The Note: Faux-mentum?


It is a truth universally believed by the Gang of 500, national Democrats, leading Connecticut Democrats, and even some of Joe Lieberman's own advisers that he will badly lose tomorrow's Nutmeg State Democrat Senate primary to Ned Lamont and will then succumb to heavy pressure to drop out of the race and not run as an independent -- an announcement he will make by sundown on Wednesday.

Even before today's new Quinnipiac poll showing the race at Lamont 51, Lieberman 45 (narrowed from 54-41 last week), The Note was more optimistic about Lieberman's chances than, well, than pretty much anyone. There is just something squirrelly about an August primary that adds a measure of unpredictability to the whole thing.

Why has, per the Q-piac data, the race tightened? Perhaps (a) Lieberman's negative radio spots highlighting Lamont's membership in an exclusive country club (and other voter contact messages the press doesn't even know about -- yet); (b) The Note's beloved "natural tightening" phenomenon; (c) voters being drawn to Lieberman's "come home, Connecticut" message; (d) the Bill Clinton endorsement; or, (e) other.

Still, brace yourself for 36 hours of speculation about when Chris Dodd will say, "Joe, it is time to go." (Remember: there are no network exit polls tomorrow, so everyone we'll have to be patient, well into primetime.)

There will also be during those same 36 hours (and beyond) a lot more speculating and punditing about What It All Means if Lieberman loses.

One thing it means: a lot of voters are passionate about the Iraq issue.

However, some of the WIAMs speculation has been and will be overblown. We hate to rain on the Chattering Class parade, but there is a danger in over interpreting a Lieberman loss in the primary. (And, remember, The Note is certain that no Connecticut Democrats will base their votes on what is written here.)

Why Joe Lieberman's case is sui generis:

1. He is the most conservative Democratic Senator in a Blue State.

2. No other Democrat has said "in matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril," or written a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece talking about how much progress had been made in Iraq. LINK




3. Most incumbent Senators, even if they have no obvious opposition, raise plenty of money, build competent campaign structures, and take issue positions intended to shore up their political standing. Lieberman did none of those things.

4. Connecticut is a very liberal, very anti-war state.

So take a deep breath or two before you start to (a) assume Lieberman will lose, or (b) assume that there are big implications for 2006 and/or 2008 if he does.

And/but while it is too early to call the race, learn lessons from its outcome, or game out the sequence by which David Lightman, Bill Clinton, John Sweeney, Carter Eskew, Howard Dean, and Chris Dodd will get Lieberman to end his planned indy bid, it isn't too early to be thinking about how the Senator might spend the next few years.

Joe Lieberman's one dozen post-Senate career options:

1. George W. Bush's second Secretary of Defense, replacing pal Donald Rumsfeld.

2. Move to Florida to take advantage of early bird specials.

3. Fox News Channel commentator.

4. Become a blogger: LINK

5. Form a political consulting firm with Dan Gerstein to advise losing candidates.

6. Editor of the New Republic.

7. Become Larry King's primary substitute and heir apparent.

8. Borscht Belt comedian.

9. Yale Law School professor of international law.

10. Major League Baseball commissioner (what he actually wants to do).

11. Volunteer in Iraq.

12. Quietly lay the groundwork for Gore-Lieberman 2008.

That Quinnipiac Poll showing Lamont leading Lieberman 51-45 has liberal Democrats (who predominate in this primary) dividing 65-32 for Lamont. Moderate and conservative Democrats are 53-43 for Lieberman.

"Joe-Joe," ABC News' Jake Tapper on Sen. Lieberman's slight "bounce." LINK

On this final day of campaigning before voters go to the polls, Lieberman began the day by bringing breakfast to the Fire Fighters at the New Haven Fire House at 8:30 am ET. He then was scheduled to visit workers at a construction site in New Haven at 9:15 am ET.

He speak to employees at Mass Mutual in Enfield at 11:45 am ET, has lunch with customers at Rajun Cajun in Hartford at 12:50 pm ET, meets with customers at Vito's By The Park in Hartford at 5:20 pm ET, and walks through the Hartford Jazz Festival at 6:00 pm ET.

He finishes the day by joining customers for dinner at Anthony Jack's Restaurant in Southington at 7:10 pm ET, and then attending a Little League game between the Glastonbury American and the Colchester, VT team at 8:00 pm ET.

For his part, Ned Lamont was scheduled to visit at 5:00 am ET with third shift workers and ER staff at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, CT. Lamont wanted to thank them for taking care of 27 people—including three members of his own staff—who were injured last month when a station wagon unintentionally plowed into a crowd at the city's annual Sailfest.


Lamont was then scheduled to visit Electric Boat in Groton, CT from 6:15-7:15 am ET. Lamont is apparently spending most of the rest of the day doing media interviews.

Be sure to tune in to Nightline at 11:35 pm ET for Terry Moran's on-the-road interview with Sen. Lieberman. And you can expect Terry to file from out there on World News with Charles Gibson as well.

"Ney drops out of fall race," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on embattled Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) decision not to seek re-election, citing family strain caused by the ongoing investigation into his relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. LINK

"Bob Ney won't seek re-election," the Associated Press on the same, Noting also that state Sen. Joy Padgett (R-OH) will run in his place. LINK

For more on that race, see below. For more on how that impacts Republican chances of holding the seat, see tomorrow's Note.

With Secretary of State Rice by his side, President Bush makes a statement on efforts to halt the fighting in the Middle East at 10:00 am ET at the Bush ranch in Crawford, TX.

Back in Washington, DC, the National Press club Newsmaker Luncheon Program holds a discussion with Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) at 1:00 pm ET on "Energy Freedom: Putting an End to Foreign Oil's Dangerous Grip on America's Future." Gov. Pataki's office is billing his National Press Club appearance as a "major policy speech."

"Even as terrorists continue their barbaric efforts to prevent democracy in Iraq, even as our ally Israel continues to be attacked from the very lands it ceded in the name of peace, even as a number of governments throughout the Middle East continue to support, harbor, and encourage the terrorists that threaten America and our allies, we continue to spend hundreds of billions on the imported oil that funds their operations," Gov. Pataki is expected to say according to excerpts of the speech obtained by The Note.

More: "Let's replace the equivalent of every drop of OPEC oil - 25% of our current consumption -- with greater efficiency, greater domestic production, and greater use of petroleum alternatives, and let's commit to doing it within the next ten years."

Gov. Pataki plans to call for a "Petroleum Reduction Incentive" - production tax credits that get larger as vehicles become less dependent on petroleum.

Pataki previewed his energy ideas in Iowa over the weekend: LINK

One of the Democrats who is hoping to succeed Pataki as governor of New York will be the subject of a 2:00 pm ET book discussion at the American Enterprise Institute. "Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer" was reviewed over the weekend in the Washington Post. LINK

and New York Times. LINK

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) joins healthcare advocates and representatives from Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice New York and Family Planning Advocates of New York State at a press conference in New York City to call on Acting FDA Commissioner Von Eschenbach to stop the continual delaying tactics and make a decision on Plan B.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) appears on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" at 11:35 pm ET.

Amnesty International sponsors a 4:30 pm ET vigil calling for "an immediate ceasefire in the Lebanon/Israel conflict outside of the State Department.

The National Foreign Trade Council holds a 10:00 am ET press conference to announce a lawsuit against the state of Illinois challenging the constitutionality of the Act to End Terrorism and Atrocities in the Sudan at the National Press Club.

Neither the House nor Senate is in session.

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics: if he loses, will he still run in November?:

In a Sunday must-read, Mark Pazniokas and David Lightman had Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) finding himself "less comfortable talking about Sen. Lieberman's stated intention to continue as a petitioning candidate" if he loses to Lamont in Tuesday's primary. LINK

"'I'm not going to buy into this right now,' Dodd said Saturday. 'I'm going to spend four days campaigning for my friend, and I believe there's still a chance for him to win this.'"

"But he did not deny that a difficult conversation might be necessary. With Democrats in Connecticut trying to win three U.S. House seats held by Republicans, some Democrats say privately they will look to Dodd to help avoid a distracting three-way Senate race."

"'Wednesday will come, and we'll deal with Wednesday on Wednesday,' Dodd said. 'One thing at a time.'"

"Senator Suggests Lieberman Abandon Independent Run if He Stumbles in Primary," AP on Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) suggesting that Sen. Lieberman abandon an independent run if he stumbles in the primary. LINK

When asked by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos about running as an independent in November, Sen. Lieberman said Friday in a piece that aired Sunday: "I'm not talking about what's going to happen after Tuesday, because I am confident that I'm going to win the primary on Tuesday." He went on to say, "I'm going to win the Democratic primary. And that's my last word on that question."

"'Scapegoat' Lieberman hits back," the Washington Times on the Lieberman-Lamont appearances on "This Week." LINK

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics: The Closing Argument:

"Lieberman Confronts Criticism Over Iraq," Dan Balz and Shailagh Murray in a story that has Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) calling Sen. Lieberman "dead wrong" on the war while Noting that many other Democrats in the House and Senate were on the same side as the Connecticut Senator, "including the front-runner for president of the United States, Hillary Clinton. She agrees with him, and is anybody going to vote her out of office anytime soon?"


"Lieberman Explains His Stance on Iraq," New York Times on Sen. Lieberman's "last ditch" effort to convince Connecticut voters that his support of the war is not support of President Bush.


Lieberman was sure to get his red meat line in, saying, "My opponent has done his best to distort my record, spending more than $4 million of his own money to mislead people -- or try -- into thinking that I am someone I am not . . . This is not unlike what Republicans did to Max Cleland."


"Joe Sticks to his Guns in 11th-Hour Plea," the New York Post on Sen. Lieberman. LINK

"'I'm not Bush,' pleads trailing Lieberman before vote," the New York Daily News. LINK

The full text of Sen. Lieberman's speech: LINK

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics: analysis:

"Conn. Race Could Be Democratic Watershed," Dan Balz in Sunday's Washington Post. LINK

"An upset by Lamont would affect the political calculations of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who like Lieberman supported giving Bush authority to wage the Iraq war, and could excite interest in a comeback by former vice president Al Gore, who warned in 2002 that the war could be a grave strategic error. For at least the next year, any Democrat hoping to play on the 2008 stage would need to reckon with the implications of Lieberman's repudiation."

"As Joe Lieberman's race goes, so goes the nation?" the Houston Chornicle ponders, as Democratic and GOP operatives watch tomorrow's Connecticut Senate primary to "gauge the depth and voter-motivating effect of antiwar sentiment and any possibly dangerous nexus with a mood to 'throw them all out.'" LINK

"In Conn. Senate race, it's all about war," the Boston Globe's Rick Klein working double-duty, this time on the anti-war Left buoying Lamont in his candidacy against Lieberman. Despite Lieberman's efforts to turn the race on social issues and Lamont's nascent political opportunism, Lamont has succeeded in making the race almost exclusively about Iraq. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics: the mood among Nutmeggers:

"As Lieberman backs war, many in party back rival," USA Today winning today's most obvious headline honor. LINK

"Angry at Bush, Troubled by Lieberman, Unsure of Lamont," Sunday's New York Times on the many in Bridgeport, CT who want to replace a familiar incumbent with a critic of the war. LINK

"Lieberman backers no longer," the Chicago Tribune's Zuckman on some long-time Lieberman supporters looking to the polls and changing their allegiance for the sake of party. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics: the MoveOn angle:

"MoveOn Hopes to Claim 1st Election Victory," New York Times on the possibility of the netroots' 1st win in its backing of Ned Lamont. LINK

"MoveOn hopes to claim its first victories in 2006 races," the AP. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics: the ad war:

"Lamont Ads Question Value of Lieberman's Years in Office," Sunday New York Times. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics: the Eskew-Lamont angle:

"Lieberman Aide and Rival Were Classmates in 1972," Sunday's New York Times with must-see photos of Ned Lamont and Carter Eskew in their 1972 yearbook at Phillips Exeter Academy." LINK

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics: op-eds and editorials:

"Lieberman," Martin Peretz's commentary on the race in today's Wall Street Journal, and the implications of a Lamont win, including a slap at Hillary Clinton:

"The Lamont ascendancy, if that is what it is, means nothing other than that the left is trying, and in places succeeding, to take back the Democratic Party. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters have stumped for Mr. Lamont. As I say, we have been here before. Ned Lamont is Karl Rove's dream come true. If he, and others of his stripe, carry the day, the Democratic party will lose the future, and deservedly." LINK

"The Last Honest Man," Robert Kagan columnized in Sunday's Washington Post that if Lieberman loses it will be because he "refused to choose one of the many dishonorable paths open to him to salvage his political career." LINK

"Democrats' Danse Macabre," The American Spectator on tomorrow's potential "purge" within the Democratic party. LINK

Lieberman's primary politics: Charleston reax:

While attending the NGA annual meeting The Note gathered a sampling of Democratic governors (from Red and Blue states, from the Midwest, Northeast, and the South) responding to Sen. Lieberman's primary battle.

Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) -- who chaired Lieberman's presidential campaign in Virginia and supports him in the primary -- says that he hopes Lieberman won't run as an independent.

"I hope he won't. I hope he won't. It's a team sport," said Gov. Kaine. "And they've supported Joe a long way and he's achieved great things because he's had the backing of the party. At this point to turn and say, 'Well, I don't need you anymore, I'm doing it on my own and I'm going to hurt the party' -- I kind of believe ultimately he won't just because of what I know about him, but we'll see."

Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) didn't go that far on the question of his potential independent bid, but agrees with Gov. Kaine that to say it is just about the war may oversimplify Lieberman's problem.

"I think it is the overall hatred for George Bush that is one piece of it," said Gov. Granholm. "And I do think there is a real depth of animosity toward him and in the apparent closeness that Lieberman represents to that," she added.

On whether or not he should run as an independent, Granholm said, "I think he should do what he thinks is best. I think we need to keep that position as a Democratic position. Whether it is an independent Democrat or a Democrat like Ned Lamont, I think the bottom line is -- I don't want to lose the seat."

The governors of New Hampshire and Iowa (key states, those!) both expressed caution (and a dose of skepticism) in trying to draw national significance from the Connecticut Democratic primary for Senate.

"I think to some extent it could be perceived as a referendum on what's going on in Washington, a referendum on the Bush Administration, and a referendum on the war. It could be. But how that translates into other congressional races in November, I think remains very unknown," said Gov. John Lynch (D-NH).

On the potential Lieberman independent bid, Lynch added, "It's his decision. I can't say one way or the other. It's his decision."

Gov. Vilsack (D-IA) tells The Note, "I'm sorry. I don't go down that road. I don't know that it necessarily impacts the national Democratic party. You can physically write about IT, but I don't know that you are r-i-g-h-t about it. . . "

". . . I love Joe Lieberman. I have the highest respect for him. I think he is a great guy. And I think he is a man of great integrity. But if Joe Lieberman loses the primary, I'm supporting Ned Lamont because he is the Democratic primary winner," added Vilsack.

And here's one Republican governor's thoughts on Sen. Lieberman's political predicament. NGA Chairman/Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) had this to say to reporters over some salmon and asparagus:

"Frankly, I think that's a tragedy, should something happen to him, because - and maybe this hurts him because Republicans admire him - but they admire him, at least I do, because he is a statesman and stands on his own and he's willing to stick with the position he has held. I think he has shown an extraordinary amount of real class. And I felt that way before the Iraqi war -- even as a vice presidential candidate and as a longtime Senator. Sen. Lieberman was always one of those people that exuded what we hoped for in politics which was a sort of bigger sense of things than 'my world, my party, my way.'"

Ney drops out:

The DCCC's Bill Burton reacted to Ney dropping out by saying: "The first thing we know about Joy Padgett is that she's Ney's handpicked candidate -- a distinction about as prestigious as Michael Brown giving you something called a FEMA Gold Star for Competence."

NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-NY) counter-punched, saying: "Ohio's 18th is a ruby red Republican district and I am confident it will remain in GOP hands come November."

"I Will (Possibly) Survive," Roll Call's Heard on the Hill muses on Burton's upcoming birthday party, with invitations citing the theme as "I Will Survive" and the faux host as "Bob Ney." LINK

Now that Ney has ended his bid for the House, Kennedy spokesgal Laura Capps tells ABC News that the party's new theme is "Bob Ney's Cheeseburgers in Paradise Karaoke Challenge."

The nation's governors in the Holy City:

The "news" out of the NGA summer meeting in Charleston, SC:

1. Dean David Broder of the Washington Post and the AP's Robert Tanner on the discontent among the governors with the House/Bush Administration plan to allow the President to take command of the National Guard in the event of an emergency: LINK

and LINK

2. Incoming NGA Chairman Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) gave the Arizona Republic a Sunday exclusive on her year-long innovation and education initiative: LINK

3. Incoming NGA Vice-Chair Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) tells ABC News he is not yet sure what initiative he will unveil a year from now when the NGA convenes in Traverse City, MI, but he is very interested in health care, education, and renewable energy and would expect one of those policy areas to be his focus.

Now to the politics of 2006. We checked in with some governors to get their sense of the political landscape heading into the fall 2006 midterm election season. To write that Republican governors are keenly aware of how tough the current political environment is for their party is to woefully understate it.

"It seems to me there is going to be a very challenging national or congressional environment for Republicans. But voters can distinguish what's going on in Washington and what's going on in there local or state areas and that is certainly true in Minnesota where the majority of people say the country is going on the wrong track, but our state is going on the right track -- so that is a hopeful sign for governors and local officials," Gov. Pawlenty told The Note.

"I think people, as a starting premise, realize that local and state officials aren't running the war in Iraq. We're focused on things like potholes, and getting the schools fixed, and getting our healthcare delivered in our states. And so I think people, particularly in places like Minnesota where there is a high level of voter engagement and knowledge, they're able to separate the Washington mess from what we hope are positive signs and trends at the state level," Pawlenty added.

Gov. Huckabee sounded somewhat less concerned, but, of course, his name won't be appearing on a ballot this year.

"This is a typical situation where people are saying, 'I'm really mad at Congress, I'm really mad at the Republicans, but my guy - he's ok.' I'm seeing that at the level of governor and even at the level of members of Congress. And, so, yes if you ask the generic ballot test question. . . Republicans are certainly not polling at the top of their game. And that's a very charitable way of putting it. . . If you look at poll numbers within the state, you don't see that incumbents are in serious trouble because they're Republican," said Gov. Huckabee.

Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) appears quite optimistic about his party's chances in the current political environment and seems confident that his party will have won control of a majority of governorships by the end of election night. And although Vilsack predicted victories in two of the toughest races for incumbent Democrats, he said the Granholm and Doyle reelection efforts "won't be pretty."

"It's hard when the economy transforms, when the unemployment rate is high, when there are headlines that you can't control, it's not easy to be governor," explained Vilsack. "But Jennifer Granholm has a plan to grow the economy of that state and she's already seen a dividend with Google coming in. Jim Doyle is on the right side of stem cell research which is a critical opportunity for Wisconsin, so they win those two races. It won't be easy, it won't be pretty, but they'll win."

A few other tidbits from Charleston you may have missed while you were focused on Connecticut:

1. Gov. Manchin (D-WV) trotted out his new knees while still using post-knee surgery crutches. (It did nothing to win sympathy from the loud anti-coal protesters following him around to each event.)

2. Gov. Schweitzer (D-MT) clearly didn't believe the brutal Charleston, SC heat was reason enough to shed his famous blue jeans.

3. Gov. Huckabee (R-AR) disappointed some by not picking up the bass guitar at the DGA/RGA late-night fundraiser.

4. The DGA is about to get far more tech savvy than you might expect. Gone are the clunky old BlackBerries. It's now all about the Moto-Q at 14th & K. LINK

5. And you may have missed the inspired Omear/Blacksten photo op production when host Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) instructed his orange glove-clad colleagues on how to properly shuck an oyster. Govs. Minner (D-DE), Huckabee (R-AR), Barbour (R-MS), Kaine (D-VA), Blanco (D-LA), Douglas (R-VT), Napolitano (D-AZ), Schweitzer (D-MT), Manchin (D-WV), Pawlenty (R-MN), and former Gov./HHS Secretary Leavitt all participated.

Gov. Sanford commented that the shucking exercise showed how interconnected the states are since the oysters were from Mississippi.

To which, Gov. Barbour quickly retorted: "Yeah, it reminds me of my legislature -- put a knife in and twist it."

Politics of Iraq:

A Year After March Against Iraq War, Another Try," New York Times on Cindy Sheehan and her crew's second annual march through Crawford, TX. LINK

"Protesters Follow Vacationing Bush," Los Angeles Times. LINK

"50% still think Saddam had WMD," Associated Press. LINK

In an interview with Time magazine, Secretary of State Rice said: "I don't think Iraq is going to slide into civil war. They have a problem with sectarian violence. [But] I don't think that you're looking at the breakdown of the institutions; people haven't opted out of a unified Iraq." LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

"Youth Give Bush Poor Grade, Hurting Republican Hopes, Poll Says," Bloomberg LINK

"Bats What I'm Reading: Dubya," the New York Post on President Bush's summer reading. LINK

2006: landscape:

In his latest column, Charlie Cook breathlessly writes: "Time is running out for Republicans. Unless something dramatic happens before Election Day, Democrats will take control of the House. And the chances that they'll seize the Senate are rising toward 50-50."

"Bush's Vision May Cost GOP," Philadelphia Inquirer's Dick Polman analyzes Republicans' chances for victory as the November midterms approach. LINK

"GOP Candidates Claim Degrees of Separation from President," Michael Abramowitz in Sunday's Washington Post. LINK

"Democrats See an Opening to Grab Control of Congress," Cleveland Plain Dealer. LINK

"Travel danger: politicians at work," U.S. News & World Report on the more than 200 political events taking place this month, with Democrats "trying to take back Congress with their 'New Direction' theme" and Republicans trying to "make August matter," in the words of House leader John Boehner (R-OH). LINK

2006: House:

"'Latte liberal' in the heartland," the San Francisco Chronicle on House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) "stumping for Democrats in rural areas once seen as GOP territory," appearances in which she "preached the gospel of corn fuel that some believe will boost the nation's economy, the fortunes of farmers, and perhaps the Democratic Party's image in the conservative farm belt." LINK

"Boswell, Lamberti take jabs in debate," Des Moines Register on the 3rd district candidates' first contentious debate. LINK

"Lawmakers Get Extra Credit," Sunday's Washington Post on the US Chamber of Commerce altering two of its ads – for Reps. Michael Sodrel (R-IN) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) – while pulling a third, which got the vote of Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) wrong. LINK

"Leveled Colorado District Creates an Election Lab," Saturday New York Times on the (beautiful) political experiment that is Coloardo's 7th district. LINK

"Democrats mum on 'corruption,' " the Washington Times' Christina Bellatoni sees Democrats reining in their use of the "culture of corruption" attack out of fear that the slogan would "backfire after two senior members of their own party were implicated in ethical scandals." LINK

"Pennsylvania: Murphy Poll Shows her Tied with Gerlach," Roll Call on Democrat Lois Murphy's campaign's latest poll indicating her race in Pennsylvania's sixth congressional district against Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) is a dead heat, with Murphy leading 42-41 percent. LINK

Facing Voters, Georgia Congressman Gets an Assist From Documentary," New York Times on Rep. Cynthia McKinney's hope of last-minute support from a new movie that depicts her as "a progressive heroine." LINK

"Critics Say Politics Driving Immigration Hearings," New York Times. LINK

"3 Indiana races represent worry for GOP," The Chicago Tribune. LINK

2006: Senate:

"Why Harold Ford Has a Shot," Time Magazine on Rep. Harold Ford Jr.'s (D-TN) potentially rosy chances at capturing the Tennessee Senate seat vacated by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), a victory that could give Dems "the sixth [seat] that they need to take back control of the chamber." LINK

"Will Tennessee Swing?" Newsweek asks the question on everyone's minds given the recent GOP primary victory of former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker, a "strong foe with crossover appeal and a big bank account." LINK

"In Montana Senate Race, Focus Is on Local Issues Rather Than Washington," New York Times. LINK

"Md. Democrats Look to Seize Senate Race's New Spotlight," Washington Post. LINK

"The Race About Race," US News & World Report on why the Maryland Senate race might be more about the fight for the white vote than the black vote. LINK

"Ex-Harris aides provide peek into campaign," the Palm Beach Post has former staffers to Rep. Katherine Harris' (R-FL) Senate campaign portraying the congresswoman as micro-managing, "ungrateful," and akin to Meryl Streep's character in "The Devil Wears Prada." LINK

2006: Governor:

"Two sides of Spitzer," the New York Daily News on the would-be governor. LINK

"How Many Voters See a Black-White Contest?," Columbus Dispatch on Ohio's gubernatorial race. LINK

"An independent candidate with independent ideas," the Economist on Rod Bryan's independent bid for Arkansas' governorship. LINK

2006: ballot measures:

"Court's Eminent-Domain Edict Is a Flashpoint on State Ballots," The Wall Street Journal on Republicans' push to curb eminent domain through state initatives. LINK

2008: Senate:

"Thune Won't Bid for NRSC," Roll Call reports that Sen. John Thune (R-SD) has announced he will not accept the bid to head the NRSC in 2008, opening up a top spot in the GOP.

2008: Republicans:

"Courting a New Coalition," Time Magazine's Mike Allen on the star-studded recent meeting of Legacy, a group of wealthy Evangelicals that comprises one of the "least known" but "most eagerly courted screening committees for the next G.O.P. presidential nominee." LINK

Hagel Opposes Sending More Troops to Baghdad," New York Times on Sen. Hagel's growing separation for the Republican leadership. LINK

"The Specter of Iraq Civil War Riles Senator," Los Angeles Times on Sen. Hagel's questioning of the war in Iraq. LINK

While appearing on "Face the Nation," Sen. Hagel said: ". . . I hope the President and his people are starting to ask themselves this question: What is the alternative? Are we going to put our troops in the middle of a civil war? Who are they going to fight? This will be a slaughter of immense proportions. The American people will not put up with it, the leadership in Congress will not put up with it. . ."

"No Political Upside in Criticizing Israel," Chicago Sun-Times' Bob Novak on Washington's ability to avoid criticism of Israel despite the efforts of Sen. Hagel and the declining prestige and reputation of the U.S. in the region. LINK

"Norquist puts Allen, Romney at top of 2008 Republican list," U.S. News & World Report on American for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist's prediction that Sen. George Allen (R-VA) and Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) were more likely to win the Republican presidential nod than Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) -- whom he described as a "traitor" on guns and taxes. LINK

While appearing Sunday on C-SPAN, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called Sen. John McCain "a prohibitive favorite" to be the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee.

"Power lunches," the Washington Times places Sen. McCain in South Carolina after the state recently announced that they will hold a Republican presidential primary debate. LINK

"Myth Buster," Page Six has Sen. McCain's forward to a new book on 9/11. LINK

"Leaders of 9/11 Commission Say They Went Easy on Giuliani," Sunday's New York Times on a story that Sunny Mindel finds "confounding." LINK

"Frist opts to run," in a seven-mile race in Iowa that is, the Washington Times reports. LINK

2008: Democrats:

"Edwards says he wants U.S. troops out of Iraq," Associated Press on John Edwards' not-new call for "immediate" withdrawal. LINK

"Clinton Dodges Political Peril For War Vote," Anne Kornblut in Saturday's New York Times. LINK

Kornblut has Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, saying: "The notion (sic) that 'I supported the war but unfortunately it wasn't carried out effectively, and therefore we should go on but I won't say how to carry it out' isn't helpful. It's not really the exercise of leadership."

"GOP Uses Hated Hil to Vilify Dem Foes," the New York Post on why Sen. Clinton's name keeps popping up across the country. LINK

"Hatin' on Hillary: N.H. Dems Lambaste Clinton," Boston Herald. LINK

"Iowa would be early test for Vilsack," Des Moines Register. LINK

2008: South Carolina Republican debate:

"Political Spotlight to Shine Brightly on S.C.," The State on the DNC's approval of an early primary in South Carolina and the resulting May 2007 debate set by the state's Republican Party. LINK

2008: Democratic National Convention:

"Mountain High Pitch," Roll Call on Colorado's congressional Democrats and their efforts to win the right to host the DNC in 2008 with a "Western-focused strategy."

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

"Wonking out for Bubba's 60th," U.S. News & World Report on the "daylong Bill Clinton wonkathon" to be held in Little Rock on August 19 in honor of the former President's 60th birthday. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

"California Leads on Warming," editorial in Saturday's New York Times. LINK

Note to the New York Times: Former Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA), not Gov. Schwarzenegger, signed the Pavley bill aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from cars.

"Angelides Tries to Reassure the Rank and File," Los Angeles Times. LINK

"Hollywood Trio Endorses Governor," Los Angeles Times on the endorsements from Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and media mogul Haim Saban. LINK

"Screen gems," the Washington Times breaks down the star power supporting Gov. Schwarzenegger and challenger Phil Angelides. LINK

Politics of immigration:

"An Immigration Compromise?" The Wall Street Journal's editorial board saying mostly favorable things about the Pence-Hutchison bill. LINK


"Housing That Means Freedom," David Broder in Sunday's Washington Post. LINK

Broder Notes that President Bush has let the HOPE VI housing program, which provided much of the outside capital for Daley's initiative, lapse, and he has been trying to get rid of the Community Development Block Grant program, which also has been vital to Chicago's success.

"Welfare Changes A Burden To States," Washington Post on work rules that threaten study and health programs. LINK

"Arabic Speaker Discharged for Being Gay," ABC News' Jake Tapper and Scott McCartney on Sgt. Bleu Copas and the real reason behind his December 2005 discharge from the U.S. Army. LINK

Week ahead:

On Tuesday, four states – Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan, and Missouri – hold primary elections, but the Gang of 500 will really only focus on one race: Lieberman vs. Lamont.

Polls open at 6:00 am ET, close at 8:00 pm ET, and exits will be posted at LINK every 30 minutes beginning at 8:30 pm ET. Rep. McKinney also meets her showdown tomorrow, in a Georgia run-off.

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) continues his statewide bus tour in Pennsylvania for the remainder of the week, ending next Monday, August 14.

On Thursday, President Bush participates in a tour of Fox Valley Metal-Tech in Green Bay, WI at 12:00 pm ET before making a statement on the economy at 12:35 pm ET. He attends a Gard for Congress reception at a private residence in Oneida, WI at 1:50 pm ET before returning to Crawford, TX.

Also on Thursday, two state Republican parties host campaign events: the South Carolina delegation honors its two Republican Senators – Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint – in Columbia, SC., and the Republican Party of Wisconsin hosts its "Countdown to Victory Reception" featuring Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) in Milwaukee, WI.

On Friday, President Bush attends an RNC reception at Broken Spoke Ranch in Crawford, TX at 1:15 pm ET. Also on Friday, Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) addresses the topic of education at the Politics and Eggs 2006 Issues Forum in Bedford, NH.

The President is due back at the White House on Sunday.