WASHINGTON, July 11
The Note's four First Principles:
1. Focus on the future, not the past.
2. Take what we cover seriously; don't take ourselves seriously.
3. Zeleny, Zeleny, Zeleny.
4. Lede with the lede.
Thus: We finally figured out why superscribe Ron Fournier left the Associated Press. We can't say as much as we know, but we can say this: Fournier, who just got done writing a bipartisan book about the importance of community building in the Internet Age, has teamed up with political strategists from both sides of the fence and leaders from the Internet industry to create the next big thing in communications and community. It will all be clear to the world in the next 24 hours. Stay tuned.
After welcoming the President of Peru to the White House, President Bush makes 9:40 am ET remarks on the "Mid-Session Review" and its better-than-expected budget deficit projection at the White House, followed by a photo op with members of the National Council on the Arts in the East Room at 11:35 am ET. He then departs for Wisconsin, stopping at the Allen-Edmunds Shoe Bank in Port Washington, WI at 4:55 pm ET before attending a $1000-a-plate campaign fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green in Madison, WI at 6:50 pm ET. (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Greg Borowski and Steven Walters report on the double-edged sword of President Bush's visit to Wisconsin today.) LINK
Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman does his boasting of the aforementioned "Mid-Session Review" at a "newsmaker" event at the National Press Club at noon ET.
Joel Havemann of the Los Angeles Times has your must-read write-up of the Administration's budgetary sleight-of-hand and the Concord Coalition's Bixby proclaiming it is too soon for the White House to declare victory. LINK
As for the besting-(rigged?) expectations numbers: "When President Bush releases the traditional midsummer update on the budget today, he is expected to announce that federal revenue has soared above predicted levels and that the deficit is headed for a welcome decline from earlier estimates -- as much as 30%, or $125 billion, below the level projected just five months ago," writes Havemann.
The Democratic response comes from Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) at a press conference at 1:45 pm ET.
House Majority Leader John Boehner holds a pen and pad briefing at the Capitol at 11:30 am ET, followed by the weekly pen and pad briefing with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) at 12:30 pm ET.
Senate party policy luncheons take place today at 12:30 pm ET. GOP Sens. McConnell, Gregg, Bennet, and DeMint are expected at the stakeout cameras at about 2:00 pm ET to talk on the budget deficit news and Homeland Security Appropriations bill.
At 2:15 pm ET, Sen. Reid (D-NV) is expected to appear at the stakeout cameras for the Democratic response.
ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf writes on the main Senate attraction today: "This morning we will see the Senate Judiciary Committee start its day exploring the Hamdan case and detainee policy with academics, former Bush administration officials, and two current government officials."
"But the main event on the subject of Guantanamo and detainees may come in the afternoon. That's when we'll see the same committee convene in a different hearing room. It is a confirmation hearing for DOD General Counsel William J. Haynes to sit on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Haynes is thought by many to be an architect of the Administration's detainee policy, which the committee will be spending its morning considering and at which he will not be testifying."
At 2:00 pm ET, a House Government Reform subcommittee chaired by Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) holds a hearing on "Strategy for Victory in Iraq" with the GAO, Admiral James Jeffrey Senior Advisor on Iraq, DOD, ABC News consultant Anthony Cordesman, and others.
Karl Rove continues his western visit while speaking to La Raza, the U.S.' largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, in Los Angeles, CA at 3:30 pm ET. Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) is scheduled to speak at the same event.
Democratic Sens. Clinton, Schumer, and Salazar hold a 10:15 am ET press conference on port and border security in the Mansfield Room.
Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Joe Biden (D-DE) host a press conference to discuss their two-day, multi-stop "fact-finding mission" to Iraq at the Senate Radio and TV Gallery at 11:00 am ET.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist/author Seymour Hersh speaks to 300+ interns at an Alliance for Justice event. His speech, entitled "By Executive Order: An Administration Unconstrained by Constitutional Checks and Balances," is scheduled to begin at 12:00 ET at the National Education Association in Washington, DC.
Today marks day two of campaign stumping for GOP candidates by potential 2008 hopeful and former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He is scheduled to campaign for gubernatorial candidates Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) in Little Rock, AR and Judy Baar Topinka (R-IL) in Chicago, IL, before heading back east to campaign for Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) in Pittsburgh, PA. Giuliani wraps up his three-day trip tomorrow after stumping for gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann (R-PA) in Pennsylvania and Gov. Robert Ehrlich in Maryland.
Fellow '08-ers begin similar multi-day trips today, with Gov. Mark Warner beginning a two-day trip to Iowa and Gov. Mike Huckabee attending day one of the Education of the States' three-day conference in Minneapolis, MN.
The politics of North Korea continues with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's closed briefing on "A North Korea Update." National Intelligence Director John Negroponte is scheduled to brief the committee in a closed session at 9:00 am ET at the Capitol.
Former President Bill Clinton continues work on his foundation's HIV/AIDS project in Africa, speaking at the Microsoft Government Leadership Forum and meeting with African heads of state today in Cape Town, Africa. We'll watch to see if the war of words between Tony Snow and Jay Carson continues or ratchets down. Perhaps the aggrieved party will receive some "I'm sorry" chocolates.
Still below the radar mostly, Senator John Edwards (D-NC), along with Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva and U.S. Senate candidate Jim Pederson, rally in support of raising the state's minimum wage at 3:00 pm ET today in Tucson, AZ.
Saulius "Saul" Anuzis, Michigan Republican Party Chairman, joins citizens in their concerns about alleged "illegal and unethical operations" of Gov. Granholm's (D-MI) administration on the South Steps of the Capitol at 10:00 am ET.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) joins with Hispanic community leaders to announce the "Hispanic Families for Arnold" group in support of both the governor and the protection of the "California dream" in Lynwood, CA at 1:15 pm ET.
Bush Administration agenda:
ABC News' prolific Jake Tapper and Stephanie Smith analyze President Bush's born-again desire for diplomacy, which has angered neocons and put Tony Snow's sidestepping into overdrive. LINK
In a front-page story that looks at the Administration's potential need to rework its anti-terror effort, Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), the man who will chair today's House Government Reform subcommittee hearing about the Bush Administration's strategy in Iraq, tells the Washington Post's Dana Priest, "We are not a parliament, and when we function like a parliament we're unfaithful to the process and our system of government. We hurt our country and both branches of government. If we had been more forceful . . . Abu Ghraib would have never happened." LINK
Politics of immigration:
The New York Times' Mark "Front Page" Leibovich has a colorful profile of Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and his influential stance on the immigration debate: LINK
"He looms heavily here, as he does in the thick of the national debate over immigration in which he has defied President Bush's plans for reform and arguably holds more sway than anyone else in Congress. A bipartisan irritant from a state nowhere near the Mexican border, he has outsize influence on the fate of the country's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants."
Mr. Leibovich also includes such gems as: "He is commonly described as 'prickly,' 'cantankerous' and 'unpleasant.' And this is by his friends."
Sen. Lieberman's primary politics:
Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-CT) attempts to "cling to power" resulted in the creation of the "Connecticut for Lieberman" party, which will include him on the November ballot as part of his own line should he lose the Democratic primary to challenger Ned Lamont. The Hartford Courant's Mark Pazniokas has more. LINK
No longer confined to Boston's City Hall, Seth Gitell offers a piece in the New York Sun looking at Lamont's need to turn the internet excitement into a genuine GOTV effort for the August 8 primary. LINK
"Lieberman is in deep trouble," Donna Brazile writes in her Roll Call column. "These actions make him look like an 18-year incumbent who is running scared. I think he could lose the primary, not because of Lamont's strength, but because Lieberman has communicated weakness through these actions."
A slew of Hill reporters check-in with the Democratic caucus over its possible support of Lieberman post-primary. Allen, Flint, and McGill write, "Joe Lieberman can count his unconditional Democratic Caucus supporters on one hand -- and still have fingers left over." LINK
Roll Call's John Stanton reports, "Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and other GOP leaders are developing a new political offensive for September and October that will spotlight the GOP's accomplishments since the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, Senate aides said."
The mile-high Karl Rove:
Meeting with the Denver Post's editorial board yesterday, top Bush aide Karl Rove predicted that a bill extending federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research would soon make its way through the Senate and onto the President's desk -- where it would be vetoed, a first for the Bush White House. John Aloysius Farrell has further details: LINK
Rove raised funds for Colorado's Republican party yesterday at the Wildlife Experience museum in Parker, where he labeled Colorado "a swing state [that] you can't take for granted" and Noted that given changing demographics in the state, immigration might emerge as the key issue in upcoming elections: "We will suffer politically if it looks like we don't want people who are brown and speak Spanish." LINK
Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg writes of her recent travels to Aspen and the overflow crowd for Karl Rove's presentation on Sunday. Carlson wisely Notes a sly dig from Rove to Newt Gingrich in a little 2008 process of elimination tea-leaf reading. LINK
In a must-read, the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne writes that "beneath this year's slogans, Republicans are decidedly mixed in their view of the Bush years, and each of their leading presidential candidates proposes important breaks with the Bush approach." LINK
Sen. McCain, with his steadfast support for the Iraq war and his new fondness for President Bush's tax cuts, is "paradoxically" described as "the closest thing to a Bush legacy candidate." Giuliani is called "the most socially liberal candidate to have a fighting chance in the GOP primaries in decades." Gingrich is described as someone who would "run against Washington, which at the moment is Bush's Washington." And Gov. Romney, "his party's most interesting new voice, could be expected to run in part as a problem-solver who worked with Democrats in Massachusetts for a bipartisan approach to health care."
While Republicans fight over the direction of their party, the Democrats are characterized as being "engaged in an argument over a question rooted more in social psychology than policy: Can Hillary win?"
Kevin Sheekey, writing under the pen name "Dick Morris," opines in the New York Post that the time "is ripe" for an independent candidacy and that Mike Bloomberg could win the White House. LINK
Of all 2008 GOP contenders sending feelers in Iowa, "none is doing better than Mitt Romney," writes the Des Moines Register's Yepsen, citing his six favorably-reviewed visits to Iowa and endorsements from prominent Republican bigwigs in the state. LINK
The Boston Globe's editorial board appears to support Gov. Romney's overall cuts of more than $573 million from the $25.8 billion state budget in order to reserve a pool of money for the next economic recession. LINK
(For those keeping score at home, that is a favorable Yepsen column and Boston Globe editorial in the same news cycle!)
The AP reports that Gov. Jeb Bush (D-FL) continued to "duck" questions about a potential ticket with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) yesterday, remaining tight-lipped and only divulging his respect for Sen. McCain while declaring that "there's all sorts of time to worry about the 2008 election." LINK
The New York Post's Haberman Notes Rudy Giuliani's packed political travel schedule this week. LINK
The Cincinnati Enquirer's Craig and D'Aurora report Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) raised the proverbial fist in the air in Columbus, OH, yesterday, where she called for an increase in minimum wage and took a swipe at Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell. Said Clinton: "One of the people running for high office is actually running the election. That should not be permitted. It's a conflict of interest . . . We've got to take back our democracy." LINK
Sen. Clinton also turned her attention to presidential races, saying, "I know there's been a problem here in Ohio, and I hope everybody is watching this election like a hawk. Don't let them pull anything over your eyes again."
Blackwell's campaign personally welcomed Clinton back to the Buckeye State in November to "make sure everything is handled on the up and up . . . We'll even pay for her flight."
More from the Columbus Dispatch: LINK
Although the issue lacks the "national focus it had in 2004," the recent spate of court decisions supporting various state efforts to limit same-sex marriage may complicate Sen. Clinton's reelection campaign , writes Amy Fagan of the Washington Times. LINK
The Arizona Republic reports that Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) called for a raise in the state's minimum wage to bring citizens out of poverty during his remarks in Phoenix yesterday, a measure he claims will "reach a broad coalition" and be successful in the six states in which he is campaigning. LINK
The Union Leader's John DiStaso has Manish Atani, the man to whom Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) made widely-covered "insensitive" remarks about Indian-Americans, saying that "the negative press coverage of Senator Biden's comments was completely unfair." LINK
And/But. . . As if trying to parlay his Apprentice fame into a congressional seat wasn't gimmicky enough, Indian-American congressional candidate Raj Peter Bhakta (R-PA) tries to jump on the Biden comments (with a 7-11-inspired graphic on his campaign Web site) to get some attention with this response: "I'll be sure to stop by his office when I get there. I won't be bringing coffee." The Washington Times runs it as the "Quote of the Week," but fails to identify Bhakta as a Republican and incorrectly identifies him from Maryland. LINK
From Private Equity Week Wire: "Tom Daschle, former U.S. Senator from South Dakota, has resigned from the board of Apollo Investment Corp., the publicly-traded business development company of Apollo Management. He had joined just three months ago, with Apollo saying that his resignation 'was due to other commitments that made him unable to continue as a director.'"
Although Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) says he'll "wait until after the fall election to decide whether to run for president," the liberal politician will tour eastern Iowa this weekend just in case, reports the Des Moines Register. LINK
"With four months to go, we see the Democrats scoring a net gain of two or three seats in the November elections -- enough to trim the GOP's sails, but not enough to overcome its 55-45 edge. That means a Senate in which neither party has enough might to work its will. Democrats have a good chance to take over three seats now held by Republicans, but could easily lose one of their own," writes Richard Sammon of Kiplinger. LINK
Sammon places Pennsylvania, Montana, and Missouri in the most likely to flip from Republican to Democrat and Minnesota most likely to flip the other way.
"Democratic Senate candidate Sheldon Whitehouse cracked the million-dollar fundraising mark for the second quarter of 2006, possibly on his way to a healthy cash advantage for the fall campaign," reports John Mulligan of the Providence Journal. LINK
Paul Hackett (finally) endorses former rival Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in the Ohio Senate contest. LINK
The Detroit News writes up Sen. Stabenow's (D-MI) impressive $7 million cash-on-hand. LINK
On the front page of the Washington Post, Jonathan Weisman and Jeffrey Birnbaum Note that Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) has converted "substantial sums of campaign money to personal use" by having his professional fundraiser wife collect 15 percent of all contributions to Doolittle's leadership PAC and additional commissions on contributions to his campaign committee for a total of nearly $140,000 since 2003, according to FEC records. LINK
Also: what's up with the apparent bulk purchases of Speaker Hastert's book? Paging Jim Wright?.
Making Rahm Emanuel proud, congressional candidate Joe Sestak's (D-PA) campaign announced they've out-fundraised opponent Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) by some $300,000 in the second quarter, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. LINK
The AP's Kathy Barks Hoffman profiles the tough reelection battle Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) faces this year. LINK
Gubernatorial candidate state Rep. Tom Gallagher (R-FL) released his first television ad of the campaign focusing on his accomplishments since being elected in 1974 and emphasizing his profile as a "social conservative." The Tampa Tribune's William March has more. LINK
Roll Call includes Judge Thomas Hogan's words from his ruling sending the seized documents from Rep. Jefferson's (D-LA) office to the Department of Justice and declaring the search within the bounds of the constitution: "It is well-established. . . that a Member of Congress is generally bound to the operation of criminal laws as are ordinary persons. The Speech or Debate Clause does not 'make Members of Congress super-citizens, immune from criminal responsibility.'"
The New York Times: LINK
The Los Angeles Times: LINK
The Hill: LINK
The Washington Post: LINK
The Abramoff affair:
Another senior aide to Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) has been subpoenaed in the investigation into Ney's dealings with Jack Abramoff, reports the Columbus Dispatch. LINK
Casting and counting:
Per USA Today's Catherine Rampell, the battle over new voter registration rules may be the "key to victory" in some of the elections in November. LINK