WASHINGTON, July 12
Is this the (late) October Surprise that will actually determine control of the House? LINK
A man who knows the answer, President Bush, along with the First Lady, left for Heiligendamm, Germany earlier this morning, where Le POTUS meets with Prime Minister Angela Merkel (and confronts a small army of protestors) before heading to St. Petersburg on Friday for a G8 summit, marking the first time Russia has hosted the annual meeting. LINK and LINK
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is on an unannounced trip to Iraq today.
Bob Novak discusses the Valerie Plame leak investigation on FNC's "Special Report with Brit Hume" at 6:00 pm ET and then does another Fox show later in the evening.
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) joins Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) for a 1:45 pm ET press conference in the Senate Radio and Television Gallery to discuss a new report which shows that CEO, congressional, and presidential pay have increased while minimum wage workers have been left behind under the Bush economy.
According to Sen. Kennedy's office, since the last time the minimum wage was increased (1997), CEO's have seen a 73% increase in pay while the pay of members of Congress is up 24% and the President's salary has increased 100%.
Earlier in the day, Sen. Clinton joins Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) and others at a 10:00 am ET press conference to "demonstrate the need to provide federal funds for states and localities to implement the E9-1-1 service."
Bush Cabinet members gathered with members of Congress -- including Sen. Clinton, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) -- to promote the release of "WOW! Facts 2006," a compendium of demographic data on women and minorities, at 9:00 am ET this morning.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), and Sen. Kennedy join religious leaders and others for an interfaith conference addressing the intersection of immigration reform and moral principles at 11:30 am ET.
Day two of Gov. Mark Warner's (D-VA) Iowa feet-wetting expedition is as busy as the first: at 10:00 am ET, Warner roundtables with teachers in Davenport; he attends a luncheon on behalf of State Senator Rogert Stewart at 12:15 pm ET; he accompanies the Democratic congressional candidate for Iowa's first district, Bruce Braley, to a 4:15 pm ET tour of a small business, Van G. Miller and Associates; and he joins Braley for he 6:00 pm ET opening of the latter's new Waterloo office.
Speaking of potential presidential hopefuls, Wednesday marks the middle of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's (R-NY) manic week of stumping for 2006 candidates before heading off to Bermuda with the wife. Today he sticks to the mid-Atlantic with an appearance on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann (R-PA) in King of Prussia, PA as well as for Gov. Robert Erlich (R-MD) in Baltimore, MD.
Not to be left out, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) stays active, attending the second day of the National Forum on Education Policy in Minneapolis, MN.
Former House Speakers Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and Tom Foley (D-WA) appeared at the American Enterprise Institute earlier today to discuss Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein's new book, "The Broken Branch: A Look at the Contemporary Congress." LINK
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) keynotes the Center for American Progress' 2006 Campus Progress National Student Conference at 12:05 pm ET at DC's Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
The Democrats' pick for the Ohio Senate, Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), headlined a joint AFL-CIO and U.S. Business and Industry Council Conference, "Trade Summit 2006: Crisis and Opportunity," at 9:00 am ET at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
The House Republican Conference met behind closed doors today at 9:00 am ET at the Capitol.
House Republicans, represented by Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), Conference Chairman Deborah Pryce (R-OH), and Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) hold a 10:00 am ET press conference at the Capitol Hill Club to discuss the ways in which they are focused on "protecting American values."
In a dueling 10:00 am ET press conference, House Democratic leaders, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Caucus Chairman James Clyburn (D-SC), and Rep. John Larson (D-CT) hold a news conference on "the Bush deficit economy" in the Cannon House Office Building.
The immigration debate continues to simmer at 9:30 am ET with Round Two of the Senate Judiciary Committee's investigation of comprehensive immigration reform; the full committee convened at the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
And it doesn't appear that the debate will die down anytime soon: House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and others will brief the press on a new calendar of border security hearings at 11:00 am ET. (See the "Politics of Immigration" section for details).
The Commerce Department released May's trade balance report at 8:30 am ET.
CEA chairman Edward Lazear speaks on American productivity at the National Economists Club luncheon at 12:00 pm ET.
Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform holds its annual Cost of Government Day news conference at 2:15 pm ET in the Cannon House Office Building.
Voting Rights Act:
The Los Angeles Times' Wallsten and Neuman deliver a must-read look at how the Republican divide over the Voting Rights Act renewal, paired with the Republican divide over immigration, President Bush, Karl Rove, and Ken Mehlman's goal of being seen as an inclusive and outreaching party to minorities is far from being achieved. LINK
(Be sure to Note the reference to President Bush's possible plans to address the NAACP.)
(Also, Note this: "One House leadership aide, who requested anonymity because of the delicate nature of the negotiations [sighed] . . . at the turn of events since the renewal first sailed through the House Judiciary Committee this year, [and] . . .added: 'The reason we brought this whole thing up is to show people we're for extending the Voting Rights Act. Instead, we created our own problem.'")
(Finally, Note how fully the Gang of 500 is dismissive of the concerns of some conservative members on this issue).
At 2:45 pm ET, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Melvin Watt (D-NC) holds a news conference to discuss the failure of the House of Representatives to vote to renew the Voting Rights Act. Simultaneously, the Black Leadership Forum and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation holds a vigil outside the U.S. Capitol urging Congress to promptly reauthorize the Voting Rights Act without amendment.
The Fitzgerald leak investigation:
Bob Novak writes about his role in the CIA leak case, but doesn't quite reveal all. The much-anticipated Novak tell-all column does not reveal his primary source. Novak writes of his conversations with Rove and CIA spokesman Bill Harlow as his confirming sources. (Conversations that Mr. Novak apparently remembers somewhat differently than his sources do.) LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper gets at the questions that remain to be answered in his Political Punch blog. LINK
The Associated Press includes Mark Corallo's reminder that Karl Rove claims he did not know Valerie Plame's name at the time he spoke with Bob Novak. LINK
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz: LINK
The Chicago Sun Times' Lynn Sweet: LINK
Politics of Iraq:
While in Iraq, Secretary Rumsfeld said that until the new Iraqi government is prepared to grapple with security issues, the number of U.S. troops withdrawn remains unclear, writes the AP. LINK
Bush Administration agenda:
A Treasury Department official tells the Los Angeles Times that the Bush Administration is considering requiring U.S. banks to inform the government of all international wire transfers made by their customers, regardless of possible terrorist connections. The mandatory reporting would further expand the government's efforts to fight terrorism and international crimes. The government has been studying the feasibility of the project since 2005, and officials say the Administration is within weeks of deciding whether to proceed with the project. The measure would be the first time banks would be required to report such data, which is normally kept secret, to the government. The banking industry opposes the project, claiming it would unnecessarily compromise the confidentiality of transactions. LINK
Politics of immigration:
"The passage of 11 anti-illegal immigrant measures by a special session of the Colorado Legislature this week is just the latest sign that momentum in the volatile debate is on the side of hard-liners," writes the Los Angeles Times' Riccardi. LINK
Karl Rove (of Norway) made his Latino appeal and pushed the President's immigration plan at La Raza's convention in Los Angeles, CA yesterday and cast the President as someone with "shared values" with the Latino community. The Los Angeles Times has the story. LINK
Note the booing double standard.
House Republicans are planning a major push on immigration. Here are the details:
On July 18, the full House Judiciary Committee will juxtapose the "amnesty" provisions of the Senate's immigration bill with the "mistakes" of the1986 amnesty. On July 19, the House Homeland Security Committee plans a subcommittee hearing on issues related to the proposed US-Mexico fence while the full Education and Workforce Committee holds a hearing on issues related to expedited removal of illegal aliens. On July 20, Rep. Dan Lungren's (R-CA) House Judiciary subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Cybersecurity holds a hearing on the border fence.
On July 26, the Education Reform Subcommittee holds a hearing on English as the official language of the United States. On July 27, the full House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the ability of ICE and the federal government to implement the amnesty proposals of the Senate bill and the potential national security implications. On the same day, Rep. Lungren's Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on expedited removal of illegal immigrants.
It is humid and sticky on the East Coast, and yet, and yet, somehow we feel like some hot soup would be just the thing right now.
A bipartisan mix of the Gang of 500 gathered in the Hay-Adams' Windsor Room yesterday to witness an unusual sight: former newsguy Ron Fournier fielding questions from the political press. The occasion was the launch of HOTSOUP.COM (LINK) the online community that come the fall will go live as the creation of Bush strategists Mark McKinnon and Matthew Dowd along with Clinton-Gore advisers Joe Lockhart, Carter Eskew, Mike Feldman, and Chip Smith.
Fournier hung in there as a group of seasoned, veteran journalists fired tough questions about his transition from wire god to Internet entrepreneur. We were amused to hear the phrase "asked and answered" coming from the former scribe and nearly fell out of our chair when he referred some of the questions to other panelists.
Another unusual sight: Dowd and McKinnon spotted at Local 16 last night joining Lockhart and Feldman for an impromptu birthday celebration.
Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times Notes the Hotsoup.com creators are attempting to do good and well. LINK
The Washington Post's Kurtz has former Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart saying: "There is nobody who knows how broken the system is more than us. . . . Everyone in the room could say they contributed to the polarization." LINK
Sen. Lieberman's primary politics:
On Imus this morning, Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN), who's running to fill Sen./Leader/Dr. Bill Frist's (R-TN) Senate seat in November, professed his faith in his friend Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), saying confidently that Lieberman will win his primary next month against opponent Ned Lamont. Ford is "a fan of Joseph Lieberman" but dodged whether he'd still support him if Lamont wins the Dems' slot.
Later in the program, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) argued that choosing sides before primary votes are tallied might be detrimental to Lieberman's chances, saying "It's better to wait until after the primary to decide who to back" but adds, "his presence in the Senate is critical."
Imus trashed Ford's fancy failure to fully answer.
A new poll out this morning from Quinnipiac University finds 36 percent of New York City voters say it is very or somewhat likely Michael Bloomberg will run for president. 62 percent say it is "not too likely" or "not likely at all."
In contrast to his flat-out denials that he has interest in running for president in 2008, Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) hedged when asked about the possibility of McCain-Bush ticket: "There's all sorts of time to worry about the 2008 election." Greg Pierce of the Washington Times: LINK
With the troubled-laden Big Dig now having caused a death, Gov. Romney insisted that "people should not have to drive through the turnpike tunnels with their fingers crossed" and blasted Massachusetts Turnpike Authority head Matthew Amorello, calling on him to step down. LINK
The Boston Herald's Kimberly Atkins has more: LINK
The Washington Times' Charles Hurt Notes that Dr./Leader/Sen. Frist faces a "test" not only from Senate Democrats but also from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on President Bush's nomination of William Haynes II to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. LINK
Giuliani Capital Advisers, the investment banking component of Giuliani Partners, prepares to go global today, reports the New York Times. LINK
(Meaning there will be much (more) entangling to untangle if Giuliani takes the presidential plunge.)
Giuliani stood up to conservative criticism of his socially liberal views yesterday at a fundraiser for Judy Baar Topinka, the GOP's gubernatorial candidate in Illinois, reports the Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson. Giuliani declared, "I am who I am," and argued that there is room for moderates like Topinka and himself in the party: "The Republican Party is a very big party. It's a very broad party…Nobody gets to define it." LINK
Continuing to compile his long list of IOUs, Giuliani also stumped for gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas yesterday at a $500 per head fundraiser. LINK
The AP reports that former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman plans to travel to New Hampshire this month to aid moderate Republicans in state and local elections in taking back control of the GOP, yet denies that these efforts are tied to hopes of a 2008 presidential nomination. LINK
Continuing the dog-bites-man coverage of Sen. Clinton's fundraising, the New York Times' Robert Pear and Ray Hernandez report on how health care industry seems to be pouring cash into her campaign coffers of late as she has modified her policy positions from 1993-1994 and emerged as a congressional leader on the subject. LINK
The New York Post editorial board doesn't appear too fond of Sen. Clinton's plan to raise the minimum wage but seems to like the political gimmick of tying such a raise to congressional pay raises and offers a few other suggestions for "do as we do, not as we say" kinds of legislation. LINK
Mark Warner's boasted yesterday that he has raised $8 million for his PAC, Forward Together, giving him the second-largest campaign chest of any presidential hopeful, save Sen. Clinton. The Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont Notes that Warner's courting of Republicans and independents puts him at odds with candidates like former Sen. John Edwards (D-SC), who have charged moderates with abandoning the party's base. LINK
Following his lavish, rooftop Vegas party for bloggers, Warner has elevated his donations to real politicians: Democratic Senate and House candidates. In June alone, Warner's Forward Together PAC donated $392,400 to Democratic incumbents and hopefuls, reports The Hill's Jonathan Kaplan. LINK
Bloomberg's Brian Faler reports on the viability of Democrats' "Republicans do nothing" slogan. LINK
President Bush's Wisconsin campaign stump for Rep. Mark Green's (R-WI) gubernatorial campaign combined his defense of the war with promotion of his tax cuts and positive economic news about the deficit, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more. LINK
President Bush's fundraiser was met with the support of hundreds of faithful Republicans but also outside protest from nuns and others calling for peace, reports the AP's Scott Bauer. LINK
With his trademark glibness, glares, and grimaces, NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-NY) held a largely newsless "newsmaker" breakfast at Tuesday's Christian Science Monitor breakfast.
When Chairman Reynolds celebrated the "good news" of "one poll" showing President Bush with an approval rating "over 40" and said that having the President "in the low 40s" puts "oxygen in the room," the Washington Post's sage Dan Balz asked Reynolds, "You basically think all these races are local--why would a couple of additional points on Bush's approval ratings have any significance in changing the dynamic?"
To which Reynolds responded by saying: ". . . When I look at the President's numbers and statistics, they're pushing down. The President's 31-points just pushes down . . . If you get into the low-40s, it just means that's not a factor . . ."
Reynolds refused to identify the best post-November Republican targets for mid-decade redistricting, saying that it was all "all hypothetical in the future," adding ". . . I would tell you that in my 30-some years of being elected I think redistricting politics is the toughest form of politics I've ever seen, and I think it exceeds union politics in New York. . ."
On the fundraising front, the DCCC's Bill Burton tells ABC News that at the end of the second quarter in 2004, there were no Democratic House challengers with more than a million dollars on hand. By contrast, as of the end of the June 30 second quarter this year, the DCCC says that "at least six" Democratic House challengers in competitive districts have more than a million dollars on hand.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that the campaign of Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) admits they're in trouble, with a new poll showing Ney leading opponent Zack Space by a slim four points. LINK
Republican congressional candidate Mike Whalen confirmed yesterday that Vice President Dick Cheney will be joining him for a fundraising event next Monday, marking the second time a high-level Bush Administration official has stumped for the Iowa District 1 candidate (Rove visited last month). Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) follows closely on Cheney's heels: he is scheduled for a Tuesday appearance. The Quad City Times' Ed Tibbetts reports: LINK
Big Casino budget politics:
The Bush Administration lowered its deficit estimate to $296 billion yesterday, prompting the White House to claim vindication of its tax cuts and eliciting a collective groan from Democrats who didn't think the revised/rigged numbers were anything about which to be boastful.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times has Grover Norquist saying President Bush is making a mistake by focusing on the deficit. LINK
"'The deficit is the wrong metric,' Mr. Norquist said. 'No one has ever won or lost an election on the deficit.'"
The Washington Post Notes that the President also suggested on Monday that he is planning to tackle the long-term costs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid before leaving office. LINK
Politics of stem cells:
The Senate is likely to vote next week to send the President a bill that increases federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, with White House plans to support Sen. Rick Santorum's bill, Notes the Wall Street Journal. LINK
The Hill's Alexander Bolton predicts that "the death of 527 reform this year would mean that Democratic congressional candidates, and more significantly the Democratic presidential contenders in 2008, will benefit from hundreds of millions of dollars in soft-money spending on their behalf." LINK
Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-VA), leader of the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership, slammed Pat Toomey's Club for Growth for attacking Republican incumbents such as Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-MI) and Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), reports the Washington Times' Amy Fagan; "That's not how you build a governing majority," chided Davis. LINK
Congratulations to Michael Kelley who is leaving his position with the California Film Commission for a position with the Boeing Company doing government relations.
Intern for the ABC News Political Unit:
The ABC News Political Unit is now seeking full-time interns for the fall semester. There are a few requirements you should know about before applying for the internship.
- You must be either a graduate student or junior or senior in college.
-You must be able to work long days, starting early, Monday through Friday.
-If your school gives credit for internships, you must receive credit.
-The internship begins somewhere between Aug. 14 and Sep. 5 and runs into December.
Not only will you get to write for The Note, but ABC News Political Unit interns also are afforded the opportunity to cover political events around town, assist ABC News broadcasts in getting political stories on the air, and learn how to cover national politics during a midterm election year with 33 Senate seats, 36 governorships, and 435 House seats all up for grabs.
If you write well, have an insatiable appetite for political news, and don't mind getting up early, send a cover letter and resume to email@example.com, with the subject line: "INTERN" in all caps.