The Note: Nancy's Boys


With the President overseas, the main political event takes place in Cannon 345 this morning when the House Democratic Caucus chooses between Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) for House Majority Leader.

The newspapers are filled this morning with stories about how Speaker-to-Be Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is being accused of "strong-arm tactics" in backing Murtha. The result of the Hoyer-Murtha showdown is expected to be known by around 10:30 am ET. The meeting got underway at 9:00 am ET.

The newly-elected Democratic Majority Leadership will speak at a press conference outside Cannon 345 immediately following the meeting. Watch closely the body language of the winner, the loser, and the Speaker-Presumptive.

The House Republican Conference was scheduled to hold a closed Republican leadership candidates forum, in advance of Friday's party leadership elections, at 9:00 am ET.

One day after former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-WI) announced his intention to join the growing ranks of White House hopefuls, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) delivers two major speeches today. Sen. McCain delivers 3:00 pm ET remarks about judges to the Federalist Society at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. (Justice Samuel Alito is slated to address the Federalist Society Conference at 7:00 pm ET.)

The Arizona Senator delivers 6:30 pm ET remarks at a GOPAC Charter Members Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC. The White House hopeful is expected to argue that last week's Republican losses "were not so much that our principles have become unpopular, but that we deserted our principles in order to stay in power."

Earlier in the day, Sen. McCain delivers noon remarks about energy, the environment, and the economy in Washington, DC to Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

The President delivers a radio address from the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore at 6:20 pm ET.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) was scheduled to speak to GOPAC at 8:00 am ET. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) addresses the group at 12:30 pm ET.

Gingrich was also scheduled to discuss "Work over Welfare" at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC at 9:00 am ET.

The former Speaker joins Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and others at 11:00 am ET for a meeting of the Task Force on the Future of American Innovation at the Reserve Officers Association in Washington, DC. Gingrich and others will push for greater Defense Department funding of basic research as well as full funding of President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative.

To tout Democratic plans to push for a higher federal minimum wage, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) joins Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney at 2:00 pm at the Dirksen Senate Building. Ballot measures to raise the minimum wage were successful in six of six states last week.

Sen. Clinton also attends a HELP Committee Hearing on "Building a 21st Century FDA" in the Dirksen Senate Office Building at 10:00 am ET in Washington, DC.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), who is moving closer to a presidential FEC filing, delivers 11:00 am ET remarks entitled "Toward a New Age of Idealism" at Howard University's School of Business.

The former Peace Corps volunteer is expected to quote former Secretary of State Colin Powell as saying "there's a sense that 'the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism.'" Sen. Dodd, whose father was the number two prosecutor for the United States at the Nuremberg trials, is also expected to say: "It is impossible to imagine a John Kennedy or a Bill Clinton - - or even a Ronald Reagan - - signing that shameful torture bill that our President signed into law a month ago."

Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) delivers a speech on "Energy Choices for the New Century" at 9:30 pm ET at the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder, CO.

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is expected to speak on the Senate floor today regarding what he sees as the "moment for change in Iraq" and, according to a Kerry aide, will emphasize that "bipartisanship is actions taken, not words spoken." Kerry plans to continue to make the case that deadlines are needed to force a change in Iraq. The Massachusetts Senator also holds a conference call to discuss the agenda for the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship which he chairs at 4:45 pm ET.

Sen. Kerry's former running mate, former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), signs copies of his new book at the Borders in the Annapolis Mall at 12:30 pm ET.

Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) attends the Summit Business Person's Luncheon at 12:45 pm ET at the Church at Pinnacle Hills.

House Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) holds a news conference to report on a trip to Iraq by Gold Star Families at 10:00 am ET at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) and members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus held a closed meeting with former Sen. George McGovern to discuss his strategy to remove U.S. troops from Iraq by June at 8:00 am ET.

The Warner Theatre hosts an 8:00 pm ET discussion entitled "An Evening with Rush Limbaugh."

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne speaks at Harvard University on "The Making of Democracy 2006: How the New Media and the Old Media Could Live Together Happily and Enhance Public Life."

Hoyer v. Murtha:

"Pelosi Splits Democrats With Push For Murtha," blares the Washington Post's front page. LINK

The New York Times writes up the division within the Democratic ranks over the majority leader election and a giddy Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) observing. LINK

The New York Post's editorial page seems pretty giddy too. LINK

After first reminding readers of Rep. Pelosi's priority agenda item to pass ethics reform, the Los Angeles Times keys off the Taxpayers for Common Sense report and writes of Reps. Murtha and Hoyer's ranking as top earmarkers in Congress and the campaign contributions they have received by those who have benefited from those earmarks. LINK

The Hill on "Dem Division and Dismay." LINK

More from the Philadelphia Inquirer: LINK

And the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: LINK

Bob Novak writes a column for the time capsule and opines that Pelosi's backing of Murtha has Democrats worried; he also argues that Pelosi's "personal pique" was evident in opposing her "rival diva" from California, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), as chair of the House Intelligence Committee. LINK

Bush overseas:

In a set of remarks that has some observers wondering whether the Bush Administration is continuing to change its rhetoric to emphasize that the transfer - - but not the possession - - of nuclear weapons on the part of North Korea is seen as a "grave threat," President Bush warned at the National University of Singapore that "America's position is clear: the transfer of nuclear weapons and material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the US and we would hold NK fully accountable for the consequences of such action."

"For the sake of peace," President Bush continued, "it is vital that the nations of this region send a message to NK - -that the proliferation of nuclear technology to hostile regimes or terrorist networks will not be tolerated."

The Washington Post on Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), the incoming chairman of the House International Relations Committee, faulting the Bush Administration for its exclusive reliance on the six-nation negotiating framework. LINK


In the forthcoming New York Times Magazine, Matt Bai writes his opinionated opinions that two formerly top-tier candidates - - George Allen and Bill Frist - - "now seem irreparably damaged. The party's presumed frontrunner, John McCain, also faces a more troublesome environment, given his strong support for a war that many of his moderate supporters clearly oppose. On the Democratic side, the election dealt a blow to John Kerry … while perhaps opening the door further for Al Gore, whose defiant, antiwar fervor would seem well suited to the moment." Bai adds that the elections' results "may also boost the prospects for some younger candidate who can "credibly claim distance from the establishment of both parties - - a candidate much like Barack Obama."

The Senate Armed Service Committee provides an opportunity to see where front-running Sens. McCain and Clinton are on the critical issue of Iraq, reports the New York Times. LINK

Gen. Abizaid resisted calls for troop withdrawals from Democratic Senators and additional troops from Sen. McCain, per the Los Angeles Times. LINK

Critics see McCain's position on Iraq problematic in his quest to attract independent voters to his potential presidential campaign, while supporters see McCain's near-lonely call for more troops as that classic "straight talk" independents find so attractive. The Los Angeles Times takes a closer look. LINK

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) signs top Republican ad maker Alex Castellanos, who has already cut the anti-McCain attack spots on his head. LINK

USA Today has McCain adviser Rick Davis talking about Sen. McCain's new web site while saying: "We are not under the radar." LINK

The New York Daily News includes McCain adviser Craig Goldman's explanation of the difference between the Giuliani and McCain filings McCain's filing "provides full disclosure," claims Goldman. LINK

Be sure to Note Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) support for Giuliani's bid.

Thompson jumps into the fray:

Former Wisconsin Governor and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson (R) joined the growing list of politicians taking--or preparing to take--formal steps to run for president, saying yesterday in Iowa that he intends to file a presidential campaign committee after the first of the year.

As Robert Pear can tell you, a brat and a brew in moderation is perfectly healthy.

The Des Moines Register has Thompson saying: "I don't think anybody's got a better handle on health care than me" while adding that he's learned a lot about energy policy as a partner in a business that plans to build an ethanol plant. LINK

On the issue of what to do about U.S. troops in Iraq, ABC News' Teddy Davis has a Thompson spokesman saying that he hasn't had to answer that question yet. LINK

More from Reuters: LINK

And the Associated Press: LINK

Lott returns to Senate leadership:

The Los Angeles Times looks at Lott's return to Senate GOP leadership as another reminder to the Bush White House that the 110th is not likely to feel as indebted to President Bush as the 107, 108, and 109th. LINK

The Wall Street Journal calls Lott's return a "mixed blessing" for the Bush Administration and Notes that the White House will probably gain from his legislative skill.

The Washington Post on Lott's "redemption": LINK

The New York Times: LINK

Boston Globe: LINK

Barton ends bid, backs Boehner:

The Hill on Rep. Joe Barton's endorsement of Boehner: LINK

Broadcasting and Cable: LINK

Democratic agenda:

In examining Nancy Pelosi's criticism of China on human rights, the Wall Street Journal writes that the presumptive Speaker's views on China "could set the tone for a new Congress looking to get tough on Beijing."

Roll Call looks at members of the moderate Republican and Democratic House factions indicating Wednesday that the two groups may coordinate efforts in the 110th Congress and could move to create a formal bipartisan coalition in the new session.

The Washington Post's David Broder on a time of testing for Harry Reid. LINK

2008: Senate:

NPR's Ken Rudin Notes the retirement watch currently focused on Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Sen. John Warner (R-VA) as the 2008 cycle gets underway. LINK

The Hill checks the 2008 Senate landscape. LINK

Dean's Democrats:

Despite the party's biggest victories in over a decade, Democratic disarray is very much on display, reports the New York Times. LINK

Clintons of Chappaqua:

"They didn't give us a mandate, they gave us a chance," said Bill Clinton of the 2006 midterm electorate, per the New York Daily News. LINK

New Hampshire:

John DiStaso of the Union Leader writes that Shaun Hansen is the third person to plead guilty to federal criminal charges for a Republican operation that jammed Democratic get-out-the vote telephone calls on Nov. 7th. LINK Note the defiant kicker quote!!

Political potpourri:

The Washington Post reports on the changing cultural landscape of Virginia. LINK


The Orlando Sentinel reports that the manual recount of votes in Sarasota starts today. LINK

Intern for the ABC News Political Unit:

The ABC News Political Unit is now seeking full-time interns for the spring semester. There are a few requirements you should know about before applying for the internship.

- You must be either a graduate student or junior or senior in college.

-You must be able to work long days, starting early, Monday through Friday.

-If your school gives credit for internships, you must receive credit.

-The internship begins Jan. 8 and runs into May.

Not only will you get to write for The Note, but ABC News Political Unit interns also are afforded the opportunity to help manage ABC's Political Radar, cover political events around town, and conduct research used by ABC News broadcasts.

If you write well, don't mind getting up early, and have some familiarity with web publishing, send a cover letter and resume to, with the subject line: "INTERN" in all caps.