The Note: The Way to Win, Chappaqua Style



Before Hillary Clinton's bold stroke Saturday morning, the first State of the Union speech of the rest of George W. Bush's presidency was already in danger -- along with Mr. Bush's entire agenda -- of being drowned out by the drawn-out political death of the war in Iraq.

ABC News' Gary Langer reports: "President Bush faces the nation this week more unpopular than any president on the eve of a State of the Union address since Richard Nixon in 1974." LINK

"Nixon was beleaguered by the Watergate scandal; for Bush, three decades later, it's the war in Iraq. With his unpopular troop surge on the table, his job rating matches the worst of his presidency: Thirty-three percent of Americans approve of his work in office while 65 percent disapprove, 2-1 negative, matching his career low last May."

"Only three postwar presidents have gone lower -- Jimmy Carter, Nixon and Harry Truman. And only one has had a higher disapproval rating, Nixon."

Now, any illusions the White House had that the 2008 presidential contest could be repressed until late 2007 have been blown away.

The Gang of 500, every cable network, talk radio host, and pajama-clad blogger is significantly more interested in all things Clinton than they are in health care tax credits, nuanced global warming positions, or Cheney-Pelosi body language.

And between now and Tuesday night's 9 pm SOTU, Hillary Clinton will claim some really choice network television real estate, as well deliver what will surely be the most watched, hyped, and covered video web chats in the (short) history of the medium.

Senator Clinton has already answered many key questions about her presidential campaign, but left some very much tbd.

Now known: she appears ready to be the first candidate in modern times to reject public financing for the nomination and general election campaigns; she will manage the Clinton Brand in a hands-on fashion; she is going to compete hard for the netroots; there will be no photo op left behind.

It is the unknowns, though, that will attract the attention of the impatient.

1. When she announces her national committee of supporters, who will be the senior member of Congress? The senior African-American? The senior Illinoisan? The senior conservative Southerner? The senior pro-lifer?

2. How much opposition research has she collected on herself? And on others? What will be gathered in both categories in the coming weeks and months? And how forthcoming has she been with her staff? Most of all: whither Cheryl Mills?

3. Howard Kurtz's tour de force Washington Post story -- tracking the right-wing Freak Show's first-of-many attempts to muddy up Clinton (and Obama), in this case using the Washington Times-Fox News conveyor belt -- leaves out the key talk radio piece. So: has the Clinton campaign found a way to track right-wing talk radio?

4. Everything else!

In fact, there is a way to begin to answer all of these questions and more.

The key to evaluating Sen. Clinton's chances of taking the White House in 2008 is to understand just how well she knows The Way to Win.

Indeed, the book "The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008," by John F. Harris of The Politico and Mark Halperin of ABC News, has a whole section on Hillary Clinton, which lays out pretty much every aspect of her political character -- her strengths, weaknesses, history, media relationships, professional status and stamina, and her real chance to win the White House.

If you trace Clinton's time in the 1990s (and understand the lessons she learned from losing repeatedly to the political-media Freak Show) -- and if you look at the tactics and strategies she employed in winning her Senate races in 2000 and 2006 and in her Senate career (in which she has mastered the Freak Show and built a political operation that looks at lot more like the Bush-Rove model than the Bill Clinton model) -- you will understand why Hillary Clinton is as well positioned to be the next president of the United States as anyone else making the race.

So do yourself a favor -- if you are a television booker, a pundit, a voter, a Clinton fan, or someone working to stop Hillary Clinton from being the Democratic nominee and the next president.

Put aside the endless cable and Internet chatter and buy yourself a copy of "The Way to Win." LINK

Read Section IX: "Hillary Clinton, the Freak Show, and the Presidency. That includes chapters on "Losing to the Freak Show," "Challenging the Freak Show," "Mastering the Senate, and the Freak Show," "44! (Assets)," and "44? (Liabilities)."

Once you have done that, you will be equipped to understand what is actually going on now, and why.

Today, Sen. Clinton starts her national conversation about the country's future by answering voters questions in a discussion streamed over the Internet on her website tonight at 7:00 pm ET. Her website says that registration for the chat opens shortly before the webcasts begin. The Senator also appears on some network evening newscasts tonight.

Earlier in the day, Sen. Clinton appears with medical experts, 9-11 responders and their family members at a news conference this morning at the World Trade Center site to call on President Bush to include funding for the healthcare of 9-11 responders in this year's budget.

Sunday: kids and health. Monday: homeland security. Once again: think of a turtle on a fence post.

This weekend, the Senator travels to Iowa for her first visit since November 2003. Details of that trip are TBA (and, perhaps, TBD).

Her husband hosts a book party for former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City this evening. While appearing on NBC's "Today" this morning, McAuliffe depicted Sen. Clinton's pro-war vote as a vote to negotiate with the former Iraqi dictator rather than as a vote to authorize the use of force.

"She voted to give the President the authority to have a stick to go over there and negotiate with Hussein," said McAuliffe.

ABC News' Teddy Davis has more on the Political Radar. LINK

As pro-life activists from across the nation gather for the annual day of protest to commemorate the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, President Bush will be out of town for the sixth year in a row and, thus, will be unable to personally attend or appear at the March for Life, reports ABC News' Karen Travers.

As he has done for the last five years in a row, President Bush participates in a phone call of support to March for Life participants at 12:05 pm ET. President Bush returns to the White House in the afternoon. In 2001, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) read a statement from the President.

Fresh from his official declaration of candidacy and his appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) joined Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) in speaking at the Family Research Council's second annual Blogs4Life conference of pro-life bloggers at 9:00 am ET. At 3:00 pm ET, the Kansas Republican holds an open press reception with pro-life activist at the Capitol Hill Club.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) delivers a speech to Barr Laboratories at the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne, FL at 11:00 am ET.

The Senate convenes at 1:00 pm ET and begins to consider raising the minimum wage.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. John Warner (R-VA) and Ben Nelson (R-FL) plan to introduce their own non-binding resolution opposing President Bush's plan to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were scheduled to hold a press conference today at the Blue Room in Manhattan, NY at 9:15 am ET.

For the week ahead schedule, see below.

2008: Democrats: polls:

The Clinton campaign was no doubt pleased to see the Newsweek poll numbers released on Saturday just hours after Sen. Clinton made her announcement showing her quite competitive with top-tier Republicans in a general election match-up. LINK

(Team Edwards will Notice, of course, that the North Carolinian performs best among the Democratic candidates in the general election match-ups.)

Before heading to a very crowded E Street Cinema to see Volver, the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman got Charlie Cook to weigh in on his cell phone, saying of Sen. Obama: "I think he's going to have a very, very hard time beating her. What you've got is a boxer from the YMCA level going into the world championship fight. He's never taken a punch, he's never had a tough race." LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton: morning shows:

Most of the first 12 minutes of ABC's "Good Morning America" was dedicated to Sen. Clinton's entrance into the presidential race.

"She's in and we have news about how Sen. Hillary Clinton says she plans to win. Today, challenging the President on his State of the Union, but people are asking, 'Where's Bill?,'" said ABC News' Diane Sawyer in this morning's first headline on "Good Morning America."

ABC News' Kate Snow reported that Sen. Clinton's campaign "says that they've been planning" the pre-SOTU weekend rollout for a month "trying to steal some thunder from President Bush."

Snow included Clinton at her health care event yesterday saying, "I'm in, I'm in to win, and that's what I intend to do."

"It's important to the campaign and to the Senator that she be conveyed to the American public as a real person," said Lisa Caputo in Snow's story.

ABC News' Claire Shipman took a look at the "mixed blessing" that is Bill Clinton. Shipman explored his assets -- popularity, fundraising ability, and political strategy -- and his vulnerabilities -- glutton for the spotlight, and scandal-plagued past.

And ABC News' Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos offered up his reporting on how the campaign plans to use 42.

"He's not going to be invisible. He's not going to be holed up in Chappaqua this whole campaign, by any means. Number one -- he's going to be the chief surrogate for Sen. Clinton out on the campaign trail. . . Number two -- he's going to be the chief strategist in the campaign. But they caution that he is going to try -- at least -- to give that counsel to Sen. Clinton privately in their living room not burning up the phones talking to everyone else in the campaign. Number three -- he can play chief fixer in the campaign."

Stephanopoulos also explored Sen. Clinton's vulnerabilities: "This issue of caution and calculation is something [Clinton campaign strategists] are thinking about a lot. And they know that in these sittings she is going to have to appear more candid, have to be also more bold on the policy side. That's why I think you can expect that over the course of the campaign she will come out with a much bigger health care plan despite the failures in the past. The other big vulnerabilities -- the war in Iraq. She voted for the war going in. Clinton officials know that Barack Obama will be able to say that he was against the war from the start. Number three -- the idea that she is the ultimate insider. . . [The Clinton people] want to grab the good of the Clinton years of the president's reputation, but they want to avoid the idea that she is part of the past, that she has already been there and done that, and that's going to be tough for her."

2008: Democrats: Clinton: opting out:

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will "not take matching funds in the primary campaign or, if she wins the Democratic nomination, in the general election," reports the Los Angeles Times' Dan Morain based on an e-mail exchange with senior Clinton advisor Howard Wolfson.

In 2004, both President Bush and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) opted out of the matching-funds system for the nomination season. But in every campaign since 1976, the nominees have accepted matching funds for the general election.

In 2004, the FEC gave $75 million each to Kerry and Bush. With an inflation adjustment, the grant is expected to be $83.8 million in 2008.

Top-tier contenders on both sides of the aisle are expected to follow Clinton's lead and abandon the system this cycle in both the primaries and the general.

A tangible sign that Clinton was going to forego matching funds can be viewed on her web site where she asks for contributions as high as $4,200 ($2,100 for the primary and another $2,100 for the general). Candidates who take public money in the general election are restricted to that amount and are not allowed to raise additional money. LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton's first campaign stop:

Pat Healy of the New York Times writes up the "highly scripted political theater" that was Sen. Clinton's first stop on the campaign trail. The Senator promoted her plan to expand the opportunity for children under the age of 18 to acquire health insurance and included children on stage with her which, Healy writes, was reminiscent of Speaker Pelosi's carefully crafted ascension to power earlier this month. LINK

"Clinton began the day by going to church in Manhattan with her former-president husband, sources said. She ended it in her Chappaqua home, where she was to hold a major fund-raising phone call with hundreds of potential supporters and" McAuliffe, writes Maggie Haberman of the New York Post. LINK

Haberman also reports that Rev. Al Sharpton is expected to meet with both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama this week in Washington, DC and that another powerful African American New Yorker, Rep. Charlie Rangel is leaning towards supporting his home state candidate -- Sen. Clinton.

"The decision to make health care her first issue out of the box was notable in that she was widely criticized for her failed effort to reform the nation's health system during husband Bill Clinton's presidency," writes Celeste Katz of the New York Daily News. LINK

The Washington Post's Anne E. Kornblut saw Sen. Clinton's first stop as an effort "to strengthen her appeal to women." LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton: electability:

The Washington Post's Dan Balz reports that Clinton's campaign wasted no time confronting the electability issue. Her campaign posted a 1,250-word memo from strategist and pollster Mark Penn that begins: "People are always asking, can Hillary Clinton win the presidency? Of course she can." LINK

Glenn Thrush of Newsday calls Penn's memo the "opening salvo" against Obama and Edwards. Hot Soup's Ron Fournier on the "flawed but formidable" Clinton. LINK

"Analysts, Clinton insiders, opponents and political operatives across the country say victory is possible -- but the New York senator will have no room for error," write Ken Bazinet and Michael McAuliff of the New York Daily News. LINK

"Her first job will be knocking down the conventional wisdom that's dogged her since her first run for Senate: that she's too polarizing and unelectable nationally."

A pumped Washington Post ed board views Clinton's entrance into the Democratic presidential race favorably, but points to two challenges she will have: getting the Democratic bases to forgive her for her position of the war, and overcoming the notions that she isn't electable. LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton: GOP reaction:

The New York Post's Geoff Earle writes up the McCain, Gingrich, and Brownback reactions to Sen. Clinton's candidacy from their Sunday morning show appearances. As you might expect, they all find her formidable. LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton: FPOTUS 42:

The New York Post looks at the portion of Terry McAuliffe's new book which includes the anecdote of how McAuliffe came to loan the Clinton's $1.3 million for their Chappaqua home after the First Family was turned down for a bank loan. LINK

Clinton: analysis:

". . . she has told friends that she is more worried about winning the Democratic nomination than winning a general election against a Republican," wrote Pat Healy in his New York Times analysis on Sunday. LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton vs. Obama:

Pat Healy and Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times included (outlier) billionaire George Soros' decision to go with Obama over Clinton in the fifth graph of their Page One New York Times story on Sunday on Clinton's entrance into the race. LINK

". . . the Obama Moment has passed. This is not to deny Obama's formidable challenge to Hillary or the profound seriousness of his candidacy. But he's a little like the winner of "American Idol" going up against a rock superstar who has spent decades in the spotlight," wrote John Podhoretz in his Sunday New York Post column. LINK

". . .at the moment, Obama appears to be driving the train, with Hillary scrambling to hop on board," wrote the New York Post editorial board on Sunday in an editorial that is (un)surprisingly critical of Sen. Clinton's candidacy. LINK

Over to you, Gary Ginsberg.

From Cindy Adams' New York Post gossip column: "African-American CEO Dick Parsons on African-American candidate Barack Obama: 'Great guy, but he won't beat Hillary in a primary.'" LINK

No word yet on if the Clinton campaign is attempting to ask the DNC to create a New York City primary and get it moved ahead of the Iowa caucuses in the nomination calendar, but that didn't stop the New York Daily News from commissioning a poll of city residents on Clinton vs. Obama. Clinton emerges on top in the poll. LINK

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne Jr. dissects the differences between Clinton and Obama and writes that "the feel of the two campaigns is palpably different, with Obama enjoying an advantage on passion and Clinton on organization and discipline." LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton: the gender factor:

In Sunday's Washington Post, Lois Romano reported that most voters are women and most women favor Clinton. LINK

2008: Democrats: Rahm primary:

In a front-page look at the "Rahm primary," the Washington Post's Shailagh Murray and Peter Baker report: "Under other circumstances, Emanuel would be a natural for the Obama camp. But Emanuel was a rambunctious 31-year-old when he joined Clinton's campaign in 1991 as one of the original members of the Little Rock war room and followed the candidate to the White House. Although he was demoted at one point -- reportedly at the instigation of the first lady -- he eventually became one of the president's closest aides." LINK

2008: Democrats: production value:

In the Style section of Sunday's Washington Post, Ann Hornaday wrote: "Unlike other candidates (coughBarack Obamacough), whose videos might have been produced by a guy with a cellphone camera, Clinton's announcement was a veritable showpiece of Hollywood-style set design, lighting and cinematography." LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton: the vacancy left behind:

The New York Times' Sewell Chan takes a look at many of the potential pols Gov. Spitzer could tap to replace Sen. Clinton should she win the presidency next year. LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton: staff:

Judd Legum, the research director at the Center for American Progress, begins work as research director for Sen. Clinton's presidential campaign on Wednesday.

Baptist outreach by Carter and Clinton:

In Sunday's Washington Post, Alan Cooperman looked at efforts on the part of former Presidents Carter and Clinton to bring together moderate Baptists. LINK

"The new coalition, which is Carter's brainchild, would give moderate Baptists a stronger collective voice and could provide Democrats with greater entree into the Baptist community."


In Tuesday's State of the Union, President Bush will propose a deep tax break for Americans who purchase their own medical insurance and would finance it with an unprecedented tax on a portion of high-priced health-care plans that workers receive from their employers, reported Michael Fletcher in Sunday's Washington Post. LINK

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, reacted to President Bush's health care proposals on Saturday by issuing a statement that says he is "concerned that taxing health benefits may undermine the good coverage that many Americans already have, while inadequate credits will do little to make health care more affordable for those who are struggling to pay their premiums now."

In his op-ed column, the New York Times' Paul Krugman seems somewhat offended by the President's health care plan previewed over the weekend. LINK

"There is widespread anticipation, inside government and outside, that President Bush will call for better fuel economy in his State of the Union address on Tuesday," writes Matthew Wald of the New York Times. (Over to you, Chairman Dingell.) LINK

Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times offers some insight into chief presidential speechwriter William McGurn's SOTU preparation and President Bush's editing style. LINK

Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News describes the political landscape for President Bush as he prepares to deliver his State of the Union address. "His political capital is dangerously depleted. Congress is controlled by the Democrats, emboldened to reverse his domestic initiatives and challenge him at every turn. Republicans already jittery about the 2008 elections are distancing themselves from him and his policies. His personal popularity and job approval ratings have been shredded. 'It's not a pretty political picture,' one of Bush's closest confidants acknowledged last week, 'and we all know it, including him.'"

USA Today lands the pre-SOTU Bush interview. The President defends his Iraq plan and the paper makes Note of it's possible affect on Sen. McCain. LINK

Read the full interview, including the President's priorities for Tuesday night: "we need to come across the aisle and work together," "what happens in Iraq matters to your security here at home," I'm going to talk about how our foreign policy is more than just spreading freedom, it's also to help people who suffer from disease and hunger." And on the subject of Mark McGwire: "I don't have a vote." LINK

President Bush throws Gov. Romney (and, of course, Gov. Schwarzenegger) a bone on health insurance on the state level. USA does the domestic (read: not Iraq) wrap up with the President. LINK

SOTU: polls:

Newsweek's poll numbers also show President Bush receiving his lowest marks of his presidency as heads into his big speech. LINK


Under the headline, "On the Electronic Campaign Trail, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and Dan Balz take a look at how Web video has become the center of communications strategy for the 2008 presidential campaign. LINK

On his "Political Punch" blog, ABC News' Jake Tapper assess the various campaign websites littering the trail. LINK

With the first votes scheduled to be cast a year from now, the 2008 presidential contest is ready for its close-up. The New York Times' Broder and Healy take a look at the earlier-than-ever intensity and focus on the presidential race during this very busy month of announcements. LINK

"Three people in two days." USA Today reports on the "headline casualties" Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Sam Brownback. LINK

USA Today has Brownback LINK

Richardson LINK

2008: Republicans:

The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes reports that Sen. McCain's Iraq position "has been eroding his popularity with the general public, which over time has admired his independence but now overwhelmingly opposes the war. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, conducted Jan. 17-20, shows Americans by 65% to 30% say Mr. Bush shouldn't go ahead with his proposed troop 'surge' if Congress passes a nonbinding resolution against it."

As part of the reassessment of McCain, "several Republicans pointed to last week's news that prominent national strategist and former Minnesota Rep. Vin Weber, one of Mr. McCain's earliest supporters in 2000 against then-Gov. George Bush, has become Mr. Romney's policy chairman."

"Mr. Weber, in an interview, declined to address Mr. McCain's war woes. But, anticipating that Democrats will choose Mrs. Clinton, he said, 'Republicans are increasingly beginning to see that if Democrats are going to nominate the consummate insider, ... perhaps that gives us our ultimate opening -- a face from outside Washington. Maybe it's Romney, maybe it's Giuliani, maybe it's Huckabee. I think it's Romney. But nobody's made the sale yet. It's still early.'"

2008: Republicans: Brownback:

In his Sunday appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Sen. Brownback said he would not join Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) in voting for a resolution opposing the President's sending of more troops to Iraq.

"That doesn't give us a route forward," said Sen. Brownback. "That just says, OK, we're against this. What I think we really have got to do today is sit down with Democrat leaders and say, what will you support?"

In a guest column in the Washington Times, Sen. Brownback marks today's March for Life rally in Washington by stressing the need for Republicans to embrace a "Culture of Life" and fight against abortion. LINK

" My family and I are taking the first steps on the yellow brick road to the White House," said Brownback as he declared his candidacy on Saturday. LINK

2008: Republicans: McCain:

The Washington Post on Sen. McCain saying on "Meet the Press" that he may oppose President Bush's appointment of Gen. George Casey. LINK

2008: Republicans: Romney:

In their USA Today column, David Campbell and J. Quin Monson await Gov. Romney's score on "the religious test" and liken his challenge to former President Kennedy's. LINK

2008: Republicans: Hagel

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) didn't completely rule out a bid as an independent" over the weekend, reports the Omaha World-Herald. LINK

2008: Republicans: Pataki:

The New York Post's Fred Dicker reports that Gov. Spitzer wants an accounting for a private jet Gov. Pataki chartered shortly before leaving office. LINK

2008: Democrats: Richardson:

With a web video and an appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) got into the presidential race over the weekend.

Be sure to Note that while appearing on "This Week," Gov. Richardson voiced his support for cutting off funding for U.S. troops in Iraq.

ABC News' Jonathan Greenberger reported Sunday that Gov. Richardson made clear in his "This Week" interview that he will try to "leverage his background by drawing a contrast between the extent of his experiences and those of his likely competitors for the nomination." LINK

More from the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: LINK

". . . Mr. Richardson is also a strong fund-raiser. While chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, he raised more than $28 million for candidates for governor," writes Matthew Wald of the New York Times. LINK

"N.M. Gov Throws Sombrero Into Ring," reads a New York Post headline above an Associated Press story about Gov. Richardson's entrance into the presidential contest. The New York Daily News' Goldiner writes up Gov. Richardson's "This Week" appearance. LINK

"'The country is looking for somebody who, one, brings the country together -- a unifier, a healer -- and two, somebody who gets things done,' he said. 'Those two quests by Americans override any other concerns.'"

2008: Democrats: Gore:

The New York Times editorial board urges former Vice President Al Gore to accept Chairman Dingell's invitation to appear before his committee to help bring Rep. Dingell into the conversation about the effects (and causes) of global warming. LINK

2008: Democrats: Obama:

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times writes up Sen. Obama's staff and Notes that executive director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University Betsy Myers (sister of Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers) will serve as the Obama campaign's Chief Operating Officer. LINK

Niles Lathem of the New York Post takes a quick look at Michelle Obama -- describing her "as a classic beauty in the mold of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis." LINK

Ellis Cose offers an opinion piece in Newsweek exploring the post-boomer candidate that is Barack Obama and wonders if that might be an advantage for him. LINK

John Broder of the New York Times took a similar look in the paper's Week-in-Review section on Sunday. LINK

"The hesitant spouse is a well-known character in presidential politics, and Michelle has never been quite as conflicted as some of her comments might suggest," write Newsweek's Springen and Darman in their Michelle Obama profile. LINK

2008: Democrats: Kerry:

Under a "Room for 1 More?" header, CBS4's Jon Keller reports that a spokesman for Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) says that the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee is in the "final stages of his decision-making process." LINK

Democratic agenda:

Emerging grievances within party likely to test Pelosi, writes the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman. LINK

Sen. Chuck Schumer aims to help develop the Democratic brand in his new book. Newsweek publishes excerpts -- and, not to worry, Joe and Eileen are prominently featured. LINK

The Libby trial:

The trial of former Cheney chief of staff Scooter Libby will highlight the (at times) complicated reporter-source relationship in Washington. The New York Times' Neil Lewis has the story. LINK

Bush Administration agenda/personality:

Holly Bailey of Newsweek takes a look at Karl Rove's lack of time in the public spotlight of late. LINK

". . .behind the scenes, according to administration officials (anonymous in order to discuss White House matters), Rove has been laying the groundwork for Bush's State of the Union address and mulling how the GOP can regain momentum in 2008."

In Sunday's Washington Post, George Will wrote that Rep. Barney Frank's (D-MA) thinking is "what today's liberalism looks like when organized by a first-class mind." LINK

Saturday's New York Post had excerpts from Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D-NY) new book, "Positively American," in which he discusses his plan for winning back the middle class -- and his love of the Hunan Dynasty Chinese restaurant in Washington, DC. LINK

Week ahead:

On Tuesday, President Bush appears before Congress to fulfill his constitutional responsibility of from time to time delivering his State of the Union. Mr. Bush speaks at the US Capitol at 9 pm ET. The ABC News universe will cover his speech. Gov. Romney speaks at the Seventh Annual Herzliya Conference in Israel. The Senate Armed Services Committee has a confirmation hearing on Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who is nominated to lead the multi-national force in Iraq. Former Vice President Al Gore delivers an address concerning climate change at Augustana College in Sioux Falls at 7:00 pm ET. Opening statements are expected in the Scotter Libby trial. Immediately after the President's address, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) delivers the Democratic response, followed by the response given in Spanish by Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA).

On Wednesday, President Bush travels to Delaware to make remarks on energy and travels to Missouri for a roundtable on healthcare. Mr. Bush meets with the Incoming Commander for Nation International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan at the White House. The US Conference of Mayors begins at 9:30 am ET, and runs until Friday, at the Capitol Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will deliver remarks at the Nation Press Club luncheon in Washington, DC at 12:30 pm ET.

On Thursday, President Bush participates in a roundtable discussion on Healthcare initiatives at Sait Luke's East-Lee's Summit in Lee's Summit, Missouri. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, in a conversation with Frank Sesno, will give a look inside the Bush White House at George Washington University on Thursday at 7:30 pm ET in Washington, DC.The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the current situation in Iraq. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing entitled "Iraq: Political Strategy." Duncan Hunter (R-CA) will formally declare his presidential candidacy at the Marriott Hotel in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Families USA holds its Health Action 2007 Conference Thursday at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC. On the first of it's three day event, speakers will include Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) at 9:00 am ET, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) at 12:30 pm ET, and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) at 2:45 pm ET.

On Friday, the National Review's Conservative Summit begins at 6:00 pm ET at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC, and runs through Sunday. Featured speakers will be several prominent conservatives, including, but not limited to former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), former Ambassador John Bolton, Robert Bork, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR).