Joementum: 5ive Gears in Reverse

WASHINGTON, August 3

Today's political match-ups (personality driven, per usual):

Joe Lieberman versus Joe Lieberman. (Ned Lamont is just a stand in.)

Donald Rumsfeld versus Hillary Clinton. (Senator Warner is just a gaveler.)

President Bush versus his poll standing on immigration in the Bloomberg/LAT poll. (The State of the Union is just a distant memory.)

Ken Mehlman versus the Ghost of Ed Gillespie Past. (History is just a cruel prison.)

Harold Ford versus the definition of the New South. (Jim Margolis's ads are just a necessary -- but not sufficient -- element.)

According to a Quinnipiac poll released this morning, Ned Lamont has opened up a 54 - 41 percent lead over Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) among likely Democratic primary voters. Grim as that is for the incumbent, one has the informed sense that the 13 percentage point gap might actually show the race closer than some other data that Lieberman has seen of late.

Undaunted, Sen. Lieberman continues to travel around Connecticut talking to voters today, attending a voter drive in Bristol and spending the rest of the afternoon shaking hands in West Hartford. Challenger Ned Lamont breakfasts with Rev. Jesse Jackson in Hartford then travels to Middletown and Meriden before returning to Hartford for a rally.

The main event at today's RNC summer meeting in Minneapolis, MN comes from 5:00-6:30 pm ET when RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman and White House political director Sara Taylor walk RNC members through the 2006 electoral landscape at the "Welcome Meeting and Strategy Session." Mehlman and Taylor are expected to take questions from RNC members. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) is also slated to speak at the welcome meeting.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is also a part of the fray in Minnesota, starting with a closed fundraiser at the Minneapolis Club for Patty Wetterling, Democratic candidate for the 6th District. At 3:00 pm ET, she will address the "Democratic New Direction for America" conference with Reps. Martin Sabo (D-MN) and Betty McCollum (D-MN) at the Humphrey Forum at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

In Tennessee today, Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. (D-TN) learns which Republican he will face in his quest to become the first black U.S. Senator elected in the South since Reconstruction.

The state's Republican Senate primary is a three-way contest between Bob Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, Ed Bryant, a former House member who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2002, and Van Hilleary, a former House member who ran unsuccessfully for governor that same year. (See below for more on Tennessee).

Back in Washington, the Senate continues its hectic, final week before August recess. The Senate Armed Services Committee hosts Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace, and Army General John Abizaid at a 9:30 am ET hearing on Iraq, Afghanistan, and the global war on terrorism. Rumsfeld initially said his calendar was too crowded to testify before reversing course. Secretary Rumseld, Gen. Pace, and Secretary Rice participate in a closed 2:00 pm ET briefing on Iraq for members of the Senate. LINK

The New York Post curtain raises today's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with the Clinton-centric focus, after the Junior Senator from New York's taunting press release preceded the SecDef's decision to appear. LINK

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