WASHINGTON, July 25
In a story whose backstory and aftermath will be even better than the story itself, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank turns in a must-read on a visit with an anonymous Republican candidate for Senator, who lunched with reporters to deplore the Administration for their work in Iraq and the poor response to Hurricane Katrina. LINK
Not holding back, he exclaimed of his party affiliation, "It's an impediment. It's a hurdle I have to overcome," he said. "I've got an 'R' here, a scarlet letter."
Quick: where did Sen. DeWine dine yesterday for lunch? (Either we are right, or we have done you all a service and crossed one name off the list.)
Quick: where did Maryland Senate candidate Michael Steele dine yesterday for lunch? (blah blah blah)
A man who already knows who had lunch with Dana Milbank yesterday -- President Bush -- meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in the Oval Office at 9:35 am ET today. The two leaders last met in Baghdad during the President's surprise trip to Iraq on June 13. At 11:25 am ET, the two move to the East Room to field questions from the press, with the number of questions (and, thus, the amount of streaming video content, TBD, or, perhaps, TBA).
The New York Times curtain-raises the meeting with Maliki's likely wish-list. LINK
DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter to other members of the House, urging House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) to cancel Wednesday's address to Congress by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on the theory that his condemnation of Israeli attacks on Lebanon put him at odds with U.S. policy.
The letter reads: "The Speaker's podium reflects our nation's values. We the Members of the House, under your leadership, decide who receives that honor, and the list should not include anyone whose interests conflict with the United States."
The Democratic House members wrote to inquire about how Maliki was chosen to receive the honor, and have asked for an apology.
Emanuel spokeswoman Kathleen Connery tells ABC News that as of last night, they had "approximately 20 signatures." Emanuel's staff is not going to release the letter until mid-morning when they are done collecting signatures and have forwarded the letter to the Speaker.
More from the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet: LINK
Hastert spokesguy Ron Bonjean tells ABC News: "The Prime Minister Iraq where we have 130,000 troops stationed fighting a Global War against terror is expected to speak tomorrow before a Joint Meeting of Congress. This is political gamesmanship during an election year by the Chairman of the DCCC to cover for Minority Leader Pelosi's refusal to cosponsor the resolution supporting Israel."
ABC News' Jake Tapper muses in his Political Punch blog about Emanuel's "rather deep" ties to Israel. LINK
At 9:30 a.m. in the Senate's Mansfield Room, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and senior officials from the Center for American Progress will discuss a new mid-year report assessing the Bush Administration's record in taking steps to ensure that 2006 is a period of significant transition.
In an effort to strike a pre-election Republican compromise on immigration, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) will unveil a plan in the Senate Radio and Television Gallery at 10:00 am ET that would allow most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States a chance to work here legally, but only after the government certifies that U.S. borders have been sufficiently secured.
Per the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei and Charles Babington, the proposal would "pressure illegal immigrants to 'self-deport' to their home countries within two years of the law's enactment and apply for a new kind of visa that would allow them to return to the United States quickly and work legally if a job awaits them. They would have to work here for 17 years, however, to be eligible for U.S. citizenship." LINK
MikeAllentime.com/aol/24hournews/pryoffhisfaceplate.com has more. LINK
At 10:00 am ET, Lynn Cheney presents a $10,000 award to Tonya Bolden, author of "Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl," which tells the story of a freeborn, African-American girl's childhood days in New York City and Rhode Island. The ceremony takes place at New York City's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Mrs. Cheney appeared at home base on the Fox News Channel this morning.
Former President Bill Clinton helps raise money for Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) reelection campaign at a Friends of Hillary event geared towards "young professionals," each of whom will pay $75 to attend the event at Capitale nightclub in New York City at 8:00 pm ET. Each ticket holder is entered in a raffle to see Jon Bon Jovi with Mr. and Mrs. Clinton on Aug. 12. Sam Arora (who The Hill seems to think is not as handsome as Kevin Madden, but still darn handsome LINK) is helpfully pointing reporters to nearby wireless venues.
Oklahoma holds its primary election today. The state's 5th District is the site of a competitive Republican primary which many predict will result in a run-off. Also of interest are both parties' primaries for lieutenant governor, an office whose importance may greatly increase if it becomes the tiebreaker in a deadlocked state legislature. Polls opened at 8:00 am ET and close at 8:00 pm ET. Thirty percent of registered voters are expected to turnout today, reports the Oklahoman. LINK
Eliot Spitzer and Tom Suozzi square off at Pace University from 7:00 to 8:00 pm ET tonight in a Democratic gubernatorial debate that will be broadcast live on cable television and on several radio stations.
The "Governator" continues his statewide "Protecting the California Dream Tour" with a Southern California jaunt: at 12:30 am ET, Gov. Schwarzenegger holds a town hall meeting at the Harry Griffen Park Amphitheater in La Mesa; at 3:15 pm ET, he shoots the breeze with Temecula residents at Sweet Lumpy's Barbeque; and at 6:00 pm ET he heads to Rancho Cucamonga to meet with voters at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center.
At 11:30 am ET, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) speaks about expanding access to quality early education at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC.
Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) join others as witnesses at a 2:30 pm ET Health Care Subcommittee hearing on "CHIP (Child Health Investment Partnership) at 10: A Decade of Covering Children" at Dirksen Senate Office Building.
A 12:00 pm ET news conference on the introduction of legislation that would reduce the crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity features a number of Senators: Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Mark Pryor (D-AR), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Ken Salazar (D-CO).
The National Press Club's Newsmaker Luncheon Program takes the form of a 1:00 pm ET discussion with Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) on "the need for federal media shield legislation."
House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) gives a pen and pad only news conference at 11:30 am ET.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) gives his own news conference at 12:30 pm ET, which is followed by a news conference to announce a "major" energy bill promoting energy independence and biofuels.
At 11:00 am ET, Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tom Price (R-GA), John Tierney (D-MA), and Bob Beauprez (R-CO) brief the press on bipartisan health care reform bill intended to cover the 45 million-plus uninsured Americans.
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH), Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), and Rep. David Hobson (R-OH) will remark on a screening of "Combat Diary: The Marines of Lima Company," a film featuring the travails of a Columbus, OH based unit that fought in Iraq between February and September of 2005. The screening begins at 5:00 pm ET at the Capitol.
From 10:00 am ET to 12:00 pm ET, Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion entitled, "Border Security Better, Faster, Cheaper," featuring remarks by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Management, Integration, and Oversight.
Americans for Peace Now, which demands that nations "balance smart bombs with smarter diplomacy," holds a telephone press conference at 1:00 pm ET to express its support for Israel while calling for more U.S. diplomatic leadership and engagement with non-traditional partners.
President Bush meets with Maliki:
"President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, abandoning a six-week-old security strategy for Baghdad that proved to be a failure, will today seek to devise a new plan that will include adding thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops to fight insurgents in the capital," per the Washington Times. The AP curtain raises President Bush's meeting with Maliki. Bush Administration agenda:
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) announced yesterday that he is preparing legislation that will allow Congress to sue President Bush over his use of signing statements on over 800 pieces of legislation, the AP reports. DLC in Denver:
"Mrs. Clinton mapped out a program of relatively small-scale initiatives she said would help middle-class voters regain the financial stability they had lost during the Bush presidency and help the poor in moving up the economic ladder," writes the New York Times' Kornblut on Sen. Clinton's "American Dream Initiative," unveiled at the DLC yesterday. LINK
Kornblut closes by writing that Sen. Clinton did not go "as far down the populist path as other possible presidential candidates, in particular Senator John Edwards, who is focused almost exclusively on poverty as he campaigns in early primary voting states."
Bloomberg's Roger Simon writes that the plans of both Sen. Bayh and Sen. Clinton "stand in stark contrast" to Edwards who is "championing the poor and has proposed eliminating poverty in America in 30 years." Mark Z. Barabak of the Los Angeles Times calls the "American Dream Initiative," "another installment in the party's search for itself." Keying off an interview with Robert Borosage of the liberal Campaign for America's Future, the Washington Post's Dan Balz writes that "initial reviews from other Democrats suggested that" Sen. Clinton had succeeded at creating a "unified message for the Democrats." LINK
USA Today's Chuck Raasch has CAF's Toby Chaudhuri saying the DLC's proposals are "modest attempts by a 'timid' DLC to break out of a 'duck and cover' strategy against the GOP." The Boston Globe's Rick Klein points out that while the DLC's agenda is filled with ideas that most Democrats agree on, the initiative is "notably (sic) silent on what could be the overarching issue of the 2006 elections: the Iraq war." "Clearly the superstar of the event, the former first lady was greeted with a standing ovation from about 375 local and state Democratic officials from 42 states," writes the Denver Post's Karen Crummy, Noting the similarities between Sen. Clinton's husband's ascension from the DLC to the Oval Office and her hopes to do the same, right down to her paraphrased line "It's the American Dream, stupid." Per the New York Sun's Josh Gerstein: "The local officials and others in attendance gave Mrs. Clinton an enthusiastic reception. However, it was less frenzied than the one she received a year ago at a similar DLC gathering in Ohio." The Rocky Mountain News writes that Sen. Clinton "sounded like a candidate for president." LINK
Per the Denver Post's Merritt, Denver Mayor John Hicklenlooper is hoping the DLC enjoyed Denver so much that it'll bring the entire party back to the city for the 2008 convention. Stem cell politics:
ABC News' Jake Tapper analyzes White House press secretary Tony Snow's "curious two-step" yesterday, in which he apologized for his use of the word "murder" but replaced it with a similar phrase in his efforts to commend President Bush for his record of funding embryonic stem-cell research. LINK
Peter Baker of the Washington Post on the same. LINK
Judi Rudoren of the New York Times looks at some of the unintended consequences and political maneuverings that have occurred surrounding the embryonic stem cell research issue since President Bush issued his veto. LINK
(In many editions of the paper, the Times seems to declare the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Florida to be over.)
The New Republic's Noam Schreiber writes that Democrats could be waiting a long time for stem cells to become as prominent an issue for the party as same-sex marriage is for the GOP, though "That's not to say the stem-cell issue won't ever help Democrats win elections" namely the tight Senate race between incumbent Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) and opponent Claire McCaskill.
At the DLC in Denver, the New York Sun's Josh Gerstein finds intrigue, but no support for a potential presidential run by Mayor Bloomberg in 2008. LINK
(We'd imagine Con Edison boss Kevin Burke is ready to work for Bloomberg 2008, though!)
(And we'd imagine that Kevin Sheekey is braced for a round of "Is Queens the Mayor's Big Dig?" stories.)
While in New York Monday, Sen. McCain said he believes the American economy would collapse if the United States sent the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States back home. The New York Post has more. LINK
Also in New York, Sen. McCain did his usual star turn on "The Daily Show" and told ABC News he hopes to meet with Speaker Hastert about immigration this week.
Per the Boston Herald, Massachusetts Turnpike Chief Matt Amorello asked the Supreme Judicial Court yesterday to block Gov. Romney's request to oust him. LINK
Fred Dicker and Ken Lovett of the New York Post report on a $25,000 donation from the union representing New York City firefighters to Gov. Pataki's Virginia-based PAC while the union is seeking the governor's approval on some pension bills. 2008: Democrats:
Through the loan of campaign staffers and PAC donations, many presidential hopefuls, including former Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Evan Bayh (D-IN), and Feingold (D-WI), are "laying groundwork in New Hampshire" according to the Associated Press' Holly Ramer. The New York Post carries the AP write up of a recent Siena College poll showing Sen. Clinton getting a possible tough competitor for the Democratic nomination should Al Gore decide to make the race. In a story that resurrects the John Edwards by-way-of Harry Reid "I am on the Yucca Mountain bandwagon" quote from 2004, The Hill's Jonathan Kaplan Notes that Yucca Mountain could become a 2008 litmus test for Democratic presidential hopefuls. LINK
The Des Moines Register's Higgins and Beeman look at Gov. Vilsack's decision to send 50 troops from Iowa's National Guard to man the Mexican border. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) announced his support Monday for legislation establishing pilot projects to facilitate states in providing universal health care coverage, reports the AP's Frederic J. Frommer. The program, which would cost $32 billion over 10 years, would give states the opportunity to design their own health care plans with federal money. Dean's Democrats:
In the first of his two articles on the calendar changes, the Union Leader's Scott Brooks mitigates Granite Staters' worry that their state will lose its glamor (and tourism) during primary season with interviews with various staffers to Democratic presidential hopefuls. Brooks also reports that Nevada Republicans are undecided on whether or not they will match Democrats' proposed caucus change. Sen. Lieberman's primary politics:
President Bush's meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki presents political problems for Sen. Lieberman just two weeks before the Democratic primary, bringing Iraq back to the fore. Lamont campaign manager Tom Swan put it succinctly: "If [Lieberman] stays away [from Wednesday's joint session of Congress for al-Maliki's speech], it will appear he's running from his record. If he goes, he'll remind people he's George Bush's biggest Senate cheerleader." The Hartford Courant's David Lightman has the story: Peter A. Brown opines that a run by Sen. Lieberman as a petitioning candidate might have repercussions for 2008 as well, "complicating] life for Democratic bigwigs, who would likely back Lamont against Lieberman in November." Bill Clinton "covered Lieberman with the political equivalent of fairy dust," writes the Los Angeles Times' Ellen Barry. The New York Times' Jennifer Medina on the Clinton/Lieberman rally: LINK
The Washington Post's David S. Broder: LINK
The New York Post's Maggie Haberman: The Clintons of Chappaqua:
We wonder if this Gallup Poll headline will capture the attention of some editors at the New York Post and New York Daily News: "Bill Clinton's Image Now More Positive Than Hillary Clinton's" LINK
Roll Call's Laura Whittington reports on Rep. Harold Ford Jr.'s (D-TN) potentially brightening prospects in his run for the Senate. She writes, "In a contest that conservatives are likely to eventually lament as an opportunity squandered, former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker (R) appears headed for a relatively easy victory in next week's GOP Senate primary in Tennessee.
The Hill's Jonathan Allen reports that Sen. Conrad Burns' much touted interior appropriations bill -- full of juicy earmarks for his Montana constituents -- likely will not reach the Senate floor before his November reelection. Allen cites many reasons for the disappointment: fear of Democrats riddling the bill with amendments, worry of Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-OK) war on earmarks, and anxiety that the Burns could receive bad publicity during the bill's difficult journey to approval. LINK
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his Democratic colleagues in the New Jersey congressional delegation presented a united front yesterday, attempting to portray Tom Kean, Jr. as a close ally of President Bush in his quest to introduce private accounts into Social Security. The New York Times' Chen has the story. LINK
In one telltale sign of his increased power, Minority Harry Reid (D-NV) is fast becoming one of the most lucrative and oft-requested names in Democratic fundraising, given that his Searchlight PAC has raised and donated $1.6 million used to benefit Nevada congressional candidates and Democratic contenders across the country. "He's a player," says one commentator. Another Notes: "One thing Reid's doing is paving the way for a continuation in his leadership post, in what he hopes would be a majority position." The Las Vegas Sun's Lisa Mascaro: LINK
Keying off the recent Allen-Webb debate, the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne writes: "I have no idea whether Allen will get a boost from his quiz-show moment of triumph and the implication that he delivered big-time for Virginia. What's interesting is the extent to which Allen and other Republican incumbents around the country are talking up how they brought big government's largess to their constituents." E.J. lays bare with TV-friendly examples how rhetorically fiscally conservative Republicans up for re-election are stressing their pork-barrel bona fides and "independence." LINK
The New York Daily News' Bazinet and DeFrank write up President Bush's electronic fundraising appeal on behalf of the RNC as an indication of panic in the White House. LINK
"A top Bush political adviser said yesterday that Republicans remain confident of retaining the Senate in November, but 'the House is definitely in play.'"
Roll Call's Laura Whittington leads with a headline that should make Emanuel stop swearing -- for a bit: "Cash Lead May Equal House Win."
Helped by large donations from the anti-tax Club for Growth, GOP challenger Tim Walberg has a viable chance to unseat one-term incumbent Joe Schwarz (R-MI) in the August 8 primary, reports Roll Call's Nicole Duran.
After much prodding by the Ohio Supreme Court, Gov. Bob Taft (R-OH) relinquished his executive privilege yesterday and released weekly reports of his assistants that he fought so hard to keep private for over a year. However, the 300-page file filled with "mundane details" and devoid of any information about recent scandals baffles officials as to its need for secrecy, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Michael Cooper of the New York Times sets the stage for tonight's New York gubernatorial debate between Spitzer and Suozzi. LINK
The New York Post's Dicker writes up the latest Siena College poll numbers on this debate day showing Suozzi greatly trailing Spitzer in their primary battle. GOP agenda:
Conservative GOPers are pleased with the "values" issues Congress put forth but remain very wary of Senate immigration reform bill, per the Washington Times' Amy Fagan. The Schwarzenegger Era:
The Los Angeles Times' Joe Matthews Notes the apparent divisions among California labor unions on display at Gov. Schwarzenegger's health care summit yesterday. Politics:
Rove and Allbright on joint jury duty, courtesy the Washington Post's Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts. LINK
Rick Lazio, John Kerry, and Rahm Emanuel were all spotted lunching at Michael's in Manhattan yesterday by the New York Daily News' Lloyd Grove. LINK