The Note: Steady Leadership on an Uncertain Hill

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14

In his final public act before he goes abroad to astride the world like a colossal lame duck, President Bush meets with the Big Three automakers at the White House at 1:15 pm ET. He departs for Southeast Asia with the First Lady at 10:00 pm ET.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) joins Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and every other woman in the Senate for a bipartisan Senate "Women Power Workshop" at 4:00 pm ET. At 6:30 pm ET, Sen. Clinton attends the First National Ethnic Media Awards reception at the Mayflower Hotel.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) holds a pen and pad briefing at 11:00 am ET to discuss the midterm elections and Democratic majority plans for the 110th Congress at H-306 in the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Hoyer is a good vote counter, The Note would Note.

There was a freshmen class picture on the East Front Steps on the House side of the US Capitol at 8:30 am ET. New Member orientation begins at 9:00 am ET.

Gov. George Pataki (R-NY), who is not always listed among those Republicans planning to run for the White House in 2008, delivers the 2006 Albert H. Gordon Lecture at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, MA at 6pm ET.

Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) speaks at the Japan External Trade Organization Seminar at the Chamber of Commerce at 11:00 am ET in Little Rock AR.

Former House Majority Leaders Dick Armey (R-TX) and Dick Gephardt (R-MO) attend a DLA Piper luncheon discussion on the implications of the 2006 elections at 12:00 pm ET in Washington, DC.

The New Democrat Network holds a forum to discuss immigration at 8:30 am ET at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, DC.

Bush meets with the Big Three:
The Wall Street Journal on Democrats stepping up pressure to help manufacturers handle health-care costs as well as problems with energy and trade as President Bush meets with the Big Three.

Bloomberg News on the key role that Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) now plays: LINK

Bush travels to Asia:

The Wall Street Journal on the pressure growing on President Bush for direct talks with Tehran as he travels to Asia.

POTUS meets the ISG, with restive Hill Republicans chiming in:

New York Times: LINK

Washington Post: LINK

Rudy Giuliani dips his toe in the pond:
The New York Times: LINK

New York Newsday wood: "Racing McCain: Rudy makes move toward '08 presidential run, beating his friend and rival" LINK

The New York Daily News wood: "Rudy, Set, Go!" LINK

New York Post (shared) wood is overreactionary: "Count Me In: Rudy sets up '08 prez run": LINK

The Associated Press: LINK

The New York Times on McCain and troops:
In the day's only must-read, the New York Times' John Broder reports that by calling for an increase in American forces in Iraq, Sen. McCain is "either taking a principled stand or a huge political gamble. Or both." LINK

Other 2008 stuff:
The New York Times on Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) plans to appear, alongside Bono and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), at World AIDS Day at the Rev. Rick Warren's huge Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, on Friday, Dec. 1. LINK

The State on all the Republican '08er activity in South Carolina, including a second debate which is planned for two days before the state's GOP primary. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's ed board writes that if former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Sen. Clinton "really believe the economy needs a big tax increase, by all means they should make this a plank in their 2008 agenda. But they shouldn't do so by asking fellow Democrats to betray their recent campaign pledges or Republicans to make it easier for them by repeating the GOP's blunder of the early 1990s."

USA Today on the globalization debate that might be coming in 2008. LINK

Gallup poll on pressure facing Dems:

USA Today's cover story on a Gallup Poll showing that 61 percent of those surveyed want Democrats to have more influence than President Bush on the direction of the nation. LINK

Pelosi's team:
The Boston Globe on Pelosi designating Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) to head her transition. LINK

Hoyer v. Murtha:

Pelosi facing questions from congressional watchdog groups over Murtha endorsement:

The Washington Post: LINK

The Washington Times: LINK

The New York Times: LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle (doesn't emphasize criticism from watchdog groups): LINK

Los Angeles Times' over-wrought headline: "Power struggles unravel Democrats' unity" LINK

Alexander v. Lott:
After an underground campaign in recent weeks to reenter the GOP leadership, Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) made public Monday night that he is officially running to be Minority Whip against Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

Draft Cantor?:
Roll Call on the small group of House GOPers who are agitating to get Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who has pledged not to challenge Roy Blunt, on the ballot to be Minority Whip.

Martinez as RNC chair:
The St. Petersburg Times reports that Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) was offered the job of RNC chairman several times, but didn't accept until President Bush asked him in person. LINK

More on the Martinez selection from:

The Miami Herald: LINK

The Associated Press: LINK

The Washington Post: LINK

The Washington Times: LINK

FL-13:
The St. Petersburg Times on Democratic congressional candidate Christine Jennings going to freshman orientation on Capitol Hill while her attorneys go to court over "what they say are 'alarming aberrations' in Sarasota County's vote tallies." LINK

More from the Herald Tribune: LINK

Democratic agenda:

The Washington Post reports that Democrats in control in Congress will likely insert restrictive labor and environmental measures into pending trade legislation, measures which the Republicans have historically opposed. LINK

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