do something about the process by which Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean get booked on the Sunday shows.
12. Enough with the endless, meaningless strategy conference calls.
The Big-Picture-Guy-in-Chief, President Bush, has quite the busy 60th birthday planned, including a sit-down taped interview with CNN's Larry King to be aired at 9:00 pm ET on CNN's "Larry King Live." The transcript of the interview is expected to be released at 7:00 pm ET by CNN and "Larry King Live."
President Bush also participates in a 10:15 am ET photo opportunity with the 2006 March of Dimes National Ambassador, a 10:40 am ET meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada, a 11:45 am ET press availability with the Prime Minister of Canada, and a 1:25 pm ET Oval Office meeting with the United States Ambassador to Iraq.
(The Canadian leader hopes to continue negotiations with the President on border security -- including passport rules -- and military involvement in Afghanistan, Bloomberg reports. LINK)
But that isn't all. President Bush then travels to Chicago, IL to share in a birthday dinner with Mayor Daley and "opinion leaders" (Did you get your invitation?) at 8:00 pm ET in The Windy City. The President is scheduled to remain overnight in Chicago.
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow gaggles off camera at 9:30 am ET and briefs on camera at 12:40 pm ET.
ABC News' Kirit Radia reports, "European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana meets in Brussels today with Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani to discuss the P5+1 package. Solana will present Iran with a July 12 deadline to respond to the package -- the same day that the P5+1 ministers plan to meet in Paris to discuss the situation." Radia Notes that the two leaders are also scheduled to meet on July 11.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Ned Lamont participate in their first Democratic primary debate at 7:00 pm ET on WVIT-TV in West Hartford, CT. The debate is scheduled to last 60 minutes and viewer submitted questions are expected to be part of the program. C-SPAN will be simulcasting the event live, so you won't have to miss it! LINK
Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Edward Lazear speaks at a 12:30 pm ET luncheon sponsored by the National Economist Club in Washington , DC.
Commerce Secretary Gutierrez returns to his Battle Creek, MI stomping grounds and holds a 1:45 pm ET media availability following a closed-press roundtable with Rep. John Schwarz (R-MI) to discuss the economy, trade, and immigration.
The US Chamber of Commerce hosts the final public address by outgoing Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta on the challenges facing the US transportation system at 10:30 am ET.
The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management holds a 11:00 am ET forum on the upcoming 2006 midterm elections. Participants include: Kelly Anne Conway, Rhodes Cook, Peter Fenn, Mark Mellman, and others.
Gov. Mitt Romney makes his way down the GOP constituency checklist today. At 9:00 am ET, he joins representatives from the Gun Owner's Action League and legislative sponsors to sign a bill promoting hunter safety for a photo opportunity. At 11:00 am ET, Gov. Romney joins faith-based and community leaders to make a grant announcement regarding urban youth violence. Tonight, Gov. Romney plans to be in Little Rock, AR to deliver the keynote address at the Arkansas Republican Party 2006 Governor's Dinner at 7:00 pm ET.
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) makes his way from Minnesota to Iowa today. The Senator attends a fundraiser for Amy Klobuchar's Senate campaign and a press conference with Minnesota Attorney General candidate Matt Entenza "announcing military initiatives that will protect military families from having their homes foreclosed while they are serving on active duty," according to a campaign press release. Sen. Bayh then kicks off his fifth Hawkeye State trip in the last year with a 6:30 pm ET stop at a joint Truman Fund event honoring Iowa State House and Senate candidates in Des Moines, IA and a 8:15 pm ET fundraiser for congressional candidate Selden Spencer in Adel, IA.
In an argument that no Democrat dared to make publicly yesterday, the Washington Post's Michael Abramowitz and Robin Wright write in a front-page news analysis that the recent events on the North Korean peninsula "showed how the huge commitment of resources and time on Iraq -- and the attendant falloff in international support for the United States -- has limited the Administration's flexibility in handling new world crises." LINK
Be sure to Note the tough words from the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol: "North Korea is firing missiles. Iran is going nuclear. Somalia is controlled by radical Islamists. Iraq isn't getting better, and Afghanistan is getting worse. . . I gave the president a lot of credit for hanging tough on Iraq. But I am worried that it has made them too passive in confronting the other threats."
The Wall Street Journal's ed board writes that "the last thing" the US should do is "reward" North Korea's missile "provocation" with direct talks while Noting that that is "exactly what Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar advised."
On CBS this morning, Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) discussed the North Korea situation, calling the country "surreal" and stating that "they don't act like you and I do; it's not give and take." Gov. Richardson suggested that North Korea truly is dangerous with its possible nuclear weapons capabilities, fourth largest standing army, and very unpredictable leader. Perhaps the best solution is to deal with them one-on-one because "the current situation is unhealthy for everyone," said Richardson, sounding, dare we say, to some perhaps, presidentialish.
"President Bush was measured, almost hesitant, in his comments, speaking slowly and not particularly forceful," during his Oval Office on camera remarks yesterday observes ABC News' Karen Travers.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank has ABC News' Martha Raddatz asking Tony Snow: "You anticipated this launch for a month and yet you still don't have a clear idea of what options there are. Why not?" LINK
The New York Times' David Sanger, writing from an undisclosed (or, at least, an undatelined) location, has it, of course, perfectly right: "[T]he reality, administration officials acknowledge, is that China fears a collapsed and chaotic North Korea more than it fears a nuclear-armed North Korea." LINK
Sanger also explores how the legacy-effect might fine-tune the President's North Korea pitch as well.
On the diplomatic front, the New York Times highlights Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill's unusually public demand that China be "very firm" with North Korea. LINK
Politics of immigration:
Columnist and Senate hater Robert Novak directs you to Section 240d, a "terrorist loophole" in the Senate's immigration bill, and an example, he argues, of how "the entire Senate version is honeycombed with undigested provisions." LINK
Bloomberg's Nicholas Johnston and Ari Levy report that Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) hinted at possible support for a border security-first compromise on immigration reform. LINK
The Wall Street Journal's Sarah Lueck has White House spokesman Tony Snow saying: "What this White House has been clear about is that you don't do borders only."
In a story that closes with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) saying "the president of the United States has not been doing his job" when it comes to tightening the border, the Washington Post's Shailagh Murray and Charles Babington call immigration "one of the most intractable and divisive issues to confront the GOP in years" LINK
The House International Relations Subcommittee's nationwide immigration tour officially kicked off in San Diego yesterday with a four-hour hearing designed to arouse public support for the House approach. The San Diego Union-Tribune has the story. LINK
Unlike hearings in San Diego, yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee field hearing in Philadelphia acknowledged the continuing contribution of immigrants to the U.S. economy and declared support of the Senate proposal to create a guest-worker program and path to citizenship. Sen. Specter stressed the importance of immigrants and suspects that President Bush is moving "toward middle ground" on the matter. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Gaiutra Bahadur has more. LINK
The Philadelphia Inquirer also reports that the issue of amnesty has taken the forefront in Pennsylvania, complicating Sen. Specter's ability to help Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) in his reelection campaign. LINK
The New York Times' ed board knocks the cross-country hearings being held by House Republicans as a "novel approach to governing -- seeking public input on bills after they have passed." LINK
The Los Angeles Times: LINK
Sen. John Warner (R-VA) will bring the immigration debate to Florida, Notes the Miami Herald's Lesley Clark. LINK
Sen. Lieberman's primary politics:
In a story that has rocked national headlines, Mark Pazniokas of the Hartford Courant reports that in tonight's first televised debate Sen. Lieberman intends to make a case for the party to reelect him rather than look beyond the potential outcomes of the state's August primary. LINK
The Norwich Bulletin reports that local voters hope tonight's debate will allow Sen. Lieberman and his challenger Ned Lamont to speak directly about issues important to them. LINK
The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times' writes that while "this page did not support the war, it cannot cheer on liberal activists who run the risk of being guilty of the same sort of insistence on ideological purity that they deplore in Republicans." LINK
The AP's Andrew Miga reports that Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) will get some help from his friends as Sens. Joe Biden (D-DE), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Ken Salazar (D-CO) will all stump in Connecticut this coming month to help promote Lieberman's social stances and try to take the sting off his Iraq war support. LINK
Rick Klein of the Boston Globe previews tonight's debate between Lieberman and Lamont. LINK
". . . both men see their race for Lieberman's office as a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party -- specifically, whether Democrats want to become a staunch anti-war party when they have high hopes of winning back Congress," writes Klein.
On the heels of Sen. Clinton's decision to support only the Connecticut Democratic nominee, Sen. John Kerry announced he too will only support the winner of the Nutmeg State's Democratic primary, but went one step further and refused to endorse Lieberman in the primary. LINK
Following Sen. Clinton's lead, Democratic sources confirmed to the New York Daily News (and others) that the party's senior leadership would shun Sen. Lieberman if he loses his August primary. LINK
Per the New York Post, Mayor Bloomberg (R-NYC) went opposite of Sen. Clinton saying he would support Joe Lieberman if he loses the Democratic primary and runs as an independent. LINK
Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe Notes in her column that in the past Sen. Lieberman has criticized those within his own party, and at times been in her view very self serving. "In short, Lieberman has been thinking about Lieberman. So, he can't be shocked if other Democrats are thinking of themselves first, just as he does," she writes. LINK
The politics of voting rights:
In a must-read, the Washington Post's Shailagh Murray has DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) wading into extremely controversial Democratic territory by questioning whether "strict adherence to a 40-year-old model of minority-dominated districts could be hurting the party in the long term." LINK
"Looking at the map of congressional districts today, Emanuel asked: 'Are we at the point in the political process where you don't need a 70 percent district, but a 50 to 45 district, with the political capacity to be more competitive in surrounding areas, so that more Democrats can win?'"
Bush's big boomer birthday:
"He's real excited about turning 60. He's like a kid," said Mark McKinnon in Norah O'Donnell's "Today" show birthday package. O'Donnell added that, "10 presidents in history turned 60 in office."
Quitting drinking at 40 years old and biking two hours a day can do wonders for your health at 60 years old, reports the New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg, doing her best Bumiller imitation. LINK
(McKinnon is clearly on birthday quote duty this week!)
USA Today: LINK
Ken Lay: 1942-2006:
In its front page treatment of Lay's death, the Wall Street Journal writes that there was speculation after 2000 that Lay could be named to a Bush cabinet post or ambassadorship. The newspaper also Notes that he was "deeply involved in Vice President Dick Cheney's effort in 2001 to develop an energy plan."
The Washington Post: LINK
For the Washington Post's Style section, Henry Allen reports that "too some," Lay is "cheating them one more time." LINK
Bush Administration agenda:
The Washington Post's Kremlinologist Peter Baker has officials and analysts saying that by "showcasing his meeting" with Georgia's president, President Bush "signaled he is concerned about Kremlin treatment of former satellites as he prepares to head to St. Petersburg for the first Group of Eight summit hosted by Russia." LINK
The Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont marks the arrival in Iowa of many Democrats seeking the 2008 presidential nomination (Bayh, Edwards, Warner, and Kerry) in the coming days. But it is Beaumont's Noting Gov. Vilsack's need to do some Iowa campaigning that is most intriguing. LINK
"Bayh and Vilsack will compete for the notice of influential Iowa Democrats today, with Bayh hosting political events in the Des Moines area and Vilsack, in eastern Iowa, touting his administration's economic development accomplishments," writes Beaumont.
Following the Hotline's On Call scoop from a couple of weeks ago, the Des Moines Register reports on the Iowa Democratic Party's discounted and updated voter database. Potential '08ers Bayh, Vilsack, and Warner have all expressed interest in buying access to the database before the offer expires on July 15. LINK
The New Hampshire Union Leader's John DiStaso reports that after the DCCC poured more money into the campaign for Democratic candidate for the House, Jim Craig, Rep. Jeb Bradley (R-NH) and his supporters appear even more emboldened to raise money and defeat the challenger. DiStaso, of course, also has some must-read nuggets on Democratic '08ers pouring money into John Lynch's campaign coffers despite his lacking a competitive race and Mitt Romney's attendance at a July 4 parade as a waving observer instead of a marching participant. It's Thursday, so Granite Status is your one-stop shopping for the day. LINK
New Hampshire vs. Mitt Romney:
And now to our favorite story of the news cycle. . .
Gov. John Lynch (D-NH) demands Massachusetts pay $3.2 million he claims is owed to New Hampshire for land along the border under a 1994 deal, reports supersmart Kevin Landrigan of the Nashua Telegraph. LINK
"Administration officials believe Lynch has more political leverage this year than his predecessors. Romney is a likely Republican candidate for president in 2008, who has made several trips to New Hampshire and donated tens of thousands of dollars to GOP causes in the first-primary state."
Perhaps, Ralph Hallow mistakenly thought it was Sen. McCain's birthday today. Hallow's lede: "Some top Republicans at odds with Sen. John McCain on core conservative issues say privately that the party's 2008 presidential nomination is 'his to lose.'" LINK
Hallow also reports that Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) has been "quietly" helping McCain write recent speeches. When former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) heard the news, he said to Hallow, "You've got to be kidding."
Note to Note readers: this is a total must read.
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette's Sandlin has Gov. Huckabee's (R-AR) post-gubernatorial plans including the purchase of a North Little Rock five-bedroom home. LINK
The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Thomas considers the possibility of a McCain-Bush ticket in 2008, concluding that the only thing that stands in Gov. Bush's way is his brother: "Given his brother's lagging popularity, the name that got Jeb where he is could stop him from going any further." LINK
Anne Kornblut of the New York Times sees Sen. Clinton's (D-NY) decision to back the winner of the Democratic primary in Connecticut's senate race as "the latest twist in a sometimes tortured relationship between the Clintons and Mr. Lieberman." LINK
How kind of the Lieberman/Lanny Davis camp to state that they understand Sen. Clinton's need to make political calculations!
Deborah Orin of the New York Post (mis)analyzes the latest chess moves of Team Clinton and writes that they are more "nervous- Nellie president wannabe rather than a confident Democratic front-runner." LINK
Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson interprets Sen. Clinton's decision to "pile on" the man who scolded her husband's "philandering" as "one more example of how Bill Clinton's past haunts Hillary's present." LINK
The Cincinnati Enquirer's Weiser blogs that John Edwards plans to appear at an event for gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ted Strickland (D-OH) on Saturday, raising funds for Strickland's campaign and stocking up on some Buckeye State chits. LINK
House of Labor:
The Wall Street Journal's ed board writes that the AFL-CIO's push for "fair share" health-care legislation in 33 states has been "a political flop."
"Not a single state has followed Maryland's lead, even liberal Rhode Island. In 26 states from Maine to New Mexico, so-called 'fair-share' legislation has either stalled or, in the case of Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri, been withdrawn."
The AP's Beth Rucker profiles Democratic Senate hopeful, Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN), crediting him with appealing to a wide swath of voters with his social conservatism but Noting that a number of obstacles remain in his way: his party affiliation (Al Gore, a Tennessean, failed to carry the state in 2000), his race (no black has been a Southern Senator since Reconstruction), and family issues (his father and uncles, elected officials, have been accused of fraud and bribery). LINK
"The millionaires amendment" has been triggered in the Maryland Senate race, as largely-unknown Democrat candidate Josh Rales has infused his campaign with much needed cash: $1.3 million of cash. LINK
It seems Sen. Lieberman is not the only Democrat facing a challenge from the left: In Massachusetts' 9th District, pro-war Rep. Steve Lynch (D-MA) faces an increasingly impassioned primary opponent in Phil Dunkelbarger. Though "Dunk" is short on cash and has yet to harness the power of the liberal blogosphere and progressive networks, he is "surprisingly effective" as a polemicist and may well engage Lynch on a tough debate about a war Lynch's constituents overwhelmingly dislike. The Boston Phoenix's Adam Reilly has the story: LINK
The Schwarzenegger Era:
Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton looks at the results of the latest gubernatorial poll in California, which shows the Governor has shored up his support among Republicans and rehabilitated his image with moderates and independents. LINK
But it remains a wee bit early for Steve Schmidt to start spending his bonus money.
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich (R-MD) hits the Baltimore market with a targeted, week-long television ad focusing on Maryland's low unemployment and increased test scores. LINK
Texas' independent gubernatorial candidates, Richard Friedman and Carole Keeton Strayhorn, are showcasing their individualistic streaks with attempts to get their nicknames ("Kinky" and "Grandma," respectively) on the ballot. They eagerly await Secretary of State Roger Williams' verdict: LINK
The Wall Street Journal's Christopher Cooper reports that "Democrats appear to be in the better position" when it comes to state legislative elections where a shift of no more than five seats would bring a new party to power in 29 legislative chambers across the nation. With the Supreme Court giving the green light for states to pursue mid-decade redistricting, "political observers say the fate of about 15 congressional seats nationwide could hang in the balance."
Corzine shuts down the Garden State:
The Newark Star-Ledger's Deborah Howlett reports that, according to Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-NJ), the "excess of testosterone" is at fault for the budget impasse and shutdown of the state government. Female lawmakers are now talking among themselves to find a compromise between proposed ideas by Gov. Jon Corzine and Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, but it might be too late. LINK
The New York Times also looks at the Corzine/Roberts relationship and wonders if the shutdown is more about control over the New Jersey Democratic Party than it is about solving the state's fiscal crisis. LINK
Politics of same-sex marriage:
"New York's highest court has ruled that gay marriage is not allowed under state law," reports the Associated Press.
"Taking on Governor Mitt Romney and the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, 165 prominent business and civic leaders are publicly calling for the Legislature to reject a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage," writes Frank Phillips of the Boston Globe. LINK
What took the Washington Times this long to do this story? LINK
The Boston Globe's Michael Grynbaum reports that The New Republic writer (and blogger) Jason Zengerle -- who broke the Moulitsas e-mail -- has received death threats from Moulitsas' army of typers. LINK