The Note: Baker - Forever

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13

On the first day of the lame-duck session of Congress, President Bush is meeting with former Secretary of State James Baker, former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN), and other members of the Iraq Study Group at the White House. This remains the center of gravity of American politics for now.

At 10:00 am ET, President Bush makes remarks at the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The President has a working lunch with Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at 11:10 am ET at the White House.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was scheduled to address the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) at the Grand Hyatt New York in New York City at 8:30 am ET.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) attends political events in Colorado and Arizona.

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) speak at a "Citizens for Global Solutions" conference at 9:00 am ET in Washington, DC.

Stanley Greenberg releases the results of a new poll on unmarried women voters at 11:00 am ET in Washington, DC.

The Ketterling Foundation holds a roundtable discussion on election analysis at 12:00 pm ET at the National Archives.

The Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation holds a press conference on the first Muslim congressman and the 2006 elections at 10:00 am ET.

The National Conference of Women's Organizations hosts an election recap press conference at 1:00 pm ET.

At 1:30 pm ET, the ACLU holds a conference call on the lame duck session of congress and its impact on civil liberties.

ABC News' Mark Halperin will talk about (and sign copies of) The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008 at the Harvard bookstore in Cambridge, MA at 6:30 pm ET. LINK

Stories:

In a must-read, the Washington Post's Dan Balz reports that strategists in both parties believe that 2006 was not a "powerful affirmation of the Democratic Party, despite its takeover of the House and Senate." LINK

The New York Times on Senate Democrats pushing for a phased redeployment of troops from Iraq within months. LINK

The Los Angeles Times wraps up Iraq and Baker-Hamilton. LINK

If you missed it, check out the must-read Saturday Los Angeles Times' story about the search for a bipartisan solution in Iraq, and don't miss the Pentagon's newfound love for John Kerry's ideas. LINK

The Sunday Washington Post on the inner workings of the Baker commission. LINK

In an ABCNews.com exclusive, ABC News' Jake Tapper and Avery Miller reported Friday evening that Sen. McCain is expected to set up a presidential exploratory committee this month - - perhaps as early this week. LINK

ABC News' Mark Halperin curtain raises speeches Sen. McCain is planning to give Thursday to the Federalist Society and GOPAC. LINK

On Good Morning America, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) states that he's "still thinking" about seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. "Whether it's an African-American candidate, a woman candidate running, if it's a nontraditional candidate, there is another threshold you have to meet. I think you have to show people competence in a way that, if you're a white male, you may not have to show initially."

The Washington Post on Sen. McCain positioning himself as a candidate who would "restore Republican principles" on spending and ethics. LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Dick Polman sees the 2008 GOP race coming down to Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney. LINK

Republican strategist Ed Rogers nailed the Republican presidential field in a Washington Post Outlook piece. LINK

The New York Times' Week in Review had a piece on the 2006 implications for 2008, including the looming pressure on Senator-candidates to come home from the trail to vote. LINK

The New York Times on Howard Wolfson's "instinct for the kill." LINK

Sunday's Washington Post on Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) deciding not to seek the Democratic nomination for President. LINK

Feingold campaigned in 17 states, but also realized his chances "would have required the craziest combination of things in the history of American politics to make it work."

ABC News' Mark Halperin and David Chalian on Feingold's decision not to run in 2008: LINK

The New York Sun on Sen. Feingold's preference for a Democratic presidential nominee who "had the judgment to oppose the Iraq war from the beginning." LINK

WisPolitics has Sen. Feingold saying that Sen. Obama and former Vice President Gore are two potential candidates who opposed the war initially while adding that he's "not endorsing either one yet." LINK

US News on how the 2006 election results will impact Sen. Clinton's 2008 chances. LINK

US News on how the election is sorting the anti-Sen. Clinton candidates into two distinct camps: LINK

Rove post-mortems in the Washington Post. LINK

Sunday's Chicago Tribune had a behind-the-scenes must-read look at the making of Rahm's Majority. The profane attacks on the lazy, the CBC, and the conservatives will surprise you less than the Bill Clinton interview (allegedly by e-mail) and the final round of cheesecakes. LINK

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The Associated Press on Sen. Joe Lieberman (I/D-CT) not ruling out switching to the Republican caucus if he starts to feel uncomfortable among Democrats. LINK

The Washington Post on the caution with which Democrats may proceed on immigration. LINK

The Wall Street Journal looks at the ways in which rhetoric about bipartisanship will be tested in the lame duck session by the nominations of Robert Gates and John Bolton as well as votes on the estate tax and warrantless wiretapping. LINK

More from the Associated Press: LINK

Los Angeles Times on the same: LINK

USA Today on Pelosi's push for sponsors of earmarks to be identified. LINK

After his vow to make earmark reform a top priority, the Los Angeles Times reports on the controversial bridge that would up the value of a property owned by Sen. Reid. LINK

The paper also reports that Speaker-to-be Pelosi has used earmarking repeatedly in the past. LINK

Hoyer v. Murtha:

The Washington Post writes that Pelosi's endorsement of Murtha "could be a significant blow to Hoyer." LINK

The Associated Press has newly elected Barron Hill downplaying Pelosi's endorsement by saying it was merely a letter of personal intent. LINK

(The Note thinks that, per usual, Dave Espo has gotten to the truth.)

Boehner v. Pence v. Barton:

Bob Novak thinks the GOP has not learned anything from 2006 as Republican House members plan to re-elect Boehner and Blunt to their leadership posts. LINK

The New York Sun on James Carville telling the New Republic that Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) should replace Howard Dean as DNC chair. LINK

Sunday's Associated Press story on Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R-MD) expressing interest in being RNC chair. LINK

The Note says: watch for Maria Cino (with or without a Rendellian figure as national chair.)

Week ahead:

On Tuesday, President Bush meets with Big 3 automakers at the White House before flying to Russia and then Singapore with FLOTUS Laura Bush. He returns on November 21st. At 6:00 pm ET, Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) delivers the 2006 Albert H. Gordon Lecture at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. CBS News' Bob Schieffer speaks at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC at 8:30 am ET. Former House Majority Leaders Dick Armey (R-TX) and Dick Gephardt (D-MO) attend a DLA Piper luncheon discussion on the implications of the 2006 elections at 12:00 pm ET in Washington, DC.

On Wednesday, Hotline editor Chuck Todd moderates a briefing on post-election Hotline/Diageo polls at the Watergate in Washington, DC at 8:15 am ET.

On Thursday, Sen. McCain plans major speeches to the Federalist Society and to GOPAC. The First Couple attends events in Singapore with the Prime Minister and President of Singapore. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice travels to Vietnam and Indonesia. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich discusses "Work over Welfare" at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC at 9:00 am ET. Gingrich also speaks at the GOPAC Fall Member Charter Meeting at the Mandarin Hotel in Washington DC. Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) participate in the AIDS Institute's 2006 national Awards Reception at 5:30 pm ET. Rep Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) participates in a news conference for Mental Health America. At 7:00 am ET, the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC holds a conference titled, "New Thinking in International Trade: National Strategies to Build Comparative Advantage," which will be keynoted by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).

The National Defense University Foundation holds its annual "American Patriot Award Gala" at 6:30 pm ET in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC honoring former Sen. John Glenn (D-OH). Participants include Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and former Sen. William Cohen (R-ME).

On Friday, the First Couple travels to Vietnam where they meet with their President and Prime Minister for the first time. The NGA hosts a seminar for new governors at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV to welcome newly elected governors. Participants include NGA Chair Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ), Vice Chair Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), and Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Sen. Arlen Specter and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff speak at the Federalist Society's 2006 National Lawyers Convention. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) attends a 12:30 pm ET discussion at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC titled "A Federal Role in Closing the Graduation Gap."

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