The Note: Charlie Brown Holds His Own Football

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16

President Bush and Karl Rove remain outwardly and inwardly optimistic about the Only Game in Town (keeping control of the House and Senate; see Abramowitz, Michael, "White House Upbeat About GOP Prospects," from Sunday's Washington Post LINK, which is a must-read).

New York Magazine's John Heilemann reflects the Democrats' simultaneous fear of failure and fear of success. LINK

But if you want to know why the Gang of 500 is near-unanimous on "Democrats take the House and maybe the Senate," read these words, written not by Sid Blumenthal, Bill Burton, or some punk liberal blogger -- but by conservative columnist Freddie "The Beadle" Barnes, who normally displays a Baronean Pollyannaishness about Republican prospects:

"Republicans and conservatives, brace yourselves! Strategists and consultants of both parties now believe the House is lost and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi will become speaker. At best, Republicans will cling to control of the Senate by a single seat, two at most. For many election cycles, Republicans have been the boys of October, using paid media and superior campaign skills to make up lost ground and win in November. This year, they were the boys of September, rallying strongly until that fateful day, September 29, when the Mark Foley scandal erupted. October has been a disaster so far. A strong finishing kick for Republicans, minimizing Democratic gains, is possible. They pulled one off brilliantly in President Bush's first midterm election in 2002. But recovery will be harder this time, a lot harder. . ." LINK

"The most overlooked election indicator is the level of voter enthusiasm. In every election from 1994 through 2004, Republicans were more enthusiastic than Democrats. That was a decade of Republican growth. This year Democrats are more excited. And it's measurable. In 2002, 42 percent of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic than usual about the election. Thirty-eight percent of Democrats said the same. In 2006, the numbers have flipped. Republican enthusiasm has dipped to 39 percent and Democratic enthusiasm has jumped to 48 percent. Enthusiasm affects turnout. Gloomy voters are less inclined to vote. . . "

"A veteran Republican consultant says lavish spending on TV commercials in races he's involved in has largely failed to either boost the poll numbers of his Republican candidates or drive down those of Democrats. Worse, in blue states, the Democratic crossover vote on which Republican candidates often rely has dried up. Democrats have gone home in droves."

Those are real passages from a real Fred Barnes column in the Weekly Standard (Note: not the "Weakly Standard"). (And/but Barone himself is trending downbeat. . . LINK)

Below is a fake memo, obtained by The Note when an intern accidentally e-mailed it to us, instead of to Steny Hoyer.

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To: Leader Pelosi (a/k/a The Lioness)

From: Begala, Garin, Greenberg, Hoganson, Kupper, Axelrod, Carville, and Ari

Date: 10/15/2006

Re: Winning the last three weeks

The race is about to enter the last critical twenty days. As a party, we have had serious challenges in the last few cycles with closing the deal with voters and putting what seemed like winnable elections away. This cycle should be different -- and it will be different.

The President, while still having the ability to shape the agenda and news cycle, cannot change the fact that there is a strong headwind pushing back against any effort to change voter perceptions -- the simple fact is that people are not happy with the direction of the country and the job he is doing. Bush is spitting into the wind right now.

Republicans, while still having a broad party brand (taxes, security, values) designed to turn out their voters, have diminished the power of the brand -- and its turnout capacity -- because of their failures (and don't let anyone tell you that the Foley scandal has not had a huge impact -- not only did it help stop their September momentum but it has dampened Republican voter intensity by symbolizing -- even to Republicans -- that their party is off track). And security, while still being THE issue of our times, is not the sure GOP winner it once was because of profound concerns about the Administration's basic competence. While we may still have a glass jaw on this issue, they no longer have an effective punch to take advantage of it.

In order to bring this election home, we need to keep it simple. Trust in Rahm; follow President Clinton's lead; position every campaign to benefit from the strong political winds blowing at our backs.

Here are the three keys to the last three weeks for those campaigns and candidates who understandably will not have the time to carefully read The Way to Win; listen to The Way To Win audio book; or track the 50-state national, multi-media, 24/7 roll out of The Way to Win until after the election LINK:

1. Let's keep our candidates focused ("like a laser beam") on the national "meta" narrative of this campaign -- change v. more of the same. Let's not get bogged down in 32-point programs on suburban sprawl; let's not respond or engage to the R efforts to localize these races around local or candidate specific issues; let's not somehow believe that we need to convince voters that we are nicer, smarter or have a better biography than the Republican opponent in the race (for those looking to vote Democratic in this cycle in the districts in play -- the "positive" is the message they will be sending to Bush -- not the particular merits of any individual candidate beyond the fact that your opponent's "bad" character is connected to the bad character of the entire Republican Party). Just focus on change in a very straight-forward, clear, powerful way: we can either change direction or have more of the same . . . more corruption . . . more cover-ups . . . more gross incompetence in Iraq . . . more bad guys getting more nukes . . . more people losing economic ground . . . more Bin Laden videotapes . . .

2. Play offense every hour of every day for the next three weeks. We have a very target rich environment, with issues piling up every day (sometimes every hour) that we need to seize on and use as hammer to drive the R's into the sea -- Foley e-mails and ongoing ethics committee developments; Ney guilty plea; new Abramoff revelations; nukes in North Korea; book revelation upon book revelation; Iraq bad news followed by Iraq bad news, etc. Each and every one of these issues should be deployed against our opponents in order to (a) continue to frame the race as a national race about change and (b) keep the R's off balance and playing defense on what these individual issues say about their character and the character of their party. The need to stay on the offense is critical -- these races could very well come down to who has the momentum going with them at the end (and we know that the Republicans will throw everything they can at us in the last three weeks as they fight like a drowning swimmer fighting for that last gulp of air).

To switch sports metaphors, right now we are like a boxer who has our opponent in a corner, in a crouch, covering up with blood poring into their eye -- it is IMPERATIVE that we do not let up for even a second. POUND, POUND, POUND. Just look at Kilroy taking the fight to Pryce in Ohio -- and watching Pryce break open like a soft peanut (thank you, Bob Kerrey).

3. Act like winners. Understand that the Republican game plan is to draw even or within the M.O.E. and beat us on turnout. By sticking to our change message and staying on the offensive, we can stop the races from getting this close. But, in addition, we can impact turnout by acting like winners. We need to make clear that D's are the winners in this race -- pump up positive polls; look and act like a winner; talk about winning -- because it will impact turnout and free press coverage. People who will want to vote Democratic in this cycle are doing so because they are not happy and making them feel like Democrats will actually win will give these people the added motivation they need to show up. The media coverage, which is critical in the closing weeks (especially as local TV begins to cover the races on an every day basis), will cover the campaigns through the prism of the polls.

Whatever cash advantage the Republicans may have (and it is not that much of a difference because of the Herculean effort of Rahm and Chuck and their men and women of zeal), can be swamped by the positive tone of local media coverage if Democratic candidates are perceived to be winning. Note that the White House is well aware of the importance of demonstrating confidence -- they are bragging about having more money to spend, rather than employing their usual mantra about how labor money will swamp them.

Let's follow the trajectory of the Detroit Tigers . . . given up for dead last year . . . surprising everyone with a great summer . . . An early fall swoon . . . followed by a late autumn charge to the World Series . . . good pitching beats good hitting . . . let's keep throwing the high heat at their heads.

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In the latest manifestation of the high heat, with a must-read headlined, "In Final Weeks, G.O.P. Focuses on Best Bets," the New York Times' Adam Nagourney reports that the Republican leadership has "concluded that Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio. . . is likely to be heading for defeat and are moving to reduce financial support for his race and divert party money to other embattled Republican senators." LINK

Nagourney also Notes, "Republicans are now pinning their hopes of holding the Senate on three states -- Missouri, Tennessee and, with Ohio off the table, probably Virginia -- while trying to hold on to the House by pouring money into districts where Republicans have a strong historical or registration advantage . . . "

Rep. Rodney Alexander's chief of staff, Royal Alexander (no relation), is expected to testify before the House ethics committee in the Foley matter at 10:00 am ET.

President Bush meets with Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore at 10:00 am ET in the Oval office. Tonight, Mr. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush attend a dinner with Ambassadors and Muslim leaders at the White House at 7:00 pm ET. And you can catch the first part of a three-part interview with President Bush on Bill O'Reilly this evening on Fox News. (Per Tony Snow in the morning gaggle, President Bush sits down with O'Reilly at 11:25 am ET.)

VPOTUS Dick Cheney delivers remarks at 3:25 pm ET at a rally for the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault School in Fort Campbell, KY. He then speaks at a reception at 7:10 pm ET for the Davis-Kentucky Victory Committee at a private residence in Prospect, KY.

Lynne Cheney, wife of VPOTUS Dick Cheney, attends an event with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) at the Wohlstetter Conference Center at 3:30 pm ET in Washington, DC.

Former President Bill Clinton campaigns for Gov. John Baldacci (D-ME) in Portland, ME at the University of Southern Maine at 2:00 pm ET.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos moderates a debate between Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) which airs live from the National Constitution Center at 7:00 pm ET. They also participate in a radio debate at 8:00 am ET. Both will be broadcast from Philadelphia, PA.

Gov. Mitt Romney's (R-MA) Commonwealth PAC hosts a fundraiser at 12:00 pm ET at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, DC.

Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) and his Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill debate on TV during prime time in Springfield, MO.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations from 1:00 pm ET - 2:00 pm ET in New York City.

Gubernatorial candidates Ken Blackwell (R-OH) and Rep. Ted Strickland (D-OH) debate live at 8:00 pm ET in Columbus, OH.

Iowa gubernatorial candidates Jim Nussle (R-IA) and Chet Culver (D-IA) debate live at 9:00 pm ET on the campus of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA.

National Republicans giving up on DeWine?:

In response to the aforementioned Nagourney blockbuster must-read in the New York Times, Brian Seitchik of the DeWine campaign tells The Note, "This race continues to be about the difference between Mike DeWine and Sherrod Brown. We continue to enjoy a cash on hand advantage of nearly 3 to 1. We have 4.5 million dollars to Brown's 1.2 million dollars."

RNC spokesman Aaron McLear tells The Note: "The assertion that the RNC is pulling out of Ohio is not accurate. We have been and will continue to assert a considerable level of support for Sen. DeWine."

A National Republican Senatorial Committee official puts it simply this morning: "The NRSC has not pulled out a dime in this race."

A Republican Party official adds, "We have spent more money in Ohio than any other state and that level of spending will continue through Election Day."

Wrap all of that pushback together and it still doesn't refute Nagourney's artful reporting that the GOP is "moving to reduce financial support" in that race.

McCain vs. Clinton:

The MoDo column that ratcheted things up a bit and caused Sen. Clinton to phone Sen. McCain with an apology: LINK

Ben Smith of the New York Daily News advances the early look at the McCain vs. Clinton potential 2008 match-up beyond the North Korea squabble and explores the frontrunners' differences on torture. LINK

"The comments about McCain's prisoner-of-war days put Clinton's camp in damage-control mode with five weeks left in the 2006 cycle, at a time when everyone around her has stayed on-message," wrote Maggie Haberman of the New York Post in her Sunday story on Clinton's phone call to McCain to apologize for and disassociate herself from the blind quote. LINK

(Don't miss how the New York Post characterizes Sen. Clinton's stance on the war in the paper's "Tale of the Tape.")

David Lightman of the Hartford Courant writes about the political blame game that has ensued after the North Korea nuclear test. He Notes the high, and/but mostly the low points of the McCain-Clinton-Dodd feud from last week and the polarization created by the war in Iraq. Lightman points to how politicians' current finger-pointing "violates a long-held tenet of American foreign policy, that politics stops at the water's edge during a crisis." LINK

Foley: political fallout:

In an article slugged, "A Maverick who Worries Both Parties," the New York Times' Raymond Hernandez reports on Jack Davis, the unconventional Democrat running to unseat Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-NY), head of the NRCC. LINK

On Sunday, the Chicago Sun Times' Bob Novak columnized about a Republican operative who seems to think Reynolds will definitely lose reelection and how the Foley scandal may hurt House Speaker Dennis Hastert's (R-IL) ambition to be Ambassador to Japan. LINK

ABC's Teddy Davis reports that Sheriff Brad Ellsworth, the Democrat running against Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN), has become the latest House candidate to air a Foley-related ad. LINK

Foley: Hastert:

The Washington Post's Michael Grunwald and Jim VandeHei look at the "accidental speaker" -- Coach Hastert whom they describe as looking like a "cross between actor Wilford Brimley and Jabba the Hut." LINK

Foley: FL-16:

The AP is reporting a new poll from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that has over 70 percent of respondents saying the Foley scandal would have no effect on their vote for FL-16 as well as other races. It also shows Democrat Tim Mahoney with a 48 to 41 lead over Republican replacement Joe Negron in what was previously considered a solidly Republican district. LINK

In Saturday's Los Angeles Times, Carol J. Williams had Negron telling a group of Florida voters: "People are saying you can't push the button next to Mark Foley's name. But I know that you're smarter than that." LINK

The Way to Win:

Buy the new Random House thriller, The Way to Win, by ABC News political director Mark Halperin and John F. Harris, the national politics editor of the Washington Post, here: LINK

But buy it only if you want to know how the 2008 presidential election turns out.

The Way to Win in the news :

Time: LINK

Newsweek: LINK

Maureen Dowd: LINK

Clarence Page: LINK

C-SPAN's Book TV: LINK

And the Washington Post, quoting from Dennis Hastert's autobiography today, with near-prescient product placement: "'I learned from experience that when bad things happen, don't complain,' Hastert wrote. 'You play the cards you're dealt and remember there is a way to win.'" LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

ABC's Jake Tapper and Kendall Evans write up David Kuo's bookish allegations. LINK

"Live from the suburbs of Chicago -- It's the Tony Snow Outside-the-Beltway Hour!" jokes Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times on White House press secretary Tony Snow's fundraising efforts that have made "some veteran Washington hands, including those with strong Republican ties, deeply uneasy." LINK

The Bushes of Kennebunkport:

Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News offered a Sunday must-read (chock full of blind quotes) on the discontent felt by many Bush 41 advisers with the Bush 43 Administration. LINK

Politics of Iraq:

The Los Angeles Times quotes one participant of the James Baker-led commission studying the war in Iraq as saying the panel's recommendation due out after the election will call for dramatic changes in U.S policy. LINK

"'It's not going to be 'stay the course,'' one participant said. 'The bottom line is, [current U.S. policy] isn't working. . . There's got to be another way.'"

The politics of Pelosi:

Marc Sandalow, Washington bureau chief of the San Francisco Chronicle, seems to see President Bush and Rep. Pelosi's pot-shots at one another as causing a possible problem in the future if Pelosi wins control of the House. Making fun of the President has long been a part of Pelosi's repertoire; Bush has made the Democratic leader a part of his stump speech too. LINK

This is a must read. Newsweek's Breslau, Clift, and Briscoe profile Pelosi's discipline, stump humor, and drive to be the first Madam Speaker. LINK

2006: landscape:

Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times looks at the Democrats' best region to pickup seats in November: the Northeast. LINK

In a story looking at the way in which GOP leaders "are being forced to pick and choose which of the tight races they can throw money into winning," the Wall Street Journal's Jeanne Cummings has Rep. Peter King (R-NY) not wanting to send a late check to the party's campaign committee, saying: "The concern any Republican has is: Will there be a political tsunami? Will the bottom drop out of the polls?"

Republicans are watching Ohio slip out from under them on the heels of Rep. Ney's guilty plea, the Newark Star Ledger's John Farmer reports. LINK

The AP's John Seewer Notes the huge campaign revenue that big-name politicians like President Bush and his adviser Karl Rove, Mitt Romney, Bill Clinton, and Rudy Giuliani have recently brought in for candidates around Ohio. LINK

In an op-ed that contrasts the state of the Ohio GOP with that of the Florida GOP, the Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel argues that "if congressional Republicans are facing a rout come November, it's in no small part because they've been headed down the Ohio highway. A few Supreme Court appointments and tax cuts aside, Republicans have largely abandoned the reform agenda that swept them to power in 1994. Their zeal has instead been directed at retaining power, which explains the earmarking epidemic and the Abramoff corruption that followed. Reform of Medicare and Social Security, the death tax, immigration, health care -- all fell off the map. Democrats would certainly call this agenda extreme, but it was never the existence of the platform that angered voters. It was Republicans' failure to act on it."

Jane Norman of the Des Moines Register writes up a new Iowa Poll that has Democrats favored over Republicans 46 to 36 percent in a generic match-up and wonders if the Hawkeye State will go the way of a national Democratic wave should one emerge. LINK

The South Carolina State's Lee Bandy writes that many voters in the state are disgusted with the current government. Maureen Maguire, a Mount Pleasant health care professional complained that "All they care about is being re-elected. . . and that is not what the forefathers of the country wanted." LINK

The Washington Post's Kurtz reports that Esquire magazine is making endorsements in all 504 congressional and gubernatorial races on the basis of "effectiveness and hypocrisy, not Iraq or taxes, in an idiosyncratic process that wound up backing a majority of Democrats for the House and Senate." LINK

"'We didn't come at it from any ideological standpoint,' says Executive Editor Mark Warren. 'We endorsed Ted Kennedy and Trent Lott, because of a combination of how they serve their state and how they function in the Senate.'"

2006: House:

Iowa-3 hits the $3 million mark. Jane Norman of the Des Moines Register reports that during the third quarter, the total combined fundraising in Iowa's third district rose above $3 million with Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA) raising $379,000 between July 1 and September 30 and challenger Jeff Lamberti raising $391,000. LINK

Tom Witosky, also of the Des Moines Register, profiles the race in Iowa's first congressional district. Witosky Notes something Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Mike Whalen have in common: raw political ambition. LINK

Ed Tibbets of the Quad City Times looks at the parity in spending in the third quarter. LINK

The Associated Press reported over the weekend on the ongoing FBI corruption investigation into Rep. Curt Weldon's (R-PA) daughter's lobbying activities, which caught his entire staff, "off guard." LINK

Weldon identified on Sunday who he thinks is behind the leak of that investigation. In an interview with Stephen Morse, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Weldon accused the "Democratic operative" Melanie Sloan, who has worked for Rep. John Conyers and Chuck Schumer and is currently the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), of leaking the story about the investigation to the press in order to discredit him. You can watch the interview here: LINK

The Associated Press reports that in Tom DeLay's old district, having to write in the name of your candidate may "prove to be such a chore," Democrats may prevail. LINK

Per Kristen Mack of the Houston Chronicle on Texas 22: "Democratic candidate Nick Lampson has more than four times as much cash to spend between now and Election Day as Republican write-in candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, according to campaign finance reports filed Sunday. Lampson has $1.7 million in the bank compared with Sekula-Gibbs' $403,000." LINK

The Associated Press reports that the House GOP incumbents of Connecticut are out-fundraising the Democrats. In district 4, "U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays raised $840,000 in the third quarter, outperforming Democrat Diane Farrell, who raised $580,309. Shays' campaign has more than $1.6 million in cash on hand, about double the $812,117 reported by Farrell." Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) reports having $955,527 on hand for the next three weeks, while his opponent Joe Courtney (D-CT) has about $209,000 due to a large media buy. And Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) has about $1 million on hand. Her challenger Chris Murphy (D-CT) raised less money in the third quarter but has more money on hand, about $1.9 million. LINK

"Democrat Michael Arcuri has seized the fundraising advantage for the first time from Republican Raymond A. Meier in the highly competitive battle for a House seat representing part of the Southern Tier and Central New York," writes John Machacek of the Binghamton Press. Arcuri raised $1.2 million for the entire campaign, versus Meier's $1.07 million. As for cash on hand in the homestretch, Arcuri has $462,105 while Meier has just $379,000. LINK

2006: Senate:

According to the latest numbers, Senate hopeful Tom Kean, Jr. has out-fundraised Sen. Bob Menendez, the Newark Star Ledger reports. But Joe Donohue points out that Menendez still has more money stashed away in reserve than Kean. LINK

James O'Toole of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Notes that the two debates between Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) today "offer what may be the last clear opportunity to shift political dynamics that seem to have settled into an ominous equilibrium for the Republican incumbent," whose support has stayed around 40 percent for months. LINK

Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times writes of many social conservatives rallying for their champion Rick Santorum (R-PA), whose chances for reelection continue to look bleak. LINK

Bill Nichols of USA Today reports on potential record breaking ground for women in the Senate depending on the outcome of the Minnesota and Missouri races. Note, too, scholar Dennis Simon discussing how women candidates excel in environments where scandal is front and center. LINK

And don't overlook the prospect of a record number of women in the House too.

On Sunday, the New York Daily News looked at John Spencer's uphill battle to defeat Hillary Clinton. Spencer claimed to have been promised millions of campaign dollars last year by NRSC Chairwoman Sen. Dole, but that when he went to collect some national GOP help last week in Washington, DC, he was rebuffed. LINK

In the Washington Post, Spencer Hsu calls Rep. Mark Kennedy's (R-MN) "Meet the Press" debate performance "a snapshot of Republican troubles nationwide." LINK

"'I think Kennedy did as good as he can do,' said a national GOP campaign official who watched the 40-minute debate and who lamented its initial focus on the Iraq war. 'It is just a tough issue to be talking about it in mid-October in a state like Minnesota,' said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of critiquing an ongoing campaign and candidate."

The New York Times' Alison Leigh Cowan looks at Ann Huntress Lamont, the wife of the Democratic Candidate for Connecticut Ned Lamont, describing her as the "not-so-hidden hand" behind her husband. LINK

Robert Novak of the Chicago Sun Times writes on the You Tube campaign to get Missouri voters to strike down Amendment 2, a measure that pro-life forces say will legislate human cloning. The fight is creating a sticky situation for Sen. Jim Talent and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill. LINK

Robbie Sherwood of the Arizona Republic writes that during his debate against Sen. Jon Kyle (R-AZ), Democratic challenger Jim Pederson "only lightly addressed the subject of host Kent Dana's questions and instead used his time to list a litany of criticisms of Kyl's and the Bush administration's proposals and stances". LINK

2006: Governor:

The Des Moines Register (whose new poll has the Democrat up) describes the Iowa gubernatorial candidates' stance on several issues and writes that "Chet Culver and Jim Nussle have both made increasing Iowa's production, consumption and development of renewable fuel and alternative energy a key part of their campaigns." LINK

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick's rhetoric echoes that of his former boss, President Bill Clinton, Notes Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Christopher Cooper looks at Gov. Jennifer Granholm's (D-MI) "mini-bailout" of the state's auto industry. LINK

"As economic policy, the value of Ms. Granholm's corporate largess is questionable. . . But as a political move, the drumbeat of business-subsidy announcements looks to be working for the 47-year-old incumbent. She recently took a 50-45 poll lead against an opponent she trailed in July."

The Schwarzenegger Era:

Despite a slow start as governor and views more conservative than the paper, the Los Angeles Times editorial board still decided, on Sunday, to praise and endorse Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) as a "pragmatic" leader arguing he "deserves a sequel." LINK

Samantha Young of the AP writes up Gov. Schwarzenegger's visit to NY to promote a bi-coastal emissions initiative in "Schwarzenegger's latest move to address global warming -- an issue that has often put the Republican governor at odds with the Bush administration." LINK

Bill Clinton in Iowa:

The Washington Post's Dan Balz traveled to Des Moines to cover the FPOTUS. In his story, Balz includes a John Edwards-supporting Rob Tully saying "I think Hillary's got a problem with just about everybody with that under-the-radar thing of 'she can't win.'" LINK

He's also got Bruce Stone, a liberal activist who attended Saturday's Bill Clinton dinner, saying, ". . . the only way you'd get me to vote for Hillary is to tell me it's a package deal.'"

"Iowa Democrats really like Hillary Clinton - and they love Bill - but they're not convinced the junior senator from New York can win a presidential election," writes the New York Daily News' McAuliff. LINK

The Washington Times' Eric Pfeiffer writes that "few doubted" that Bill Clinton was present in Iowa as a "surrogate" for his wife. LINK

From Michael McAuliff's Sunday New York Daily News coverage: "'This is about Bill, but it sure greases the skids for her,' said Monica McCarthy, chairwoman of the Union County Democratic Party." LINK

In Sunday's Washington Post, Dan Balz called Clinton's Iowa speech as much a "tutorial as a political call to arms." LINK

Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson Noted, "Clinton did not take questions from reporters nor did Clinton comment directly about his wife's potential bid for the job he used to have." LINK

2008: conventions:

The New York Times' Cardwell wrote on Saturday of the potential fundraising obstacles Michael Bloomberg may face in trying to woo the DNC to New York for its 2008 convention. LINK

(Perhaps the article itself will cause some of those obstacles to disappear.)

2008: Republicans:

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) addressed social conservatives in Boston last night calling for a ban against gay marriage at an event in a Boston Baptist Church. The event was organized so it would be simulcast on Christian TV and the Boston Herald's Jessica Fargen reports his speech had the potential to reach 80 million households. LINK

In Sunday's Washington Post, Chris Cillizza and Zachary Goldfarb reported that Gov. Romney's RGA has raised "$8.5 million over the past three months and has now raked in $20 million in 2006 alone." LINK

The AP reports that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) travels to South Dakota on Tuesday after some convincing by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who told him that "we shared a border with Iowa and he may be able to get some Iowa media interest". LINK

2008: Democrats:

Hillary Clinton unsurprisingly received the New York Times endorsement on Sunday. LINK

The editorial board looked beyond 2006 in its endorsement: "We enthusiastically endorse Mrs. Clinton for re-election, while watching with interest to see if she can convince the country that she has as much aptitude for the presidency as she does for her current job. Her extraordinary discipline might help her to avoid mistakes during a presidential campaign, to run a race that will not center on some symbolic slip-up. But can she conjure up a vision of the future for a nation desperately in need of inspiration and real leadership? Can she speak to the great issues of the day directly, without carefully trimming every sentence to steer clear of controversy?"

In this week's cover story, Time's Joe Klein questioned Sen. Obama's ability to "answer the tough questions." When asked whether he would run in 2008, Obama stated that after the elections are over, he would "think about how I can be most useful to the country and how I can reconcile that with being a good dad and a good husband." Klein certainly believes that "in a semiotic dance of presidential politics is definitely not a no." LINK

Note Klein's unhappiness with Obama's failure to map out a health care plan. On Sunday the AP reported on Sen. Kerry's strong 2008 language while rallying the New Hampshire Democratic troops. LINK

In a Sunday Washington Post story on Sen. Kerry's New Hampshire speech, Dan Balz wrote that it was "as if the Kerry of 2006 was channeling the Howard Dean of 2003." LINK

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times previews the Obama mania about to unfold with the release of his new book tomorrow. LINK

Time magazine's excerpt from "The Audacity of Hope." LINK

The Washington Post's Sebastian Mallaby rips Sen. Evan Bayh's (D-IN) centrist credentials, accusing him of a "sell-out to a self-serving lobby" because of a letter he wrote to Senate colleagues urging them to oppose what Bayh called "documented unfair trade" in a type of steel that's used in vehicles. LINK

"With Mark Warner out of the 2008 Demstakes, the chief anti-Hillary centrist is Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana. This is a depressing commentary on the state of the Democratic Party. Bayh may have cleared his schedule to woo Warner supporters on Thursday. But he has yet to prove himself a real contender -- and he may not be a real centrist, either." Josh Gerstein in the New York Sun on Soros giving to Wes Clark. LINK

Politics of beauty:

In Saturday's Washington Post, Shailagh Murray looked at the "chiseled" Democratic features and what it means for the party's hopes in November. LINK

Political potpourri:

The Boston Globe's Brian McGonigle Notes that the new phenomenon of MySpace.com, isn't immune to national political leaders. Sens. Kennedy and Kerry both have pages, with Kerry being profiled as loving Harry Potter. Meanwhile President Bush has many pages and his buddies including Osama Bin Laden, but not VP Dick Cheney. LINK

Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times showed why she is simply one of the best scribes out there in her Sunday Week-in-Review piece that looked at just how similar Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Bloomberg are -- despite their physical differences. LINK

The political week ahead:

On Tuesday, FLOTUS Laura Bush attends "Teddy Roosevelt and the Treasure of URSA Major" at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Jon Tester (D-MT) debate in Billings, MT. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) launches his book, "The Audacity of Hope." The Michigan Republican Party features Gov Mitt Romney (R-MA) in their Countdown to Victory Dinner in Grand Rapids, MI. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Fred Bergsten of the Institute for International Economics debate "Economic Patriotism, The Choice Between Free Trade and Fair Trade" in Washington, DC.

On Wednesday, Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA) testifies to the House Ethics Committee in Washington, DC. DNC Chair Howard Dean and Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D-OR) host a GOTV rally for the Oregon Democratic Party in Portland OR. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Democratic opponent Jim Pederson debate in Tucson, AZ. Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) have their final debate in Kansas City, MO. Senate candidates Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Mike Bouchard hold their second debate on Michigan Public Television. The National Press Club hosts a luncheon with Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) on the midterm elections in Washington, DC.

On Thursday, John Boehner testifies to the House Ethics Committee in Washington, DC. Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) participate in a televised debate in Toledo, OH. DNC Chair Howard Dean attends a forum at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN. Hank Aaron campaigns for Governor Jim Doyle (D-WI) in Madison, WI. Newt Gingrich speaks at the Lean Sigma Healthcare Transformation Summit in Tempe, AZ.

On Friday, Karl Rove is scheduled to make an appearance at the Erie County GOP Fundraising Dinner in Buffalo, NY. DNC Chair Howard Dean campaigns with Senate candidate Ned Lamont (D-CT) and House candidate John DeStefano (D-CT) in Hartford, CT. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and her opponent John Spencer (R-NY) participate in their first televised debate in Rochester, NY. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Jim Pederson (D-AZ) debate in Flagstaff, AZ.

Correction:

We accidentally referred to Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) as a "former Congressman" in Friday's edition of The Note. Mr. Ney still represents Ohio's 18th congressional district. Ney's lawyers have said he intends to resign in the comings weeks.

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