The Note: The Water's Edge


Today's way of knowing if Republicans will keep control of the House in 2007?

Read just two newspaper stories:

1. Leader Pelosi tells the Wall Street Journal in a must read that if she becomes Speaker of the House, she would pay down the deficit, eliminate earmarks, and be the Speaker for everyone. LINK

(Ask yourself: what happens next?)

2. In a must read, the Washington Post's David Broder writes: "Pretend for a moment that you are in the president's cabin on Air Force One as he tours Europe this week and heads for the Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg. What does the world look like to you? The answer, in one word, is trouble." LINK

(Ask yourself: is The Dean reflecting CW, creating CW, both, or neither?)

Thursday, President Bush said Israel has the right to defend itself, as it launched fresh attacks on Lebanon after the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. LINK

Herr Bush and the First Lady arrived in Germany Thursday morning for a ceremony and guest book signing at the Stralsund Market Square in Stralsund, Germany. POTUS then met with German chancellor Angela Merkel and visited St. Nikolia Church before departing, traveling to Trinwillershagen for dinner and staying the night in Heiligendamm, Germany.

He heads to the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia on Friday.

The First Lady joined her husband for the morning's arrival ceremony, followed by remarks at the opening of the America at Your Library event at the Children's Library in Stadtwaage, Germany. FLOTUS then travels to the Tourist City of Stralsund archives and meets with local leaders for lunch in Stralsund Kuche, Germany.

Back home, the hot issues are Voting Rights Act reauthorization and a DCCC web ad which features flag-draped coffins.

The House considers H.R.9, the "Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization Bill, at 10:00 am ET. Four amendments are expected to be offered.

Members of the party that used 9/11 imagery in its 2004 ads will hold a press conference at 1:30 pm in the lobby of RNC headquarters to discuss what they call the "despicable fundraising video." Fair-minded reporters will be able to judge the extent to which the outrage is heartfelt.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL), and DSCC Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-NY) hold a 12:15 pm ET pen and pad briefing in S-324 to discuss the difference between Democrats' efforts to "move America in a new direction" and "Washington Republicans' efforts to compete with the legendary 'Do Nothing Congress.'"

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly briefing at the Capitol at 10:45 am ET.

The bipartisan Gang of 14 meets at 1:15 pm ET in the office of Sen. Mark Pryror (D-AR) to discuss the nomination of William Haynes to the U.S. Circuit of Appeals.

The list of 2008 hopefuls continues to grow as global businessman Daniel Imperato and political pundit Webster Brooks announce the creation of the Independent America Party and their candidacy in New York City at 1:30 pm ET.

Gov. Mike Huckabee continues his visit to Minnesota, attending day two of the Education Commission of the States' National Forum in Minneapolis, MN.

As controversies continue surrounding the Supreme Court's recent Hamdan v. Rumsfeld ruling and the Bush Administration's decisions about war on terror detainees, the Senate Armed Services Committee meets to discuss the future of detainee trials and military commissions at 9:30 am ET.

Sens. Bill Frist (R-TN) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) speak at a conference for the Center for Strategic and International Studies HIV/AIDS Task Force at 11:35 am ET.

Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) attend a discussion on "Creating Opportunities for High-Quality Summer Learning" at 12:00 pm ET.

Leader Frist, Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM), and fellow Republican Senators hold a news conference to announcing the opening of new, Eastern areas of the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas production at the Capitol at 2:00 pm ET.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales holds an 11:30 am ET off-camera roundtable for reporters who cover the Department of Justice.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman delivers remarks at a 6:30 pm ET fundraiser for Sen. Santorum's (R-PA) America's Foundation PAC in Washington, DC. The event is closed to the press and expected to raise approximately $75,000, two facts that are wholly unrelated.

Gov. Granholm (D-MI) was scheduled to have held a 8:30 am ET fundraising breakfast in Washington, DC featuring special guests: Sen. Levin, Sen. Stabenow, DNC Chairman Howard Dean, and Michigan Democratic Reps. Conyers, Dingell, Kildee, Kilpatrick, Levin, and Stupak.

Among the "hosts" who coughed up $1,000 each for the event were Vernon Jordan and Ron Klain, whose hourly billable rates are not identical (but are closer than you might think).

With the G-8 Summit on the horizon, the American Enterprise Institute holds a forum to assess the current state of U.S. foreign policy and discuss challenges in the coming year from 9:00 am -- 1:30 pm ET.

Bush in Europe:

The Washington Post's Robin Wright analyzes the crises erupting across the Middle East, cites Iran as their common thread, and looks at a depressingly short list of viable options for resolving them. LINK

Peter Baker previews the world issues and wild boar awaiting President Bush. LINK

More from David Jackson of USA Today. LINK

Voting Rights Act:

"Bowing to the demands of rank-and-file Republicans, House leaders granted consideration Wednesday to a bevy of amendments to the Voting Rights Act -- including a measure to eliminate mandates for multilingual ballots -- drawing the ire of Democrats who claim the move violates a bipartisan agreement over reauthorizing the landmark 1965 law," reports Roll Call's Jennifer Yachnin.

More Roll Call: "In addition to the language proposal authored by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), the panel approved consideration of a measure by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) that would shrink the reauthorization period to only 10 years, less than half of the 25 years provided in the existing bill. Both of the remaining amendments, sponsored by Georgia GOP Reps. Charlie Norwood and Lynn Westmoreland, target the VRA's Section 5, which mandates that states with a documented history of discrimination must "pre-clear" any changes to their electoral practices with the Justice Department."

While pushing Rep. Lynn Westmoreland's (R-GA) amendment to modify the formula used to determine which jurisdictions would be governed by the VRA's pre-clearance provisions, Westmoreland's deputy chief of staff signaled on Wednesday that he does not expect the Westmoreland amendment to be successful, scornfully saying that the Leadership (at least on this issue) does whatever CBC Chairman Mel Watt (D-NC) wants.

The DCCC takes a page out of the BC'04 playbook:

How will the DCCC's use of flag-draped coffins in their latest Internet ad play out? Have they learned from the Bush camp that as long as you are on the message you want to take to the country, there is nothing wrong with making your ads controversial given the free media pick up and water-cooler talk it fuels?

National Review's Jim Geraghty parts company with the guys at Red State, writing "while I may not like or agree with the ad, the soldiers are 'their' guys, too. And if Democrats want to campaign on the issue of Iraq, it's not unreasonable to use the images of the flag-draped coffins. One of the saner anti-war arguments (aside from vast conspiracies, we're fighting for Israel, it's all about oil, blah blah blah) is that what we can achieve in Iraq is not worth the price we're paying in blood and treasure. I don't agree with that argument, but it's not an unreasonable one." LINK

In advance of today's GOP presser on the ad, DCCC communications director Bill Burton tells ABC News: "Republicans have gone to great lengths to obscure the pictures of these brave young men and women who come home having paid the ultimate sacrifice. Perhaps if these Republicans had been able to summon up this same level of outrage when President Bush sent our troops off to war without the body armor they needed and the Humvee armor they required, so many wouldn't have come home in flag-draped coffins or with life-changing injuries. After more than 2,500 Americans have died in Iraq, more than 18,000 wounded and more than $450 billion spent, it's time for a new direction."

You'll likely recall the heat President Bush took when his reelection campaign launched its television ad in March 2004 which included a flag-draped stretcher being pulled from Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11.

2004 Flashback: "Bush Plans Ad Campaign Using 9/11 Imagery" LINK

Minimum wage politics:

The New York Times' Andrews writes of Democratic efforts to use a minimum wage increase as Republicans were able to use the same-sex marriage bans in 2004. LINK

"Democratic strategists systematically looked for issues on which they could start statewide ballot initiatives that would increase voter turn-out among groups that were likely to vote Democratic. 'Minimum wage was at the top of the list,' [Sen. Chuck] Schumer said," making it clear that he is happy to talk about "research," "data," and "numbers" without embarrassment.

Politics of immigration:

At two separate events during yesterday's Interfaith Immigration Reform Conference in Washington, Senators Kennedy and McCain expressed optimism about their stagnant Senate immigration bill. "I'm very hopeful about this legislation," Kennedy said to a packed conference room near the Capitol. "If anybody had said 6 months ago that this would have passed the United States Senate by 63 votes, I would have said we would be lucky to get hearings."

Later in the day, Sen. McCain commended a group of lunchoners at the United Methodist Church, and instructed, "Take your time, make your effort, and the reward will not be here on Earth; it will be heaven."

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics:

On the heels of widely Noted appearances by Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) on Imus yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) called into the I-man's program this morning to bathe in a lovefest with the broadcast mogul, who's proffered his relentless support for Lieberman in the Demoratic primary.

Sen. Lieberman wouldn't comment on Ford and Dodd's dodging questions and/but said, "We're all good friends."

In repeated calls for people to vote for him in next month's showdown, Sen. Lieberman said, "If you're not a Democrat get down here and become one for August 8." He later quipped to Imus, "In at least two cities I can arrange for you to vote in the Democratic primaries."

Later in the morning, David Brooks of the New York Times told Imus the chioce between Lieberman and Lamont "is kind of clear." Voters are mad at Lieberman right now, he reasoned, but will support him in the end in spite of his views on Iraq. "I don't think the Democrats want to be a party where everything has to be in lockstep."

Brooks was also critical of Sen. Dodd's sidestepping, sighing and saying "You've got to make up your mind."

Sen. Lieberman offers a New York Post op-ed on his plan to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. LINK

Republican state Rep. Diana S. Urban, an anti-Iraq war Republican, has filed paperwork to become a petitioning candidate in the Connecticut Senate race. This move could affect Sen. Lieberman's chances in the primary and "could very well complicate things for the general election," reports the AP. LINK

Senate hopeful Alan Schlesinger (R) is now being urged by fellow Republicans to withdraw himself from the U.S. Senate race in Connecticut after his gambling bouts under an assumed name during the 1990s were made public, yet he remains steadfast in his intentions to continue in the race. The Hartford Courant's Mark Pazniokas has more. LINK

More from the AP. LINK


Per the Washington Times' Greg Pierce, Texas Republicans are urging the 5th Circuit to act quickly in reviewing their appeal of a judge's ruling that Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) name must stay on the ballot, citing party-imposed August deadlines for selecting another GOP candidate. LINK

The Hill's Jonathan "The Stare" Kaplan and Patrick O'Connor report on Republicans' "wait-and-see" approach to Texas-22 and the seat of former Leader. LINK

The Abramoff affair:

In advance of his primary for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in Georgia, Ralph Reed (along with Jack Abramoff and others) has been named in a civil lawsuit by an Indian tribe seeking millions of dollars lost due to what the tribe claims was a fraudulently closed casino. LINK

"A spokeswoman for Mr. Reed, Lisa Baron, said the suit was without merit. 'The illegal casino violated Texas and federal law and was ordered closed by a federal judge,' Ms. Baron said. 'As a longtime opponent of casino gambling, Ralph was happy to work with Texas pro-family citizens to close it.'"

The Fitzgerald investigation:

Despite Robert Novak's decision to break his silence on he CIA leak investigation, his failure to name the Administration official who tipped him in the first place has left one of Washinton's greatest questions still unanswered. LINK

Except: Deb Orin of the New York Post writes that former State Department Deputy to Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, is the likely non-partisan "gunslinger" who served as Bob Novak's primary source. LINK

The much hyped conversation between columnist Robert Novak and Karl Rove regarding Valerie Plame lasted a mere 20 seconds, the AP Notes. Rove's contribution was (per one account) "Oh, you know that too," when Novak said he heard Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife "works at the CIA and initiated" his trip to Africa. LINK


The impending Senate vote scheduled for July 18 on embryonic stem-cell research is speculated to be a "2008 vote," providing "rocky terrain" for Republicans who prefer to focus on social issues while Democrats view this as their "wedge issue." Republican presidential hopefuls have begun to line up on the issue, with opposition from Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and unclear stances by Dr. Frist and Sens. McCain and George Allen (VA). LINK

2008: Republicans:

The AP has former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the end of his intensive fundraising swing saying that he is "seriously considering" a presidential run. LINK

Giuliani and Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R-MD) scratched each other's backs yesterday as Giuliani stumped for the governor's re-election campaign in Baltimore and Erlich lauded Giuliani's credentials for the Oval Office. The Baltimore Examiner has more. LINK

(There was some serious chatter about Giuliani's presidential intentions on cable yesterday).

The Boston Herald scolds Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) for returning to his summer home the day after a fatal accident inside Boston's Big Dig construction project. LINK

Over at the Boston Globe, they're asking if Romney's response to the accident -- pushing for the ouster of a Turnpike honcho -- makes him look like he's "a shrewd former business executive with little tolerance for ineptitude" or trying to "divert responsibility for the Big Dig's many shortcomings away from his administration." LINK

Senate Majority Leader Frist, Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) and others proposed the Republican Party's compromised plan yesterday that would open an area of the Gulf of Mexico around Florida for oil and gas drilling while maintaining a distance of at least 125 miles from the west coast, but the proposal faces strong opposition from Sen. Martinez's Senate counterpart, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), as well as environmentalists. LINK

2008: Democrats:

Perhaps in an attempt to win the Ray Hernandez Award, Lois Romano of the Washington Post trots upon well-trodden ground as she goes "beyond the poll numbers" to discover -- surprise! -- that many Democrats are conflicted about Sen. Clinton's potential presidential candidacy. LINK

Note to insiders: Bruce Lindsey's search for the identity of the speaker of the kicker blind quote is already 10 hours old, and/but still no hard evidence has emerged (although Bruce has his guesses).

James Levin, "A major fund-raiser for Sen. Clinton's 2000 campaign and self-described close friend of President Clinton is under federal indictment in Chicago for minority-contracting fraud," reports the New York Sun's Josh Gerstein. The indictment was delivered yesterday by none other than Justice Department special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. LINK

More from the Chicago Sun-Times: LINK

Sen. Clinton helped raise over $500,000 for the DNC last night at a fundraiser at her Embassy Row home. Among the guests enjoying the hors d'oeuvres: Amb. and Smith Bagley, Amb. Tony Harrington, Kate Michelman, Terry Lierman, Jay Snyder, and Alma Brown.

On Monday, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) delivers a major speech entitled "The American Middle Class: Future of the Nation, Future of the Democratic Party" at the National Press Club. And then like any savvy '08er, he will head to Des Moines, IA to give the speech again.

Sen. Bayh will speak about the future of the American Middle Class, how the Bush Administration's policies have "failed" to address issues confronting the middle class, and how the Democratic party needs to reclaim its legacy as the party of the middle class. During his remarks, he also will suggest several policy ideas that would provide greater economic opportunity for the middle class and those who aspire to join it.

Former Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) marked his first visit to central Iowa yesterday with strong remarks peppered with criticisms of President Bush -- Gov. Warner called him "'a 19th century president' who has wielded U.S. power without regard to allies"--as well as exhortations to fellow Democrats to help rein in outlays, particularly on entitlement programs: "As a Democrat, you've got to show areas where you can slow federal spending." LINK

The Hotline's Marc Ambinder reports that Democratic strategist Jim Jordan, whom Ambinder describes as "one of the brightest stars in the Democratic strategic firmament," has signed on with Warner's Forward Together PAC.

The Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont reports that Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) raised approximately $315,000 for his Heartland PAC in the year's second quarter, bringing the total count to $2.3 million; by contrast, Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA), another Democratic governor eyeing the White House, announced yesterday that he had raked in $3.1 million in the same period, bringing his coffers to the $8 million mark. LINK

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) released a statement yesterday comparing Hurricane Katrina victims of the Gulf Coast with the still-ravaged city of Banda Aceh in Indonesia from last year's tsunami and calling for increased aid to victims of both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. LINK

Al Gore hits the cover of Entertainment Weekly; the Washington Post's Reliable Source thinks the photo makes him look like Leonard Nimoy. LINK

The Hartford Courant reports that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) — he of the well-chronicled eyebrow — will appear at next week's Jefferson Jackson Gala in southern Florida. Fellow '08ers Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) and retired Gen. Wesley Clark will also be on hand. LINK

2006: Senate:

At the end of the second quarter, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has more than three times as much cash-on-hand as Tom Kean, Jr. (R-NJ), per the New York Times' Chen. LINK

K.T. McFarland's (R-NY) brother tells the New York Post's Lovett that he believes his sister is "evil" and waited two weeks to speak publicly about the recently published controversial letter she wrote to her parents in 1992 because he was waiting to see if she would drop out of the race. If you care about the McFarland campaign's, uhm, trajectory, this is a must read. LINK

The New York Post's Page Six gossips about an upcoming DSCC fundraiser in a heavily gay-populated community on Fire Island with Sen. Schumer and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) despite their opposition to same-sex marriage. LINK

2006: Governor:

President Bush is apt to keep his unofficial moniker "Fundraiser-in-Chief": A gala POTUS will headline for Ohio gubernatorial candidate Kenneth Blackwell next month is likely to add a whopping $1 million or more to the candidate's coffers, the Columbus Dispatch's Joe Hallett reports. LINK

2006: House:

USA Today's Martin Kasindorf reports that Hispanics are eyeing closely the seats of Reps. David Dreier (R-CA), Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), and John Salazar (D-CO) as well as Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) as possible places to throw their weight around in November and overthrow incumbents to elect officials more sympathetic to their plight. LINK

"After a politically disastrous stretch," writes The Hill's Patrick O'Connor, House Republicans are optimistic as they embark on its final campaign push, "The Battleground Program." LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

A federal investigator responsible for surveying California's corrections department is probing the suddenly-close relationship between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and the state's well-funded prison guards union; Special Master John Hagar suggested at hearing yesterday that the Governor's Chief of Staff, Susan Kennedy, had perjured herself and is "in the hip pocket" of the union. One State Senator who was in attendance declared that the developing scandal "'will be every bit as big as the energy crisis was for Gray Davis' in terms of cost to taxpayers and political fallout." The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Martin has the details: LINK

The Los Angeles Times reports that during an online interview with a reporter broadcast over the Internet on Wednesday, Gov. Schwarzenegger "condemned one of the most prototypical Los Angeles driving practices -- grasping a steering wheel with one hand and a cellphone with the other -- and gave a strong boost to legislative efforts to outlaw hand-held mobile phones throughout California." LINK

Gov. Schwarzenegger said his concerns have increased since his eldest child began driving: "I told her, I have had many, many conversations with her that if I ever catch her making a phone call while she is driving -- and I sometimes follow her to make sure that she doesn't make that mistake -- [that] I will take the car away from her and she can drive the bus because it's inexcusable."

Majority-black districts and the Democratic Party's future:

In the Washington Post last week, DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) indicated that at one time it made sense to have state legislatures and the courts carve out majority black districts to remedy discrimination. But looking at the map today, Emanuel asked: "Are we at a point in the political process where you don't need a 70 percent district, but perhaps a 50 to 45 percent district, with the political capacity to be more competitive in the surrounding areas, so that more Democrats can win?"

Moments before a thunderstorm broke out ABC News posed Emanuel's question to Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, during a Capitol Hill news conference on re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act.

Rep. Scott replied by saying that, "Over-packing a district can constitute discrimination -- you have to look at the districts individually. There are some areas in order to have the opportunity to elect candidate of your choice you need a district of a minority population of 65 to 70 percent, in a lot of areas, 60 percent is clearly not enough. In other areas, 40 percent is more than enough. You have to look, there is no golden standard that you need 60 percent or you need 65 percent but you ought to have the opportunity to elect the candidate of your choice -- that will vary from locality to locality."


We wonder if after Stu Loeser confirmed Mayor Bloomberg's mother's account of his birthplace to the New York Times, he called Mrs. Bloomberg to discuss her calling the New York Times. LINK

While calling for a foreign policy that "recognizes that we have to be tough and smart," Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) told CAP's Campus Progress Conference on Wednesday that the current occupant in the White House has a "monopoly" on the "tough-dumb strategy."

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, with the subject line: "INTERN" in all caps.