The Note: Losing a Sliver of the News Cycle

WASHINGTON, July 27

President Bush signs the Voting Rights Reauthorization Act of 2006 into law at 9:35 am ET on the South Lawn. Earlier this month, the act passed the Senate 98-0 after overcoming a mini-revolt in the House among a small number of House Republicans who objected to the targeted nature of the act's pre-clearance provisions as well as provisions pertaining to bilingual ballots. Again, watch the POTUS rhetoric for mojo, focus, and the Vision Thing.

At 11:15 am ET, the President meets with Romanian President Traian Basescu, a strong ally of the Administration in Iraq and in the war on terror, in the Oval Office. At 5:00 pm ET, Pres. Basescu participates in a bipartisan meeting with House and Senate lawmakers.

In the afternoon, the President signs the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, a bill that will establish a national sex offender registry.

President Bush makes remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers at 1:40 pm ET at Washington, D.C.'s Grand Hyatt.

The Vice President keynotes the 2006 Korean War Veterans Armistice Day ceremony at 10:25 am ET at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. The formal wreath-laying ceremony marks the 53rd anniversary of the Korean War Armistice and the 11th anniversary of the dedication of the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), and committee chairmen hold a 10:15 am ET on-camera briefing to announce August field hearings on border security. Hastert is expected to say lyrically: "Today we're proud to announce that eight of our committees are holding 19 hearings in 12 states this August."

With only 103 days to go until the midterms, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) join DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer and DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel to discuss the Democrats' message and to preview events heading into the August recess at a 12:00 pm ET pen and pad briefing at the Mott House in Washington, DC.

After gathering for a rare joint caucus, House and Senate Democrats will join together in the Russell Senate Swamp at 1:45 pm ET to call for a New Direction for America. Speakers will include Sen. Reid, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Pelosi, and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO).

At 1:30 pm ET at the Capitol Hill Club, members of the Republican Main Street Partnership, including Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA), who faces a strong Democratic challenge this November, and Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), whose retirement has created a competitive open seat, present a new legislative agenda entitled "Promise for America."

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman headlines a closed-press fundraiser for Ralph Norman's congressional campaign in Columbia, SC. He then heads to Atlanta, GA to speak (open press) to the Urban League's 2006 conference. Later today, Chairman Mehlman travels to Macon, GA for a "meet and greet" rally with GOP precinct chairs and to attend a closed press fundraiser for Mac Collins' congressional campaign.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) attends a 10:00 am ET EPW Committee hearing on the nation's emergency preparedness and response systems relating to the Stafford Act in Dirksen.

The Senate reconvenes at 9:30 am to begin consideration of an offshore drilling measure.

U.N. Ambassador John Bolton testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 9:30 am ET in the Hart Senate Office Building as part of his effort to win confirmation to his current post, which he took in a recess appointment.

The House Select Intelligence Committee hears testimony on methods to modernize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act from Reps. Heather Wilson (R-NM), Jane Harman (D-C), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Adam Schiff (D-CA) at 1:00 pm ET in the Rayburn House Office Building. Wilson is, so far, the very model of a challenged incumbent doing the hug-the-President-push-away-from-the-President straddle.

The House Judiciary Committee and International Relations Committee hold hearings to discuss the Senate's immigration bill in conjunction with border security hearings at 11:30 am ET in the Rayburn House Office Building.

On the left coast, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) celebrates his birthday by encouraging voters to set up block parties in his honor across the state.

The Green Party's annual national meeting, which commenced in Tuscon, AZ yesterday, continues today and through the end of the week.

And National Journal's Hotline hosts its Quarterly Political Briefing with a focus on the hot House races and a newly released poll at 9:00 am ET in the Watergate 600 Building.

Must-reads:

All going to the same snap-shotted them:

"Overseas Tensions Force Bush to Change Directions" - Washington Post's Peter Baker with realistic background quotes from a SAO who sounds a lot like Dan Bartlett, acknowledging that the foreign turmoil is impacting the domestic agenda. LINK

"Simmering Rage Within the GOP" -- Washington Post's David Broder, on the disgruntlement of some in the GOP, foreshadowing what many Reaganites says will be THE story in the 2006 Election Day exit poll. LINK

"Is Bush Bad for Republicans?" -- ABCNews' Jake Tapper and Max Culhane. LINK

"Poll Shows Skepticism in U.S. Over Peace in Mideast" - New York Times' Jim Rutenberg and Megan Thee. LINK

"Both Parties Post Low Approval Rating in Poll" -- Wall Street Journal's John Harwood. LINK

"GOP Candidates Wonder How Far from Bush is Best" - The Hill LINK

Voting Rights Act:

"Bush to Sign Voting Act That He Once Opposed" - Washington Times's unique framing. LINK

"Guess who's coming to. . ." - New York Daily News on the Rev. Al Sharpton. LINK

Bush as albatross:

On "Good Morning America," ABC News' Jake Tapper looked at Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's (R-MD) presidential diss.

Analyzing the situation at hand, former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), a former chairman of the NRCC, said "the low point of the President's popularity … seems to be coming about just as the election cycle approaches."

Middle East:

"Al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman Al-Zawahiri Warns In a New Tape That The Terrorist Group Will Not Stay Silent During the Mideast Crisis" -- ABCNews.com LINK

"Bush Foreign Policy Struggling" - Associated Press LINK

Maliki politics:

"Dean Calls Iraqi PM an 'Anti-Semite'" - Associated Press LINK

"Dean raps Mideast stance by Iraq's prime minister" - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette LINK

Politics of same-sex marriage:

"Washington Court Upholds Ban on Gay Marriage" - New York Times. LINK

"Decision opens a door for Democrats in Legislature" - Seattle Post-Intelligencer. LINK

New Jersey is next.

Democratic push:

"Democrats appeal to voters with huge grassroots effort" - Columbus Dispatch LINK

"Joint Caucus to Kick Off Democratic Blitz" - Roll Call

"Members Rally into Recess" - Roll Call

Minimum wage:

"GOP Looks Seriously at Packaging Minimum Wage" - Roll Call

The Note still wonders: whither the "majority of the majority" rule on this one, Mr. Speaker?

Bush Administration agenda:

"President hopes to get, give boost in S. Florida" -- Miami Herald LINK

Bill Clinton heads to Iowa:

"Former President to Headline Democrats' Dinner" - Des Moines Register LINK

"Clinton to be Keynote Speaker in October" - Quad City Times LINK

"Parsing the Polls on Bill and Hillary Clinton" - Washington Post LINK

Lieberman's primary politics:

"For Some Jews, Israel and Iraq Cloud View on Lieberman" - New York Times LINK

"Important As All Get-Out: Democratic Rivals Seek Every Last Vote" LINK

"'Plan B' Buzz Around Joe" - New York Post LINK

"Why the Left Wants to Dump Lieberman" - Nashua Telegraph LINK

2006: House:

"Democrats Say Ads Suggest an Upstate Republican Is Vulnerable" - New York Times on NRCC chair Tom Reynolds going up with some early paid media. LINK

"President Bush hears cheers, jeers: Bush helps raise money for Capito" - Charleston Gazette LINK

"'Raise Cash, Win Seats' Says Rahm" - The Hill LINK

"Sparks Fly In Race to Sway: In Battle for U.S. House Seat, Johnson, Murphy Launch TV Ads That Take Dead Aim at Each Other's Records" -- Hartford Courant. LINK

"Court Rules on Evidence of Lawmaker" - New York Times on Rep. Bill Jefferson (D-LA). LINK

"Texas GOPers Have Faith in DeLay" - Roll Call LINK

2006: Senate:

"Republicans losing judge issue" -- Robert Novak. LINK

"No thanks, Casey donor told" - Philadelphia Inquirer LINK

Ohio "Campaign Notebook" - Dayton Daily News LINK

"Japan lifts ban on US beef imports" -- Associated Press (Note: this matters to Montana Senate race). LINK

2006: Governor:

"In the suburbs, a tepid liking for Ed Rendell" - Philadelphia Inquirer LINK

"Suozzi's Debate Oratory: A Tree Falling in the Forest?" - New York Times LINK

"Gubernatorial campaign in gutter? E-mail suggests it is" - Columbus Dispatch on Ohio governor's race. LINK

"Blackwell backers in name only?" - Cleveland Plain Dealer LINK

2006: down ballot:

"Cuomo's 1st TV ads tout fights vs. guns and KKK" - New York Daily News LINK

2008: Republicans:

"McCain takes Bush capital to Wall St" - Financial Times LINK

"If You're Consulting for John McCain's PAC, You Ought To Tell Your Readers" - National Review on Patrick Hynes. LINK

Both Governor Romney and Mayor Bloomberg (D-R-I-NY) are dealing with their local crisis management problem issues again today -- the Big Dig and Queens power outages, respectively.

"Romney to travel for dinner with the Cheneys" - The Boston Globe LINK

"Romney signs bill to ease tests on target pistols" - The Boston Globe LINK

"Rudy Prez Timber, Gov Dead Wood: Poll" - New York Post LINK

2008: Democrats:

Attention all reporters working on pieces about the Junior Senator from Chappaqua: If you're looking for Upstate "color" to plug into your stories, then book yourself on a non-Frontier Airlines flight to Buffalo for the morning of Monday, July 31st -- because that's when Senator Clinton will deliver her fourth in a series of major 2006 policy speeches, this one focusing on rural issues.

At noon, at Robinson Farms in Lockport, NY (think Harrison Ford in "Witness"), she will focus on "Restoring the Promise of Main Street," in a speech that will look at the challenges facing rural and small town communities, especially how small town America can thrive without giving up small town Values, capital V.

This speech, like the three before it, will ask (and maybe even answer) big questions: How does America secure its economy in a more competitive world? How does the U.S. protect communities in a more dangerous world? How does the the country defend its values in a rapidly changing world?

The venue and topic weren't chosen haphazardly (Is anything Team Clinton does haphazard?). They are meant to connnect the 2000 campaign dot with the 2006 re-election dot -- and possibly the 2008 dot -- focusing on Clinton's own in Upstate/rural New York.

The Fix "2008: The Case Against Barack Obama" -- Washington Post LINK

New Hampshire:

"Granite Status": Republicans Finally Get a Shot at Sullivan" - Union Leader LINK

Iowa:

Jim Nussle's gubernatorial campaign plans to host "The Night of 99 Ideas" on Monday July 31 - 99 days prior to the election. Everyone participating in "The Night of 99 Ideas," will be able to join Jim Nussle and Bob Vander Plaats at 8:30 pm ET in a statewide conference call to share their very own ideas. The call also will be webcast live by The Stevens Company Advertising Agency at LINK and LINK. We wonder if there is enough bandwith to handle all those advisors to potential 2008 presidential candidates who will no doubt be listening to what's on the minds of Iowans.

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