The Note: Asking Ourselves Questions

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12

Post-modern evidence that the House page scandal has not decisively changed the midterm equation:

1. Despite the confluence of the Bush-Hastert event this evening, the Kirk Fordham testimony before the ethics committee, and the Washington Post revealing fissures in the Speaker's office LINK, the Old Media and the New Media are not foaming at the mouth about the story at this hour.

2. Other news -- tin-pot dictators with nukes, Iraqi troop levels, planes into buildings -- can apparently effortlessly knock the pages off the front pages.

3. Nancy Pelosi's dogged opposition to missile defense, Harry Reid's land deals, and Sandy Berger's sticky fingers -- one is sure hearing a lot about those matters these days.

4. Dean David Broder -- all but rooting for a Democratic takeover of the congress -- says the Foley scandal "is shifting few votes." LINK

5. The Note defies you to name a competitive Senate race that has been impacted by the Mark Foley matter, and any formerly competitive Senate races now in play because of it.

6. Despite the New York Times highlighting one of the (at most) dozen or so House races that have been impacted by Foley (probably giving Democrats nearly half the seats they need to take back control -- no small thing), the House playing field has not been dramatically altered. (And Note the AP's masterful Espo reporting that the GOP is putting major coin into the Foley race. LINK

) 6. Dick Morris says so. LINK

7. Here comes the avalanche of candidate, party, and shadowy 527 ads (and other voter communication) that will help Republicans define Democrats. LINK

8. Speaketh the super-sage Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report: "Republicans will have enough time to turn a last minute problem race around. . . . The bulk of the most vulnerable races for Republicans have been engaged for weeks - or in some cases months. As such, there is no the pressure on Republicans to spend the last few weeks framing the debate or defining their opponents. It's already been done." LINK

9. The swagger is back in the POTUS walk and talk.

The two highlights on today's schedule: Kirk Fordham's testimony before the House Ethics Committee, and tonight's 6:35 pm ET Chicago fundraiser with President Bush and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL).

Tonight's Hastert-Bush fundraiser, which will take place at the Chicago Hilton, is designed to benefit House candidates David McSweeney and Peter Roskam as well as the Illinois Congressional Victory Committee 2006.

McSweeney is challenging one-term Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean (D-IL) in Illinois 8th district and Peter Roskam is running against Democratic Iraq war vet Tammy Duckworth to replace retiring Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL).

The Chicago Area chapter of the Code Pink organization holds a protest against Speaker Hastert in front of his office at 10:30 am ET in Batavia, IL. Protesters are calling the event "Housecleaning" and will be using aprons, housecoats, brooms, and sponge as props.

Earlier in the day, President Bush speaks about energy at 1:20 pm ET in St. Louis, MO.

Attempting to keep civility and ethics on the front burner, Democratic Reps. Pelosi, Waxman, and Slaughter plan to hold a conference call with some regional ed boards on the topic today. Minority Leader Pelosi is in Portland, OR this afternoon participating in an event on civility and ethics there.

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