Get Your Ticket and Your Suitcase

Welcome to The Note 2007, still available for free (as of this writing).

Sometimes it seems like there are no sure things in American politics, as Donald Rumsfeld, Alex Vogel, Mike Allen, and Dan Pfeiffer can all tell you.

This busy month -- and year -- are just getting started, and/but we feel there ARE some bets you can go to Ladbrokes with.

Not all of these are locks, but if you are the wagering type, we suggest putting cash money down on these:

-- The Gang of 500 will vote -- mercilessly and instantly -- 494 to 6 against President Bush's new Iraq policy.

-- Support in Congress will be (only) slightly better for the POTUS.

-- It will take weeks (and maybe months) for the White House to realize just how thoroughly distrusted it is by the Democratic leadership.

-- Said Democratic leadership will not make the public relations mistakes that Republicans are implicitly counting on.

-- Al Gore will make the most of his moment in the (ever-warmer) sun.

-- Ben Smith has more pages up his sleeve.

-- BidenDoddVilsackRichardson will get very tired of answering questions about ClintonObama.

-- Anyone at the White House who thinks they can keep 2008 in a bottle will realize by April Fool's Day that they can't.

-- If Reid-Pelosi can move legislation like Frist-Hastert(DeLay), President Bush's veto pen will get quite a work out.

-- Before too long, there will be a Sunny Mindel/Barbara Comstock/Steve Schmidt green room face off that will be an instant classic.

-- Before too long, there will be a surprise entrance (or exit) from the expected 2008 field.

-- All profiles of Robert Gibbs will begin with either (a) an anecdotal lede involving the teasing he gets from his boss; or (b) his weight loss techniques.

-- All profiles of John Weaver will begin with either (a) a lyric description of how glum he seems; (b) some Karl Rove story/comparison.

-- Democratic congressional strategists will still talk more to reporters about strategy and tactics than their Republican counterparts.

Gerald R. Ford is laid to rest this afternoon at his presidential museum in Grand Rapids, MI. Former President Carter and former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld are both expected to speak at the Grace Church private funeral service at 2:00 pm ET. Vice President Cheney is also expected to attend. Be sure to tune into ABC News' television coverage of Ford's burial beginning at 3:30 pm ET. You can also catch all of ABC News' Ford funeral coverage at anytime on, ABC News Now, and ABC News Radio. LINK

President Bush's agenda setting day began with his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal reminding congressional Democrats that he's still got 25 percent of his presidency left and that he and the new majorities on the Hill "share the responsibility for what we achieve." The President plans to meet with his Cabinet at 9:30 am ET and then to stand in front of them for a Rose Garden statement at 10:25 am ET. (Mr. Bush perhaps previews the anti-earmarking part of that statement in his op-ed by writing, ". . . today I will announce my own proposal to end this dead-of-the-night process and substantially cut the earmarks passed each year.")

ABC News' Jake Tapper Notes that "this is the fourth op-ed the President has written. He penned one for the New York Times in 2002 on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, he wrote one for his reelection for USA Today on November 2, 2004, and another for his second inaugural on Jan 20, 2005 that appeared in both USA Today and the Washington Times."

The President also plans to host a (closed press) bicameral, bipartisan reception with approximately a dozen members of the congressional leadership and their spouses at 5:30 pm ET.

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow briefs on camera at 12:30 pm ET.

Pelosi-palooza begins today. At 10:00 am ET, Speaker-designate Pelosi attends (closed press) mass in remembrance of the children of Darfur and Katrina at Trinity University. At 3:00 pm ET, Pelosi attends a (open press) women's tea in her honor which includes a tribute to late Gov. Ann Richards. Rep. Pelosi concludes her day with a 7:00 pm ET (closed press) dinner at the Italian Embassy. ABC News' Jake Tapper blogs a bit more on Pelosi-palooza. LINK

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), who plans to file his presidential committee papers with the FEC today, exchanges the symbols of power with Gov.-elect Deval Patrick (D-MA) and depart the State House for the final time as governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at 5:00 pm ET in Boston, MA.

Incoming House Minority Leader and Whip, Reps. Boehner and Blunt, and others talk about their agenda for the 110th Congress at a 11:30 am ET press conference.

Incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) holds a noon ET pen and pad press briefing.

Also at noon ET Reps. Cantor (R-VA), McHenry (R-NC), and Price (R-GA) hold a press conference to outline their "Minority Bill of Rights -- that will allow the Minority Party to fully participate in legislative deliberations going forward." The press release Notes that the bill is based on then-Minority Leader Pelosi's proposal and that the group may take issue with Speaker Pelosi's plan to move forward with her initial legislative goals without new input from the Republican side of the aisle.

House Democratic leaders and Chairwoman-elect of the Rules Committee, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), hold a press availability at 1:15 pm ET to unveil the Democratic ethics package. Sen.-elect Jim Webb (D-VA) holds a "swearing-in and thank you" party in Arlington, VA at 5:00 pm ET.

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-WI) is in Des Moines, IA for private meetings and to meet with state reporters for a few interviews.

President Bush's op-ed:

In his well-placed Wall Street Journal op-ed, President Bush writes that the budget he sends Congress next month would "balance the federal budget by 2012" while "funding our priorities and making the tax cuts permanent." LINK

In a companion news piece, the Wall Street Journal's John McKinnon Notes that the President's op-ed reflects his Administration's reliance on tax cuts as both "an economic elixir and a political weapon." McKinnon suggests, however, that the weapon might have lost some of its potency.

On the issue of Iraq, President Bush writes in his op-ed that Iraqis "ultimately" must resolve the most pressing issues facing them while quickly adding that the U.S. can help provide the "necessary breathing space" for the "young" Iraqi government to "meet its responsibilities."

The President cites "greater energy security, comprehensive immigration reform, and affordable health care" as issues on which he looks forward to working with Congress and pledges to announce later today his own proposal to end this "substantially cut the earmarks passed each year."

President Bush concludes his op-ed by reminding Congress of his veto power and by telling the incoming majority that if Congress chooses to pass bills that are "simply political statements," they will have "chosen stalemate.

Democratic agenda:

The Washington Post's editorial board warns that the incoming Democratic majority is poised to "set an unfortunate precedent that fairness will be offered on sufferance, when the majority finds it convenient, and not as a matter of principle." LINK

With Democratic priorities on the minimum wage, rolling back oil subsidies, and negotiating Medicare drug prices at risk in the Senate where the party has only a 51-49 margin and where GOPers have signaled their opposition, Bloomberg's Laura Litvan and Nicholas Johnston expect the Democratic congressional honeymoon to be short-lived. LINK

The New York Times' Carl Hulse reports on the confusion over the "first 100 hours" that House Democrats had planned a flurry of legislation and the likelihood that most or the bills (save for a resolution honoring former President Ford) would be stalled in the 51-49 Democratic controlled Senate. LINK

In a story looking at what might be one of the first fights between the Bush Administration and the new Democratic-controlled Congress, the Los Angeles Times reports that the incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), is likely to clash with the Bush Administration over the Justice Department's refusal to turn over two secret documents dealing with detention and interrogation policies for suspected terrorists. Richard B. Schmitt has the story. LINK

Pfizer, Amgen and the rest of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry are facing "pent-up hostility" from congressional Democrats, report Bloomberg's Jay Newton-Small and Kristin Jensen. LINK

Democratic agenda: ethics reform:

Per The Hill's Jonathan Kaplan and Jackie Kucinich, House Democrats plan to adopt and amend the House rules package tomorrow, which would include banning gifts and all travel paid for by lobbyists and would require the Ethics Committee's pre-approval of trips paid for by outside groups. LINK

Democratic agenda: minimum wage:

As part of a broader minimum wage bill, Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman (and Pelosi pal) George Miller (D-CA) is efforting a wage increase for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, previously blocked by those tied to Abramoff, reports The Hill's Crabtree. LINK

Democratic agenda: taxes:

Democrats are intent on repealing tax breaks on particular oil and gas companies and will most likely try as early as next week to require them to pay royalties for oil produced in the Gulf of Mexico, reports The Hill's Snyder. LINK

Politics of Iraq:

Defense Secretary Gates will be called to testify before the Senate Armed Services panel about the Bush Administration's approach to Iraq once President Bush announces his new course, reports Bloomberg's Ken Fireman. LINK

Incoming Democratic Majority:

In a story arguing that House Majority Whip James Clyburn's (D-SC) ascent "symbolizes the rise of a set of Southern black lawmakers shaped by the region," the Wall Street Journal's David Rogers has Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) saying that he comes from a district that "believes in God, country, work, family and guns, and not necessarily in that order. For rural blacks, a shotgun was just another tool on the farm and a way to protect you from the Klan." LINK

Incoming Republican Minority:

Chairman of the Republican Senate Steering Committee Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and his House counterpart Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) plan to push for a seat at the GOP leadership table to ensure the conservative factions of the House and Senate conferences are heard, per the Hill's Bolton. LINK


In an article titled "Troop-surge proposal fodder for '08 presidential hopefuls," written by The Hill's Aaron Blake, Democratic candidates seem to be gearing up to make what John Edwards dubbed the unpopular "McCain Doctrine" one of the major issues of the 2008 campaign. LINK

2008: Republicans: Giuliani:

The New York Daily News' David Saltonstall and (the soon-to-be Politico's) Ben Smith provide some extended Day Two detail of the contents of the Giuliani campaign staffer's strategy document including "a more detailed portrait of Giuliani's financial backers than the campaign has disclosed." LINK

Note also the 9/11 families angle. Coverage of the story continues in the Daily News, with Smith and Saltonstall quoting Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, "Now if he's not on track to raise $100 million by the end of the year, you can imagine what the headlines will be. . . It'll be, 'Rudy's Falling Short.'" LINK

The New York Post's Maggie Haberman reports that the Giuliani playbook that aides claim was taken from a staffer's personal luggage was stolen while Giuliani was stumping for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. And Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel labels it a "dirty trick." LINK

Be sure to Note John Weaver's willingness to play on this story with the security dig (and the Romney camp's silence). LINK

Jason Horowitz of The New York Observer has more on the fallout. LINK

"The public disclosure of the document is potentially damaging for Mr. Giuliani, not least because since 9/11, he has built a business as a private consultant on security issues while creating an image as a political leader capable of combating terrorism," writes Patrick Healy of the New York Times on the alleged theft of the campaign document. LINK

2008: Republicans: Romney:

In a strong showing of political will by outgoing Gov. Mitt Romney and social conservatives, the Massachusetts legislature advanced a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage keeping the measure alive for a chance for it get on the 2008 state ballot. LINK

The Boston Globe writes that yesterday's vote ". . . marked a dramatic shift in fortune for social conservatives and Governor Mitt Romney, who just weeks ago had little hope the petition would move forward. Both they and same-sex marriage advocates said the Supreme Judicial Court's ruling was the major factor that shifted the political ground in favor of the proposed amendment."

The New York Times' Pam Belluck reports all this too, with her usual Romney obsession. LINK

In a story that Notes Gov. Romney's role working the telephones on the same-sex marriage issue, the Washington Post's Michael Powell and Robin Shulman report that it is "by no means clear that Massachusetts voters will overturn the same-sex marriage law, even if they have the chance. In the last few years, a decided majority of state legislators -- and Gov.-elect Deval Patrick (D) -- have supported same-sex marriage and vowed to try to sink the proposed amendment in a legislative session later this year." LINK

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza reports that the talented Carolyn Weyforth is Gov. Romney's latest hire: she will be Romney's deputy communications director. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan has a Romney aide saying that the case that the Massachusetts governor is going to make is that he has "a record of governing that demonstrates an extraordinary level of accomplishment that will lead the country toward success." LINK

The Boston Globe's Andrea Estes and Michael Levenson look at Romney's appointment of more than 200 Republican activists to boards and commissions despite the governor's expressed opposition to political patronage. LINK

"The blizzard of 11th-hour appointments will, in many cases, place people loyal to Romney on the boards for years to come -- in some cases until 2011 -- ensuring that his influence will reverberate in such areas as education, healthcare, and criminal justice long after the governor leaves the State House tonight," writes the duo.

2008: Republicans: Gingrich:

The Washington Post's Dan Balz and David Broder have former House Speaker Newt Gingrich explaining Cheney and Rumsfeld's turn away from Ford-style Republicanism by saying "Cheney and Rumsfeld have experienced a different world than Ford experienced and are genuinely frightened . . ." before adding that "They just don't know how to communicate to the country." LINK

2008: Republicans: McCain:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) may have caused a stir in the NASCAR community. LINK

2008: Democrats: Obama:

In what is sure to be followed by many more stories looking at Sen. Obama's admission in "Dreams From My Father" that he tried cocaine when he was younger, the Washington Post's Lois Romano reports that there is "uneasiness" in some Democratic circles that Obama's admission will provide a blueprint for negative attacks. LINK

"A senior Republican strategist who will be advising a GOP presidential candidate in 2008 said he did not see anything in the book that would be a 'disqualifier,' but he cautioned that Obama has not yet gone through an intense vetting process and that a problem could arise if there is more to his story than he has chosen to share," writes Romano.

In his column for The Hill, Dick Morris characterizes Obama's inexperience as advantageous and that combined with the Senator's "intuitive grasp" of consensus building, would make him a presidential candidate who "just might make it to the White House." LINK

The New York Sun's Josh Gerstein examines what a President Barack Obama's foreign policy might look like and includes this little nugget of contrast provided by Obama adviser Samantha Power. LINK

"During a speech last month at Northwestern University, she spoke of what a 'President Obama' might do and sowed doubts about two of his potential primary opponents, Senator Clinton and the Democratic nominee in 2004, Senator Kerry of Massachusetts.

"'Hillary Clinton came out about two-and-a-half, three weeks ago and endorsed the president's position on coercive interrogation techniques, not McCain's position, distinguishing herself from McCain, perhaps with 2008 in mind,' Ms. Power said. She also faulted Mr. Kerry for failing, during his debates with Mr. Bush, to mention the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. A columnist for Time magazine, Joe Klein, has reported that Mr. Kerry made the decision based on focus groups his campaign conducted. 'The answer came back, 'It's not a winner politically,'' Ms. Power said."

"Spokesmen for Mrs. Clinton did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Mr. Kerry, David Wade, said Mr. Kerry 'has a 21-year record of leadership exposing human rights abuses and insisting on accountability.'"

CNN apologized to Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for a graphic during the Situation Room about to the search for Osama Bin Laden which mistakenly read "Where's Obama?" reports the AP. LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton:

Steven Kornacki of the New York Observer ponders if Senator Clinton will need to look back at Al Gore's 2000 playbook in order to win her party's support during the primary season. LINK

2008: Democrats: Biden:

Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) was on hand yesterday to watch his son be sworn in as Delaware's new attorney general. LINK


The Des Moines Register's Jason Clayworth reports that Greg Edwards, president of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, is scheduled to appear on MSNBC today at around 3:15 pm ET to make public the idea of a nationally televised show to kickoff the 2008 Iowa caucuses. The bureau's film commission wants a concert of "'A-list; rock stars, comedians, and other Hollywood types," with names such as Britney Spears and Lee Greenwood on their early wish list. LINK

Political potpourri:

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) may have been one of the most profiled Democrats in 2006 and he appears willing to keep the streak alive as 2007 kicks off with Ryan Lizza's GQ look at the man from the Land of Lincoln who was key in bringing Democrats to the promised land. LINK

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank considers which member of the White House press corps could be President Bush's Tom Brokaw at a future funeral. LINK

The Washington Post's Argetsinger and Roberts Note Rep. Keith Ellison's (D-MN) political savvy by using Thomas Jefferson's copy of the Koran for his ceremonial swearing-in. LINK

Ford's farewell:

In his only network interview, the man who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Gerald Ford, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, told ABC News' Jan Crawford Greenberg that the first time he met the late president he thought he was "a fine lawyer" and the kind of person he would like to have as a friend. LINK