The Note: Help Wanted


It is received wisdom in the politico-media industrial complex that the personnel process shuts down from 72 hours before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off through the first day in January (usually around 1/4) that Howard Fineman has lunch at I Ricchi.

Not so in 2006.

There are a lot of good jobs to be had, for which employers are now hiring. So if you are looking to make a change, consider some of these options -- only some of which are (still) available, and only some of which (actually) exist:

* Designated White House strategic leaker.

* Romney for President national campaign press secretary.

* White House lawyer in charge of taking Henry Waxman's telephone calls.

* House intelligence committee chair.

* National finance director (regular), national finance director (Internet), and campaign manager for Obama for President.

* VandeHarris assistant for expenses.

* Chiefs of staffs to a half baker's dozen of new Democratic Senators.

* Spokesperson for nearly any member of the minority in either chamber.

* Rapid response artist in the newly beefed up House Democratic Caucus shop.

* DSCC Communications Director with the ability to manage/handle/staff easy-going, laid back, non-demanding chairman. (Working knowledge of Joe and Eileen O'Reilly required.)

* Joke writer with fresh ideas for The Note. (7 minutes minimum experience required, must be willing to push the envelope, think outside the box, and turn the phrase "It's Robert Gibbs" into a punch line at least twice a week.)

Real time freezes today, as a White House memo leaked to the New York Times sets up President Bush's 12:45 pm ET meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq and King Abdullah II of Jordan. President Bush has dinner at Abdullah's Raghaden Palace at 1:35 pm ET.

As for that New York Times story with the Michael Gordon byline, the Gray Lady got hold of a confidential memo NSA Stephen Hadley wrote to the President upon returning from Baghdad earlier this month in which he "expressed serious doubts about whether Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had the capacity to control the sectarian violence in Iraq and recommended that the United States take new steps to strengthen the Iraqi leader's position." Michael Gordon has the well-timed story.LINK

ABC News' Karen Travers reports that a Senior Administration Official said in Riga Latvia this morning that the White House is not going to comment on a classified memo but did have the following statement on Bush and Maliki:

"The President has confidence in Prime Minister Maliki and the Administration is working with the Prime Minster to improve his capability in terms of dealing with the fundamental challenges in Iraq – security concerns, economic growth, political reconciliation and regional diplomacy – so you are going to have an Iraqi government that has the ability to operate independently, sustain itself and defend itself and be an ally in the war on terror."

When asked if this memo diminish the ability for the President to work with al-Maliki?

"No," replied the SAO.

As for the day's 2008 activity, Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) begins his "Announcement Tour" with an 8:00 pm ET scheduled community potluck supper in Mt. Pleasant, IA.

Why the potluck supper?

"Thirty-six years ago when Tom Vilsack first came to Mount Pleasant Christie Bell introduced him to her family and the community by throwing a pot luck," Vilsack advisor Jeff Link tells Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson. "It was the first time he'd ever been to (a pot luck) and that's why we thought it was appropriate that now that he's going to be introduced to the nation, it should start off with a pot luck as well." LINK

Link concedes his own contribution to the evening feast will likely be a bag of chips, but other Vilsack friends will be bringing 80 different dishes to choose from -- some Jell-O salads, for sure, as well as 16 different pies and several roasters full of meat. "Several people are bringing their best dishes," Link told Radio Iowa on Tuesday evening. "Christie Vilsack is bringing her cheesy corn casserole which won a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair."

Link cannot comment on the casserole, however, because he's never sampled it before. "But I'm looking forward to getting in line early, because I don't think the dish will last that long," Link says.

Vilsack won't have Iowa to himself today.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) signs copies of his book, "Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives," at 8:00 pm ET at the Barnes & Noble in Des Moines, IA. (Look for those gracious Edwards quotes about Vilsack in the Iowa clips tomorrow.)

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN) discuss the current state of homeland security at the Center for American Progress at 5:00 pm ET.

In Miami, FL today, the Republican Governors Association begins its annual conference at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa. The special guest speaker will be Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman and CEO. Schmidt discusses "Politics and the Internet: What Does the Future Hold?" at 4:15 pm ET.

Back in Washington, DC, the Iraq Study Group's meetings resumed at 8:00 am ET this morning.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), one of the Democrats' point men on defense issues, holds an 11:00 am ET press conference to discuss recent events in Iraq.

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments today in Massachusetts v EPA. The case is significant because it's the first case about global warming to reach the Supreme Court.

In an event that never fails to garner press coverage, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Himself) attends the 11:00 am ET release of the 11th Annual MediaWise Video Game Report Card.

The Pew Charitable Trusts holds a discussion on's analysis of the 2006 election, "How to Make Voting Work," at the Pew Charitable Trust in Washington, DC at 9:30 am ET.

In New York City today, Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy and the Center for New York City Affairs co-sponsor two campaign roundtables looking at the 2006 gubernatorial and attorney general races in New York State. ABC News' Mark Halperin moderates the on-the-record discussion with campaign operatives and journalists, scheduled to get underway at 8:30 am ET.

Vilsack makes it official:

As Vilsack's presidential run gets underway, Erin Jordan of the Des Moines Register and Brian Morelli of the Iowa City Press Citizen report that the governor also serves as a mediator this week between the faculty and board of regents of U of I on their presidential appointment. LINK and LINK

With a hat tip to a weeks-old posting on The Hotline's blog, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza analyzes what the Vilsack talent primary has to do with the "endless tea-leaf reading" about Obama.LINK and LINK

Despite Iowa's own Tom Vilsack making a presidential bid, Charlotte Eby of the Quad City Times reports that the Iowa Democratic Party pledges that "fundamentally, this is going to be a fair process." Lt. Gov Sally Pederson stepped down as state party chairwoman after working with Gov. Vilsack for two terms and officials are calling for state party Executive Director Mike Milligan to step down as well to offset the "appearance of impropriety." Iowa Democrats choose their new leader this Saturday. LINK

The Union Leader also reports that Gov. Vilsack (D-IA) will make his mark in New Hampshire tomorrow and Friday as part of his five-state announcement tour. LINK

The Nashua Telegraph breaks down Gov. Vilsack's visit: LINK

Thomas A. Fogarty, a former Des Moines Register reporter, covered Vilsack in the state senate, and spoke with Radio Iowa by telephone on Tuesday from his office at USA Today, where he now works. LINK

"He was incredibly bright. He was incredibly talented in zeroing in on the points of potential compromise," Fogarty said of Vilsack. "He was extremely dilligent and he was extremely persuasive."

Fogarty is now an editor at USA Today who no longer covers politics, but he vividly remembers Vilsack's demeanor. "He has no patience for small talk and I always thought that in the long run that he would be inhibited from advancement in politics because of his personality," Fogarty said. "I was wrong on that. You don't get elected governor twice and have a complete inability to deal with people."

Obama Heads to New Hampshire:

As Sen. Obama nears a decision on whether to run for president, the New Hampshire Democratic Party announced Tuesday that the freshman Senator will make his Granite State debut on Sunday, Dec. 10.

Obama is scheduled to speak Dec. 10 at 3:30 pm ET in the fabled Center of New Hampshire Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH.

The ostensible purpose of Obama's visit to the home of the first in the nation primary is to celebrate the results of the 2006 elections when Democrats took control of New Hampshire's two congressional seats for the first time since 1912 and assumed control of both houses of the state Legislature for the first time since 1874.

But the real focus, of course, will be on what this trip says about Obama's 2008 thinking.

In a story looking at Obama's New Hampshire trip, the Chicago Tribune's Mike Dorning has Obama spokesguy Robert Gibbs saying an announcement of the Senator's presidential intentions is now "several weeks away." LINK

John DiStaso of the Union Leader discusses Sen. Obama's first visit to the state as a "special guest" of state party chair Kathy Sullivan. Other party officials cite the upcoming trip as a "great opportunity for him to introduce himself to New Hampshire." LINK

Beverley Wang of the AP discusses efforts encouraging Sen. Obama to run for president including Sen. Dick Durbin's (D-IL) letter and "draft Obama" online efforts. LINK

The Washington Post's Dan Balz and Zachary Goldfarb report that Obama advisers are "reportedly debating whether to move quickly to set up a presidential campaign operation and begin organizing in states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, or to wait until sometime next year and plot out a more unconventional campaign." LINK

ABC News' Tahman Bradley on Obama's "fortuitous" call. LINK

Pelosi nixes Hastings and Harman:

House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has decided against naming either Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House intelligence committee, or Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), the panel's No. 2 Democrat, to chair the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Peter Slevin write that the fight over the top spot on the intelligence committee "has exposed the kind of factional politics that bedeviled House Democrats before they were swept from control in 1994." LINK

The possible compromise candidates mentioned in the Washington Post are: Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), Rep. Norman Dicks (D-WA), and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA). The New York Times' Mazzetti and Zernike on the intel "soap opera." LINK

Reps. Reyes and Bishop get mentioned by the New York Times as possible picks and Rep. Dicks' spokesmen seems to try to take him out of the running.

ABC News' Jake Tapper weighs in on the Hastings/Harman/Pelosi saga on "Political Punch." LINK

The New York Daily News also includes Reyes, Bishop, and Dicks in its coverage. LINK

The New York Observer's Steve Kornacki includes Rep. Reyes and Rep. Holt as possible chairs. LINK

Lesley Clark and Margaret Taley of the Miami Herald believe that Pelosi's decision to pass over Hastings could "ruffle her relations with black lawyers." LINK

Rep. Hastings adds his comments in an interview with Larry Lipmann of the Palm Beach Post, "you win some, you lose some, and some you get rained out." He added that although he would "not be in the starting lineup, I will still be in the game." Rep. Hastings also believes that the decision was because of the "negative climate and pressures" and his impeachment in 1988. LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle's Marc Sandalow writes that while Pelosi avoids facing heat for her commitment to ethics by dismissing Alcee Hastings for House Intelligence Chair, she "faces two more potentially difficult bombs," where critics may wonder whether Jane Harman is being overlooked due to Pelosi's past grudges and where African American leaders may question Hasting's dismissal. Sandalow Notes that the front runner to head the Intelligence Committee is now Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, a former border patrol agent and the No. 3 ranked Democrat on the committee. LINK

Boston Globe: LINK

Los Angeles Times: LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

In an editorial board meeting with the New York Daily News, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) paints the debate over Iraq policy within the Bush Administration as Cheney vs. Rove, with Cheney usually emerging the victor. LINK

ABC News' Jan Crawford Greenburg and Ariane DeVogue report that the White House has hired someone to help handle anticipated congressional investigations.

Politics of Iraq:

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Pentagon is "preparing an emergency spending proposal that could be larger and broader than any since the Sept.11 attacks, covering not only the war in Iraq and Afghanistan but extending to other military operations connected to the Bush administration's war on terrorism." LINK

In a must-read, the Washington Post's Michael Shear on the cold alleged exchange that Senator-elect Jim Webb (D-VA) and President Bush recently had about Webb's "boy" who is serving in Iraq. LINK

Peter Baker of the Washington Post manages to cite a Random House unabridged dictionary definition of civil war (a war between political factions or regions within the same country) in his story looking at the war of words over what to call the conflict in Iraq. LINK


Richard Collins, a wealthy Texas businessman heading up the anti-Hillary Clinton 527 "Stop Her Now," (and a "close personal friend" of Arthur Finkelstein) not only is the biggest donor to the 527, but is also a big contributor to Rudy Giuliani's Solutions America PAC. The New York Times' Ray Hernandez has the details.LINK


The New York Daily News' McAuliff writes that Collins concedes his direct mail pieces will be "considerably harsher" on Sen. Clinton than the "Stop Her Now" web site. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Two former chairmen of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, Columbia's R. Glenn Hubbard and AEI's N. Gregory Mankiw, have joined Gov. Mitt Romney's (R-MA) economic brain trust, report the Washington Post's Dan Balz and Zachary Goldfarb. LINK

According to two sources with direct knowledge of the proposed deal, the Boston Globe's Scott Helman reports that Gov. Romney is planning to run his campaign from a three-story waterfront building at the edge of Boston's North End. LINK

The Globe reports that "Romney's decision to base his campaign in Boston would end speculation that" he "was looking to put his headquarters in his native Michigan, a more politically moderate state where his father was a three-term governor."

Kimberly Atkins of the Boston Herald on Romney ending his RGA term: LINK

Laura Hipp of the Clarion Ledger reports that while courting conservatives in the Bible Belt, Gov. Romney said he was "keeping the option open" to run in 2008 "and that's not a passive thing." LINK

In a column looking at whether this is Hagel's moment, the Washington Post's David Ignatius asks: "Will the Bush administration's problems become so severe that Republicans would embrace a senator from the radical senator? The very fact that Hagel is mulling a campaign reminds us that American politics turned a corner this month and that we are in new territory." LINK

(Be sure to read the quotes from Hagel's recent GOPAC speech on the GOP's ethical lapses and on the Bush Administration's foreign policy).

A day late but not a dollar short, the New York Sun's Josh Gerstein reports on former Speaker Newt Gingrich's plan to fight terror that could challenge First Amendment rights, "we now should be impaneling people to look seriously at a level of supervision that we would never dream of if it weren't for the scale of the threat." LINK

The Boston Globe's James Pindell reports from New Hampshire where Gingrich called the White House to admit "failure" in Iraq. LINK

ABC News' Erica Anderson spoke with former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R-VA) yesterday. Mr. "Ax the Tax" is still mulling whether to run for President, Senate, governor, or stay at his law firm. LINK

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is pulling his money out of Sudan to encourage others not to do business with the genocidal government. He asked 44 state governors to divest state pension funds investments in companies involved with Sudan, and 6 states have already done so. LINK

The North County Times reports that Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) will formalize his '08 run for the presidency "within the next few weeks." LINK

2008: Democrats:

Today's New York Observer defines the niche of presidential hopeful Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT). In Dodd's own words, he is the candidate with "experience and a fresh face." LINK

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) was fundraising in Rhode Island yesterday, telling crowds that Bush fumbled his response to 9/11. Biden compared Bush to JFK, using a hypothetical to describe how JFK would have responded to the attacks. LINK

Gates for SECDEF:

David Cloud of the New York Times writes up Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates' questionnaire returned to the Senate Armed Services Committee in which he writes he hopes to improve the department's ability to handle the post-major combat phase of military operations, seen by the Times as criticism of Rumsfeld. LINK

Washington Post on the same: LINK


The New York Times primer on today's global warming case before the Court: LINK

Social Security politics:

Raising the retirement age, reducing benefits, and increasing taxes appear to all be on the table as remedies to shore up Social Security according to the New York Daily News' account of Rep. Charlie Rangel's Crain's NY breakfast remarks. LINK

Democratic agenda:

Describing the Democrats opening agenda as "easy stuff," Senate Minority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pledge cooperation yesterday. The Washington Post has the story. LINK


The AP's Jim Kuhnhenn reports that NRSC Chairwoman Elizabeth Dole "beseeched contributors to 'help us retire our debt…If we left this debt linger, it will cripple our efforts to recruit great candidates for the next election and begin our drive to win the one additional seat we need to regain the Senate majority." While the committee would not release the specific amount of debt, post-election filings are due Dec 7 to the FEC. LINK

2006: House:

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) has been declared the winner of her House race against Victoria Wulsin (D-OH), 50.5% to 49.5%. In district 15, Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), who is challenging Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH), is still not conceding and waiting for the recount. LINK

The Washington Post on the mystery of the missing votes in FL-13. LINK