The Note: Denny's Grand Slam (cont.)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10

Things that Speaker Hastert's spokesguy Ron Bonjean knows that 473 members of the Gang of 500 "know":

1. Hastert's staff has for years been aware of Mark Foley's bad behavior.

(Bonjean knows that 69% of the Republican members of the House -- the Conference -- "knows" this too.)

2. There are still serious discrepancies between the accounts of senior House leaders about what they knew and when they knew it (and who didn't do what).

(Bonjean knows that 92% of the Conference "knows" this too.)

3. In settling discrepancies between the Speaker and his staff, on the one hand, and other congressional Republicans, on the other, it is safe to assume that the latter group is always telling the truth.

(Bonjean knows that 54% of the Conference "knows" this too.)

4. The Bonjean Strategy is to run out the clock by hiding behind the on-going investigations to avoid answering any hard questions -- and assume no big shoes will drop -- before the midterm election.

(Bonjean knows that 86% of the Conference "knows" this too.)

5. Below the iceberg tip, the identities and roles of many more closeted (or semi-closeted) gay Republicans connected to the Foley matter explains a lot more than the general public knows about what happened (and what didn't happen).

(Bonjean knows that 98% of the Conference "knows" this too.)

6. The House leaderships' many muscular press releases on North Korea are the cure for what ails the GOP (for one news cycle at least).

(Bonjean knows that 100% of the Conference "knows" this too.)

7. What Bonjean sometimes tries to pass off as cutesy incompetence is in fact stark stonewalling.

(Bonjean knows that 30% of reporters "knows" this too.)

8. The full Gang of 500 will read every national poll for the foreseeable future -- no matter what the data says -- as proof that the Foley scandal will cost the Republicans the House, and maybe the Senate.

(Bonjean knows that 71% of the Conference "knows" this too.)

9. Hastert is almost half as good a television spokesman as Howell Heflin.

(Bonjean knows that 32% of the Conference "knows" this too.)

10. NRCC topper Tom Reynolds is electorally dead -- and distracted.

(Bonjean knows that 69% of the Conference "knows" this too.)

11. The dysfunctional handling of this crisis tells a larger -- and accurate -- story about the ability of the current Conference leadership to work together and get things done, in good times or bad.

(Bonjean knows that 38% of the Conference "knows" this too.)

12. Democrats will take control of the House, and maybe the Senate.

(Bonjean knows that 50% of the Conference "knows" this too.)

Ron Bonjean knows these things.

Now: Who will tell the Speaker, who is doing two public events this morning on the economy in Aurora, IL. Quick: name the national news organizations who will staff those events and guess the weight of the security men who will be there?

The political highlight on President Bush's schedule is a 5:35 pm ET fundraiser for Republican Mac Collins in Macon, GA. Collins is running against Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) in one of the nine competitive House seats currently held by the Democrats.

Earlier in the day, the President and First Lady participates in a panel discussion on school safety at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, MD. Mrs. Bush speaks at 12:30 pm ET and the President speaks at 1:15 pm ET.

The President also has a 9:00 am ET meeting at the White House with Alan Garcia Perez, the president of Peru.

Sen. John McCain plans to hold an 11:00 am ET press conference in Southfield, MI to discuss North Korea's reported test of a nuclear device, and to reemphasize the need for a strong American national defense. The presser will take place immediately following a town hall event he is holding with Mike Bouchard, the Republican running against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to hold a 2:30 pm ET conference call with reporters on North Korea. According to the DSCC's Phil Singer, the call "focuses on how the North Korea development raises serious questions for Repubs on why they haven't pressured the White House to articulate a strategy for dealing with North Korea or demanded that the White House come up with a plan for victory in Iraq that enables the nation to deal with burgeoning threats like the one in North Korea or backed Democratic efforts to enhance our ability to detect nuclear weapons if they are smuggled through the ports. . ."

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) attends a breakfast for Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, who is running against Rep. Jeb Bradley (R-NH), from 9:00 am - 11:00 am ET at the home of Jane and Curtis Hoffman in Rye, NH. Murtha later stumps for Democrat Peter Welch, who is running against Republican Martha Rainville at 12:30 pm ET in Burlington, VT.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) hosts an event with Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the Democratic candidate for governor, at a residence in New York.

Former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker and Rep. Harold Ford Jr. debate at 7:00 pm ET at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, TN. On Monday, the Corker campaign circulated comments from Ford in which he said following Saturday's Memphis debate, "I ain't gonna be as nice on Tuesday in Chattanooga."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R-NY) was due to speak at an ABNY Breakfast with Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) at the Hilton at 8:15 am ET in Manhattan, before going to Brooklyn to keynote a Department of Correction Graduation Ceremony at 10:00 am ET. He returns to Manhattan for speeches at the New York Information Technology Center at 5:00 pm ET and an exhibit opening at the American Institute for Architects New York Chapter at 5:45 pm ET.

U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-MN) holds a rally with Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator David Vitter (R-LA), and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). In the evening, Kennedy squares off against Democrat Amy Klobuchar in a 7:00 pm ET debate at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.

Gubernatorial candidate John Faso (R-NY) attends a fundraiser hosted by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the St. Regis Hotel at 5:30 pm ET in New York City.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) discusses education and healthcare at a leadership summit on race hosted by the New Detroit Coalition at the Detroit Marriot Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI at 12:00 pm ET.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) begins his first of two days of campaigning with Democrats in New Hampshire. First, he speaks at Keene State College; he then headlines a Keene, NH event for Democrat Paul Hodes, who is running against Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH), at 3:00 pm ET. At 6:00 pm ET he joins the Hillsborough County Democrats for a Spaghetti Dinner at 6:00 pm ET in Nashua, NH. Tomorrow he campaigns with Shea-Porter, the Democrats' House candidate in New Hampshire's first congressional district, and New Hampshire Stonewall Democrats in Manchester, NH.

Rep. Ted Strickland (D-OH), the Democratic candidate for governor in Ohio, speaks about the economy at 1:15 pm ET and later holds a rally with Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) at 5:30 pm ET in Columbus, OH.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) stumps for Democrat Chris Carney, who is running against Rep. Don Sherwood (R-PA), at 5:00 pm ET. Carney released his second television ad yesterday which invokes allegations of abuse on the part of Rep. Sherwood from his former mistress.

Democrat Jim Webb, who has been hammered by the Allen campaign for authoring an article many years ago entitled "Why Women Can't Fight," receives the endorsement of the League of Women Voters at 11:00 am ET in Richmond, VA.

Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) and Republican Lynn Swann participate in a taped debate tonight in Philadelphia, which will air at 8:00 pm ET and again at 9:00 pm ET on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.

The House and Senate are in recess until after the election.

The Way to Win, the the new book from Mark Halperin of ABC News and John F. Harris of the Washington Post, featuring interviews with Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove on political strategy, turns one week old today.

Happy birthday, The Way to Win.

Buy your special birthday edition of the book here. LINK

Wednesday, at 7:30 am ET, Halperin and Harris will appear on C-SPAN's Washington Journal. To win a free, autographed copy of the book, all you need to do is call into the show and successfully get either of the following phrases past Steve Scully and the show's censors:

-- "Steve Scully and The Way to Win: Perfect together."

or

-- "Baba Booey and The Way to Win: Perfect together." You can listen to the fellas interviewed here by veteran talker Marty Moss-Coane of WHYY: LINK

Polls:

"An unpopular war led by a beleaguered president has pushed the Republican Party back to a deep deficit in voter preferences. But the Mark Foley scandal, while it hasn't helped, is a distant concern, with many doubting that the Democrats would've handled it any better," reports ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer. LINK

"The scandal's likeliest impact is that it forces the Republicans off the anti-terrorism message that remains their best push back against the broad discontent with the war in Iraq. The scandal has erased the minor gains the Republicans showed around the 9/11 anniversary."

"Among registered voters, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds the Democrats with a 54-41 percent lead in the congressional horse race. . . That's the biggest Democratic lead this close to Election Day in more than 20 years."

"Beneath these numbers is palpable discontent with Republican leadership -- particularly the president's -- fueled by unhappiness with the Iraq War. Sixty percent of Americans disapprove of the president's job performance overall, five points from his worst disapproval ratings, with strong disapprovers outnumbering strong approvers by a 2-1 margin. Sixty-four percent disapprove of his handling of the war in Iraq, and a record 63 percent now say it was not worth fighting."

The Washington Post's David Broder and Dan Balz report on the Washington Post-ABC News poll that shows that "Americans, by a margin of 54 percent to 35 percent, say they trust Democrats more than Republicans to deal with the biggest problems the nation is confronting." LINK

The New York Times/CBS News poll also finds Republican advantage on national security evaporated and a double digit lead for Democrats in the generic congressional match-up. LINK

"The number of Americans who approve of Mr. Bush's handling of the campaign against terrorism dropped to 46 percent from 54 percent in the past two weeks, suggesting that he failed to gain any political lift from an orchestrated set of ceremonies marking the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. In addition, the poll shows that Americans are now evenly divided over which party they think can better handle terrorism, the first time in the Bush presidency that Democrats have matched Republicans on national security, despite a concerted White House effort to seize the advantage on the issue this month," write Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder of the New York Times.

"With four weeks left before Election Day, the poll indicates that the scandal involving Mr. Foley, a former Republican congressman from Florida, is alienating Americans from Congress, and weakening a Republican Party that was already struggling to keep control of the House and Senate. By overwhelming numbers, including majorities of Republicans, Americans said that most members of Congress did not follow the same rules of behavior as average Americans, and that most members of Congress considered themselves above the law," write Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder of the New York Times. LINK

More Nagourney/Elder: ". . . Americans are more likely to say that Democrats, and not Republicans, share their moral values."

And still more: "The problems for Congress have clearly been exacerbated by the Foley scandal. Eighty percent of Americans said they considered the Foley revelations either very serious or somewhat serious. Two-thirds said that House Republicans did not initially take the warnings seriously enough, and 62 percent said they believed House Republican leaders knew before last week that Mr. Foley had sent sexually explicit messages to teenagers."

The USA Today/Gallup poll shows Democrats with a big lead in the House race. Democrats lead by 23 points in likely voters, registered voters and adults according to the poll. In a sign that the political landscape is looking like it did in 1994, nearly 3 in 10 registered voters don't think their representative should be reelected. LINK

The New York Daily News wraps the ABC and CNN polls showing most Americans believe that House Republicans covered-up details pertaining to Mark Foley's resignation. LINK

Rove says Foley matter "complicates things":

In a must-read, the Los Angeles Times' Richard Simon and Noam N. Levey have Karl Rove "conceding in a private briefing" Monday that the Foley "matter 'complicates things' for some Republican candidates who have been linked to the scandal." LINK

"In his private briefing Monday, Rove noted (sic) that with the Democrats needing just 15 seats to take control of the House, 'every seat matters.' It does not help, he suggested, 'having Foley's seat up for grabs rather than being safe and having Reynolds responsible now for fighting back on this issue.'"

"Overall, Rove sought to sound upbeat as he addressed the activists. He predicted the GOP would hold the House and Senate, but seemed to acknowledge that his hopes had been dampened in recent days."

"'I felt great about [the House] before Foley,' he said. 'But I still feel good about it.'"

A participant in the Rove call invited the Los Angeles Times to listen in on the call.

RNC ad buy suggests GOP sees OH, TN, MO as firewall:

In a must-read, the AP's David Espo reports that the RNC is "investing heavily in television advertising in Senate races in Ohio, Tennessee and Missouri in what officials describe as a firewall strategy designed to limit Democratic gains in the Nov. 7 elections and maintain the GOP majority." LINK

"The move reflects a desire on the part of Ken Mehlman, the Republican Party chairman, and other strategists to exercise more control over the drive to retain a majority, according to several Republican officials. They said the decision has caused friction with officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which historically has been the only party entity to run commercials on behalf of its candidates."

"The move also raises questions about the priority assigned by the RNC to races in other states where Republicans are in jeopardy - Pennsylvania, Montana and Rhode Island among them."

2006: House:

In a must read slugged "GOP Officials Brace for Loss Of Seven to 30 House Seats," the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei and Chris Cillizza report that GOP strategists are "all but writing off GOP open seats in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Florida (the one previously held by Foley). Party officials said that three GOP incumbents in Indiana are trailing in private polling and that seats thought safe suddenly appear imperiled. These include the open Florida seat vacated by Rep. Katherine Harris, who is running for senator." LINK

The New York Times' Hulse has the NRCC all but conceding AZ-08 -- currently held by Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) -- to the Democrats. LINK

John Broder of the New York Times looks at how the GOP's financial advantage may be its greatest line of defense this year. LINK

Ari Emanuel, brother to DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel and inspiration for Jeremy Piven's character on HBO's "Entourage," gave -- to his brother's obvious chagrin -- $1,000 to the Republican National Committee. (He's also given more than $50,000 to Democrats.) LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer analyzes Rep. Curt Weldon's (R-PA) penchant for controversy and drama. LINK

In the Iowa House race between Republican Mike Whalen and Democrat Bruce Braley, the NRCC has spent more than $1 million as compared to $672,315 for the DCCC, reports the Quad City Times. Bill Burton tells the paper that Democrats plan to release a poll today that shows the Democrat leading "48 percent to 37 percent."

Foley: how's it playing:

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) became the latest politician to donate Foley funds, reports the Dallas Morning News. LINK

Another article analyzes how the Foley fallout is affecting the district 7 race between Rep. Curt Weldon and Navy vet Joe Sestak. Sestak, using the power of military metaphor, says that Weldon should join him in asking Hastert to resign. A rep for Weldon said "there may come a time" when he would do that, but not now. LINK

Foley: the Kolbe angle:

The New York Times' Zeleny and Kirkpatrick confirm the Washington Post's reporting on a page in Rep. Kolbe's office -- as far back as 2000 -- expressing discomfort about interaction with Rep. Foley. Kolbe had no comment when reached by phone in Europe, but promised a forthcoming statement. LINK

Billy House of the Arizona Republic reports on Rep. Raul Grijalva's (D-AZ) criticism of Rep. Kolbe's actions when Notifying ex-Rep. Foley years ago stating that the "pipeline should be straight to the leadership." Democrat congressional candidate Gabrielle Gifford agrees that Kolbe "should have alerted the authorities" and if not, "he has a lot of explaining to do." LINK

Foley: the alleged drunk dorm incident:

ABC's Jake Tapper reports that GOPers "have assailed the Foley story -- ludicrously, with no evidence -- as being some nefarious plot between ABC News and their political opponents. The insinuation is that these electronic communications were held until this last month before election day. LINK

But all of this ignores the fact that Brown-Waite -- a loyal, conservative Republican -- conducted her own investigation and found evidence of Foley's behavior that had NOTHING TO DO WITH ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION."

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) told ABC News: "Even though the e-mail exchange could be perceived to be innocuous in nature, as a member of Congress who has consistently fought to protect children from predators and who also values the page program, I thought it was incumbent upon me to look further into this matter," she says. "Therefore on Thursday evening I initiated my own investigation. I discovered that Congressman Foley had made some pages uncomfortable."

2006: landscape:

ABC News' Jake Tapper looked at the battle for security moms on "Good Morning America."

"Moms are up for grabs. Why? Largely, the war in Iraq," reported Tapper based on the latest ABC News/Washington Post polls.

Tapper summed up thusly: "So married mothers with children might be the key to the balance of power in Washington, DC. The big question in Washington, DC - who's going to take control of the Congress this November - as my father used to say, 'go ask your mother'"

Politics of North Korea:

"North Korea's claimed explosion of its first nuclear bomb yesterday gave Republicans something that they have been seeking desperately for more than a week: a respite to the near-saturation coverage of the" Foley scandal, writes Josh Gerstein of the New York Sun. LINK

Gerstein includes GOP consultant Mike Murphy predicting Republicans will lose the House in November and Democratic consultant Chris Lehane asserting "this is the election where the Republicans jump the national-security shark."

The New York Post's John Podhoretz hopes -- but doesn't expect -- partisan politics remain clear of the North Korean issue. LINK

"Democrats quickly seized on the new North Korean claim as evidence that Bush has bungled his foreign policy" write the Washington Post's Michael Abramowitz and Colum Lynch in their write up the reaction to North Korea's declaration. LINK

Glenn Kessler and Peter Baker of the same newspaper have Republicans predicting that North Korea "would take the focus off the Mark Foley congressional page scandal and remind voters that it is a dangerous world best confronted by tough-minded leaders," while "...Democrats argued it would be seen as another failure of Bush's foreign policy and moved quickly to try to pin blame on the Republicans." LINK

David Sanger of the New York Times offers a must-read analysis of what a nuclear North Korea means for United States diplomatic strategy at a time when the Bush Administration is largely focused on Iraq. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

Rove spent an evening with Oklahoma Republicans, in an effort to advocate for gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) and the President's policies in Iraq. LINK

2006: Senate:

Bloomberg's Michael Forsythe and Miles Weiss report that the stock that Sen. Allen called worthless was in fact worth $1.1 million. LINK

Sen. Allen might have been working within the law when he failed to report stock options to Congress, reports Michael Shear of the Washington Post, since the Senate's disclosure instructions "say that options that are not vested or are 'contingent upon the occurrence of some future event' need not be disclosed." LINK

The Washington Post's Marc Fisher outlines how Sen. Allen got the attention off "macaca, Jewish heritage and racial slurs." LINK

The Washington Post's Michael Shear and Tim Craig recap the Allen-Webb debate from last night, highlighting that "in a campaign marked by personal attacks on character, real issues emerged Monday night." LINK

The Washington Times on the same. LINK

In a curtain-raiser for Sen. McCain campaigning for Bouchard, the Detroit News has a political scientist saying that the national GOP will "cut him loose" if he doesn't get his numbers up soon. LINK

Mark Pazniokas of the Hartford Courant details Democrat Ned Lamont's attempt to use Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-CT) own words from his 1988 campaign to show his failed promises. LINK

The Hartford Courant's Elizabeth Hamilton describes Sen. Lieberman's strength as his predictably. In a speech on Monday, voters recounted that "he didn't say anything I didn't think he'd say" and "he didn't surprise me, which is good." LINK

Maggie Haberman of the New York Post writes up the latest Sharpton/Lieberman to and fro. LINK

The New York Daily News on the same. LINK

In the Tennessee Senate race, Ford is blaming Corker for trying to mislead voters by claiming that he has never said "stay the course." LINK

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Democrat Jon Tester clashed on the Patriot Act during Monday's debate, the AP reports. LINK

"'If you repeal it, the wall goes back up between the FBI and the CIA and the DIA, the defense intelligence; they cannot connect the dots,' Burns said."

"Tester called the notion 'baloney' and continued his call for repeal of the Patriot Act despite heavy criticism from Burns."

More from the Billings Gazette: LINK

2006: Governor:

The gubernatorial candidates in Michigan will square off for the second time tonight in a televised debate. The article offers Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) and Dick DeVos (R-MI) some pointers from political scientists on how to appeal to voters without being too aggressive and/or negative. LINK

The Washington Times' S.A. Miller and Jon Ward report that current Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich has accused his Democratic challenger, Martin O'Malley to running a "Rose Garden" campaign "by ducking debates and relying on attack ads." LINK

The Boston Globe reports that the GOP lobbying group Log Cabin Republicans may not support the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts Kerry Healy (R ), because of her beliefs. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

The Los Angeles Times looks at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and his gubernatorial opponent Phil Angelides' contrasting view of the Americans dream and how their respective view play to their supporters. LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle ed board gives the governor's debate, which was held on Saturday, a thumbs down and Notes that when asked if the paper could present a live webcast of their upcoming hour-long endorsement meetings, Angelides agreed while Schwarzenegger declined. LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the business community applauds Schwarzenegger's veto of two punitive damages bills that he once sponsored. LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci and Greg Lucas have Angelides saying that the biggest news to come out of his recent debate with Schwarzenegger was that the governor said, according to Angelides, "that his special election initiatives . . . that would have cut education, taken pensions away from police officers and firefighters . . . he said those initiatives were 'good ideas.' LINK

2008: Republicans:

In her look at Gov. Mitt Romney's (R-MA) Mormon religion, the Los Angeles Times' Elizabeth Mehren gets Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, to say that evangelicals are "appalled" by customs such as marrying people after they have died and converting the dead. LINK

More Haggard: "We evangelicals view Mormons as a Christian cult group. A cult group is a group that claims exclusive revelation. And typically, it's hard to get out of these cult groups. And so Mormonism qualifies as that."

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, tells the Los Angeles Times: "If given a choice between a Mormon social conservative and a Catholic social conservative or an Episcopal social conservative or a Presbyterian social conservative, they are going to pick the Catholic or the Episcopal or the Presbyterian. But if given a choice between [former New York Mayor Rudolph W.] Giuliani and Romney, I think a lot of evangelicals would vote for Romney. We are not electing a theologian-in-chief. We are electing a commander-in-chief."

Gov. Romney angered many when he used the word, "tar baby," in a speech less than six months ago, yet he will be a speaker at a Detroit leadership summit today and highlight how to improve race relations, the Boston Herald reports. LINK

Providing fodder for future Sunday morning interviews, Sen. McCain is endorsing Republican Randy Graf, the immigration hard-liner whom Rep. Kolbe has refused to endorse, as well as Rep. J.D. "Whatever It Takes" Hayworth (R-AZ). LINK

Per the Statesman Journal, regarding the Oregon governor's race: "Rudy Giuliani is the latest high-profile Republican stumping on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Ron Saxton (R-OR) in his tightening race with incumbent Ted Kulongoski (D-OR)." Gov. Romney and Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK) have also endorsed the GOP candidate and made visits. LINK

Ohio:

Joe Hallett and Alan Johnson of the Columbus Dispatch discuss the accusations against two central Ohio evangelical megachurches who believe there isn't much difference "between what we're doing and what black churches across America have done for decades." Citing gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell's closeness to the religious right, the role of politics in black churches has been magnified as "no African-American politician I know of can win without the support of the black church." LINK

2008:

William McKenzie of the Dallas Morning News breaks down the issues in the Southwest for 2008 hopefuls. LINK

2008: Democrats:

On "Today," Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) weighed in on North Korea's nuclear test. Referring back to his visit a year ago, Richardson believes that we "now have an opportunity for framework of overall negotiations" because "the last thing we want is for them to sell their nuclear weapons." Richardson bluntly described his portrait of Kim Jong Il to be "unpredictable," "isolated," "desperate for attention" and "close to being paranoid," however, "he has nuclear weapons."

Sen. Clinton supports insurance benefits for federal workers' same-sex partners, reports the New York Post. LINK

Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) is cracking down on meth manufacturers: "Vilsack and other public officials unveiled a new additive to the fertilizer anhydrous ammonia that renders it useless to meth-makers who would steal it from farms and use it to cook the illegal drug." LINK

Ballot measures:

The Wall Street Journal's Christopher Cooper reports that American tobacco giants are spending tens of millions of dollars to defeat state ballot measures that would sharply increase excise taxes or expand smoking bans. In some cases they are even pushing rival propositions that sound like tough restrictions but would actually ease antismoking laws already on the books.

Political potpourri:

There are a record six black politicians running for governor or senator this year and all of them except for one has a very tough road ahead to victory for very different reasons, reports Bloomberg News. LINK

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