The Note: Bush Politics Versus Clinton Politics

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18

Why do conservatives think the Old Media is biased against them? Let's see: Could it be the New York Times' poll suggesting GOP doom in Ohio? LINK

Or the Washington Post measuring new drapes for Nancy Pelosi? LINK

Or the Los Angeles Times casually outing senior Republican aides as gay? LINK

Or the obsession with Obama for President? LINK

Or the man Speaker Hastert terms an adviser to Bill Clinton, "Richard" Morris, declaring the House and Senate are going Democratic? LINK

But it is more likely because of the press' steady drumbeat on the Democrats-are-going-to-win-and-the-Iraq-war-is-going-badly-and-North-Korea-is-a-big-problem-and-House-leaders-knew-more-about-Foley-than-they-claim that is defining the meta-narrative for the midterms in the Old Media.

Or maybe it is because of the chips that Democratic-friendly media types have planted into the brains of all the Republican strategists who are spouting downbeat background quotes as fast as any of us can type them up?

Befitting the generation-long cycle of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton politics that has defined American life, ED-Minus 20 brings us another marquee 43-42 matchup:

The big event in the President's day is, of course, his sit-down interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. Iraq, North Korea, Iran, the midterm election are all on the table. Be sure to tune into "World News with Charles Gibson" tonight and "Good Morning America" tomorrow. And then you will not want to miss additional excerpts on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday.

And the other big event occurs when former President Bill Clinton speaks at a Center for American Progress conference at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The chatfest -- which also features Queen Noor of Jordan and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) -- was scheduled to begin this morning at 8:15 am ET, with the former President taking to the podium a few minutes before 10:30 am ET.

Per a Clinton intimate: "Marking the 15th anniversary of his New Covenant speech, President Clinton will deliver a major address that will define the progressive governing philosophy that he employed with great success as president and during which America enjoyed unprecedented peace and prosperity in contrast to the extremist policies of the right-wing Republicans who have controlled Washington with such disastrous results. And he will talk about how we as a country get back to a time where our leaders govern based on reason and evidence -- not ideology and attack."

Note predictions: Clinton might not start on time, and he might not take Bush to the woodshed. But the latter is more likely than the former.

(President Bush also discusses No Child Left Behind at Waldo Falkener Elementary School at 2:00 pm ET and attends a private RNC dinner at 5:30 pm ET in Greensboro, NC. The RNC expects 620 attendees and roughly $900,000 will be added to its coffers.)

Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA) testifies before the House Ethics Committee in Washington, DC. Tomorrow, House Clerk Jeff Trandahl and House Majority Leader John Boehner are expected to testify.

Be sure to check out the rest of the day's political events below.

2006: landscape:

In his latest must-read column for The Hill, Dick Morris takes to a recent Gallup poll to describe significant disaffection among the Republican base and paints a Republican apocalypse where they lose virtually every competitive race. LINK

"Karl Rove's heroic efforts to preserve its fealty have failed to move Republican base voters. Karl cannot compensate for Bush's failure to project his issues as the midterm disaster for the Republican Party nears," writes Morris.

In yet another must-read, the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei reports that James Carville, Stan Greenberg, the DCCC's Emanuel and others "are now arguing in private deliberations that Democrats have a historic chance to not only win the House but also capture enough seats to build an effective governing majority. They are telling donors that it is worth the risk to shoot for a 40-plus seat gain, which would give Democrats a large enough majority to guarantee that they could move legislation and carry out investigations of the Bush administration." LINK

Note Harold Ickes' somewhat less than enthusiastic outlook and his inability to raise the money he had hoped he would thus far for his 527.

The Washington Times' Joseph Curl contrasts Karl Rove's confident prediction Tuesday that GOPers will hold the House and Senate with Vice President Cheney's more tepid comment on Rush Limbaugh's radio program that Republicans have a "good shot" at holding the House. LINK

In his lunch with reporters and editors of the Washington Times, Rove spoke about skewed press coverage of the election as well as alleged Democratic weakness on "terrorist-surveillance" and "terrorist-interrogation." He also Noted that "Between now and the election, we will spend $100 million in target House and Senate races in the next 21 days."

Rove, who receives 68 polls a week for Senate, governor and House races, said, "My head is about ready to explode."

Note, too, that Rove sees little Foley effect on the outcome of the midterms.

And Note too John Boehner's seemingly wilting poker face on Fox and Friends this morning.

A recent Gallup poll finds 23% approving of the job Congress is doing, with 71% disapproving, per the New York Daily News. The poll says the public's approval of Congress remains at lows not seen since Republicans kicked Democrats out of power in 1994,write Kenneth Bazinet and Michael McAuliff. LINK

The Hill's Kaplan and Blake write that fundraising could easily be the deciding factor in many of the country's closest House and Senate races, but warns that "history shows that money has its limits." LINK

The Way to Win:

In a column headlined "Which Way to Win," the Washington Post's David Ignatius writes about the new book The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008 by "two of the media's best political observers," both of whom are familiar to Note readers. LINK

Ignatius looks the concepts of "Clinton Politics" and "Bush Politics" and tries to divine how 2006 will play out.

One of the book's authors, John F. Harris of the Washington Post, is available to you around the world today, in a Live Talk chat sponsored by Newsweek at 1 pm ET.

You can submit your questions to Mr. Harris here. LINK

("What is Jim VandeHei really like?" has been asked and answered.) If you are now ready to buy your own copy of The Way to Win, you can do that here. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

Under a splashy "Elections May Leave Bush An Early Lame Duck" headline, the Washington Post's Peter Baker and Michael Fletcher report that President Bush "has been meeting privately with Cabinet secretaries in recent weeks to map out an agenda for his final two years in office. The White House says it is not making contingency plans for a Democratic win, but Bush advisers are bracing for what they privately recognize is the increasing likelihood." LINK

"A Democratic victory, analysts in both parties said, could mean that some of Bush's tax cuts would not be renewed, attempts to revive his Social Security investment plan would be doomed and efforts to further broaden national security powers in the face of civil liberties concerns would be thwarted."

"Most worrisome to the White House is the subpoena power that Democrats would gain . . ."

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan looks at the wrangling between the White House and Congress over the signing of a bill authorizing 700 miles of fence on the U.S.-Mexico border. President Bush has already signed a spending bill with money for some fencing, but has yet to sign the bill actually authorizing the double-wall fence along nearly 700 miles of the border.The questions being worked out are: when will he sign it? And: will it be signed in public or private? LINK

Politics of Iraq:

Columnist Tom Friedman of the New York Times calls the violence in Iraq the biggest "October surprise" of the 2006 election cycle, penning that if violence continues to escalate, then Bush may be left with only his dog Barney's support. LINK

Sen. Hutchison (R-TX), the President's Senator, has described the situation in Iraq as "chaos" and now believes its time to consider splitting the country into semiautonomous regions, Notes the Dallas Morning News. LINK

Kolbe:

The Washington Post is reporting that it has learned of a "potentially inappropriate incident" involving Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and a male who was a page at the time of the incident. LINK

The former page "recently told the House clerk's office and the FBI about an encounter with the Arizona Republican that occurred about five years ago when he was 16, according to someone familiar with the man's account. The page told authorities that he was 'uncomfortable with a particular social encounter' that involved physical contact when he and Kolbe were alone, the source said yesterday."

"Kolbe, the only openly gay Republican in Congress, will retire this year." The AP's Larry Margasak also looks into reports of Kolbe's camping trips with former staffers and pages in 1996. LINK

Foley: political fallout:

Johanna Neuman of the Los Angeles Times has an edgey look at how some members of the socially conservative wing of the Republican Party are striking back against gay influence within the party. Some social conservatives are calling for a "pink purge" charging that the GOP's effort to broaden its appeal is potentially depressing the base. Be sure to Note the reaction to Secretary Rice's swearing-in ceremony for US Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul, as well as the near naming of names. LINK

With less than three weeks until the election, aides to the House Republican leadership are trying to steer the national media away from the Foley scandal and saturate local press outlets with their messages on Iraq and taxes. The Hill's Patrick O'Connor has more. LINK

The Hill's Jeffrey Young Notes that House GOPers are not the only ones looking to distance themselves from Foley, as lobbyists, and corporate and trade association PACs have followed suit and are asking for their campaign donations back. LINK

Foley: the healing process:

ABC News' Jake Tapper Notes that in the coming days disgraced former Rep. Foley will disclose the identity of the priest he claims molested him as a young teen, but criminal charges against the priest remain unlikely. LINK

The Miami Herald on the same: LINK

Foley: ethics committee investigation:

Andrew Taylor of the AP Notes that Rep. Rodney Alexander ( R –LA) prepares to testify in front of the House ethics committee today. LINK

Per the New York Times' Jeff Zeleny, former House clerk Jeff Trandahl's testimony this Thursday could "corroborate -- or contradict -- accusations that Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's office knew about Mr. Foley's behavior at least three years ago." LINK

As always, Zeleny is the master of color.

Foley: FL-16:

Jennifer Moodey Pierda of the Miami Herald reports on the GOP's outreach efforts to Republicans via email to Iraq and possibly other countries reminding them to vote Republican in order to save the GOP seat in Florida's 16th congressional district. LINK

The Dukester:

"An executive summary of an internal House Intelligence Committee report released Tuesday by the panel's top Democrat gives the fullest accounting to date of how disgraced ex-congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) used the intelligence panel and its professional staff to fund two defense contractors, who in turn, bribed him" reads Roxana Tiron's lede in The Hill. LINK

The Los Angeles Times: LINK

The New York Times: LINK

2006: House:

The Wall Street Journal's Jeanne Cummings reports that Democratic opponents of Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT), Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA), and Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) are in a strong position financially vis a vis their GOP opponent. Meanwhile, Democrat Tammy Duckworth "looks to have miscalculated financially, and hampered her campaign's ability to compete in the final weeks."

"Ms. Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, has raised roughly $2.8 million. But she spent the bulk of it in September on television ads responding to negative commercials against her by the House Republican committee. Heading into the home stretch, she now reports having $206,000 in the bank while her Republican opponent, Peter Roskam, has $1.5 million."

The Chicago Tribune endorses Duckworth today. LINK

"A record 22 Democratic candidates have raised at least $1 million each to challenge incumbents in the most competitive House races, another sign that Republican control of the chamber is in jeopardy in next month's election," reports Bloomberg News. LINK

The Washington Post's R. Jeffrey Smith and Carol D. Leonnig have new details on the FBI's investigation of whether Curt Weldon used his influence to benefit himself or his daughter. LINK

Elana Schor of The Hill takes a closer look at Weldon's relationship with Russian oil and gas trader Itera group, whose Florida office was raided by the FBI this week. LINK

Joe Conason from the New York Observer traces Weldon's ascension to power and what could be his coup de grace. LINK

On the eve of President Bush's campaign visit for embattled and scandal-plauged Rep. Don Sherwood (R-PA), the DCCC is reminding reporters this morning that the President declared this week, "National Character Counts Week." LINK

Even with so many voters dissatisfied with President Bush and the Iraq war, Rep. Thelma Drake (R-VA) is one of many Republicans candidates who are betting illegal immigration will energize conservative turnout this year, reports Nicholas Johnston of Bloomberg News. LINK

ABC's Teddy Davis reported Tuesday that the DCCC's independent expenditure will soon start advertising in the first congressional district of Minnesota. "The target? Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-MN), a GOP House member who offered a grim assessment about conditions in Iraq after returning from the war-torn country in July of this year. Gutknecht's grim assessment, in which he said that a partial withdrawal might be wise, sent shockwaves through political circles because it followed his saying, 'Members, now is not the time to go wobbly,' during a June 15, 2006 debate on the floor of the House about Iraq." LINK

Republican Randy Graf and Democrat Gabrielle Giffords sat down for a debate last night where each questioned their opponent's record. Iraq, crime, and immigration were also central components of the debate. The Arizona Daily Star has the details. LINK

The Hill's Jeffrey Young reports on a new DCCC poll that shows Patrick Murphy (D-PA) leading freshman Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) 44 to 40 percent, while Noting that Murphy outfundraised Fitzpatrick by some $246,000 this quarter and enjoys a $200,000 cash on hand advantage. LINK

The Cincinnati Enquirer Notes that Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) is being attacked by Democratic challenger John Cranley for taking pay raises while voting against the minimum wage while in Congress. LINK

That line of attack comes straight from the national Democratic playbook. USA Today's Andrea Stone takes a closer look. LINK

"A Brooklyn Park minister's church-delivered endorsement of congressional candidate Michele Bachmann has prompted a formal complaint to the IRS and led a church official to acknowledge that the endorsement was inappropriate," reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Pamela Miller. LINK

First Lady Laura Bush is expected to campaign in Minnesota next Wednesday for congressional candidate Michelle Bachmann, Notes the Minneapolis Star Tribune. LINK

The New York Observer's Jason Horowitz colorfully profiles the potential "Ways and Means Czar" Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and the authority he'd bring to the tax-writing committee. LINK

2006: Senate:

At yesterday's pen and pad briefing, DSCC guru Sen. Schumer (D-NY) put a $20 million price tag on his committee's GOTV effort for the cycle and took particular pride in creating voter lists in states where there were none, Missouri and Montana. Here's more on Schumer's outlook from ABC News' Catrin Jones. LINK

The New York Times' John Broder and Megan Thee break down the recent New York Times/CBS News poll in an article titled "Alarm Bells for GOP in Battleground State," which shows Ohio voters more trusting of the Democrats to handle the economy and more suspecting of Republicans being prone to political corruption. And don't miss that 14 point lead Rep. Brown (D-OH) is holding over Sen. DeWine (R-OH) in the poll. LINK

In its endorsement of Democrat Jim Webb, the Washington Post writes of Sen. Allen: "Many of the initiatives that Mr. Allen has undertaken in the Senate are the easy stuff . . . He is no one's idea of a heavyweight in the Senate." LINK

Alexander Bolton of The Hill contrasts the very different campaigning styles of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his opponent Tom Kean, Jr (R-NJ). LINK

The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes that many see Tennessee as part of the three-state "firewall" that the Republican Party must retain to hold the Senate and Notes that Republican candidate Bob Corker has outspent Democratic candidate Harold Ford Jr. by $3 million. LINK

The Hartford Courant reports that Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont's charge that Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) "is George Bush's point man" on the personalization/privatization of Social Security is an overstatement, but that Sen. Lieberman has clearly been at both sides of the Social Security debate. LINK

"For the first time, Burns publicly expressed some concern about how effectively the U.S. is waging the war in Iraq. He echoed the views of Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner, who recently returned from a trip to Iraq," reports the Billings Gazette on the sixth debate in the Montana Senate race. LINK

Democratic Senate candidate Jack Carter needed to score big in Sunday's debate to tighten his race with incumbent Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), but Carter failed to take advantage of the situation, Notes the Las Vegas Sun's Mishak. LINK

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) dropped in for some fundraising with Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) yesterday, Notes the Minneapolis Star Tribune. LINK

2006: Governor:

"With Republican Ken Blackwell trailing by double digits in almost every poll, Blackwell's campaign Tuesday tried to link his Democratic opponent to child sex predators - and the state Republican spokesman even raised questions about Ted Strickland's sexuality," writes the Cincinnati Enquirer's Jon Craig. LINK

Brian Mooney of the Boston Globe reports on the labor union help being provided to Deval Patrick's campaign on the airwaves. LINK

"Deval Patrick's convicted rapist brother-in-law, who landed in the epicenter of a storm of controversy last week, has registered with the state Sex Offender Registry Board," reports the Boston Herald's Dave Wedge. LINK

Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald reports on journalists donating to Baystate gubernatorial campaigns. LINK

The Detroit News Notes that Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) and Republican challenger Dick DeVos have both ignored Michigan's image as a labor stronghold and what that means for managing the state's transition to a 21st-century "knowledge economy." LINK

In a front-page story, the New York Times' Patrick Healy profiles John Faso, Republican candidate for New York governor waging an uphill battle against his popular Democratic opponent Eliot Spitzer. LINK

McCain vs. Clinton:

The New York Times' Maureen Dowd (who plays Ben Smith's blog musings on Sen. Clinton's wearing of crosses up high in her column) cleverly attempts to get to the bottom of the Estonia vodka drinking vignette in the McCain/Clinton relationship as she attempts to unearth Sen. Clinton's "subterranean saucy side". LINK

2008:

In a New York Daily News "exclusive," Michael Saul reveals Mayor Bloomberg's failed attempt to point out his daughter's financial ties to auto company Audi during his appearance at an Audi event last week. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Gov. Mitt Romney's Commonwealth PAC announced some boffo hires yesterday including Jeb Bush's former adviser Sally Bradshaw, former Bush 43 speechwriter Noam Neusner, veteran Washington political operative Barbara Comstock, and Capitol Hill press secretary Jared Young.

The Hotline's "On Call" blog and US News & World Report's Paul Bedard write up the announcements too. LINK and LINK

Note the hovering presence of Alex Castellanos, and the likelihood that the 2008 Republican presidential nomination will be decided in Old Town, Alexandria.

Romney spokesguy Eric Fehrnstrom does some walking back of the governor's comments on CNN yesterday regarding his thoughts on Kerry Healey's prospect for victory. The Boston Globe's Lisa Wangsness has the story. LINK

Romney also declared Arkansas as Blue a state as New York and declared Democrats will have a majority of the nation's governorships at the end of election night. LINK

(Expectations setting aside, we're thinking he may have strayed a bit from his prepared talking points.)

The New York Post's Maggie Haberman writes up Rudy Giuliani's efforts to scare up some cash for the NRSC. LINK

Steve Kornacki writes in the New York Observer that Giuliani's success in the Republican primaries hinges on first-in-the-nation New Hampshire, but he has to get by a man named McCain first. LINK

The AP's Marc Humbert reports that Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) has contributed $42,000 in campaign cash to the New Hampshire GOP, including $5,000 a piece to Republican Reps. Jeb Bradley and Charless Bass, and $2,000 to gubernatorial candidate Jim Coburn.LINK

2008: Democrats:

Donna Brazile tells the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is constantly calling her and having quiet conversations with colleagues about a possible 2008 presidential bid. LINK

David Axelrod tries to calm things down within the piece, but not all that much! In an editorial excoriating various Democrats as the "Wal-Mart Posse," the Wall Street Journal's ed board urges someone to ask Sen. Clinton, who recently returned a $5,000 campaign contribution from Wal-Mart to protest its "allegedly inadequate health care benefits," if "she's returned her director's pay, with interest."

The Wall Street Journal writes that according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Sen. Clinton was paid "$18,000 per year plus $1,500 for every meeting near the end of her tenure" when she sat on Wal-Mart's board.

The Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont reports Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) criticized President Bush on his North Korea policy at a rally the other day, calling him "a prisoner of rigid ideology." LINK

Also in Iowa, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) used the stump to criticize the law just signed into effect to create military tribunals for suspected terrorists as it "erodes America's moral authority," writes Erin Jordan of the Des Moines Register. LINK

Casting and counting:

"Georgia's State Election Board on Tuesday approved a letter that will inform more than 300,000 voters that they can cast a ballot on Nov. 7 without presenting a photo ID," the AP reports. LINK

More Wednesday schedule items:

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) was scheduled to join Maine gubernatorial candidate Chandler Woodcok (R-MA) for a campaign event at 9:00 am ET. Romney and Woodcock were schedule to have a joint press conference at 9:45 am ET.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was scheduled to attend a breakfast fundraiser for the Conservative Principles PAC at 8:00 am ET in Sioux City, IA. He then fundraises for Jeff Lamberti (R-IA) at 11:30 am ET in Des Moines and tours an ethanol plant with local candidates in Nevada, IA. McCain also tapes an interview with MSNBC's Hardball at 4:00 pm ET at Iowa State University.

FLOTUS Laura Bush speaks at a Dee Margo for Texas Senate luncheon at 12:00 pm ET in El Paso, TX.

Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) plans to appear on Fox News at 1:00 pm ET from New York City. Also, be sure to Note Huckabee in Sports Illustrated in Richard Deitsch's column ("Q & A with Mike Huckabee: Preparing to run the New York City Marathon on Nov. 5"). LINK

And Huckabee was bigger than life on Imus this morning, endorsing Imus' endorsement of Sen. McCain.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) speaks with Charlie Cook about the midterm elections, policy issues, and the public mood at the Center for American Progress at 7:00 pm ET.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Democratic challenger Jim Pederson debate at 3:30 pm ET in Tucson, AZ.

Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) and Democratic candidate Claire McCaskill will hold the last of their 4th debate in 11 days in Kansas City, MO.

Michigan Senate candidates Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Mike Bouchard hold their second debate on Michigan Public Television.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean campaigns with Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D-OR) who is facing a tough re-election challenge against Republican Ron Saxton in Portland, OR at 9:00 pm ET.

The National Press Club hosts a luncheon with Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) on the upcoming midterms in Washington, DC at 12:30 pm ET. Late word from the DCCC indicates Emanuel is feeling ill and may not be able to participate in the event.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) tours the Cedar Falls Fire Station and with Bruce Braley in Cedar Falls, IA at 8:00 am ET and a fundraiser with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) in Waukee, IA.

Senatorial candidate Claire McCaskill and Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) discuss national security for Project Victory '06 at 10:30 am ET in Kansas City, MO.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney campaigns with Nevada Democrats Dina Titus, Jack Carter, and Tessa Hafen at a GOTV rally in Henderson, NV at 3:30 pm ET.

Gov. Tom Kean (R-NJ) moves to center stage in his son's campaign for the United States Senate when the two Keans hold an 11:00 am ET press conference in Union, NJ.

Evangelical Leaders Jim Wallace, Richard Land, Ted Haggard, and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez host a conference call asking for an immediate meeting with President Bush to discuss the genocide in Darfur at 11:00 am ET.

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