The Note: The Mark of Truthiness

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4

Wednesday realities of the Mark Foley story:

1. No strategist in either party -- including former/current Hastert adviser John Feehery -- thinks the Speaker has done enough to deal with the fallout.

2. Try as they might, Hastert and other leaders will not, by Election Day, be able to get the public, the press, and even their own Conference members, to focus on the difference between the non-sexual e-mails to the boy in Louisiana and the highly sexual IMs that surfaced later.

3. Try as they might, Hastert and other leaders will not, by Election Day, be able to get the public, the press, and even their own Conference members, to believe that they knew only about the non-sexual e-mails to the boy in Louisiana and not the highly sexual IMs that surfaced later.

4. Try as he might, Hastert will not, by Election Day, be able to get the public, the press, and PARTICULARLY his own Conference members, to believe that his staff handled the parent's complaint without deciding to "bump it up" to him, as the Speaker put it.

5. Until the Leadership takes an unambiguous position on whether the Foley matter was well handled or not, the boat will continue to take on water; if they take the unambiguous position that it was handled well, the boat will continue to take on water.

6. The White House and the RNC remain silent, pained bystanders in all this.

7. For years and years, there have been many semi-open and fully closeted homosexuals at senior staff and elected positions in the Republican Party. The heterosexual members of the Leadership and in the White House have maintained different levels of awareness and tolerance of this. Behind the scenes, this is a big deal.

8. Until there is (unobtainable) evidence to the contrary, many Republican strategists will fear (and many Democrats will hope) that the Foley scandal will give the Democrats control of Congress.

9. It is impossible to rank these series of relationships from most-venom-filled to least-venom-filled at this point: mother-daughter, landlord-tenant, Hastert-Boehner, Boehner-Blunt, Blunt-Hastert, Reynolds-Hastert, Emanuel-Dean, Yankees-Red Sox.

10. No matter what the facts, the die-hard members of the conservative Freak Show apparatus will continue to raise questions about the timing of all this and about the liberal Old Media's role in publicizing the Foley scandal, and try to rally the base by saying, "don't let ABC News and George Soros decide this election."

11. If #10 really is the mind-set of the Speaker -- as opposed to just the talking points he has agreed to read to Rush, Sean, etc. -- Tony Blankley, Ken Mehlman, and others will not be able to convince him that anti-media base rallying might alienate suburban mothers everywhere and seem out of touch.

12. Even the Democrats can't screw this up, and there's nothing they can do that would cause the Old Media to accuse them of politicizing the story.

13. Nothing would make the press happier than getting a big scalp, such as the resignation of Speaker Hastert.

14. It is easier for Republican House members and candidates to call for Hastert to not return as Speaker in January than it is for them to call for him to step down now, and that is what reporters are going to start asking about.

14. "Maddog" Madden (having survived DeLay) is thriving in his bunker, pumping out a steady strafe of bullet points bolstering Mr. Boehner's case.

15. "RonBon" Bonjean (having survived Lott) is doing his trademark non-freakout, keeping his cool head amid the pandemonium of the Speaker's suite.

Meanwhile, the Speaker himself is out of that suite (except as a disembodied voice on a speakerphone, like a modern-day Charles Townsend) and apparently in Illinois.

With the House Ethics Committee set to convene tomorrow to discuss what the New York Times has dubbed the "page scandal," and the FBI preparing a full field investigation with possible grand jury testimony, there are enough process pegs to keep this story percolating for much of the remainder of the week.

Democrats will continue to call for House GOP leaders to testify under oath before the Ethics Committee once it has organized its investigation into the Foley matter.

Republican Members of Congress continue to take a wait and see approach on Hastert and his hold on to his position, with many discussions taking place behind the scenes.

First Lady Laura Bush's 12:25 pm ET open press appearance at a fundraiser for Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) in Amherst, NY provides a nice opportunity to look at what is arguably the most affected congressional campaign (other than Foley's district, of course) in the country. (Check out today's Washington Post editorial questioning (as Nancy Pelosi does) why the GOP campaign chief in the House was one of the first to be notified about Foley's emails. LINK

In recent days, Reynolds has raised eyebrows by indicating that the NRCC will not give back the $100,000 it recently received from Foley - after Rep. Reynolds was aware of the email exchange with the Louisiana page. An anti-Reynolds group of parents will hold a 12:00 pm ET event across the street from the hotel where Mrs. Bush is expected to speak.

Democratic candidates around the country continue to call on their Republican opponents to call for Hastert's head, return Foley-related financial contributions, and demand a full investigation.

Patty Wetterling, the Democratic candidate in Minnesota's 6th congressional district who has already launched a television ad on the Foley matter, has been tapped to give the Democratic radio address on Saturday. Wetterling is expected to address child safety, schools, and the Internet.

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) holds a 10:15 am ET campaign event in Springfield, MO where he will likely get asked about his thoughts on the Foley matter and Speaker Hastert's standing in the Conference.

Still out on the western campaign trail, President Bush attends a Rick Renzi for Congress reception at 10:20 am ET and then he signs a Homeland Security bill at 11:15 am ET at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, AZ.

Later today, President Bush talks up Bob Beauprez, the GOP candidate for governor of Colorado at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Englewood, CO at 3:40 pm ET.

Vice president Cheney delivers remarks at 11:20 am ET to troops at Fort Hood, Texas. Cheney later heads to a luncheon reception at 3:00 pm ET for the woman seeking to replace Tom DeLay in Congress, Shelly Sekula-Gibbs, at the Hyatt Regency in Houston, TX.

Before her appearance with Tom Reynolds, First Lady Laura Bush speaks at 9:30 am ET to a Curt Weldon for Congress breakfast in Springfield, PA. Mrs. Bush wraps up her day on the stump with a 5:00 pm ET reception for Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY).

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and strategist James Carville host a press conference at 2:00 pm ET to release the new Democracy Corps poll at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner headquarters in Washington, DC.

Check below for the rest of the day's political events.

Foley: the House pages:

The Washington Post reports that as far back as 1995, House pages were warned to steer clear of Foley. He was already learning the names of the teenagers, dashing off notes, letters and e-mails to them, and asking them to join him for ice cream, according to a former page. LINK

Foley: calls for Hastert to resign:

On ABC's "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos said Hastert is "hanging by a thread right now. . . He's fighting very very hard. He says he is not going to resign."

"I think the chances that Speaker Hastert will return as Speaker next year are almost zero," added Stephanopoulos.

In a Washington Times op-ed, Tony Blankley defends his newspaper's Tuesday decision to call for Hastert's resignation. LINK

". . . the fact that, according to my best sources in the House Republicans, Mr. Hastert never informed any Democrats of the matter (even on the page oversight board), unambiguously suggests that he knew what was up. Thus began the cover-up. Of course he knew what the Democrats would do with the information. But not only is this not a Democratic Party dirty trick (the facts are real, not made up), but Mr. Hastert had a moral duty to do all in his power to make sure there would not be more victims of Mr. Foley's alleged sexual predation -- or clear potential for such."

"The fact that Democrats might also cover up such facts is just another reason why I am a Republican. Republicans do stand for sound moral values."

More Blankley: "While I don't have any proof, I will be amazed if Democratic operatives and at least a few Democratic congressmen didn't know about this and fed it to the media through various obscure blogs and to ABC. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) (just like the National Republican Congressional Committee) is in the business of disseminating negative information before elections, among other things."

ABC News' Jake Tapper and Avery Miller report on House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) defending himself on friendly conservative airwaves yesterday amidst criticism that his office hadn't done enough after first being notified in 2005 of former Rep. Foley's inappropriate emails. LINK

More from Tapper/Miller: "Hastert went on to tell Limbaugh's listeners -- and other audiences -- that he and the GOP leadership had facilitated Foley's resignation."

"'We took care of Mr. Foley,' Hastert said. 'We found out about it, asked him to resign. He did resign. He's gone.'"

"That wasn't true."

"Foley resigned before anyone in leadership could speak to him."

"Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean later told ABC News that the speaker 'misspoke' because he had been under the mistaken impression that someone in leadership had advised Foley to resign."

For the Wall Street Journal's front page, David Rogers and John Harwood report: there appears to be a "real chance" that Hastert will step down after next month's election "even if his party retains power"; in an interview late yesterday, Hastert said he would be willing to resign if he thought it would help the party (but the Coach isn't convinced this is the case. "If I thought it would help the party, I would consider it, but I think just the opposite," he said); and Rep Barney Frank, an openly gay Democrat, said the handling of the initial complaint "made this more sensitive politically" since people knew that Foley was gay. LINK

According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, by 41% to 18%, Americans say that news they "have seen and heard over the past few weeks" has made them less favorable toward continued Republican control of Congress. By 34%-23% they called themselves more favorably inclined toward Democratic control. The survey, conducted last weekend, also shows a decline in Mr. Bush's job-approval rating to 39% from 42% earlier this month.

"Meanwhile, a new crop of conservatives could seize the moment to push the party to do more to cut government spending, for example. Among this group, Rep. John Shadegg (R., Ariz.) last night defended Mr. Hastert, saying he should not be 'railroaded out of office.' Another, Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.) has been quieter."

The Los Angeles Times' Hastert coverage concludes with a statement from the Arlington Group, a coalition of social conservative leaders, "asserted that House Republicans may have failed to sufficiently investigate Foley because they feared 'a backlash from the radical gay rights movement.'" LINK

In a front page story in the New York Times, Carl Hulse and Jeff Zeleny point out that one of the options the senior GOP is considering, which would delay a potentially upsetting leadership fight, is for Hastert to announce that he'll be on board through this year but will not seek re-election, if Republicans win House control.

Per the New York Times duo, "the first television ad directly referencing Foley scandal was broadcast Tuesday in Minnesota, where a Democratic Congressional candidate Patty Wetterling is running for an open seat against a Republican state senator, Michele Bachmann. 'Congressional leaders have admitted covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the Internet to molest children,' the commercial declared." LINK

In an interview with the Washington Post, RNC Chair Ken Mehlman "rejected calls for Hastert to resign. 'I support the speaker. He's a good man. He's taken a very serious situation incredibly seriously and I think we need to figure out everything about this, including whether prosecution is warranted.'" LINK

The Washington Post also Notes the supportive letter to the Washington Times from Rep. Boehner as well as the supportive letters from Reps. Hyde and Shadegg.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank has Hastert agreeing on Hannity's show that there appears to be a double standard for himself and for Democratic sex scandals: "Yes, it appears there's a double standard," Hastert said, agreeing with Hannity. LINK

In a must-read story putting the Foley issue in a larger context of leadership challenges that Hastert has faced recently, the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman has unnamed former aides saying that the House leadership "simply lacked the bodies to forcefully take on the Foley issue."LINK

"'The speaker has been preoccupied and distracted for more than a year,' one former leadership aide said."

"'Frankly,' said the second, 'he was tired.'"

"Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean disputed that assertion."

USA Today's Kiely and Jackson have Hastert's words to Rush saying, "I'm not going to do that," in response to the clamor by some for him to step down. LINK

The Hill's Patrick O'Connor reports that President Bush announced his support of Hastert to preside as Speaker over the investigation into the unfolding case, while Dr./Sen./Leader Frist offered only "mild support." LINK

The Washington Post's Al Kamen has sources telling him Monday that Hastert's Web site was recently highlighting an Aug. 29 news release about how "Hastert Drives Effort to 'Keep Kids Safe in Cyberspace.'" LINK

Foley: Reynolds' role:

ABC News' Teddy Davis Notes that with just over a month to go until Election Day, Rep. Reynolds' "all politics is local" strategy will be tested in his New York district because of his role in the Foley matter. LINK

The Washington Post's Michael Powell has Reynolds foe Jack Davis saying: "I want to beat Reynolds on my issues, but of course it's nice to have him screw up. When Reynolds heard about the problems with the pages, he should have shown due diligence and investigated. This is all about power and all about money, and it stinks." LINK

In former Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) district, Democratic candidate Nick Lampson has called on his Republican opponent Shelly Sekula-Gibbs to donate the $10,000 she received from Rep. Reynolds' political action committee, Notes the Houston Chronicle's Mack. LINK

Robert Novak of the New York Post writes in his column today that former Rep. Foley "under continuous political pressure because of his sexual orientation, was considering not seeking a seventh term this year but that Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) talked him into running," even after reading the questionable emails. (sorry, no link available.)

In calling for an independent investigator, the Washington Post's ed board writes: "it's telling that Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.) took the problem to the head of the GOP's campaign arm, Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (N.Y.), whose role is to get Republicans reelected. Was that the priority all along?" LINK

Foley: political fallout:

GOP lawmakers and conservatives fear more disclosures from other politicians will be exposed, per the AP. "'We have heard rumors that other, similar activity has occurred involving additional congressmen and will be released prior to the November elections,' said the Arlington Group, a coalition of 70 pro-family conservative groups." LINK

"If the Democrats can't take the Hill now, they deserve to go the way of the Whigs," writes Newsweek's Howard Fineman in his online column which explains how the Foley scandal is one easily understood by voters. LINK

The Washington Times reports that Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) said emphatically yesterday: "Mark Foley is a pedophile who should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Additionally, there needs to be a full and complete FBI investigation into this matter immediately. If it is found that any member of leadership, Republican or Democrat, or any member of Congress knew of the inappropriate conduct and did nothing to stop it, they should immediately resign from Congress."LINK

The Baltimore Sun's Jennifer Skalka and Matthew Hay Brown report that at yesterday's Maryland Senate debate, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R-MD) said: "We need to investigate every member who touched this matter. And if they are found conduct unbecoming, then they, too, should resign before they are removed." Asked whether this would include House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Steele said: "including the speaker." LINK

Be sure to Note that Steele said yesterday that Cardin should "learn to 'shut up and listen.'"

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) plans to donate the $2000 in contributions he received from former Rep. Foley's political action committee, Notes the Columbus Dispatch. LINK

The Hartford Courant's Elizabeth Hamilton reports on Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) being criticized by Democratic challenger Chris Murphy for her silence on the Foley issue and how the scandal is affecting other Connecticut races. LINK

Kendra Gilbert Notes in the New Hampshire Union Leader that Reps. Charlie Bass (R-NH) and Jeb Bradley (R-NH) "expressed their disgust" with ex-Rep. Foley, but stand behind the GOP leadership. And/but Bradley added, "If the FBI or the House Ethics Committee determines that there was misconduct by any member of Congress or affiliated staff, they should resign immediately." LINK

Roll Call's Susan Davis looks at how Republicans (especially those in tough campaigns) are looking to distance themselves from the GOP leadership in the House and rid themselves of Foley-related campaign cash.

"What did GOP Leaders know?," reads the Cincinnati Enquirer's headline. LINK

Foley: Democratic response:

The Hill's Josephine Hearn writes that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats are keeping quiet on the scandal, operating under the presumption that Republicans are digging their own political graves without assistance from the Left. LINK

Foley: follow the money:

The Tampa Tribune reports that Democrats in Florida have called on at least two candidates to return Foley donations: Vern Buchanan, who got $2,000 for his current race for the House seat Katherine Harris is vacating. Buchanan spokeswoman Sally Tibbetts said Buchanan donated $2,000 during the weekend to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and Manatee counties. U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw of Fort Lauderdale has donated $2,000 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, representing money he got from Foley. LINK

The paper also reports that Harris, running for the U.S. Senate, who got $2,000 during her 2002 House race, has still not said whether she will return the money.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that NJ Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-7th Dist.) has given a charity the $2,000 he received from Mark Foley, the former congressman entangled in an e-mail sex scandal. LINK

Foley: op-eds and editorials:

Dick Morris writes in his column in The Hill that nothing sears the American psyche more than a sex scandal, predicting the Foley matter will be "the nail in the GOP coffin" like the Lewinsky scandal was for the Clintons'. LINK

More Morris: "It is not that the voters believe that all congressmen are child molesters, nor is it the details of what Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) knew, and when he knew it, that makes this scandal so important. Its centrality stems from the sheer arrogance and hypocrisy it demonstrates both on the part of Foley himself and his colleagues who hushed up the affair until it burst onto the public stage."

The New York Times ed board calls Hastert's performance "disturbing" and questions both Boehner's sudden change in story and the timing of Foley's contribution to Reynolds' NRCC. LINK

Former House page Jonathan Turley takes to the New York Times op-ed page and suggests that alumni of the page program ought to run it, rather than lawmakers with possible conflicts of interest. LINK

The Washington Post's Harold Meyerson mocks Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) for saying that Congress should shut down the page program instead of shutting down the GOP majority. LINK

Foley: FL-16:

Jonathan Kaplan of The Hill Notes that Majority Leader Boehner and the NRCC might disagree on how out of reach the Foley seat is for the GOP. LINK

The Los Angeles Times profiles Foley's replacement on the ballot, state Rep. Joe Negron, who spent Tuesday on jury duty. LINK

More on Negron from the Palm Beach Post: LINK

Joel Hood of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that election officials at state and local levels are considering posting signs in polling places and including notices in absentee ballots throughout the 16th Congressional District clarifying that a vote for former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley is a vote for his Republican replacement, Joe Negron. LINK

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that "conceding that Republicans face ''an extraordinary challenge'' in keeping disgraced Rep. Mark Foley's congressional seat, Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday the pundits predicting an easy win for the Democrats are underestimating the attention of Florida voters. Bush said he is ready to campaign for Joe Negron. LINK

Foley: profiles:

The Palm Beach Post reports that Foley's homosexuality was a "not-so-secret secret" around his Florida district. LINK

Foley: miscellaneous:

The Wall Street Journal reports that recent scandals highlight the ways in which instant messages can "haunt you." LINK

For the Washington Post's Style section, Shailagh Murray looks at the "open and closed lives" of a gay congressman. LINK

The Way to Win:

The new Random House book The Way to Win by Mark Halperin of ABC News and John F. Harris of the Washington Post is available to buy here now. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's discerning John Fund reviews the work in today's Wall Street Journal: ""a well-sourced, dispassionate look at the grim realities of running for president." LINK

Want to meet Halperin and Harris and get a book in New York City? Their first public event is tomorrow (Thursday) on the Upper West Side at the Makor/Steinhardt Center on W. 67th Street and you can get more information about it here. LINK

The Way to Win sightings: John Harris, on his first-ever trip to Nobu, on West 57th Street, dining with Gotham glamour gals Yvette Vega and Iva Zoric, one table away from Patti Hansen and her daughters/Rolling Stone offspring Theodora and Alexandra Richards; two tables away from Oliver Stone, and three tables away from Martha Stewart.

2006: landscape:

USA Today's Jill Lawrence reports that the high costs of television advertising are placing an extra strain on congressional candidates this term, Noting that Democrats and Republicans looking to take over seats in the House and Senate are paying top dollar in some of the country's largest media markets. LINK

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman writes his "fervent wish" is for the GOP to lose both House and Senate to the Democrats by one seat in each chamber. Winning by that slim of a margin, Friedman continues, would force Democrats to govern from the center and it would give "some electoral shock treatment delivered to a Republican Party that has failed to demand even the most minimal competence and planning from its leaders." LINK

2006: House:

It's not Mark Foley, but Iraq that is the front and center issue as Bruce Braley (D-IA) and Mike Whalen (R-IA) battle for the 1st Congressional District seat in Iowa. And as The Des Moines Register reports the talk is getting tough. LINK

Fiscal issues remain prominent in the battle between Republican Michele Bachmann and Democrat Patty Wetterling in the race to fill Minnesota's 6th congressional district reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. LINK

Per the New York Times' Jonathan Hicks, the DCCC's recent ad against Rep. Sweeney, which criticizes him for the Iraq war and links him to the President, is the first ad bought by the DCCC in New York's 20th congressional district race, and according to Hicks, "also the latest indication that the party sees the seat as winnable." LINK

2006: Senate:

Keying off of the political troubles of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bloomberg News reports that if Democrats just barely miss taking back the Senate, they may blame Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ). LINK

Per the AP (via the New York Post), Ned Lamont, who trailed by 10 percentage points in a recent poll, donated $500,000 to his own campaign this week, an aide said, spending $6,751,500 so far. LINK

The Hartford Courant on the same: LINK

Minnesota Republican Senate candidate Mark Kennedy believes that his background as an accountant makes him the best candidate to help balance the federal budget, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. LINK

The Washington Post on Sen. Clinton endorsing Webb as the two Virginia candidates spar over the women's vote. LINK

The Hill's Jonathan Kaplan writes that Jim Webb (D-VA) considers Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) among his political confidants. LINK

Following yesterday's Maryland Senate debate, the Washington Post writes that the "physical differences" between the two candidates "were impossible to miss -- Steele, 47, 6-foot-4 and looking polished in a designer suit; Cardin, 62, short and a bit portly in standard dark pinstripe, looking every bit the bookish legislative technician." LINK

2006: Governor:

Today's Boston Globe's front page reads: "Healey, Patrick Blast Away." Frank Phillips and Scott Helman Note the fireworks in round two of the gubernatorial fight. LINK

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Naymik reports that Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell released his plan to change Ohio's tax system by eliminating the nine income-tax rates and implementing a single rate of 3.25 percent. LINK

Florida's Herald Tribune reports that "weeks after his opponent began airing ads and trailing in the polls, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis said he would launch the first television commercials of his general election campaign, promising to overhaul the FCAT and to lower property taxes." LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) wants the people of his state to know he's independent saying yesterday that "President Bush is coming out here not to help California, but to do fundraising in California, so there's no reason for me to meet with him." LINK

2008:

A new WNBC/Marist Poll reveals Rudy Giuliani as the leading contender for president in 2008. The New York Post Notes only 50 percent of Americans would be willing to vote for a female Democrat for president in 2008 and 51 percent of all voters don't want Clinton to run for the White House. LINK

The Daily News' Michael Saul slams Mayor Bloomberg's chances of winning in 2008 in a matchup against Giuliani and Hillary Clinton. Saul points to the WNBC/Marist poll, where only 8% of registered voters across the nation would vote for Bloomberg, compared with 44% for Giuliani, and 39% for Clinton.LINK

Per Michael Goodwin in a Daily News op-ed, "Mayor Bloomberg is soooo running for President." LINK

2008: Republicans:

The Union Leader reports that Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) is gaining traction in New Hampshire, as 58 Granite Staters have signed onto his Commonwealth PAC. LINK

Steve Kornacki of politicsnh.com writes that Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) "is playing a dollar diplomacy game in New Hampshire," having opened an office in the Granite State and working up IOUs with local politicians, he may have a hard time proving he's a bona fide contender. LINK

Bloomberg's Henry Goldman reports that the New York Republican Party, which once proudly gave the state Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas E. Dewey and Nelson Rockefeller, is on the verge of its first shutout since 1938. LINK

"'The Republican Party today is in a state of chaos,' says former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato, 69, its most powerful figure while in office. D'Amato says the party's eclipse -- as recently as 1998, it held the governorship, the attorney general's office and a U.S. Senate seat -- results partly from opportunities it missed while in power. 'The party became atrophied in the 12 years that George Pataki was governor,' he says. 'We didn't work to develop the bench strength.''"

2008: Democrats:

Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson looks to the Silver State as the future of the Democratic Party. LINK

"What the Democrats do in Nevada, both in the caucuses and the general election, may very well signal the strength of their attempt to regain the White House. Nevada used to vote overwhelmingly for Republican presidential candidates until Democrat Bill Clinton won the state twice. Al Gore lost to George Bush by less than four percentage points in 2000, and John Kerry lost by just two-and-a-half percentage points in 2004."

The Indianapolis Star's Matthew Tully writes in his column about all the time Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) is spending in Iowa this year. LINK

Sen. Kerry rallied students at Ohio State University yesterday urging them to "Take back Ohio, take back our country." LINK

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports on New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's speech Tuesday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he said that the Hispanic vote is a sleeping giant that has yet to awaken, and Latinos must become more politically involved if they want to have the voice they deserve. LINK

More schedule items:

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) campaigns with New Hampshire State Senate candidate Beth Both in Pelham and Selham, NH.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) campaigns at 2:45 pm ET for Senate candidate Mike Bouchard (R-MI) at the Comerica Park in Detroit, MI at 2:45 pm ET. Expect lots of Yankees boasting from the former mayor at about the same time Mayor Bloomberg plans to attend the Mets playoff opener in Queens, NY.

Good Housekeeping holds a reception to honor Elizabeth Edwards and her new book, "Savings Graces," in New York, NY.

Former Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) will campaign with Democrat gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis in Tallahassee, FL, reports the Tallahassee Democrat's Ash. LINK

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NW) celebrates his 60th birthday today.

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