The Note: Spending All the Time in the Vanity Factory

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31

The environment for the last week of the midterm season is the bitter, angry Freak Show that now defines the center of American politics.

(Oh, and it is the second consecutive day in a row with no actual news-of-day political lede, beyond looming POTUS words.)

No one is questioning anyone else's patriotism, of course, but when Dick Cheney and Charlie Rangel can't play nice, it is obvious that something has gone off the tracks, and no amount of Gergen-Sheekey-Ornstein kumbayaing (or Note insiderdom. . .) can change the vector direction.

And/but we are all about common ground here. So let's start with things that Howard Dean and Karl Rove both agree with (or, at least, should agree with): 1. It is hard to beat an incumbent. 2. Both turning out the base AND winning the votes of independents matter, with Stu Rothenberg reminding us about independents today. LINK

3. The same people in politics and media overreact in the same way to the sort-of-the-same small-sample public polls that come out within a week of the election every two years.

4. There are no exit polls in House races.

5. In a major change, all of the exit poll results will be available to only a handful of sequestered staffers from the consortium members until 5 pm ET, meaning the data will not be on Drudge until 5:10 ET at the earliest (unless something goes wrong). LINK

6. Every news organization makes mistakes in how they deal with polls and exit polls; not every news organization makes these mistakes based on ideological bias.

7. The conservative base (HEARTS) Sean Hannity.

8. The Republicans would like Charlie Rangel (and Howard Dean) front and center in the last week; the Democrats would like Dick Cheney (and Karl Rove) front and center in the last week.

President Bush was scheduled to meet with the Special Envoy for Sudan at the White House this morning at 9:00 am ET. The White House press pool will be ushered in at the end of the meeting perhaps to capture some presidential comments on reports that North Korea is rejoining six party talks.

Highlighting the GOP's hopes of picking up Democratic seats in Georgia, President Bush campaigns in Georgia for the second day in a row. He holds a 5:00 pm ET rally in Perry, GA. Perry, GA is currently represented by Rep. Mac Collins (R-GA) who is being challenged by Democrat Jim Marshall. Mr. Bush appears in part two of his interview on Fox News Channel's "Hannity and Colmes" at 9 pm ET.

First Lady Laura Bush delivers remarks at a North Carolina rally for GOP candidates at the Western North Carolina Agriculture Center, Fletcher, NC at 10:45 am ET. The event is open to the press. Mrs. Bush also delivers remarks at a Tennessee rally at the Meadow View Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport, TN at 12:40 pm ET in another event opened to the press. In her final stop, Mrs. Bush speaks at the Factory in Franklin, TN at 2:25 pm ET.

In addition to the event with Laura Bush, Bob Corker attends a campaign event with the County Officials Associations of Tennessee State Convention at 6:00 pm ET at the Chattanooga Marriott Hotel in Chattanooga, TN and then heads to a 7:00 p.m. ET Get-Out-The-Vote rally for Hamilton county at Chester Frost Park in Chattanooga, TN.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) delivers a major speech to the Council on Foreign Relations regarding Asia and the Middle East in New York, NY at 1:00 pm ET.

One of Sen. Clinton's potential 2008 rivals -- former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) -- will also be in New York City. The former vice presidential nominee discusses the future of U.S.-China relations at the Asia Society.

NRSC Chairwoman Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) campaigns with Sen. George Allen (R-VA) for "On the Record with Susan Allen" in Charlottesville at 10:30 am ET and Richmond at 1:00 pm ET in Virginia.

Former Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) campaigns with senatorial candidate Jim Webb (D-VA) at 9:00 am ET at the Starlight Café in Lynchburg and at 11:30 am ET at Rania's Italian Restaurant in Martinsville, VA. Webb ends his public events today the Goodyear Boulevard in Danville, VA at 2:30 pm ET.

If you have not yet signed up for ABC News Now -- a 24 hour news providing platform courtesy of ABC News, wherever and whenever you want it -- you should do so now. LINK

You'll be able to catch Charlie Gibson's inaugural "Countdown to Vote 2006" daily webcast today shortly after 12:30 pm ET. Charlie will kick things around with George Stephanopoulos and Mark Halperin.

You can also always check back to the Politics page at abcnews.com later in the day to catch the webcast at anytime. LINK

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

Signs of the future? Cheney vs. Rangel part III:

"Rep. Charles Rangel yesterday blasted Dick Cheney as a 'son of a bitch' after the vice president said the Harlem lawmaker would raise taxes and destroy the economy if Democrats take control of the House," writes Geoff Earle of the New York Post in one of your must-reads of the day. LINK

"The bitter war of words escalated to the point where the bombastic Rangel even questioned whether the tightly wound Cheney needed professional treatment -- and mocked him for accidentally shooting his hunting buddy earlier this year."

Hillary Clinton's foreign policy speech:

At 1:00 pm ET today at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, the Junior Senator from Chappaqua will deliver her fifth -- and final -- "major policy address" of 2006, this time on the very timely topic of foreign policy. For those not keeping score at home, this address joins her previous speeches on the economy, energy, privacy, and rural issues.

Like all H. Clinton speeches, the details of this one will be fluid right up until the time of delivery, but here is what The Note has learned exclusively:

Clinton will argue that the Bush Administration's foreign policy has undermined America's credibility, and left the country increasingly isolated in the face of the new realities of the time and compromised the nation's ability to meet the challenges it faces around the world in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea; in thwarting nuclear proliferation; and in combating terrorism.

She will argue for a new foreign policy worldview: one based on bipartisan comity and executed with non-partisan competence. She will go on to outline the principles she believes should underlie a new American consensus on national security and form the foundation for meeting the challenges face by the nation.

She will also announce that when the Senate resumes, she will be asking her colleagues who chair the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees to hold joint hearings on the future of our non-proliferation policy with the aim of creating a new blueprint for our shared security. She will also announce that she will be introducing a bill based on ideas advanced by Sam Nunn and Ted Turner through the Nuclear Threat Initiative to safeguard weapons-usable materials to prevent terrorist groups from getting hold of nuclear weapons or materials.

Her bill would create a senior White House advisor for countering nuclear terrorism and require a yearly report that would specify every site with nuclear material or weapons in the world, how vulnerable the material is, how desirable a target it would be and what the United States intends to do about it.

For those in the Gang of 500 who are otherwise deployed to Missouri, Montana, Rhode Island, Connecticut, etc, and can't attend the speech: thanks to web-savvy Lisa Shields and her crack CFR team, you can watch the speech live at 1pm via webcast (www.cfr.org)

Bush Administration agenda/personality:

The Bush/Rove/Mehlman optimism is demystified by TIME Magazine's Mike Allen who takes a look at the five reasons top GOP political operatives do not fret the apocalypse. LINK

Democrats looking to be spooked (or cite history and a record of bravado -- see 2000 New Hampshire snowballs), will like the kicker:

"On the road Monday, Rove playfully answered the receptionist's phone at a hotel where the President was conducting an interview with Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity. "Historic Statesboro Inn," he said authoritatively, then went to track down the manager himself, returning several times to update the caller on the progress of his quest. On Air Force One on the way home, he made a rare appearance in the press cabin, handing out chocolate-covered pecans to the reporters. He waved the lid of the tin theatrically and said, "Sweets for my sweets." In less than a week, it will be clear whether he had outsmarted the pundits and Democrats, one last time."

Todd S. Purdum profiles his neighbor, Karl C. Rove, in the upcoming Vanity Fair. LINK

As Kate Purdum would say, "Res ipsa loquitur." Courtesy of his Fox News interview, USA Today includes Vice President Cheney's apparent belief that insurgents may be trying to influence the outcome of the midterms. LINK

"Bush Says 'America Loses' Under Democrats," blares a Washington Post's front page story by Michael Abramowitz. LINK

Abramowitz Notes that the DCCC is now funding ads for John Yarmuth against Rep. Anne Northup (R-KY) in Kentucky's third congressional district, former Reid aide Tessa Hafen against Rep. Jon Porter in Nevada's third congressional district, and (Andrew Sullivan heartthrob) Scott Kleeb against state legislator Adrian Smith in Nebraska's third congressional district. LINK

The New York Daily News' Thomas DeFrank reports that President Bush, in an interview with Fox News, " declared yesterday he doesn't plan to be a lame duck no matter how next week's elections turn out." LINK

Looking closely at President Bush rhetoric yesterday, James Gerstenzang of the Los Angeles Times writes that Bush is touting his party's strength on terrorism and taxes, "serving up red-meat Republican issues to the party faithful to get these core GOP voters to the polls." LINK

"Here in the Houston suburb once represented by Tom DeLay, Mr. Bush was greeted at a campaign rally like a man whose public approval ratings are 73 percent, not 37 percent," writes Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times on President Bush's stumping for Republican candidates and "the image White House strategists are seeking for the president in the waning days of the campaign: that of a confident leader, surrounded by adoring supporters." LINK

Pelosi politics:

USA Today's Kathy Kiely takes a look at one of Vice President Cheney's favorite topics -- what the House would look like under a Speaker Pelosi. LINK

Democratic agenda:

Despite the risk of exacerbating "racial strains in the House," the Washington Post's Lois Romano and Jonathan Weisman report that aides close to DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) say he has not ruled out a challenge to Democratic Caucus Chairman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) to be House Majority Whip if Democrats take back the House. The Washington Post duo also review the potential race between House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). LINK

GOP agenda:

Roll Call's Erin Billings reports that "several Republican Senate sources" reveal that Sen. Lott (R-Miss.) recently made calls seeking GOP Senators' support for Majority whip if Sen. Santorum loses re-election despite those close to Lott who dismiss the notion.

Politics of immigration:

"Immigration Arrests Down 8% for Year," reports the Washington Post's Spencer Hsu. LINK

According to a Wall Street Journal on-line write-up of a New Republic ad contest, Vernon Robinson, the Republican running against Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) in North Carolina's solid Democratic 13th congressional district, has a television ad which features "an image of a Latino man grabbing his crotch and the disturbing suggestion that illegal immigrants 'take our jobs and our government handouts, then spit in our face and burn our flag,'" LINK

Foley politics:

Andrew Marra of the Palm Beach Post reports that ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) has extended his 30-day stay in rehab at Sierra Tucson. LINK

The New York Times' Mark Leibovich reports that all the attention has kept House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) in his home district, ignoring questions of his resignation and confirming his intention to remain Speaker if the Republicans retain the House. LINK

As for Leibovich, he is totemo kawaii, desu ne!!! Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) gets his letter to the editor published in USA Today in which he repeats his suggestions to Speaker Hastert to temporarily suspend the House page program. LINK

Some that happen in Vegas, don't stay in Vegas:

This morning Rep. Jim Gibbons' (R-NV) lawyer plans to petition a court for the release of the surveillance videos from the Metropolitan Police Department with regards to the now infamous Friday the 13th encounter in a Las Vegas parking garage. The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Molly Ball has the story. LINK

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared yesterday at an event for Rep. Gibbons in Las Vegas while across the city Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark stumped for Democratic challenger Dina Titus, Notes the Review-Journal's Molly Ball. LINK

2006: campaign advertising:

Jim Kuhnhenn of the AP explores the amount of negative ad spending this election cycle. Kuhnhenn reports $160 million has been spent on negative ads compared to $17 million on positive images. LINK

Casting and counting:

The Wall Street Journal's Christopher Conkey reports for the newspaper's Personal Journal section that voter ID laws are "sparking confusion, partisan rancor and a frenzy of legal challenges in the days leading up to the midterm elections."

"Smartmatic Corp. whose voting machines will be used in midterm elections next week, says it adopted a complicated ownership structure to minimize taxes and protect intellectual property, and not to mask any control by Venezuela's government," the Wall Street Journal's Bob Davis reports.

2006: landscape:

"When looked at on a race-by-race basis, their advantage is not so clear," writes Adam Nagourney of the New York Times on the focus some Democrats have put on nationwide polls. LINK

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne reflects Democrats' view of the Republican strategy perfectly. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's John McKinnon and Erika Lovley report that Republicans say early-voting statistics suggest their voter-turnout machine is providing an edge. Democrats contend, however, that Republicans are exaggerating their successes by highlighting a few races, while ignoring wider problems. LINK

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed looking at the "six-year itch," Michael Barone writes that ideas are more important than partisan vote counts. Consequently, he doubts that the midterm elections of 2006 will have the "sweeping partisan or policy consequences of the midterm elections of 1874 and 1894, or 1938 and 1994."

On "Good Morning America," ABC News' Claire Shipman reported on Karl Rove's optimism. Shipman said Rove is optimistic because many of the seats his party is defending are those of incumbents, Republicans thus-far proven better GOTV operation, and he's optimistic because it breeds more optimism among his troops.

Robin Roberts interviewed Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-DCCC) and questioned him on why Americans should "say yes" to Democrats which gave Emanuel the opportunity to use his New Direction talking points and call for a change of course in Iraq.

A Bloomberg News review of candidates in this year's most competitive House and Senate races reveals that only six candidates in the 28 most competitive races mention the alternative minimum tax that is set to gradually impose $1.35 trillion in additional taxes over the next 10 years. Ryan J. Donmoyer looks at the "AMT" -- which some are calling a "Time Bomb" that no one is addressing. LINK

William Roberts of Bloomberg News writes that unlike 2004 when some Republicans thought that their statewide initiatives were key in their victories in the House, Senate, and presidential contests, this year, the war and security are dominating everything else. LINK

The New York Times' Kirk Johnson highlights the under-reported effect a pro-Democrat wave could have on state legislatures, "Most significantly, the groundwork for redrawing Congressional districts after the 2010 census will be done under the 50 capitol domes. . . " LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Yochi Dreazen looks at Democratic efforts to close the micro-targeting gap with Republicans. Gregory Korte of the Cincinnati Enquirer details the negative ads used thus far this election cycle and questions where to draw the line. LINK

The Cincinnati Enquirer's Mike Rutledge finds that young voters (ages 18-27) are -- much like the electorate at large -- concerned about the war and economic issues when deciding for whom to vote. LINK

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick addresses the "national Democratic efforts to win over religious voters," with its epicenter squarely focused on Ohio. LINK

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney also Notes the Democrats plans for an 'Election Watch Party' -- not to be confused with a victory party. . . " LINK

House of Labor:

The AFL-CIO announced Monday that the labor federation and its community affiliate, Working America, will deploy "100,000 union volunteers to reach millions of drop-off union voters in the final four days of the election."

The AFL-CIO is calling its "Final Four" program "the capstone" of its push to mobilize "more than 13.4 million union voters in 32 states and 515 electoral races at all levels."

2006: House: WY-01:

The New York Times' Kate Zernike reports that Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY) is now even with Democratic challenger Gary Trauner after "telling a third-party opponent, Tom Rankin, a libertarian who has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, that he should be slapped for confronting her on campaign finance reform in a debate. . . " LINK

2006: House: TX-22:

President Bush encouraged voters yesterday to pencil-in Republican candidate Shelley Sekula Gibbs to succeed former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) in the House, Notes the Houston Chronicle's Mack and Mason. LINK

The Dallas Morning News' Gillman Notes that a year ago most voters would never imagine President Bush would devote so much time campaigning in a House district that was held by former Rep. DeLay for two decades. LINK

The Houston Chronicle's Rodriguez reports that Democratic congressional candidate Nick Lampson met with private donors yesterday while the President was stumping for his opponent. LINK

2006: House: FL-16:

Palm Beach Post's Michael C. Bender describe the latest attacks between congressional candidates Tim Mahoney and Joe Negron. LINK

2006: House: NH-01 & NH-02:

The Union Leader's John DiStaso reports that First Lady Laura Bush was dispatched by the White House to New Hampshire on Monday, where she urged people to continue knocking on doors and telephoning for Reps. Charlie Bass (R-NH) and Jeb Bradley (R-NH). LINK

More from the Nashua Telegraph LINK

2006: House: KY-04:

The Cincinnati Enquirer's Patrick Crowley analyzes the "power of incumbency" when one of the candidates used to be the incumbent. Crowley takes a closer look at the race between Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) and candidate/former Rep. Ken Lucas (D-KY) in Kentucky's fourth congressional district. LINK

2006: House: NV-03:

Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV) and Democratic challenger Tessa Hafen both attempted to illegally use the endorsement of military personnel as a part of their campaign strategy, Notes the Review-Journal's Paul Harasim. LINK

2006: Senate: Tennessee:

Democratic Tennessee Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. must win the support of rural West Tennessee where Democrats typically win or lose statewide elections, Notes the Commercial Appeals' Waters. LINK

Federal Elections Commission filings show that the Tennessee Democratic Party spent almost $62,423 for postage last Friday, a significant chunk of the $475,122 the party has already spent supporting Ford's candidacy, Notes the Commercial Appeal's Sullivan. LINK

2006: Senate: Virginia:

Peter Canellos writes in his Boston Globe column that the Virginia Senate race has a lot of weight. "The race would have been merely an exclamation point on a national election marked by over-the-top negative campaigning, but now it appears likely that the Virginia seat could determine the balance of the Senate." LINK

Pamela Stallsmith, Bill Geroux, and Carlos Santos write in today's Richmond Times Dispatch that the DSCC is "pumping almost $2.5 million" into statewide television and radio advertising for the final week. Last week, the NRSC "bought $1.4 million of airtime for an ad blasting Webb for past comments that the GOP contends demean women." LINK

Per the Virginia Pilot, Sen. John Warner (R-VA) is once again lending his support to his counterpart, Sen. George Allen (R-VA), this time at a campaign stop in Virginia Beach. Tom Holden and Warren Fiske write about the influence that Warner has on Allen, citing the Junior Senator's shift in tone on Iraq after the elder statesman's visit to the country earlier this month. LINK

Dale Eisman of The Virginia Pilot examines the "gender gap" in the Virginia Senate race writing that Sen. George Allen (R-VA) and his opponent Jim Webb (D-VA) are tied among women voters, both holding 45 percent in a recent Virginia Pilot poll. Allen has been able to woo more women voters than most Republicans by focusing on Webb's "past writings on gender integration in the military and sexually explicit passages in Webb's novels." LINK

The AP reports that an Opinion Research poll conducted for CNN shows Jim Webb (D-VA) ahead of Sen. George Allen (R-VA), 50 percent to 46 percent. Four percent of respondents said they were undecided. LINK

2006: Senate: Missouri:

According to the AP, White House spokesman Tony Snow was in the St. Louis area fundraising for Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) yesterday. In his speech, Snow affirmed that the war in Iraq is a chance to spread democracy. Talent's opponent Claire McCaskill (D-MO) begins a statewide RV tour today, while Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) campaigns for Talent. LINK

2006: Senate: New Jersey:

Donna De La Cruz of the Associated Press writes up the latest Quinnipiac University poll numbers showing Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) with a five point edge over opponent Tom Kean Jr. -- 49 percent to 44 percent. LINK

Newark Star Ledger's Joe Donohue and Jeff Whelan write of the "Sopranos knock off campaign ad" attacking Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) which is funded by the same person who was responsible for the "Swift Boat" ads which questioned Sen. Kerry's record in 2004. LINK

2006: Senate: Montana:

A Republican media consultant and friend of indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff recently wrote a letter to a Montana newspaper describing Sen. Conrad Burns' staff's connection to Abramoff. The letter is expected to come out in print on Thursday. The Billings Gazette has the details. LINK

Buying newspaper plastic bags and putting pro-Burns ads on them is the latest form of advertising that will be tried by the NRA. The NRA hopes to reach between 120,000 and 150,000 people in Montana this way. The AP has the story. LINK

Per Charles S. Johnson of the Billings Gazette: "The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which hadn't been on the television airwaves in Montana for 12 weeks, is buying $310,000 worth of ads to help Sen. Conrad Burns." LINK

"Republicans are checking for signs of life in the campaigns of two of their most endangered incumbents, Senators Conrad Burns of Montana and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island," writes Adam Nagourney of the New York Times. LINK

2006: Senate: Rhode Island:

The Providence Journal wraps the final Chaffee vs. Whitehouse debate which occurred in Cranston, RI last night and touched on many big national issues including Iraq, Social Security, and gun control. LINK

2006: Senate: Arizona:

Bill Clinton is headed to Arizona to campaign for Democratic candidate Jim Pederson. (Al Gore will be there tomorrow night for a private gathering.) The Arizona Daily Star has this preview. LINK

Sen. Jon Kyl had Rudy Giuliani in town yesterday. Giuliani spoke about Kyl's experience and how important the issue of terrorism and security is in today's society. The Arizona Republic has this summary: LINK

2006: Senate: Maryland:

The Washington Post's Ovetta Wiggins writes that the support Republican Michael Steele received from black Democratic leaders from Prince George's County Monday "reflects their continued disappointment that the Democratic Party has no African American candidates at the top of the ticket and a sense that the county is being ignored." LINK

2006: Senate: Pennsylvania:

"There is no better snapshot of the brutal political climate facing many Republicans in these final days than this: Senator Rick Santorum," ledes Robin Toner's piece in her New York Times series on this race. Toner hits the peaks and pitfalls that have resulted in Democratic challenger Bob Casey gaining as much as a 16 point lead in the polls. LINK

2006: Senate: Ohio:

Jonathan Riskind, James Nash, and Jack Torry of the Columbus Dispatch write of the series of visits from national politicians to Ohio, "It's not a rescue operation," Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) insisted, "It is a get-out-the-vote operation to blow open, to expand the number of Republicans and independents who will vote our way." LINK

2006: Senate: Connecticut:

With one week to go, Ned Lamont is refocusing his campaign on the Iraq war, the issue that won him the primary over Sen. Joseph Lieberman, reports Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times. LINK

"Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman has been raising money at $100,000-a-day pace this month, but Democratic nominee Ned Lamont has nearly kept pace by giving himself millions of dollars," writes the Hartford Courant's Lightman. LINK

The Hartford Courant's Pazniokas writes up Michael Bloomberg's endorsement for Sen. Lieberman. LINK

2006: Governor: Texas:

Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell's campaign received another $300,000 donation from a Houston trial lawyer that will enable the campaign to keep advertising on the air, Notes Ratcliffe and Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle. LINK

Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman offered another one of his satirical remarks this morning, telling Don Imus that Republicans' immigration policy is "Don't offend the Hispanics because they might vote Democratic."

The New York Daily News' Thomas DeFrank reports on Friedmans unorthodox and moderately successful campaign. LINK

2006: Governor: Florida:

Mark Hollis of the Florida Sun-Sentinel describes the last gubernatorial debate as "chaotic and at times seemed almost hostile." As moderator, Chris Matthews "challenged the candidates' rehearsed rhetoric, often cutting them off mid-sentence and pressing for specifics." LINK

S.V. Date and Brian E. Crowley of the Palm Beach Post report that independent candidate Max Linn's participation in last night's gubernatorial debate "shook up the night and possibly, the race itself." LINK

2006: Governor: Illinois:

A statewide poll shows Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) holding a large lead over his challenger Republican Judy Baar Topinka. Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune explores why more voters have an unfavorable opinion of Topinka despite Blagojevich's association with scandal and allegations of corruption. LINK

2006: Governor: Iowa:

Tom Beaumont of the Des Moines Register writes that the new political star of the moment, Michael J. Fox, did some Hawkeye State campaigning yesterday for gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver (D-IA). LINK

More from the Quad City Times: LINK

2006: Governor: Maryland:

The Washington Post's Ehrlich profile by Donna St. George dubs the Maryland governor "the politician who thinks like a linebacker." LINK

2006: Governor: Pennsylvania:

Angela Couloumbis, Mario F. Cattabiani and Dylan Purcell of the Philadelphia Inquirer report that Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) has raised more the $70 million in his past two campaigns with $361,000 in just two days last week. LINK

2006: Ballot measures:

The New York Times' Steve Friess looks at the smoking ban questions that will appear on ballots in six states on Election Day -- highlighting Nevada where even for its "live and let live" attitude, polls show wide support for limiting where people can smoke. LINK

2008:

The Washington Post's Richard Cohen asks: "Is the country ready for a billionaire divorced Jew with a penchant for the blunt quote and a habit of getting his own way? Probably not. But there is no doubt that Bloomberg has done a terrific job managing New York, and there is no doubt that the federal government is a mismanaged mess . . ." LINK

Note to Sheekey: return your calls from the Washington Post, not just your e-mails from the New York Post!!

2008: Republicans:

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) confirmed yesterday his plans to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, Notes the Union-Tribune's Marelius. LINK

"'The reason I announced today is very simple. I've always come down here to this waterfront before the congressional election,' Hunter said. ' . . . And I've always told my constituents what I'm going to be doing for the next couple of years.'"

The Washington Post's Sonya Geis has John Pitney Jr., a government professor at Claremont McKenna College, saying that Rep. Hunter "may have decided a long-shot presidential campaign is more fun" than being in the House minority. LINK

Casey Ross of the Boston Herald reports that Gov. Mitt Romney seems to be displeased with a new security report that says his Bay State isn't up to snuff. LINK

The New York Post's Maggie Haberman reports on Rudy Giuliani last week of stumping for Republican candidates. LINK

2008: Democrats:

The New York Post's Deborah Orin-Eilbeck (a new byline that) strangely suggests that Sen. Hilary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) support for Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Speaker if the Democrats take the House could hurt Clinton in the long run -- by making her seem both too liberal and too conservative. LINK

Walter Shapiro of Salon.com takes a look at potential presidential candidate Sen. Evan Bayh's push to turn three Republican House seats in the Hoosier State Democratic and Shapiro takes a mild swipe at each of the last two Democratic presidential nominees while doing it. LINK

"On the stump in Indiana, Bayh is friendly but not folksy, eagerly acknowledging half a dozen people in every audience (nods of recognition that may date from the reelection campaigns of his father, Sen. Birch Bayh) but never resorting to any of those heavy-handed ruralisms that were part of Al Gore's political repertoire. Bayh comes across in public like what he probably is in private -- a nice guy who has served two terms as governor and eight years in the U.S. Senate without letting his internal sense of self-importance swell to John Kerry-esque levels."

Ed Tibbets of the Quad City Times reports that Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) plans to campaign on Thursday in the Quad Cities for House candidate Bruce Braley (D-IA), who is running for an open seat in Iowa's first district. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

In an article headlined "Bill Clinton's Rare Jab at Pataki Gives Republicans a Rare Opening to Criticize the Clintons," the New York Times' Patrick Healy looks at the potential fall out from the former President's reference to his wife's office in New York as " 'a de facto governor's office' for upstate economic development." LINK

Other Tuesday schedule items:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) attended a rally for GOP congressional candidate Chris Chocola in South Bend, IN at 8:15 am ET. McCain also attends a press availability with Republican Governor Mitch Daniels at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis at 1:15 pm ET and attends an event with Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate Dick Devos at 4:00 pm ET.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) stumps for Gov. Jim Doyle (D-WI) at 9:00 am ET in Milwaukee, WI. Gov. Doyle is in a competitive race for re-election against Rep. Mark Green (R-WI).

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) presents the fifth annual Manatt-Phelps Lecture in Political Science entitled "Rethinking America's Future Security" at Iowa state University at 8 pm ET in Ames, IA.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman attends a luncheon event with Rep. Mike Sodrel (R-IN) at the Sherman House Restaurant in Batesville, IN at 12:30 pm ET.

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) fundraises for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) at a luncheon event at 11:00 am ET in Seattle, WA.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean appears at a press conference for Vermont candidate for Lieutenant Governor Matt Dunne at 10:45 am in Burlington, VT.

Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) joins GenerationEngage for an iChat on technology and social change for the future at 5:45 pm ET at the Boys Club of New York, NY.

The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion on "Polarizing the House of Representatives: How Much Does Gerrymandering Matter?" at the Brookings Institute at 2:00 pm ET in Washington DC.

The Campaign Legal Center holds a news conference "on the role of gerrymandered congressional districts in the 2006 elections at 10:15 am ET at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners will hold a news conference call on college affordability at 2:00 pm ET.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund holds a news conference on the 2006 Latino vote at 9:30 am ET at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

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