The Note: Ws and Ls

While appearing on NBC's "Today," Tim Russert predicted that Democrats will look to three Republicans -- Sens. McCain, Graham, and Warner -- to slow down his version of new counterterrorism laws that would allow for military trials of suspected terrorists. Asked about the strategy of going after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Russert thought it was a smart one given that two Republican Senate candidates -- Steve Laffey in Rhode Island and Tom Kean in New Jersey -- have called for Rumsfeld to resign. He also Noted the way in which House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi worked to keep the focus on Rumsfeld yesterday by saying that the last time she saw the Secretary of Defense, he was shaking hands with Saddam Hussein.

Rumsfeld politics:

ABC News' Jake Tapper cites our man on the Hill, Z. Byron Wolf, in his political blog to clarify the Senate debate on whether Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is in fact, "Bill Buckner, Mike Torrez, and Harry Frazee rolled into one." LINK

GOP agenda:

The prospect of a Democratic majority in the House will not likely cause Republicans to accelerate the passage of non-security spending bills before leaving for the campaign trail this year, reports Roll Call.

RNC launches "America Weakly":

After a Labor Day weekend full of political stories largely focused on storm clouds gathering over GOP heads this election cycle and chock full of predictions of a Speaker Pelosi and a Democratic House, the Republican National Committee is pushing back with a (clever) fictitious tabloid "newspaper" called "America Weakly" painting a picture of just what that scenario would look like (at least to Republicans).

The satirical publication featuring front-page photos of Democratic bogeymen/women Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and Howard Dean along side a headline that reads, "Dems In, Taxes Up, Patriot Act Out" will be distributed this morning along with an Internet video promoting the new Web page at The RNC is also sending multiple copies of the mock paper to all state parties, talk radio, conservative allies, and select media. And Ken Mehlman sends out an email to the RNC email distribution list promoting it. For you Beltway insiders, copies are being distributed at the two Metro stations that service the Hill, Captiol South and Union Station.

Note, too, "Impeachment Czar" John Conyers.

This rollout is clearly geared to stoking the Republican base a bit and perhaps getting some free media pickup. We expect at least one additional future Web video continuing on this theme.

Democratic agenda:

"With control of the House within reach for the first time in more than a decade, Democratic lobbyists say they're feeling unusually intense pressure from House Democratic leaders to open their wallets and help their party close the deal," writes Tony Newmyer of Roll Call.

Sept. 13 is being dubbed "March to the Majority" day by House Democrats who will host their top challenger candidates on Capitol Hill next week to help increase the size of their campaign coffers, reports Roll Call.

Politics of Iraq:

"A long-awaited Senate analysis comparing the Bush administration's public statements about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein with the evidence senior officials reviewed in private remains mired in partisan recrimination and will not be released before the November elections," the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports. LINK

2006: landscape:

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