The Note: Mistakes Were Made

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2

In the next 48 hours, House Republicans will know if the Mark Foley matter will cost them control of the House for sure -- or, just maybe.

Foley political questions to ponder:

1. How worried are House Republicans that Foley will agree to do a tell-all interview, focusing not just on his behavior with pages, but on his dealings with the Leaders themselves?

2. How much unity remains between Hastert, Boehner, Blunt, and Reynolds on how to deal with this?

3. How can the leadership maintain Conference unity and communication with members scattered all over the country?

4. Which reporters and news organizations will the leadership staff key off of to calibrate whether they have "contained" the story or not?

5. How soon will every last dollar of Foley money in NRCC/RNC and campaign coffers end up with charity?

6. Which reporters have the best line into former Foley staffers (and the stories they can tell -- again, not about Foley, but about his relationships with his leadership colleagues)?

7. How quickly will White House, RNC, NRCC, and NRSC officials begin to spin that the reason they are going to lose the midterms is Foley's personal behavior (and not how they handled the Foley case, how they have run Congress, the Iraq war, or anything else)?

8. When will the first presidential words on this be uttered and will they help the House Republicans turn the corner?

9. What is the Republicans best hope for achieving the the "everybody does it" paradigm that is the best friend of a scandal-plagued party?

10. What does Rahm think?

Here's how one senior Democratic aide summed up the Foley situation this morning for The Note: "The R's desperately want this to be about whether or not they knew of the sexually explicit e-mails/I.M.'s.

"Most parents we talked to over the weekend (including my own conservative R mom) feel the issue is that the R's were given and ignored a huge warning with the first set of e-mails."

"Had there been an investigation at that time, the sexually explicit emails may have been uncovered. But, Members lost that opportunity when the R's chose to protect Foley instead of those kids."

The Old Media and the liberal bloggers share that attitude, and Republican strategists know it.

The goal for Republicans on L'Affaire Foley is to drive home the message that they have nothing to hide. That's why Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) called for a Justice Department investigation into not only Foley's actions but also Congress's handling of the matter once it learned of the contacts. That's also why some Republicans in the toughest races -- Shays and Simmons in Connecticut, Wilson in New Mexico, and Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania -- have taken steps to show some independence on Foley.

The Speaker will continue his effort to rid the GOP majority of Foley's taint by meeting with the Clerk of the House, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), and his staff today to review ways to protect pages while they are serving in the nation's Capitol. The Speaker will also discuss how Congress can protect pages after their program concludes. Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean advises that it is "likely" that the Speaker will be making a series of media interviews regarding Foley.

This is how ABC News' George Stephanopoulos dissected the politics of the Foley affair on this morning's "Good Morning America": "Right now it's a category 3 hurricane and it's picking up steam. Republicans all across the country are getting questions about it. But here's the key question: Did any Republican leaders know about those x-rated emails that" ABC's Brian Ross "is talking about? If they did, it's game over. The leadership will have to resign. It will cost Republicans control of Congress. As one top GOP aide told me this morning, 'the place will burn down'."

President Bush will get his first opportunity to speak out on the Foley situation at the bottom of his 9:25 am ET meeting with the special envoy for the Sudan. His second bite of the apple will come at the bottom of his 10:00 am ET meeting with the prime minister of Turkey.

Marine One departs the White House at 2:35 pm ET. The President is scheduled to make 8:35 pm ET remarks at a fundraiser for Republican Dean Heller in Reno, NV. He then heads to Stockton, CA where he will spend the night.

Vice President Cheney delivers remarks at a 2:30 pm ET luncheon for Barbara Cubin in Casper, WY. The Vice President attends a reception for Dennis Rehberg, and Montana Victory 2006, in Billings, MT at 7:30 pm ET.

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) raises money for Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) in West Chester, PA at 4:00 pm ET, according to a Democratic campaign source. Rep. Gerlach is in a tough race for re-election against Democrat Lois Murphy who is calling on Gerlach to return the $1,000 that he allegedly received from Foley.

Boehner told the Washington Post on Friday that he "had learned in late spring of inappropriate e-mails Foley sent to the page, a boy from Louisiana, and that he promptly told Hastert, who appeared to know already of the concerns. Hours later, Boehner contacted The Post to say he could not be sure he had spoken with Hastert." LINK

The 37-member executive board of the Florida Republican Party will hold a 1:00 pm ET closed meeting on Monday, Oct. 2 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport Hotel to choose a replacement nominee for Florida's 16th congressional district.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is in Washington, DC today, raising coin for the DCCC. As of this writing, Pelosi has no plans to speak out on camera about Foley today. On Tuesday, she will be in Florida for a previously scheduled prescription drug event with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-NY) is in his district today, according to the NRCC. The self-described nuts-and-bolts county chairman is facing a competitive race with Democrat Jack Davis.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean is in Burlington, VT and DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) is in Chicago. Both are due back in DC on Tuesday.

The House is in recess and is not expected to reconvene until after the election on Nov. 9.

Foley's whereabouts:

The AP is reporting that Foley "announced Monday through his attorney that he had been battling alcoholism and had checked into an unidentified rehabilitation facility for treatment over the weekend. "I strongly believe that I am an alcoholic and have accepted the need for immediate treatment for alcoholism and other behavioral problems," Foley said in a statement released in Florida by his attorney, David Roth."

Here is the text of the letter faxed to ABC affiliate WPBF (and other news organizations):

October 1, 2006

Painfully, the events that led to my resignation have crystalized recognition of my longstanding significant alcohol and emotional difficulties.

I strongly believe that I am an alcoholic and have accepted the need for immediate treatment for alcoholism and related behavioral problems.

On Saturday, with the loving support of my family and friends, I made arrangements to enter a renowned in-patient facility to address my disease and related issues.

I deeply regret and accept full responsibility for the harm I have caused.

Over the weekend, I communicated extensively with one of the most respected mental health experts in Palm Beach County, Florida, who has been instrumental in counseling and assisting me.

Attorney David Roth, my good friend of four decades has been requested by me to fully and completely cooperate regarding any inquiries that may arise during my treatment.

Words cannot express my gratitude for the prayers and words of encouragement that have been conveyed to me.

Sincerely,

(Signature)

Mark Foley

The Washington Post's preliminary reference to the letter: LINK

FBI to examine Foley's e-mails:

The FBI announced on Sunday that it is looking into whether Foley broke federal law by sending inappropriate e-mails and instant messages to underage boys serving as congressional pages. LINK

As Brian Ross reported on Sunday, agents in the FBI's Cyber division have already begun to examine the texts of some of the messages, according to a FBI spokesperson.

Officials say the FBI and Department of Justice lawyers are trying to determine how many such e-mails were sent, how many different computers were used, and whether any of the teenage victims will cooperate in the investigation. It is possible Foley could be prosecuted under laws he helped to enact, as the co chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

Two sets of sexually explicit instant messages obtained by ABC News were sent to pages in 2002.

Ross reported on Sunday's edition of "World News" that in one instant message with an underage boy, Rep. Foley asked him for a measurement of his sexual organ.

One ex-page says pages were warned about Foley in 2001, reports ABC's Brian Ross. LINK

What did the GOP leadership know and when did it know it:

Per the Buffalo News, "While most of the sniping over the Foley issue came across party lines, the weekend's events also revealed an apparent rift between Hastert" and Reynolds. LINK

"The statement that Reynolds issued Saturday contradicted an earlier Hastert account indicating that the speaker had only heard about the Foley matter last week."

"And sources close to Reynolds Sunday said that a statement issued by the speaker a day earlier included a glaring inaccuracy. While the Hastert statement said Reynolds told the speaker that the clerk of the House and the head of the House Page Board had investigated Foley's e-mails to the Louisiana boy, Reynolds' aides contended that never happened."

"Asked why Reynolds had chosen to publicly disagree with Hastert, a source close to Reynolds said: 'Tom Reynolds did all the right things, and we needed to say that.'"

In today's Washington Post, Charles Babington and Jonathan Weisman have "one House GOP leadership aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job," conceding that Republicans "had erred in not notifying the three-member, bipartisan panel that oversees the page system." LINK

"Instead, they left it to the panel chairman, Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.), to confront Foley.

Today's Los Angeles Times Notes that Foley's campaign committee gave $100,000 to the NRCC on Aug. 7: "after Reynolds had acknowledged having learned about the Louisiana page's complaint."

"NRCC spokesman Carl Forti said the campaign donation had no impact on how Reynolds handled the matter, explaining that Reynolds told Hastert about the problem as soon as he learned about the e-mails." LINK

"'This is nothing more than pure politics at its worst,' Forti said, dismissing the Democratic charge that Reynolds should have done more."

"Even to insinuate that is ridiculous."

Michael McAuliff of the New York Daily News has Forti accusing Democrats of "using a very ugly occurrence to play politics." LINK

According to the statement released by Hastert's office on Saturday, the Speaker "does not explicitly recall" the conversation which Rep. Reynolds claims to have had with Hastert in the spring about what he learned from Rep. Alexander.

At the same time, the Speaker has "no reason to dispute Congressman Reynolds' recollection that he reported to him on the problem and its resolution."

Karen Finney, the DNC's communications director, responded to the Reynolds statement by telling ABC News: "If Congressman Tom Reynolds' excuse for doing nothing is that he told House Speaker Dennis Hastert about the charges against Mark Foley, it raises disturbing questions. The Republican leadership should have immediately done everything in their power to protect these minors who serve as pages in the United States Congress. Instead it appears they chose to protect their Republican majority. As a former teacher and coach, Speaker Hastert should have acted more responsibly. This is simply unacceptable."

In Sunday's Washington Post, Weisman and Babington reported that Rep. Reynolds was "angry that Hastert appeared willing to let him take the blame for the party's leadership silence." LINK

Per Sunday's Los Angeles Times, Boehner spokesman Kevin Madden said "Alexander had approached the majority leader five months ago and told him that Foley had had an e-mail exchange with a page. The conversation 'did not raise an alarm,' said Madden, 'because Alexander had assured him that he had talked to the parents and they did not wish to pursue it and they did not believe there was need to pursue it further.'" LINK

When Reynolds was asked over the weekend by the Buffalo News to characterize what Rep. Alexander told him about the messages that had caused the page "some discomfort," Rep. Reynolds said: "I'm not going to get into all that ... I'm not into a grand jury witness thing here, or whatever." LINK

Deidre Shesgreen of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Sunday that Shimkus told them that "my evaluation was there's no smoking gun here. At the time, that e-mail had no significance ... other than 'Mark, stay away from this kid; this doesn't look good.'"

Shimkus added: "I think, based on the information I had, what I did was fine. If I regret something, maybe I should have had Dale [Kildee] with me because now it's going to be a political football." LINK

The Washington Times has former House Speaker Newt Gingrich defending the response of Republican leaders while appearing Sunday on "Fox News Sunday": "There was nothing sexual in those [e-mails]. They had him counseled. They had the head of the page program, [Illinois Republican Rep. John] Shimkus, talk to [Mr. Foley] very directly. And I think they thought it was over," Mr. Gingrich said on "Fox News Sunday. The newest incident only surfaced when ABC News interviewed Foley, and he resigned within two hours, or I think the House leaders would have moved to expel him." LINK

Republican strategist Rich Galen, at mullings.com says: "Here's what should happen. Tomorrow: Speaker Hastert should contact Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and ask her to appoint three senior Democratic Members of the House to match the three senior Republican Members of the House that Majority Leader Boehner will appoint." LINK

Outraged Democrats:

Rep. Dale E. Kildee (D-MI), the Democratic member of the House Page Board, issued a statement on Saturday saying "any statement by Mr. Reynolds or anyone else that the House Page Board ever investigated Mr. Foley is completely untrue."

"I was never informed of the allegations about Mr. Foley's inappropriate communications with a House Page," Kildee continues in his statement, "and I was never involved in any inquiry into this matter. The first and only meeting of the House Page Board on this matter occurred on Friday, September 29 at approximately 6 p.m., after the allegations about Mr. Foley had become public."

The New York Times has Pelosi spokeswoman Jennifer Crider alleging that Hastert "seemed 'more concerned by who revealed the Republican leadership's cover-up of Mr. Foley's Internet stalking' than about the pages."

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More on the Democrats' strategy to show they are just as strong, if not stronger than Republicans on issues like protecting children from Raymond Hernandez on the New York Times.

LINK

Adam Liptak takes a look at the laws available to prosecutors and the jurisdictions that may be involved.

LINK

The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers reports that Rep. Kildee said Rep. Shimkus "told him last week he felt 'broken hearted' about the matter. 'Absolutely there should have been a page board meeting,' Mr. Kildee said." LINK

In a letter to the Republican chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee on Sunday, Pelosi urged the Ethics Committee to put the GOP House leadership under oath.

"The fact that Mr. Foley was engaging in this behavior with underage children, that the Republican Leadership knew about it for six months to a year and has characterized the inappropriate behavior as 'overly friendly' and 'acting as a mentor' and that apparently no action was taken to protect these underage children is abhorrent," wrote Pelosi.

Peter Welch, the Democrat running against Republican Martha Rainville for the Vermont at-large seat being vacated by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), issued a statement this morning challenging his Republican opponent to follow Rep. Shays' lead.

Wendy Wilde, the DFL candidate running in the third congressional district of Minnesota,, called for Hastert's resignation for "covering up for sexual predators" on Sunday. Wilde wants Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN) to call for Hastert's resignation as well.

The AP picks up on Sen. Dick Durbin's (D-IL) saying Sunday that Rep. Foley's actions were "disgusting" and "unforgivable" as he went on to criticize the entire Congress, "this is the biggest do-nothing Congress in history, by any objective standard, they deserve a failing grade?" LINK

Here's what the super-aggressive Florida Democratic Party is calling for:

The Foley Five - U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., U.S. Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., U.S. House Majority

Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La. - all were aware of the danger posed by disgraced U.S. Rep. Mark Foley prior to last week's shocking revelations yet they did nothing (see timeline below).

At a minimum, to restore trust in American government, the following must happen:

1) A full and thorough investigation into the actions of the Foley Five;

2) The suspension of all campaigning and fundraising by the Foley Five until the investigation is complete;

3) A donation of $100,000 in Foley-contributed funds to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by the NRCC, and additional donations from Republican candidates who received tainted funds;

4) The resignation of Reynolds as NRCC chair.

Worried Republicans:

In a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) obtained by ABC News, Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) calls for Hastert to "immediately initiate censure proceedings against Mr. Foley publicly condemning his actions and sending a clear message to the American people that his unspeakable behavior should subject him to the strongest punishment under the law."

Rep. Fitzpatrick also calls on the House of Representatives to take "immediate action" to strip Foley of "any benefits he might receive as a former Member of Congress."

Lastly, in calling for a criminal investigation of Foley, Rep. Fitzpatrick writes that it is "imperative" that "all such criminal investigations should include any individual who may have had knowledge of this incident, any prior incidents or related incidents and the actions of those individuals may have taken in the light of that knowledge."

Rep. Fitzpatrick is locked in a tight race for re-election against Democratic Iraq war vet Patrick Murphy. In recent days, a DCCC spokesman has been asking reporters what does Fitzpatrick think of Foley given that Fitzpatrick has campaigned against on-line sexual predators.

This is not the first time that Fitzpatrick has acted to show his independence from the GOP's national leadership. Earlier this year, he sent out a mailer to constituents with a message that "says NO to both extremes: No to President Bush's 'stay the course' strategy . . . and no to Patrick Murphy's 'cut and run' approach.'"

Rep. Fitzpatrick explicitly told ABC News this morning that he agrees with Shays' statement to the New York Times that if the Republican leadership knew or should have known the extent of this problem, they should not serve in leadership.

Fitzpatrick also said that if he had learned that a congressional page had received a message with which he had "some discomfort": "It would have prompted another series of questions perhaps a review of all the emails of the former congressman and the page and members of the page program."

USA Today has Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT), who is in a tough race for re-election against Democrat Joe Courtney, saying: "If it is found that any member of Congress or staff willingly participated in a cover-up of Mr. Foley's actions, that individual should resign immediately." LINK

Bloomberg News reports that Courtney, the Democrat running against Rep. Simmons, said he has brought up the "possible cover-up" of Foley's activities "four times at campaign events this weekend as an example of how 'these guys will say and do anything to hold onto power.'" LINK

Sunday's New York Times had Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), who is in a tough race for re-election against Democrat Diane Farrell, saying that if the House Republican leadership "knew or should have known the extent of the problem" with Foley, "they should not serve in leadership." LINK

After Democrat Patricia Madrid hammered her for the company she "keeps," Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) announced that she will donate to charity $8,000 her re-election campaign received from Foley, according to the Albuquerque Journal reports. LINK

A poll over the weekend showed Wilson and Madrid in a "dead heat." LINK

Exec Board of FL GOP Meets at 1:00 pm Monday Re: Foley:

The 37-member executive board of the Florida Republican Party will hold a 1:00 pm ET closed meeting on Monday, Oct. 2 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport Hotel to choose a replacement nominee for Florida's 16th congressional district. The board will then hold a 3:00 pm ET press conference in the same hotel to announce its new nominee.

As ABCNews.com reported Friday, Foley's name will still appear on Florida's already-printed ballots. But votes cast for Foley will be accorded to whomever the executive board of the Florida GOP chooses as its replacement nominee.

The 37-member board of the Florida Republican Party consists of the 11 officers chosen by the 201-member executive committee of the Florida Republican Party as well as the party chair of each of Florida's 25 congressional districts and the chair of the Florida Federation of Young Republicans.

Nineteen members of the executive board must be present at today's meeting in order for the party to have a quorum.

The panel will then vote for a replacement. The Florida Republican Party is circulating resumes from those interested in being the replacement nominee to members of its board at this time. The party is not releasing names of possible replacement nominees because, according to its communications director, the final list is not yet set.

It is unknown at this time whether the individuals interested in being the replacement nominee will give speeches to the board; even if they do, this will occur during the closed press (off-camera) meeting.

A majority of board members voting is needed for someone to become the replacement nominee. If initial voting results in a tie, the board will have a run-off vote among the top two finishers as many times as needed until the board is able to settle on a replacement.

The Florida Republican Party is still hoping that Florida's Republican-leaning 16th congressional district is a "winnable district" for them with "the right candidate" who can "differentiate" himself or herself from Foley.

But make no mistake: having Foley's name on the ballot will make this seat an uphill climb for Republicans.

Veteran Florida state Rep. Joe Negron (R) spent Saturday "busily calling super board members" to convince them "he's a logical choice to replace Foley," reports Jim Ash of the News Press. LINK

Ad for Dem Running to Replace Foley Calls for "More Moral" America

Tim Mahoney, the Democrat hoping to succeed former Foley as the congressman from Florida's 16th congressional district, is launching an ad in which he says: "Every generation has the responsibility of turning over to the next generation an America that's more moral and one that offers greater opportunity to their children."

The ad features Bob Graham, the former Democratic senator and governor of Florida who briefly ran for President in 2004.

Graham calls Mahoney a "common sense businessman who believes in faith, family, and personal responsibility."

The campaign has not disclosed the size of the ad buy.

FL-16:

"Sandwiched" between Sen. Kerry and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) on Saturday, Democrat Mahoney said: "It's clear from all of the reports coming in from across the country that the Republican leadership team has been well aware of this problem with the pages for well over a year." LINK

Turning up the heat on Reynolds:

The main importance of this story will be what impact it has on the national narrative going into November. But as far as individual races go, Democrats are hoping that the Foley scandal will make the Foley seat highly winnable and the seat of Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) increasingly competitive.

In a Sunday event outside of Reynolds' district office in Williamsville, NY, a group of "concerned mothers" called on Reynolds to resign for not doing enough after he learned from Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA) that Rep. Foley had sent e-mails to a page which caused the page "some discomfort."

The Democrat running against Reynolds, Jack Davis, knows that his underdog campaign has been given a boost by the recent revelations. But the Davis camp -- for the time being -- is hoping to let the press and "concerned mothers" not directly connected to the campaign carry their message against Reynolds while they stay focused on hammering Reynolds more generally for "looking out for himself and not for western New York," an area which has been hurt by job losses.

The Reynolds camp alleges that the "concerned mothers" who spoke out today have close ties to Democrats. The main line of defense from the NRCC, which Reynolds chairs, continues to be that news organizations like the St. Petersburg Times were unconcerned by the "overly friendly" emails.

DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney responds by saying that congressional pages were entrusted to the House -- not to the St. Petersburg Times.

DNC's gay treasurer suggests Foley's GOP affiliation may have played a role:

In its weekend coverage, the McClatchey Newes Service had Andrew Tobias, the DNC's openly gay treasurer, saying: "As somebody who has met Mark Foley personally and has mutual friends, I am sad for Mark, and I hope he doesn't go to jail. The last time I saw Mark, he was 19 years into a relationship. That was sad that it had to be hidden. I hope the Republican Party continues to evolve so it's not so difficult to be an openly gay Republican. Will this play into the fears that all gay people are pedophiles? I hope not. There are heterosexual situations as well. Everybody decries this kind of situation. Even Mark Foley did, but he couldn't control it." LINK

Foley's 2002 tribute to pages:

Monday's New York Times describes a June 6, 2002 speech Foley gave on the House floor in which he mentioned several of the congressional pages by name and noted that his eyes were welling with tears. LINK

The Way to Win:

Tomorrow is the release date of the new book about American politics by Mark Halperin of ABC News and John F. Harris of the Washington Post.

The duo appeared on Imus this morning, during which the host graciously urged his listeners to buy the book.

Sarah Baxter of the Sunday Times of London breaks the code on the book's Washington party, which included John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and Karl Rove. LINK

From the Right, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit says, "Mark Halperin and John Harris's new book, The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008 <LINK

) I think the subject will be near and dear to a lot of people's hearts." LINK

From the Left, Eric Alterman in The Nation says The Way to Win, "contains a razor-sharp analysis of the upper stratum of American politics available nowhere else." LINK

The media tour and public appearances begin in earnest tomorrow.

In a well-placed op-ed in Sunday's New York Times, Mark Halperin wrote: "Critics of the Bush administration assert that the politics of the base has run its course, and that the Iraq war, the partisan zealousness and the conservative social policies of the administration have made voters yearn for a more centrist, bipartisan government. But Mr. Bush's opponents may be imprudently lulled by the current storyline and broad national polls, both of which miss the power and consequence of a Republican base that may have one more victory to give." LINK

You can buy the book right now here. LINK

Woodward:

While appearing this morning on "Today," Woodward said the timing of the book's release is "not waiting for a splash, it's trying to assemble the whole story."

The CBS wrap on Woodward's "60 Minutes" appearance: LINK

Monday's Washington Post excerpt: LINK

Sunday's Washington Post excerpt: LINK

Newsweek's Woodward excerpt: LINK

The Washington Post's Michael Fletcher picks up on White House Counselor Dan Bartlett saying on "This Week" that Woodward "doesn't connect his own dots." LINK

The White House is circulating Bartlett saying on CNN's "Late Edition": "But I must say, I was quite struck by the cover of the book and the central thesis of denial, because the evidence in the book itself ... contradicts his very thesis of denial."

Allen buys air time:

Sen. George Allen (R-VA) bought two minutes of airtime on Channel 4 at 7:58 pm tonight to speak. A Mason-Dixon poll from the weekend showed Sen. George Allen (R-VA) tied with Democrat Jim Webb 43-43.

2006: landscape:

Keying off of a recent WSJ/NBC poll that found the "gap between rich and poor" ranked as the No. 2 economic issue after "gas prices and energy costs," Deborah Solomon reports for the Wall Street Journal's front page that although Democrats talk about the income gap, "Democrats candidates haven't fleshed out a program for reversing inequality" beyond raising the minimum wage, enacting modest college and child-care tax credits, rolling back some of President Bush's tax cuts, and "finding ways to shield Americans against rising gas prices."

The AP's Jim Kuhnhenn reported on Saturday that in a reversal of 2004, Republican-based outside groups such as Progress for America and the Economic Freedom Fund have been dominating the political ad landscape. LINK

Donald Lambro wrote in Sunday's Washington Times that D LINK

USA Today on those snappy Steele and Pawlenty ads. LINK

Without mentioning Foley, the Wall Street Journal's ed board writes: "it's not too soon to say that Republicans in the 109th have been a major disappointment."

2006: House:

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports that "dozens of the made-to-order bills that flew through the House bear the names of the endangered lawmakers, from Pennsylvania Rep. Jim Gerlach's Open Space and Farmland Preservation Act to Connecticut Rep. Christopher Shays' reauthorization of the HOPE VI housing program, to measures to preserve Native American languages and assist in water planning for Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.). LINK

The Dallas Morning News reports that Republican House candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs asks voters to vote for her twice: once in the special contest to fill in the last few weeks of former Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) term and then again to serve a full two years, Notes the Dallas-Morning News' Gilman. LINK

2006: Senate:

The AP on Corzine slamming Kean for using a convicted felon to orchestrate a sleaze campaign against Menendez. LINK

2006: Governor:

The New York Post's Fredic Dicker reports that relations are starting to sour between Democratic candidate for Governor, Elliott Spitzer, and his "soon-to-be" Lieutenant Governor David Paterson. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

The Los Angeles Times editorial argues that even though "California is big and exceptional enough to occasionally impersonate a nation", Angelides should campaign for governor instead of campaigning against Bush. LINK

2008:

In the New York Daily News, Kevin Sheekey shows leg, thigh, and breast about Mike Bloomberg running for president in 2008. LINK

2008: Republicans:

The Boston Globes' Rick Klein is suspicious that Mitt Romney has been using his position as chairman of the Republican Governors Association to enhance his potential 2008 presidential bid. Under Romney's leadership the Association has directed its largest political contribution to candidates in Florida, Michigan and Iowa, all states that will be in play in '08. LINK

Democratic agenda:

He's made national headlines over the past year for his views on the Iraq war but inside Washington, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) is known for something else entirely. Murtha is known on the Hill as the top Democrat to deliver Democratic votes to Republican leaders in exchange for earmarks. David Kirkpatrick has the story of "the Murtha Corner." LINK

More schedule items:

President Bush was briefed this morning about the California wildfires. He's met with representatives from USDA, Interior, DHS, and FEMA.

First Lady Laura Bush attends a garden ceremony to unveil the Laura Bush Rose at 10:35 am ET in the East Garden of the White House.

The Supreme Court opens its new term today.

Gubernatorial candidates Chet Culver (D-IA) and Rep. Jim Nussle (R-IA) debate at 8:00 pm ET in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Former Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) attends a fundraiser at 6:00 pm ET with the Aladems County PAC in Mobile, Alabama.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) are both in Iowa today, campaigning for Iowa Democrats.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) joins two former governors at 1:00 pm ET for the California Science Center's World of Ecology groundbreaking in Los Angeles, CA. He meets the Canadian Ambassador at 7:15 pm ET. The top of the meeting will be open to the media for a photo spray.

Election Data Services, Inc. releases an updated study on voting equipment usage for the November 2006 general election in Washington, DC.

Week ahead:

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) spends Monday campaigning for Democrats in Iowa and Thursday and Friday campaigning for Indiana congressional candidates Brad Ellsworth, Joe Donnelly, and Baron Hill. Sen. Bayh is hoping that his nascent presidential bid will get a boost if those three Democrats run the table in November.

On Tuesday, President Bush attends a Richard Pombo for Congress Reception at the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium, Stockton, CA. The President also attends a John Doolittle for Congress Reception at the Serrano Country Club, El Dorado Hills, CA. The President also attends a Republican National Committee Reception, Los Angeles, CA

Sen. Kerry campaigns for the Ohio Democratic Party, Columbus, OH. Gov. Bob Riley (R-AL) celebrates his 62nd birthday. Gubernatorial candidates Ken Blackwell (R-OH) and Rep. Ted Strickland (D-OH) debate, Cincinnati, OH

On Wednesday, Ohio's gubernatorial candidates debate at 7:00 pm ET in Cincinnati, OH. President Bush attends a Rick Renzi for Congress Reception at the Camelback Inn, Scottsdale, AZ Sen. Kerry campaigns with New Hampshire State Senate Candidate Beth Both, Pelham and Salem, NH President Bush attends Beauprez for Governor Reception at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center, Englewood, CO. Sen. Hagel celebrates his 60th birthday . Good Housekeeping holds a reception to honor Elizabeth Edwards on the release of her book "Saving Graces," New York, NY

On Thursday, Arizona's gubernatorial candidates debate in Tempe, AZ. The Texas gubernatorial candidates debate in Dallas, TX. The National Constitution Center awards former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton the Liberty Medal for their fundraising work, Philadelphia, PA. Sen. McCain campaigns for Alabama Republicans, Birmingham, AL President Clinton attends a campaign dinner for Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Philadelphia, PA The Center for American Progress holds their 2006 Progress Dinner, Washington, DC

On Friday, Texas gubernatorial candidates, Rick Perry, Chris Bell, Carole Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman hold a debate, Dallas, TX Sen. McCain attends a rally to "Support Our Troops and Salute Out Veterans," Spartanburg, SC. Wisconsin's gubernatorial candidates debate at 8:00 pm ET in Milwaukee, WI

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