The Note: Gradual Push-Me-Pullback

One such heretofore Frist donor is cardiologist Zachariah P. Zachariah of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

In 2004, Zachariah raised $200,000 from friends and colleagues for President Bush's re-election, making him one of the Bush-Cheney campaign's vaunted "Rangers."

Now that Frist, a fellow M.D., has taken himself out of the 2008 race, Zachariah told ABC News' Karuna Seshasai that he has to choose among his "three friends": McCain, Romney, and Giuliani -- and he's hoping to make his choice by Christmas. LINK

Billy House of the Arizona Republic writes that with Frist's decision not to run leaves McCain, Romney, and Giuliani as the "biggest GOP names considering a presidential bid." LINK

The Arizona Republic's Robbie Sherwood and Amanda Crawford discuss the "small-time" election of Phoenix's GOP chairman which was a "referendum on McCain that shows opposition to his expected presidential bid among grassroots Republicans in Arizona." LINK

2008: Republicans:

After the Clarion Ledger of Mississippi reported that Mitt Romney said he had the support of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the Boston Globe's Scott Hellman reports that the Falwell issued a statement saying: "If Governor Romney becomes the Republican candidate, I could certainly support him. However, I have not endorsed or offered support for Governor Romney or any other candidate and have no plans to do so in the immediate future." LINK

The Romney camp explained that the governor was taken out of context and that he never implied that Falwell had endorsed him.

The Boston Herald's Laura Hipp reports that "sources tell the Herald that Romney likely will forgo an exploratory committee entirely, taking a different approach than fellow GOP presidential front-runners Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani by declaring his candidacy outright sometime after Christmas." LINK

Kimberly Atkins of the Boston Herald on Team Romney staffing up with the likes of Kevin Madden. LINK

Adam Smith of the St. Petersburg Times reports that Florida's GOP party is planning a "President IV" straw vote convention next year in October. LINK

Today's Union Leader carries Newt Gingrich's full comments about freedom and terrorism after comments he made in New Hampshire, which were reported in the Union Leader, stirred national attention. LINK

Larry Lipman of the Palm Beach Post discusses Gov. Jeb Bush's (R-FL) response to Rep. Tancredo's comments that Miami was a Third World country, "what a nut…first of all, he's from my own party. He's a Republican. He doesn't represent my views or the views of most Republicans in this state." LINK

Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) made his second trip to Iraq this week and found a much more troubling security situation on the ground there than he did during his February 2004 visit when he recalled he was able to eat ice cream strolling the streets of Baghdad. The Associated Press' Marc Humbert has the story. LINK

GOP agenda:

In his pricey New York Times column, David Brooks provides seven tips to the Republican Party on how he thinks it can best woo independent/swing voters to the GOP -- primarily with a focus on policy over philosophy. LINK

Carl Hulse of the New York Times takes a look at incoming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his apparent willingness and desire to work cooperatively with Democrats -- especially on ethics reform and a minimum wage increase early in the 110th Congress. LINK

Democratic agenda:

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