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

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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