The Note: The First Woman Speaker

"Just this week," Taylor said, "Democratic Representative John Dingell, who has his sights set on chairing the powerful Commerce Committee, says he doesn't 'takes sides for or against Hezbollah', a vicious group that Time magazine called 'one of the world's deadliest terrorist organizations' and who, like Al Qaeda, has brutally killed innocent Americans and US servicemen. Ladies and gentlemen, there are a lot of hard questions in public life today - but whether to take a side for or against Hezbollah is not one of them."

What Taylor left out of her remarks is that in the same television interview, Dingell said, "Now, I condemn Hezbollah as does everybody else, for the violence, but I think if we've got to talk to them and if we don't - if we don't get ourselves in a position where we can talk to both sides and bring both sides together, the killing and the blood letting is going to continue." LINK and LINK

"It's totally out of context," Dingell adviser Anita Dunn told ABC News. "They have no issues to use against Democrats. They are now at the point where they are taking interviews out of context and ignoring people's records."

Dunn Noted that Dingell recently co-signed a July 28 letter from Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) and Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), calling on the European Union to add Hezbollah to the EU terrorist organization list. Dunn also Noted that Dingell has a long record of supporting aid to Israel.

"He probably has more contacts with Arab Americans than most members of Congress," Dunn said of Dingell. "But that has never influenced his feelings about Israel or about what we need to do in the Middle East."

Dingell's Hezbollah comments were made to WDIV-TV's "Flashpoint" public affairs show. After a snippet of Dingell's comments were posted on Power Line, a popular conservative Web site, Rush Limbaugh derided Dingell as the congressman from "Dearbornistan." LINK

According to excerpts released by the RNC, Mehlman is expected to follow Taylor's lead in taking Dingell's comments about Hezbollah out of context when he speaks today.

Mehlman's prepared text reads: "As our allies fight this same war on other fronts, should we support them, or should we - as the longest-serving Democrat in the House and possible Committee Chairman John Dingell said -- 'not takes sides for or against Hezbollah.'"

"GOP says it's about a choice," Pioneer Press on the RNC's strategy to keep President Bush "at arm's length" while focusing on local candidates. LINK

"Republicans plot strategy to keep control in fall elections," Associated Press. LINK

The AP's Martiga Lohn perceptively Notes that Gov. Pawlenty's speech, which cribbed a line from Will Ferrell's new movie about thanking God for his "red-hot smoking wife," got a "warm reception."

"Pawlenty in line to lead governors," Star Tribune on the NGA tapping Gov. Pawlenty as its new vice chairman, a move that puts him in line to become chairman next summer if he is re-elected in November. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics:

In a must-read, the Washington Post's Dan Balz writes: "Facing a likely defeat, Lieberman has scrapped plans for a massive and costly get-out-the-vote operation on primary day, according to several Democratic sources. Instead, he will shift some of his resources into more television commercials designed to highlight his accomplishments for the state, in hopes of boosting his battered image." LINK

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