The Note: Watch What They Say


Everyone who has ever written for the Huffington Post, listened to Gene Sperling talk about tennis, or means the senior senator from Illinois when they use the term "Dick," knows full well that the Bush White House and its Republican allies on Capitol Hill will put aside principles anytime adherence to principle stands in the way of achieving political goals.

So it is going to take a bit more analysis than the norm to understand why the President won't fire Donald Rumsfeld; why congressional Republicans are challenging the Administration's position on military tribunals and electronic surveillance; and why the Justice Department is allowing the investigation of Tom DeLay and others to continue.

Unfortunately, we don't have time for such analysis, because President Bush is about to re-start his banging of the security drum with his 9:30 am ET Cabinet meeting and, then, his 1:45 pm ET remarks in the East Room of the White House on suspected terrorist detainees.

ABC News' Karen Travers reports, "President Bush will give the third speech in this latest round on the war on terrorism. The President plans to discuss his Administration's approach to the question of how and where to try prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay and he will submit legislation to the Hill on this issue. A White House official said yesterday that the Administration has been working with Members of Congress on proposed legislation since June 29, when the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that the President does not have the authority to order military tribunals for detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The President will likely discuss how his Administration's policies are keeping the American people safe and why it's necessary to have a way to keep terrorists off the streets and a way to bring them to justice, a White House official said."

ABC News' Jessica Yellin adds that "Bush's audience will be Cabinet members, 9/11 families, people from think tanks, first responders, former Administration members, and conservative opinion leaders."

Today's Democratic pre-buttal comes at 11:30 am ET in the Senate Radio and TV gallery from Sens. Schumer (D-NY) and Menendez (D-NJ) who plan to discuss how "Bush Republican policies have failed to secure America, failed to end the war in Iraq, and failed to bring terrorists to justice."

(Before Schumer does the partisan Blue-meat thing, he'll join Rep. Peter King (R-NY) in bipartisan fashion at 10:15 am ET to promote their plan to have President Bush proclaim September 11 as a day of national voluntary service.)

The Senate reconvenes at 9:45 am ET. At that time the Senate will be in a period of morning business for up to 30 minutes and will then resume consideration of HR 5631 the Defense appropriations bill. The Senate will recess from 12:30 pm ET -2:15 pm ET to accommodate weekly policy luncheons. (Stakeouts galore to follow.)

Sen. Clinton does her bipartisan thing today too. Sens. Clinton (D-NY) and Sununu (R-NH) join Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) to call for passage of their bipartisan legislation to improve the child safety features in new vehicles at 11:30 am ET.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and a panel of experts hold a 1:00 pm ET roundtable discussion on voter protection in Washington, DC.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) holds his weekly pen and pad briefing with reporters at 12:30 pm ET.

The 1992 presidential campaign plays itself out in the Garden State today when President George H.W. Bush (41) campaigns for Tom Kean, Jr. in Bridgewater, NJ at 5:00 pm ET and President Bill Clinton campaigns with Bob Menendez in Elizabeth, NJ at 5:30 pm ET.

Politics of national security:

In a piece looking at the ways in which Sen. McCain, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. John Warner (R-VA) differ with the President on suspects' right to information, the Washington Post's R. Jeffrey Smith has "Senate sources" saying that Dr./Leader/Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) is "considering a plan to bring the legislation to the floor next week under a special rule, bypassing the normal requirement for prior approval by a committee." LINK

Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times reports on the increasing focus on national security, with the White House comforting/scaring hoi polloi ("America is safer, but we are not yet safe") and Democrats still attempting to "articulate a strong and successful national security position." LINK

Keying off the indications that Republicans will focus primarily on national security until the election, Jonathan Allen of The Hill Notes that Democrats are retaliating with ferocity. LINK

Rick Klein of the Boston Globe Notes on the Republicans "streamlined agenda emphasizing domestic security," while Democrats try to paint the President's tactics as "the politics of fear." LINK

Rumsfeld politics:

Anyone else wonder if Josh Bolten will be responding to every such letter from Democrats on the Hill this campaign season?

The Washington Times' Amy Fagan and Charles Hurt report that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats pan to introduce today a resolution voicing no confidence either in Rumsfeld or the Administration's Iraq strategy. According to the duo, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said that if necessary, the Senate will address Democrats' proposal against Rumsfeld. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers reports that when Senate Democrats offer a "no confidence" in Rumsfeld amendment to a pending defense-appropriations bill, the proposal is "likely to be judged nongermane to the underlying measure" under a 2000 precedent.

While appearing on NBC's "Today," Dr./Leader/Sen. Frist predicted that if the Senate had a "no confidence" vote in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld it would fail, although he didn't give a direct answer about whether or not he would allow such a vote.

The New York Times' Nagourney and Mazzetti report that Rumsfeld has become political fodder for Democrats and some Republicans to use in the upcoming midterms. LINK

Sen. Schumer (D-NY) said of the focus: "Both hawks and doves can call for Rumsfeld to step down and still be consistent with their position. . ."

The DCCC release this morning seems to indicate that it hopes to paint Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) as an inconsistent wobbler on Rumsfeld, a theme that is likely to show up in paid media in the not too distant future.

The New York Daily News' Richard Sisk writes on the White House dismissing calls for Secretary Rumsfeld's dismissal. LINK

Congressman Boehner's "where the bodies are buried" defense of Rumsfeld was not, sources say, pre-approved by Kevin Madden.

Florida primary day:

Governor's primary race results are in from Florida with Republican Charlie Crist and Democrat Jim Davis winning their party's nomination. LINK

The Tallahassee Democrat has more on both of the Tampa-based winners for Governor. LINK

The Orlando Sentinel Notes heavy rains dampened Election day turnout. LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper blogs about Katherine Harris' lonely victory at his "Political Punch." LINK

Reports on Rep. Katharine Harris's (R-FL) win yesterday in Florida, picking up 49% of the vote:

The Herald Tribune in Florida reports that Rep. Harris "breezes" to victory in Florida. LINK

The St. Petersburg Times reports that Harris faces a "uphill battle," against Senator Bill Nelson in the fall. LINK

The Orlando Sentinel reports: "Katherine Harris cruised to a decisive Republican primary victory Tuesday in the U.S. Senate race despite being shunned by most party leaders and hobbled by a campaign that at times appeared to be falling apart." LINK

The New York Times on Harris' primary win: LINK

Washington Post: LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

"Citing the internal communications of terrorists was a dramatic new tactic to advance familiar arguments," reports the Washington Post's Michael Fletcher. LINK

The Washington Times wraps the President's decision to tap Mary Peters to replace Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta. LINK

San Francisco Chronicle's Matthew Stannard reports that a new study by Columbia University researchers suggest that the White House's use of the "alert system increased inordinately before the election and each time it did, Bush's numbers went up about 5 percent." LINK

Charles Cain and Deb Price of the Detroit News detail President Bush's decision to sit down with the Big Three automakers after the November election and give play to Gov. Granholm's (D-MI) and Sen. Stabenow's (D-MI) attempts to encourage President Bush to take action and gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos' (R-MI) breaking partisan ranks and urging much the same. LINK

GOP agenda:

The Wall Street Journal's Rogers has House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) saying there is not going to be any attempt to take apart the estate tax and a proposed minimum wage increase.

"Mr. Boehner did open the door further to a pre-election bid to permanently extend the expanded $1,000 child-tax credit. 'We have not made any decisions, but as an example...making the child-tax credit permanent, I think would give people confidence that we're serious,' he said."

Per The Hill's Bolton, House Republicans are continually feeling the heat from the country's most hotly contested House races, as vulnerable Republicans are pressuring GOP leaders to schedule votes on key issues -- chief among them, minimum wage -- before Congress recesses for the election in the hopes of staving off Democratic advances. LINK

Republican leaders are tackling portions of the lobbying reform bill to end the four-month, intraparty standoff on this issue, Notes Roll Call's Tony Newmyer.

Chairman of the House Rules Committee David Dreir (R-CA), who said comprehensive earmark reform remains a top priority and will be considered by the House this month, points a finger at the Democrats in a USA Today op-ed for refusing to cooperate. LINK

On immigration reform, House Republican leaders are planning to pass smaller scale border reform bills, reports Roll Call's Susan Davis.

2006: landscape:

Roll Call's Whitington Notes congressional candidates' difficulty in balancing the anniversary of Sept. 11 with campaign efforts, especially considering that nine states and the District of Columbia will hold primaries on Sept. 12.

2006: House:

In his Washington Post story on the widening Republican "rift" on wiretapping, Jonathan Weisman has Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) -- a GOPer facing a stiff challenge from Attorney General Patricia Madrid in New Mexico's first congressional district -- boasting that her surveillance bill, unlike Sen. Arlen Specter's (R-PA), "was not authorized by the White House." She also calls the President's inherent authority argument "rather weak." LINK

Having reported yesterday that there is likely to be no legislative movement on immigration reform prior to the election, the New York Times' Carl Hulse delves into how the issue plays politically in key contests with his front page above-the-fold look at a district outside Denver where "a hard-line immigration stance resonates not just with conservatives. . . but also with a wide swath of voters in districts where control of the House could be decided." LINK

In a story looking at Republican defiance of President Bush on immigration, Bloomberg's Nicholas Johnston has Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) saying: "Leadership has concluded all our best chances for electoral success are by beating up on the border. There are some who think this is our magic carpet to ride.'' LINK

The Hill's Jim Snyder explores the Democratic nugget of hope that is IA-01, an open seat being vacated by Jim Nussle that Leader Pelosi admits is indispensable if she's to become Madame Speaker. LINK

Indiana, Indiana, Indiana? Bloomberg's Laura Litvan looks at the three Republican-held House seats that Democrats have a chance of picking up in the Hoosier State and includes Rep. Chris Chocola (R-IN) saying: "If all of us lose, I think we'll have lost the House." LINK

Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA) of Iowa's third district is now agreeing to a televised debate with Republican opponent Jeff Lamberti. Boswell's staff said that the initial refusal to participate in the debate was a "communication error." The debate is scheduled for Friday, Sep. 8, 2006. LINK

The Columbus Dispatch's Jonathan Riskind offers up a "Campaign Ad Watch" on the $72,500 buy for congressional candidate Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH) which stresses the Democratic national message of "change." LINK

Howard Wilkinson of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that POWER PAC plans to endorse Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) after supporting his challenger John Cranley (D-OH) in a city council race last year. LINK

2006: Senate:

Lieberman campaign strategists Neil Newhouse (R) and Josh Isay (D) sent a memo to campaign manager Sherry Brown yesterday summarizing Team Lieberman's latest internal poll numbers. The Note obtained a copy of the memo which claims to show Lieberman leading in the horse race by 16 points, 51% to 35% for Lamont and 4% for Schlesinger among likely Nutmeg State voters.

Expect the Lieberman campaign to drive home the findings on Lamont's favorable/unfavorables which are split 41% favorable and 41% unfavorable for the Democratic candidate. Lieberman's favorables, the poll finds, are 61% favorable and 36% unfavorable.

Partisan breakdown of Lieberman voters is not mentioned in the memo, but someone familiar with the campaign's polling tells us that it tracks closely with the most recent Quinnipiac University poll -- which is to say Lieberman loses Dems to Lamont by nearly 2-1 and takes the lion's share of GOP and independent votes.

Lamont's communications director Liz Dupont-Diehl tells The Note, "These numbers don't reflect what we've been experiencing out on the trail and in the community. We are not running our campaign based on the polls, and if we were we wouldn't be here at all."

In her column on the Rhode Island Senate race, the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus has Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) not sounding "terribly confident: 'What I've been surprised at is having a parade of Republican luminaries come in to help me -- highlighted by the first lady -- that didn't have a really strong move from the conservative base in my favor,' Chafee says. 'Even after that, still the Laffey people were Laffey people.'" LINK

Mark Pazniokas of the Hartford Courant writes that with Labor Day behind them, Lieberman and Lamont "returned to the campaign trail Tuesday with renewed vigor and revamped messages." Lieberman unleashed "Round Two"of his bid, underscoring his yen for bipartisanship, while Lamont stressed reforms in education. LINK

Vets for Freedom, an independent group with GOP ties, plans to spend $60,000 airing an ad today and tomorrow in Connecticut, which features veterans thanking Joe Lieberman for backing the war, Notes the Washington Times. LINK

Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli of Pennsylvania and other Senate "spoilers" are keeping Dems on their toes, per USA Today. LINK

Sen. McCain defends Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) from Democratic candidate Jim Pederson's accusations of Sen. Kyl's links to oil and pharmaceutical companies, as Noted by Mike Sunnucks in the Business Journal of Phoenix. LINK

The Washington Post reports on Sen. George Allen's (R-VA) big Hollywood cash intake, despite criticizing his opponent for hanging out with the liberal movie mogul crowd while out on the trail. LINK

Senate candidate Jim Pederson's (D-AZ) son "was sentenced to probation and community service for two drug charges in Maricopa County Superior Court on Tuesday," reports the Arizona Republic. LINK

2006: Governor:

Mark Niquette of the Columbus Dispatch fact checks the Ken Blackwell (R-OH) vs. Ted Strickland (D-OH) first gubernatorial debate. LINK

The Associated Press reports the candidates avoided "major misstatements." LINK

The Cincinnati Enquirer's Jon Craig describes how Blackwell and Strickland took "the gloves off" during their first debate. LINK

Allison D'Aurora of the Cincinnati Enquirer cites the increased use of "social networking" websites like MySpace and Facebook for gubernatorial candidates for the gubernatorial candidates. LINK

Iowa gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle (R-IA) says that he would sign a bill outlawing late-term abortions if elected. Nussle declined comment on whether exceptions would be made for victims of rape or incest. LINK

The ad wars have begun in the Texas gubernatorial race. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn (I-TX) are the first to start running ads in the five-way race. Perry's ads focus on border control while Strayhorn's ads focus on a more broad promise to change the tone of the Texas legislature. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

The Washington Post's Harold Meyerson writes: "Arnold is now a girlie man, too." LINK

Los Angeles' mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) carefully endorses California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides (D) yesterday as they mayor wants to leave the door open to work with Schwarzenegger on school funding later in the campaign season. LINK

The Los Angeles Times reports that Gov. Schwarzenegger says no to healthcare reform written by Democrats in California. LINK

2006: ballot measures:

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the proposal to raise the minimum wage to $6.85/hour has officially made it onto the November ballot in Ohio. LINK

2008: Republicans:

The Boston Globe reports that Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), is battling both Harvard and the State Department refusing to provide security detail for former Iranian President Mohammed Khatam when he speaks at the Kennedy School next week. Romney declared he will not support a terrorist. LINK

More from the Boston Herald: LINK

Sen. McCain plans to be in Reno on Saturday to raise money for the Nevada Republican Party, reports the Reno Gazette. LINK

2008: Democrats:

The Virginia Pilot's Eisman writes up former Gov. Mark Warner's (D-VA) speech at the George Mason University law school yesterday, Noting that Warner was critical yet somewhat cautious on Iraq, and unveiled his own $20 billion plan to bolster homeland security, which includes "beefed up state and local police forces, required screening of all international maritime shipping and 'fusion centers' that would combine and distribute threat information gathered by local, state and federal authorities." LINK

The Chicago Tribune ed board weighs in on the risks of Democrats opting to cluster primaries and caucuses close together, leaving voters less time to acquaint themselves with candidates and giving candidates with big cash an upper hand. LINK


Based on recent FBI interviews, the Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins reports that the DOJ's congressional lobbying-and-bribery investigation is "looking into whether former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's wife received money from a lobbying firm for a no-show job." LINK

House of Labor:

Stand up for Steel, a non-partisan labor-management coalition made up of the United Steelworkers union and leading steel manufacturers is jumping into the political season today with a new print and radio ad campaign in that Mother of all Battlegrounds, Ohio, and eight other states. The ad campaign is called "Help Wanted" and "urges voters to seek political candidates willing to stand up for American workers and enforce the trade laws that our government currently does not," according to the group's release on the campaign.

The group says this is a multi-million dollar effort.

You can check it out here:

Political potpourri:

The Washington Post's Richard Morin looks at a new study shows that members of Congress tell the truth "only about a quarter of the time when debating major legislation on the floor of the House and Senate." LINK

Byron York of National Review writes of the death of the moderate Democrat. LINK

The Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) mayoral exploratory committee launch may come as soon as today, reports the Chicago Tribune. LINK