The Note: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda, Part III


Continue to watch today for Republican calls for Hastert's (and others) resignation. Aside from the high-profile Washington Times editorial calling for Hastert's head, there are other lower profile activists doing the same and the papers are full of conservative quotes expressing concern about how the Foley scandal may cause a depressed GOP turnout in November as conservatives may decide to stay home. The Wall Street Journal, Rush, Hannity, and others are sticking by Hastert, for now.

And/but ABC News' Teddy Davis reports, "In a radio interview with 700 WLW radio in Cincinnati, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) placed responsibility for the Foley matter not being handled properly on House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL).

"I believe I talked to the Speaker and he told me it had been taken care of," said Boehner. "And, and, and my position is it's in his corner, it's his responsibility. The Clerk of the House who runs the page program, the Page Board -- all report to the Speaker. And I believed it had been dealt with."

Note that by saying that he talked with the Speaker about Foley, Boehner is reversing course and going back to his original position.

On Friday, Boehner told the Washington Post 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

According to today's radio interview, Boehner has gone back to saying that he did talk to Hastert about Foley.

ABC News' Mark Halperin reports a senior Republican House aide familiar with Boehner's thinking when asked if Boehner was throwing the Speaker under the bus said, "No. He is doing his best to relay the facts as to what he knew and when. The truth contained within those facts is our best defense."

Halperin also reports one Republican strategist tells The Note, "I think reporters are beginning to look at who had these IMs and why didn't they come forward with them. Its offense from here on out from us. Making the case that we never knew about the IMs and are outraged by them and want a full investigation. I can't help but wonder if some Ds had this info and only used it politically."

Many Democratic candidates will continue to demand that Republicans get rid of their Foley money and join them in their calls for resignations of leaders who did not do enough to investigate Foley.

The Foley story still continues to dominate most of the political coverage in regional papers across the country, keeping the scandal on the front-burner for many congressional campaigns.

We will also be on the lookout for sound from President Bush and Vice President Cheney who are both on the campaign trail today. The President would clearly rather leave this issue to this colleagues on the Hill, but a presidential remark smacking down Foley and the GOP leadership's handling of the affair (that one is more likely to be a gentle slap than a smack) may help Republican candidates turn the corner.

President Bush attends a campaign reception for Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) at the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium in Stockton, CA at 12:15 pm ET. Mr. Bush then heads north for a campaign reception for Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) at the Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills, CA. The President's last stop today will be at a Republican National Committee reception at 9:05 pm ET in Los Angeles, CA.

Vice President Cheney speaks at a 2:05 pm ET luncheon for Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX) in San Antonio, TX. Cheney then speaks at a 7:00 pm ET reception for congressional candidate Van Taylor in Dallas, TX.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman attends the Los Angeles, CA fundraising reception with President Bush this evening. As of this writing, Mehlman has no plans to do any press today.

Tomorrow, First Lady Laura Bush campaigns for Rep. Reynolds in his suburban Buffalo district, and then separately participates in a local radio program about youth issues, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) campaigns for the Ohio Democratic Party in Columbus, OH.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) appears at a "Women for Webb" fundraising luncheon at 12:30 pm ET at Le Bergerie in Alexandria, VA for Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb.

Check below for some other political goings on today.

Foley: calls for Hastert to resign:

The usually Republican-friendly editorial page of the Washington Times calls on Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) to resign his post. LINK

From the editorial on Hastert: "Either he was grossly negligent for not taking the red flags fully into account and ordering a swift investigation, for not even remembering the order of events leading up to last week's revelations -- or he deliberately looked the other way in hopes that a brewing scandal would simply blow away. . . Mr. Hastert has forfeited the confidence of the public and his party, and he cannot preside over the necessary coming investigation, an investigation that must examine his own inept performance."

The Washington Times ed board suggests replacing Hastert with retiring Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) for the three months remaining in this Congress and to oversee a "full and exhaustive" investigation.

Speaker Hastert's spokesman Ron Bonjean issued this statement in response: "The Speaker has and will lead the Republican conference to another majority in the 110th Congress. Mark Foley has resigned his seat in dishonor and the criminal investigation of this matter will continue. The Speaker is working everyday on ensuring the House is a safe, productive environment for Members, staff and all those who are employed by the institution."

The Washington Post reports, "David Bossie, who runs a group called Citizens United, called yesterday for Hastert's resignation and said other conservative leaders are likely to follow suit." LINK

The New York Sun's Gerstein has Family Research Council's Tony Perkins' comments to CNN that the Foley affair will be "very harmful for Republican turnout across the country." LINK

The New York Times' Carl Hulse and Jeff Zeleny write that Speaker Hastert faced increasing scrutiny over the Republican Party's response to the Foley scandal. Also of Note,"officials said that several pages who had received electronic messages from Mr. Foley had already been located," suggesting there are other pages who may step forward. LINK

"The October surprise came early this election year," write Bloomberg's Catherine Dodge and Jay Newton-Small. LINK

Roberta Combs, head of the Christian Coalition, expresses disappointment with Foley and the GOP's House leadership while Tom McClusky of the Family Research Center, says: "If more is found out, that's when I think people should start calling for his head."

Hastert's home state paper, the Chicago Tribune, wraps the Speaker's presser and asks why Rep. Boehner suggested to Rep. Alexander that the Foley matter be referred to Rep. Reynolds. LINK


The Kansas City Star reports that Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) spokesman Burso Snyder said "The first time Cong. Blunt heard anything about the Foley matter was Thursday of last week when ABC broke the story" and that "no leadership meetings" were held on the issue, but rather some "one-on-one conversations among members." LINK

Foley: political fallout:

ABC News' Mark Halperin on "Good Morning America" on the Foley story: "They're terrified," he said of Republicans. "The election before was balanced perfectly no one knew which way it was going to go. It's all going one way right now. Republicans are now in danger because of this scandal with older voters, with female voters, with religious voters - that makes up a lot of people who are going to be in this election. It's big trouble and Dennis Hastert, as you just reported in the news, may face pressure today to resign from other quarters . It's a big problem and it's growing, it's not shrinking - which is what Republicans, of course, had hoped."

In a total must-read, the Washington Post's Dan Balz and Jim VandeHei report that GOP strategists fear that the Foley scandal "threatens to depress turnout among Christian conservatives," threatening GOP control of the House and Senate. LINK

The Washington Post duo Note that Republican operatives are "virtually ready to concede nearly a third of the 15 seats the Democrats need," among that potential third are: Foley's Florida seat, DeLay's Texas seat, Ney's Ohio seat, Sherwood's Pennsylvania seat, Kolbe's Arizona seat, and Hostettler's Indiana seat. What's more, some Republicans also said that Chairman Reynolds "could face an even tougher challenge for his Buffalo seat."

Gingrich guru Joe Gaylord goes on the record to say: "The thing I have said almost since this cycle began is the real worry you have is that [Republicans] just won't turn out. This is one more nail in that coffin."

On a conference call held late Monday afternoon, leaders from about six dozen socially conservative groups "were described as livid with House GOP leaders."

"In just the brief period since the Mark Foley scandal broke on Friday, a Democrat candidate from Louisiana's 1st Congressional District has already produced a campaign commercial trying to tie his Republican opponent, Bobby Jindal, in with Mark Foley," writes P.J. Gladnick on the "Newsbusters" blog. LINK

CNN reporter Sean Callebs interviewed Rep. Alexander (R-LA) in what is being billed as an exclusive. Alexander sponsored the page who received the "overly friendly" email which was passed on to the GOP leadership.

Alexander said, "My job was to protect the young man and his parents. . . and I failed and I apologize for that. The family has had a horrible week. The young man has begun to get some threats. And the media is beginning to seek his comments at home, at school."

Democratic congressional candidate Chris Murphy seized the opportunity to criticize Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) for her silence on the Foley issue, writes Hamilton of the Hartford Courant. LINK

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calls for House Republican leaders' testimony under oath, per Roll Call.

Foley: follow the money:

The Hill's Jonathan Kaplan on GOP lawmakers, including Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), Clay Shaw Jr. (R-Fla.), and Deborah Pryce (Ohio), getting rid of Foley's campaign contributions. Kaplan Notes that the NRCC will keep Foley's $100,000 donation made in July. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes reports that the Foley scandal carries the potential of uniting both Christian conservatives and suburban soccer moms in anger towards the GOP. LINK

"In Virginia, Dick Wadhams, the campaign manager for embattled Republican Sen. George Allen, said the campaign would donate its $5,000 from Mr. Foley to the charity Enough is Enough, a nonprofit group based in Great Falls, Va., that works against Internet-based pornography."

Thomas Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that GOP candidates were scrambling yesterday to cancel appearances with Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and return Foley-related campaign contributions. LINK

Foley: legal:

Speaker Hastert has asked DOJ to look into whether other lawmakers learned of Foley's email and failed to notify authorities. But the Washington Post's Mary Beth Sheridan reports that "legal experts said yesterday that it was unlikely any such third parties would face prosecution." LINK

Foley: editorials:

From the Miami Herald's editorial: "Some newspapers -- including this one -- knew of this message as well and did not find it worthy of a news story because it seemed innocuous. Thus, Democratic charges of a ''cover up'' of Mr. Foley's activities by the Republican House leadership seem not only premature but crassly political. But the discovery of other, more explicit, messages and confusion over who knew what and when raise questions that require answers -- preferably, under oath and soon." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's ed board writes that some of the liberals "now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert's head are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys. Are these Democratic critics of Mr. Hastert saying that they now have more sympathy for the Boy Scouts' decision to ban gay scoutmasters? Where's Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that one?"

Foley: profiles:

From USA Today's Foley profile: "'There were two Mark Foleys,' says Rep. Clay Shaw, a fellow Florida Republican. 'One was a nice guy and the other is a child predator.'" LINK

Foley: miscellaneous:

Under a "The Redder They Are, The Harder They Fall" header, Paul Farhi writes in the Washington Post's Style section that the outcome of sex scandals in Washington seems to depend on "which party you represent. In recent years, for the most part, Democrats have been able to survive their sordid escapades while Republicans have paid with their political lives." LINK

The New York Times' Anne Kornblut and Katherine Seelye report that the St. Petersburg Times and the Miami Herald knew of the email exchanges "long before" the story broke last week. LINK

The Way to Win:

Today is the official release of The Way to Win, the new book about presidential politics by Mark Halperin (ABC News) and John F. Harris (the Washington Post).

The book includes interviews with Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove (with cameos from many other Note readers).

Here is your chance to put your money where your mouth is and in effect support the (free) Note by buying a book, which you can do at stores today, as well as here. LINK

This morning, Halperin and Harris appeared on Good Morning America. LINK

In addition to other media appearances they will be making throughout the day, the two authors are also on Charlie Rose this evening LINK

And you can hear an interview with Halperin about the book on the ABC News "Shuffle" podcast with Jake Tapper and Hari Sreenivasan:


And you can find out about upcoming New York, Washington, and other public events -- including book signings -- here. LINK

Halperin's FishbowlDC interview can be read here, including whether he has seen "The Davinci Code" and what he thinks of New York. LINK


The New York Times' Philip Shenon and Mark Mazzetti report that just hours after refuting the story, current and former Bush Administration officials confirm that then Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, briefed Sec. Condoleezza Rice on the rising Al Qaeda threat on July 10, 2001. LINK

The New York Daily News on the Rice-Woodward dispute: LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Dick Polman writes that the Bush Administration has "come up with a set of rules designed to help Americans determine how they should feel about journalist and author Bob Woodward". LINK

In a statement issued this morning, Sen. Ted Kennedy said, "The extent to which this Administration will go to cover up their own mistakes is breathtaking, and quite simply, dangerous. . . Each day, it seems we learn of new facts demonstrating this Administration knew about the nation's threats -- whether it be 9-11 or on the ground in Iraq -- and failed to take the appropriate action. Each day, we learn of a new sad and disturbing revelation for the nation."

Allen buys air time:

ABC News' Teddy Davis reports, "In a two-minute television ad which his campaign billed as a statewide television address, Sen. George Allen (R-VA) decried the 'negative personal attacks and baseless allegations' which have distracted the public's attention from a discussion of energy independence, immigration, education, tax relief, government spending, and the war in Iraq."

"The ad opened with Sen. Allen noting the campaign's drift away from 'the real issues you care about' and acknowledged that 'some of this I've brought on myself.'"

2006: landscape:

In a must-read, the Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum and Zachary Goldfarb look at spending on congressional races by outside groups. LINK

Jill Lawrence of USA Today writes, "New suburbs spreading across once-rural counties are among the hottest battlegrounds in fall elections that will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control Congress for the rest of the Bush administration." LINK

In the New York Times "Political Action" article, Robin Toner reports that "In the battle for the Senate, new polls showed Democrats either ahead of or neck and neck with Republicans in Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia, all Republican seats." LINK

Outside groups have spent more than $1 million thus far in New York State this election season, per the New York Post's Bishop. LINK

Despite sagging approval numbers and Republican scandal, President Bush has still managed to raise $180 million for the Republican Party and individual candidates report Jim Rutenberg and Adam Nagourney of The New York Times. LINK

2006: House:

The New York Daily News reports that the NY-20 is heating up with Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) calling in First Lady Laura Bush and challenger Kirsten Gillibrand importing actor David Strathairn to replay his Edward R. Murrow role in a online video comparing Sweeney to " Communist witch hunter Sen. Joseph McCarthy." LINK

First detailed public poll in Connecticut's 4th District shows Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) leading Democrat Diane Farrell 44 to 40 percent, Notes the Hartford Courant's Pazniokas. LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Todd Mason reports that Comcast has pulled a cable-television ad that Democrat Lois Murphy claimed was false and misleading. LINK

The ad, prepared by the NRCC, said that Murphy opposed a bill that would provide body armor to troops in Iraq. But Murphy could not have participated in the vote since "she doesn't hold office, and has stated she supports funding for body armor, said James Lamb, her attorney in Washington."

The Washington Post's Peter Baker reports that the President raised $360,000 for Republican Dean Heller on Monday. According to the latest poll by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Heller was leading Democrat Jill Derby "by just 45 percent to 42 percent in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a margin of nearly 3 to 2." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire reports that a new poll for the partisan Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund with a margin of error of 4.9 percent shows the race for California's 11th congressional district remains "neck and neck." LINK

"The telephone survey of likely voters put Democratic Challenger Jerry McNerney two points ahead of incumbent Republican Rep. Richard Pombo (48% to 46%), with only 6% undecided."

2006: Senate:

Sen. Rick Santorum enlists Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Se. Jim DeMint (R-SC) to take over key duties as Senate Republican Conference Chairmen so that he can focus more on his re-election campaign, per Roll Call.

Carrie Budoff of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that "In Pennsylvania alone, special interests have poured more than $5 million in TV ad money into the race, favoring Santorum by a 4-to-1 ratio over Democrat Bob Casey Jr." LINK

To get a sense of where Virginia residents stand amid the allegations of GOP Sen. George Allen is a racist, the Los Angeles Times talked to voters like Carol Miller who told the paper, "I don't approve of Allen's comments, but it would not be enough to make me vote for the Democrats in this race." LINK

New Jersey Republicans call for Sen. Bob Menendez to return tens of thousands of dollars his campaign collected from convicted contributors, per the Star-Ledger's Joe Donohue. The Star-Ledger reports that Menendez received $150,000 over the past 19 years from 18 donors with a criminal record. LINK

Bonna De la Cruz of the Nashville Tennessean reports that Senate candidate Bob Corker (R-TN) is focusing his campaigning on Nashville's suburbs. LINK

Gordon Towbridge of the Detroit News profiles Sen. Debbie Stabenow. LINK

Q&A with Sen. Stabenow: LINK

According to The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Sen. Joe Lieberman claims that the Democratic leadership assured him he would retain his seniority if he returns to Congress. LINK

2006: Governor:

"Granholm went on the offensive early and kept DeVos on the defensive throughout much of the debate," Notes the Detroit Free Press on the first Granholm/DeVos debate. LINK

Mark Hornbeck of the Detroit News writes that during their first televised debate, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and challenger Dick Devos attacked each other for "lying in TV ads, taking extreme policy positions and failing to lead." LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

The San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci reports that a new poll released Monday may explain Phil Angelides' thus far unsuccessful effort to link the Governator with Bush: Conducted by the San Jose State University Survey and Policy Research Institute, the poll reveals that two-thirds of California voters (including 57% of Democrats, 58% of liberals, 69% of independents and 65% of moderates) say the President's leadership will have "no influence" on their vote for governor. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) said yesterday that the war against Taliban guerillas in Afghanistan could never be won militarily, Notes the Associated Press. LINK

ABC News' Jessica Yellin reports that Frist's staff sent out a clarification of the Senator's comments saying he "didn't mean it as it was taken and we [Frist staffers] are trying to clarify because he clearly does not want the brutal Taliban fighters in the government. But it does make sense to reach out to the native tribes in Afghanistan."

Per the New York Sun's Josh Gerstein, Dr. James Dobson appeared on Laura Ingraham's radio show yesterday and expressed a healthy dose of skepticism that Mitt Romney, a Mormon, can attract large numbers of conservative Christians to his potential presidential campaign. LINK

Dobson then added, "He's a nice guy. He's a very attractive man. He's got a beautiful wife and a lot of his principles and values are consistent with ours. . . "

Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe Notes the difficulty that Lt. Gov Kerry Healey (R-MA) faces trying to overcome her boss Gov. Mitt Romney's (R-MA) low approval marks. And don't miss that RGA television ad (conveniently seen in the populous portions of the Granite State) boasting about the ROMNEY-Healey record. LINK

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne has Mitt Romney's Granite State guy - Tom Rath - viewing Romney as "the GOP's repairman." LINK

Rath said "Republicans need to win back voters who feel they gave 'the keys to the car' to their party only to have it driven 'into the back of the garage.'"

2008: Democrats:

Sen. John Kerry says to pay no attention to his frequent Iowa and New Hampshire visits, his travel schedule is all about the 2006 midterm election. Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson has the story. LINK

The Des Moines Register writes up Kerry's encouraging student activism. LINK

Sen. Bayh, who is apparently seeking a "breath of fresh air" to blow through the nation's capital this year, also chatted with Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson while in the Hawkeye State. LINK

"We have to make this more than just about holding political power," said Sen. Evan Bayh on the Mason City, IA campaign trail. LINK

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) campaigned for Democrat Jim Webb in Virginia's U.S. Senate race, but the presidential hopeful made it clear that he was there to also build support for himself, Notes the Charlotte Observer's Funk. LINK

James Baker:

In a Texas Monthly interview with James Baker, he doesn't tip his hand too much on Iraq, except to make it clear that withdrawing would be a major mistake. He also says some of Iraq's cabinet ministers have their own private militias.

Also, check out this exchange on the Rumsfeld question:

SMITH: You comfortable with Secretary Runs, Rumsfeld's performance as [simultaneous] Defense Secretary.

BAKER: [Simultaneous] Look. I'm not, I'm, I'm not president of the United States. It's, it only matters if President Bush is comfortable, and he's very comfortable.

SMITH: He only has one boss.

BAKER: That's right. Only has one boss and, and it's not up to me to, uh, to talk about personalities and people, and I don't.

SMITH: Right.

BAKER: So, uh, the president makes those decisions.

SMITH: His call.

BAKER: Yeah.

More schedule items:

The Spina Bifida Association (SBA) holds its annual roast for Spina Bifida at 6:30 pm ET featuring Bob Schieffer of CBS News, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), and radio host Don Imus at the J.W. Marriot Hotel in Washington, DC. It's Judy and Al's Washington tonight.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHCI) continues to host its "2006 Public Policy Conference" at 7:00 am ET with Rep. John Salazar (D-CO), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (R-IL), and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

American University (AU) hosts a 12 noon ET discussion, "A Look at the November Elections" with Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution, and James Thurber of the AU Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University in Washington, DC.

The Cato Institute has a noon ET scheduled book discussion with Andrew Sullivan, author of "The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How to Get It Back" and David Brooks of the New York Times at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC.