The Note: Too Close to the President


The alleged disrupted terror plot will likely dominate cable coverage today and lead all the network broadcasts this evening, perhaps causing American midterm voters to ponder whether they feel more or less safe than they did two years ago.

The two major American political parties (sorry, Mr. Brooks, we ain't including the McCain-Lieberman Party just yet) will certainly provide different takes on the breaking news today and, perhaps somewhat unlike cycles past, be sure to Note how BOTH sides will be eager to talk national security today. How/if independent candidate Lieberman plans to use today's events against his Democratic opponent Ned Lamont remains to be seen.

If you want help connecting up yesterday's big political story with today's, read Peter Wallsten's masterwork in the Los Angeles Times, particularly these two paragraphs:

"Republicans also sought to use the Lieberman loss as an opportunity to drive wedges in the Democratic base -- following White House advisor Karl Rove's strategy of energizing conservatives while trying to make certain Democratic voters question whether they should vote with their party. . . ."

"The Republican response Wednesday was highly coordinated, tightly matching a set of GOP talking points distributed to activists and strategists. The effort also paralleled an internal strategy memo, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, that laid out the party's intent to mobilize its base for the election by highlighting Bush's actions in Iraq and the notion that Democrats were weak in their approach to 'foreign threats.'"

President Bush, who was already planning to interrupt his vacation today for a political travel, is expected to speak at some point to cameras on the road about the alleged terror plot. The original plan called for an 11:55 am ET presidential tour of Fox Valley Metal-Tech in Green Bay, Wis., where Mr. Bush had been expected to make a statement on the economy upon the conclusion of his tour. At 1:00 pm ET, he attends a closed press reception for Republican congressional candidate John Gard at a private home in Oneida, Wisconsin, after which he returns to the "Western White House" in Crawford, TX.

John Gard is running for the House in WI-08 -- an open seat being vacated by four-term incumbent Mark Green (R), who is running for governor against Gov. Jim Doyle (D). Bush won the lean-Republican district by 11 points (55% - 44%) in 2004. Democrats have a three-way primary to sort out.

Don't miss Mark Silva's look at the Campaigner-in-Chief in the Chicago Tribune. LINK

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI) join Campaign for America's Future co-director Roger Hickey and Democratic pollster Guy Malyneux to participate in a teleconference discussing "the risk the midterm elections pose to the future of Social Security." The conference call begins at 11:30 am ET.

Sen. Clinton continues her New York City campaign tour today. The Senator first began her day with an official event as the keynoter at the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce legislative breakfast at 8:30 am ET. She then heads to a 10:45 am ET campaign event where she plans to meet with children and staff from the William Osborn Day Camp. At 3:00 pm ET Candidate Clinton is scheduled to meet with Bronx leaders and community residents at the New York Public Library, Bronx Library Center.

At 1:30 pm ET, Minnesota's Democratic Senate candidate, Amy Klobuchar, is expecting to be bolstered by an appearance alongside former U.S. Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) for a "Rally for Change" on the front lawn of the Minnesota Capitol Building in St. Paul. The speaking program follows a rally, which begins at 1:00 pm ET.

At 3:00 pm ET, Gerald McEntee, international president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, provides a phone briefing on how the union's 21st century initiative will "grow the labor movement, bolster union power and help elect pro-worker lawmakers."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich delivers a speech at 100 Ideas Summit in Orlando, FL at 12:30 pm ET at the Portofino Bay Hotel.

The peripatetic former Speaker travels to Iowa later in the day to bolster the election prospects of the Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, Jim Nussle and Bob Vander Plaats. The event, a Sioux City "Idearaiser," takes place at 6:15 pm ET in a private home and is meant to encourage "Iowans to share their best ideas to energize Iowa's future."

Following in former Rep. Gingrich's footsteps, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) commences the first of his four August Iowa trips with two Des Moines events today. At 5:30 pm ET, Sen. Biden attends an Iowa House Truman Fund Reception and at 7:30 pm ET, he fundraises for Chet Culver, Democratic candidate for Iowa governor, at an Iowa Trial Lawyers Dinner at Wakonda Country Club.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) also makes the journey to the Hawkeye State today, where he speaks to the Des Moines chapter of Legatus, a Catholic lay organization of over 3200 business executives and their spouses.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) jumped on the news of day by scheduling 10:00 am ET remarks on the "aviation terror alert." At 11:15 am ET, Gov. Romney makes an announcement about the Commonwealth's energy needs. Later today, he does his duty as a GOP loyalist by attending the Republican Party of Wisconsin's "Countdown to Victory" reception, intended to fill the coffers of the party's GOTV effort. The reception begins at 8:00 pm ET at the University Club of Milwaukee, WI. Gov. Romney's remarks are to follow about one hour later.

Another Republican governor with greater ambitions does the rounds today: Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) attends the National Coalition on Health Care meeting at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C. at 9:30 am ET and then heads to New Hampshire where he will be the special guest at the New Hampshire pig roast fundraiser for Ray Wieczorek in Hooksett, NH at 5:00 pm ET.

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) continues his bus tour across Pennsylvania.

At 6:30 pm ET, South Carolina's two Republican Senators, Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, raise funds for the South Carolina Republican Party at the Capital City Club in Columbia, South Carolina.

Beginning today and continuing through Saturday, the Congressional Black Caucus Political Leadership Institute hosts its 7th annual issues conference and fundraising event in Tunica, Missouri.

Although the House and Senate are currently on recess, subcommittee meetings dealing with immigration issues continue to occur. Today, the Health Subcommittee does its part by "Examining the Impact of Illegal Immigration on the Medicaid Program and Our Healthcare Delivery System" at 10:00 am ET in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: Democrats rally around Lamont (mostly):

"Democrats Back Lamont in Race in Show of Unity," New York Times. LINK

Be sure to Note Howard Dean's call for Lieberman to drop his independent candidacy. LINK

"Democratic Leadership Welcomes Lamont," Washington Post on Democratic leaders deciding to put off confronting Lieberman at least for a few days, to allow the Senator time to "absorb the implications of his loss and his new isolation from longtime colleagues and supporters."

"In Clinton's New York Run, Much Talk of Connecticut ," New York Times. LINK

"Feingold donates $5,000 to Lamont," the Associated Press on Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) joining Sens. Clinton and Barack Obama (D-IL) in writing checks to Lamont's campaign. LINK

"Local, national Democrats line up behind Lamont," The Washington Times. LINK

"Feeling 'Very Good' About Giving Himself Another Chance," the New York Times. (Note the AFL-CIO potential endorsement for Lieberman, however.) LINK

"One Of The Fold," the Hartford Courant on the support from Democratic officials for Lamont. LINK

"Lieberman Confronts History, Party Pressure in Independence Bid," Bloomberg's Dodge and Pryzbyla on potential funding obstacles in running against the Democratic primary winner and Notes the "historical tide in American politics that isn't kind to third-party or independent candidates." LINK

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: analysis:

"Jury Out on Lieberman Effect," Washington Post. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's decision to run as an independent will mean that three "marquee" U.S. House races in the state will have to share "top billing" in November with a "bitter rematch" that could "divert money and publicity" from those critical contests. "That could complicate Democrats' designs to win those races as part of an effort to seize control of the House. But by keeping the state's electorate focused on President Bush and the war in Iraq, the Lamont-Lieberman rematch will keep voters energized, and may ultimately bolster the House challengers, Democrats and some independent analysts said."

"GOP Reaches For Joe's Coattails," the Hartford Courant's David Lightman Notes that having Sen. Lieberman on the ballot as an independent candidate in November could "juice Republican turnout," bolstering the chances of the three vulnerable GOP House incumbents seeking re-election. LINK

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Michael Barone writes that the Connecticut primary reveals that the "center of gravity" in the Democratic Party has moved, from the "lunch-bucket working class that was the dominant constituency up through the 1960s to the secular transnational professional class that was the dominant constituency in the 2004 presidential cycle." He also writes that the core constituency of the Democratic Party wants to "stand aside" from the global struggle against "Islamofascist terrorism." He also uses the presence of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton by Lamont's side on Tuesday to suggest that the Democratic Party is "not necessarily on the side of Israel."

"Dead with Ned" - Slate's Jacob Weisberg proves he is able to read the mind of Karl Rove, laying out the Democrats' Vietnam/minority party redux danger. LINK

"Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang," ABC News' Jake Tapper's political punch blog highlights the "explosive" aftermath of the Lieberman/Lamont primary. LINK

"To Stay In, Lieberman Faces an Uphill Climb: The three-term senator will lose party money and power, and he'll be pressured to quit," Los Angeles Times. LINK

"Vilsack doesn't see message in Lieberman loss," the Associated Press has Iowa Gov. and potential presidential candidate Tom Vilsack (D-IA) saying of Lamont's victory: "I don't think it sends a message at all about moderates and conservatives and progressives." LINK

"Fate of Two Joes Reflects Drive for Partisan Purity," USA Today LINK

"Connecticut Results Mean Little for National Direction," the Washington Times on Connecticut's "unpredictability" and not an indicative reading on the rest of the country. LINK

"One State's Independent Streak," Washington Post's Style section on Lowell Weicker predicting a tough race for Sen. Lieberman. LINK

"As Lieberman Stays in Race, Democrats' Job Gets Tougher," Philadelphia Inquirer Notes that Sen. Lieberman's decision to run as an Independent is "the Democrats' worst nightmare." LINK

"Lieberman Loss: Any Meaning for Ohio?," the Columbus Dispatch on the lessons learned in Ohio from Sen. Lieberman's primary defeat and RNC chairman Ken Mehlman's remarks in Cleveland yesterday. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: the bloggers:

"Did liberal bloggers topple Lieberman?" the Boston Herald minimizes their effectiveness, writing bloggers simply "primed the pump" for the mainstream media, drawing the attention of print and television and turning Lieberman into a "dead man walking" before the primary. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: Republican reax:

"Bush Aides Rip Anti-War Purge Against Joe As A Democratic Cuckoo Coup," New York Post. LINK

"Cheney: Nutmeggers egg on Al Qaeda," New York Daily News on the Republican response to Sen. Joe Lieberman's loss. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: op-eds and editorials:

"Inside Out," Peggy Noonan gives Joe Lieberman the best advice he's gotten yet. LINK

"The Death of Triangulation," MoveOn's Eli Pariser in a Washington Post op-ed. LINK

"Even Sen. Hillary Clinton has seen the writing on the wall in recent weeks, criticizing the Bush team's Iraq fiasco by publicly confronting Donald Rumsfeld, calling on him to resign and demanding that troop withdrawals from Iraq begin soon."

"Mr. Lieberman's Choice," Washington Post editorial on why Lieberman staying in the race is the "right move." LINK

"Voter Anger That Cuts Both Ways," Washington Post's David Broder. LINK

Broder Notes that prominent Republicans (like Rep. Shays) are poised not only to back Lieberman, but also to "raise money for him." Broder also has Gov. Richardson saying that he thinks the Iraq issue "will spill over" into the gubernatorial contests, adding "two or three points to the Democratic side."

"The Lamont Democrats," Wall Street Journal editorial calls Lamont's victory "arguably the most important victory for the American left since the Watergate rout of 1974."

"Joe Lieberman, still standing," Chicago Tribune editorial on how running as an independent may provide Joe Lieberman the last laugh. LINK

"Who's polarizing now?" Boston Globe's ed board seems to believe Sen. Lieberman "was not a moderate victimized by political extremists," but rather just as "polarizing as Lamont": Sen. Lieberman should "think long and hard about who is really polarizing the nation." LINK

"Party No. 3," the New York Times' David Brooks on the "McCain-Lieberman Party." LINK

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: politics of Iraq:

"Iraq Woes Roil Political Debate, Complicate Management of War," Wall Street Journal.

In a front-page must-read, the Wall Street Journal's Jeanne Cummings and Yochi Dreazen report that an organization of "mainly Republican veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is working with Republican strategist Dan Senor to boost Mr. Lieberman's efforts to win re-election as an independent. Mr. Senor is working in an unpaid capacity for Vets for Freedom, which plans to kick off its pro-Lieberman push with a full-page ad in Monday's Hartford Courant that praises Mr. Lieberman for "integrity, leadership, and unwavering commitment to America's troops."

The Wall Street Journal duo also report that Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), who is locked in a tough fight for re-election, plans to hold three hearings titled, "Iraq: A Democracy of a Civil War?" when Congress returns from its summer recess.

Rep. McKinney's defeat:

"Congresswoman's future called bleak," the Associated Press on ousted Rep. Cynthia McKinney's (D-GA) new life. LINK


"DeLay's ex-mayor jumps into race," Houston Chronicle on Sugarland ex-mayor, David Wallace, who believes "too much was at stake to allow Democrats to walk away with the 22nd Congressional District" but allows "that he must overcome 'unique challenges as a write-in candidate.'" LINK

"Out like a lamb," Houston Chronicle claims "DeLay's bravado fell apart when confronted by authority"; "it seems 'The Hammer' has become 'The Quitter.'" LINK

2006: landscape:

"Tuesday Tea Leaves," Wall Street Journal editorial on the GOP's contribution to voter anger through their "earmarking excesses and general coziness with Washington mores."

"Incumbents Appear on the Outs With Voters," Wall Street Journal on the frustrations that might cause difficulties for both parties this fall. LINK

"Primary Losses Show Incumbents Can Be Vulnerable," USA Today LINK

"Primaries Show Voters Eager to Shake Up the Status Quo" San Francisco Chronicle. LINK

"Parties to Send in Heavy Hitters," Detroit Free Press on scheduled stumps for state candidates by "heavy hitters" this month, including former President Bill Clinton, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and others. LINK

2006: House:

"Republicans Pull Out the Political Star Power for Two Fundraisers," Duluth News Tribune via AP. LINK

"Bush Will Be Seen By A Select Few During Visit to the Green Bay Area," Appleton Post-Crescent. LINK

"November looks promising for Pelosi, other Dems," Des Moines Register's Yepsen on Pelosi's rosy chances to become Speaker and the Democratic-leaning flavor of Iowa's competitive House races. LINK

"Hastert Campaigns Hard, Raises Money to Keep House Republicans," Bloomberg News. LINK

"Shaw starts TV campaign focused on Social Security," the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL), who is in one of the tightest races in the House this year, is starting to stress Social Security in his campaign to appeal to elderly voters in the state. LINK

2006: Senate:

"Dems: Green Party Petitions Fake," Pittsburgh Post Gazette on the alleged shenanigans on behalf of the Santorum campaign. LINK

"A hearing test for George and Jim," the Virginia Pilot in an editorial calling Sen. George Allen's "11th annual 'listening tour'" and Democratic challenger Jim Webb's "Kitchen Table Tour" "more farce than fact." LINK

"Harris confident despite troubles," the South Florida Sun-Sentinel singing an old tune. LINK

"Angry Exchanges in Debate by Two Republican Hopefuls for Senate," New York Times those challenging Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton's re-election bid. LINK

"GOP Rivals Sling Mud," New York Post on the same. LINK

2006: Governor:

"Swann Puts His Message, Policy Ideas in a Book," Philadelphia Inquirer. LINK

"At Capitol, Swann Touts Book Outlining His Vision for State," Pittsburgh Post Gazette. LINK

"Gallagher not quitting, advisors say," the Miami Herald in response to a report in ran yesterday on speculation that Florida gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher might drop out to endorse Charlie Crist. LINK

"Bush campaigns to preserve agenda as vote to replace him nears," the Associated Press on Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) pounding the pavement to campaign not for any candidates, but for his agenda. LINK

"Democrats: Governor's Group Gift Bags Were Embarrassment for S.C.," the Associated Press on Joe Erwin's attempt to make gift bags an issue in the Sanford vs. Moore gubernatorial contest. LINK

"Ehrlich Adviser Details Firings," Washington Post. LINK

Joseph Steffen said he was "not specifically instructed to target Democrats, but he did consider party affiliation while evaluating whether to retain certain state employees in Maryland's first Republican administration in a generation."


"Presidential prospects flock to State Fair," Des Moines Register on the half-dozen potential '08ers mobbing the Des Moines, Iowa State Fair, which begins tomorrow. LINK

2008: Democrats:

"The real anti-Hillary stands up," Boston Phoenix makes the case for former Sen. John Edwards' (D-NC) as a 2008 presidential candidate, arguing that "Democrats who worry that Hillary's polarizing nature makes her unelectable [and thus] look for a more palatable alternative" will turn to the 2004 vice presidential nominee. LINK

"Chill, Hil, no one's declaring war on you here," New York Daily News on the lack of a strong anti-war Lamont-style drumbeat shaping up against Sen. Clinton in New York. LINK

In the latest sign of a ramped up Clark operation, Gen. Wesley Clark writes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed: "The public hasn't quite sorted it out – but they know a failure when they see one. And Iraq, as well as the larger Middle East policy, is such a failure."

More Clark: "Iraq isn't Vietnam. America can't just walk away without horrendous consequences. But 'stay the course' isn't a strategy. And the longer the bleeding goes on there, the harder the electorate will dig for answers – and the tougher they'll be on those who got us in, and aided, abetted and apologized for them."

(If you haven't seen his WesPAC email urging his supporters to tell Joe Lieberman to drop his independent bid, we urge you to do seek it out. With Sharpton for Lamont, Dean calling for Lieberman to get out of the race, John Edwards hot on the Lamont bandwagon, and the Clark email, one can't help but think that Sen. Lieberman wasn't as charming in the 2004 Democratic nomination debate green rooms as he perhaps thought he was.)

Duke Cunningham:

"'Duke' Inquiry Cites Breakdowns: The findings could widen the Cunningham scandal, a Democratic memo suggests," Los Angeles Times. LINK

House of Labor:

"AFL-CIO Embraces Immigrants In Pact With Day-Laborer Group," Wall Street Journal.