The Note: Sprinting a Marathon


President Bush says all the time that he is going to sprint to the finish of his presidency, but the weekend past -- and week future -- suggest that he will have to run hard to keep up with the men and woman who want his job.

(There is a 65% chance that that sentence will be The Note's lede 300 out of the next 306 days.)

As the Gang of 500 quibbles over their Palm steaks about which is politically most dead-- the war in Iraq, the Bush budget, or Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman -- all the must-read stories are about the hyper-speed race to take the oath in January, 2009. (Howie Kurtz captures the former perfectly: LINK)

To wit:

1. Bob Novak turns John McCain into Grover Norquist on taxes (which will make John Weaver happy), but says (correctly) that the media love for McCain has somewhat faded (which will make Weaver less so). LINK

2. The Boston Globe's Helman profiles Mitt Romney's bridge to the right, the incomparable and talented Peter Flaherty (Note to Helman: you aren't the only one courting the incomparable and talented Flaherty as a source!). LINK

3. Dick Morris and Eileen McGann predict a Giuliani-Huckabee face-off (sort of). LINK

4. In an important story laying out the infrastructure and metaphysical challenges for the Obama campaign, the Washington Post's Kornblut runs these seminal graphs of reporting, spin, and expectations setting:

"Rivals in the Democratic contest contend that [Obama] could raise as much as $40 million, potentially raking in $1 million in a single Hollywood fundraiser, and will all but fail an early test of his viability if he comes up with less than former North Carolina senator John Edwards before April. Edwards is expected to raise as much as $15 million in the first quarter, and Clinton is expected to raise as much as $30 million, though both of those campaigns, like Obama's, insist they could take in less." LINK

"'By all accounts, Obama is poised for a huge fundraising quarter,' said Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson, predicting that Obama will raise $25 million or more. Wolfson played down the notion that Obama's campaign needs time to get up to speed."

5. Reflecting the reality that the Clinton and Obama camps take John Edwards as serious as a heart attack, the New York Times' John Broder front pages the new tough tone (and health care and Iraq policies) of thesonofamillworker. LINK

6. The New York Daily News' McAuliff on Senator Clinton's money tree. LINK

7. For the addicted, the latest Granite State poll numbers, courtesy of John DiStaso and the Union Leader, suggesting why Hillary Clinton is the woman to beat. LINK

8. Bloomberg's Kristin Jensen and Jonathan D. Salant on (yet another reason: ties to Big Business) that Clinton is the woman to beat. LINK

9. Sunday's Union Leader had Michael Cousineau on the battle for premium New Hampshire office space. LINK

10. Al Hunt's Bloombergian take on the race overall, with the safe prediction of predictable unpredictability, and another nod to HRC's poll position. LINK

In a move reminiscent of Hillary Clinton taking on the State of the Union with her announcement meta tour, John Edwards plans to release the outlines of his health care plan today in the face of the President's budget.

Edwards plans to release the proposal online and do interviews on request, but not do any brick-and-mortar unveiling.

Meanwhile, President Bush sends Congress his $2.9 trillion dollar budget today. Over the weekend, he began framing his budget proposal as emphasizing restraint on domestic spending while making defense and war costs for Iraq and Afghanistan the top priority.

He also meets with his Cabinet at 9:55 am ET and poses for photos with 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champ Jimmie Johnson at 1:40 pm ET.

Contrasting Big Casino sound will come at 2:00 pm ET when the top Democrats on the Senate and House budget panels, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Rep. John Spratt (D-SC), hold a 2:00 pm ET news conference to discuss the President's budget.

On the Iraq front, the Senate votes at 5:30 pm ET on a motion to invoke cloture to limit debate on Sen. Carl Levin's (D-MI) non-binding resolution, S. 470. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other members of the GOP Leadership hold a 2:00 pm ET Capitol Hill presser on the Iraq resolution. Former Rep. Leon Panetta (D-CA), a member of the Iraq Study Group and a former Clinton White House chief of staff, speaks about options for Iraq at the Center for National Policy in Washington, D.C. at 4:00 pm ET.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) is raising coin in the Lone Star State today.

At 5:30 pm ET, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani endorses New York state Senate candidate Maureen O'Connell in Floral Park and Franklin Square, NY.

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) will be a guest on "The Live Desk" with Martha MacCallum on Fox News at 1:15 pm ET.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) holds an 11:00 am ET presser with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on the budget at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. The two New York Senators plan to criticize President Bush for what is expected to be "more than $70 billion" in cuts from Medicare and Medicaid.

Fresh off of his weekend effort to distinguish himself from the Democratic pack by urging Congress to cut off funding for U.S. fighting in Iraq, former Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) delivers 3:15 pm ET to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) delivers 12:00 pm ET remarks to the Rotary Club in Rochester, NH, he delivers 3:45 pm ET remarks about Iraq to the College Democrats at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH, and he attends a 6:30 pm ET town hall meeting in Dover, NH.

Big Casino budget politics:

"The budget that President Bush will submit to Congress today," reports the Washington Post's Lori Montgomery, "shows the federal deficit falling in each of the next four years and would produce a $61 billion surplus in 2012, administration officials said. But to get there, Bush is counting on strong economic growth, diminishing costs in the Iraq war and tight domestic spending to offset the cost of his tax cuts." LINK

When President Bush presents his budget today he will "showcase a highway 'congestion initiative,' according to White House documents, with grants for state and local governments to experiment with anti-jam strategies," reports the Wall Street Journal's John D. McKinnon.

The Wall Street Journal's Deborah Solomon looks at President Bush's secret for spending heavily on guns and butter without triggering huge inflation.

"What's Mr. Bush's secret? Ingredient one: strong revenue growth driven by an economy distinguished by surging profits and rising incomes at the top, which are taxed more heavily than incomes at the bottom. Ingredient two: tax cuts and spending increases, which arrived when the U.S. economy needed a boost. Ingredient three, and perhaps the most significant: the willingness of foreigners to lend to the U.S., which finances the budget deficit without pushing up interest rates at a time when Americans don't save very much."

Richard Wolf of USA Today reports that President Bush will launch an initiative to fund national parks with a private donor government match program. LINK

USA Today's Wolf and David Jackson report that President Bush is trying to court Democrats as he unveils his new budget but Panetta says: "There has to be a degree of trust that you can work with the other side without getting a knife in your back." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Peter Spiegel takes a look at President Bush's "tank-sized" defense budget. LINK

The Chicago Tribune's William Neikirk reports on the unusual coalition between liberal and conservative think tanks that "has been preaching this message in a nationwide "fiscal wake-up tour." LINK

Politics of Iraq:

Under a "Senate rebuke on Iraq is loud and unclear" headline, the Los Angeles Times' Noam Levey reports on the non-binding resolution criticizing President Bush's new Iraq plan and the confusion among lawmakers about exactly what the statement means. LINK

The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray and Jonathan Weisman look at the ways in which the debate on the non-binding resolution on Iraq will test Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) and the 19 other Senate GOPers facing reelection in 2008 -- "many from states where voters are angry with Bush's war policy and want the troops to begin heading home." LINK

The AP's Ramer and Glover team up to mesh their beats of New Hampshire and Iowa in one bundle of news, reporting that Iraq will likely shape up to be the major issue of 2008 in those states, as Democratic activists are increasingly unified and vocal in their opposition. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

"Bush wants his legacy to be the long-term defeat of Islamic extremism. Indeed, senior officials close to Bush who did not wish to be identified discussing private conversations with the president tell Newsweek that Bush's plan after he leaves the White House is to continue to promote the spread of democracy in the Middle East by inviting world leaders to his own policy institute, to be built alongside his presidential library," write Newsweek's Bailey, Wolffe, and Thomas. LINK

DNC winter meeting overviews:

Clinton "presented herself as a tough, experienced pragmatist," Obama "offered himself as an inspirational critic of politics as usual. And Edwards "made himself the keeper of the Democratic flame, delivering a call for Democrats to reclaim their heritage," Dan Balz and Anne Kornblut reported in Saturday's Washington Post. LINK

"Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards all drew a notably warm reception. None stirred the kind of wild response that Mr. Dean did in 2003," wrote Adam Nagourney and Pat Healy of the New York Times on Saturday. LINK

Iraq plans divide Democratic hopefuls, reported Tom Hamburger and Janet Hook in Saturday's Los Angeles Times. LINK

Reporting on the DNC meeting, ABC News' Jake Tapper outlined the positions being staked out on the issue of Iraq by the various candidates, including Gen Wesley Clark's highlighting of his military record, and the heckling from anti-war activists unique to Sen. Clinton's speech. Tapper also Noted that despite all the excitement, "Democrats in attendance seemed divided among the three front-runners," and highlighted several Democrats' impressions of the event. LINK

Tapper has more from the Dem cattle call on his "Political Punch" blog: LINK

In Sunday's Washington Post, Balz wrote that all the Democrats running for president oppose the war, "but the self-styled outsiders in the race -- those not in the Senate -- see political gain in pressing for a speedy end to the war, and in the process they are putting pressure on prominent candidates such as" Clinton and Obama "to follow suit." LINK

More Balz: "Based on conversations with DNC members and others who attended the meeting, Edwards and Richardson helped themselves more than any of the other candidates did. Edwards won repeated applause with his speech, and Richardson drew strong reviews for his."

"'What is the point of a non-binding resolution?' Vilsack told ABC News. 'Does that save a single life?'"

Time's Karen Tumulty was "struck by the quiet power of Obama's speech" but she concludes that Edwards "gave the more rousing and ultimately nutritious speech of the morning, one that felt like it had more purpose." LINK

Susan Milligan of the Boston Globe writes this morning that the 'pecking order' among Democratic presidential hopefuls is too early to determine, although clearly, there are three frontrunners ahead of the pack. LINK

See individual candidate sections for more coverage.


Mark March 5 and 19 on your calendars, when, as the Harvard Crimson reports, the first events of the series, "Campaign 2008: Looking Ahead," will be held at Harvard Univeristy, sponsored by the Institute of Politics and the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy. LINK

The first session will include top advisers to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, discussing the upcoming campaign. The later session will have aides to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, and Sen. Barack H. Obama of Illinois.

The other campaigns will participate in sessions later in the spring.

On Friday, Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-WI) and Gov. Vilsack took part in a forum at the J.D. Power convention in Las Vegas, moderated by USA Today's Susan Page. The forum took a more personal note when the topic of Vilsack meeting his biological mother came up. He said, "I got this letter from the Sisters of Charity, and it outlines that they had information potentially that I might be interested in about the circumstances of my birth. You then have to weigh and judge whether you're being disloyal in some sense to the family that raised you by making inquiry. Or do you risk the fact that someone from the media might find out before you do and ask a question in a very difficult moment with no preparation?" LINK

2008: Republicans:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) played political pundit in Jeff Zeleny's New York Times piece on Sunday that looked at the McCain vs. Hagel approach to the Iraq war. LINK

Geoff Earle of the New York Post writes up the battle over which side is more "intellectually dishonest" in the Senate debate over Iraq through the McCain and Hagel "This Week" appearances. LINK

2008: Republicans: McCain:

That Bob Novak column has Sen. McCain saying: ". . . I will never vote for a tax increase, nor support a tax increase," in a column that looks at McCain passing a GOP litmus test in 2008 that he failed in 2000. (Novak Notes the effect that this has had on McCain's support among liberal journalists and other non-Republicans.) LINK

Novak goes on to compare Sen. McCain to the GOP's 1996 vice presidential nominee, saying, "McCain sounded most like [Jack] Kemp when he told me: 'I want everyone to be rich. I worry about inequities. I think that corporate greed is hurting their image. But trying to enact some kind of legislation that would take money from the rich and give it to the poor, that's just out of the question.'"

The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg took a Sunday front page look at Sen. McCain's assembling a campaign team full of top advisers who, in the past, have created tough ads against McCain and others with which McCain was none too pleased. LINK

(Note to Rutenberg: McCain lost his virginity on this stuff a long time ago.)

McCain was asked about the New York Times story when he appeared Sunday on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

"… most of them are good people," said McCain before revising and extending his remarks to say: "They are all good people, otherwise, I wouldn't hire them. And they've done a good job in the . . . myriad of campaigns they've been involved in."

ABC News' Lindsay Hamilton has more on the "Political Radar." LINK

Today's New York Times writes up the Arizona Senator's comments under a: "McCain Calls New Advisers 'Good People'" header.

2008: Republicans: Romney:

According to a Sunday Washington Times story, Mitt Romney told the House Republican Study Committee that he "eventually will take a position on whether citizenship should continue to be given automatically to anyone born on U.S. soil to parents who are not U.S. citizens." LINK

Lee Bandy of the State writes about Romney's trip to South Carolina where he looked to "derail John McCain's "Straight Talk Express."" LINK

The Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody reports on perceived conflicts in statements from Romney on the gay marriage issue. While Gov. Romney's official position in his 2002 gubernatorial campaign was one of opposition to a constitutional ban on gay marriage, he told the Republican Study Committee in Baltimore, "I was then [in 2002] and remain today, opposed to gay marriages and civil unions." LINK

Dan Gilgoff of US News looks at the tightrope that Romney is walking. LINK

2008: Republicans: Giuliani:

David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network reports from South Carolina's Republican Executive Committee meeting in Columbia, where Giuliani said "On the Federal judiciary I would want judges who are strict constructionists because I am," and specified, "the kinds of justices I would appoint - Scalia, Alito and Roberts." LINK

Commenting on the news, Brody says that conservatives "want judges like Scalia, not Ginsberg. And they sure don't want another David Souter," and that Mayor Giuliani's statement "bodes well for America's mayor if he's going to try and win over hard line conservatives, especially Evangelicals who believe we're in the middle of a serious culture war." LINK

Dave Saltonstall of the New York Daily News wrote up Rudy Giuliani's showing a bit more leg in South Carolina over the weekend. LINK

The New York Times' Ray Rivera also looked at Giuliani's candidacy exploration on Sunday and included California Republican Party spokesman Patrick Dorinson trying to drum up some attention for Giuliani's convention keynote in Sacramento, CA scheduled for Saturday. LINK

2008: Republicans: Huckabee:

The Huckabee camp announced Friday that John "Chip" Saltsman will manage Huckabee's exploratory bid for the White House. Saltsman previously worked as senior political advisor for Dr./Leader/Sen. Bill Frist's (R-TN) political action committee.

2008: Republicans: Tancredo:

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) was in Iowa over the weekend pushing his border security platform. The Des Moines Register's Paula Lavigne has more: LINK

2008: Democrats:

Roger Simon of Politico doles out his awards from the DNC winter meeting including the "best corridor conversation" which he had with former DNC Chairman Don Fowler of South Carolina. LINK

"'Obama could carry Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina,' said Fowler, who has not endorsed anybody yet. 'That is based solely on black voter registration. And [Joe] Biden could carry Florida and Virginia.'"

In a story looking at Edwards, Newsweek's Howard Fineman writes that in the wake of Sen. Biden's controversial New York Observer interview, "Hillary's minions didn't focus on Biden; they focused on Obama, who was accused by some black leaders of not being indignant enough on behalf of his own racial heritage." LINK

The New York Post's Geoff Earle spends most of his four paragraphs on Edwards' "Meet the Press" appearance by rewriting the meta-Edwards/Wolfson exchange from January. LINK

"Yesterday. . . Edwards shot back, 'We are at a critical time in American history. The last thing we should be worried about is how politicians react and how their feelings are hurt.'"

2008: Democrats: Clinton:

(How many times, one might ask, is Sen. Clinton going to change her Iraq position?)

The Washington Post's ed board chastises Sen. Clinton for asking her bundlers to rake in $1 million. LINK

"While the senator's not to blame for this state of affairs, the audacity of the $1 million target does evoke distasteful memories of the Lincoln Bedroom rake-it-all-in mentality of the Clinton presidential years. And the unwillingness of her campaign to commit to listing its big bundlers -- as President Bush did during both of his campaigns -- is appalling."

Newsweek's Susannah Meadows looks at Sen. Clinton's childhood Methodist minister, who has maintained a relationship over the years with the Democratic presidential candidate. LINK

The New York Daily News' McAuliff reports that Sen. Clinton's "inner-circle advisers will meet Wednesday for a strategy consultation" before Sen. Clinton meets with potential "HillRaisers" on Friday, followed by a fundraiser at Cipriani. LINK

2008: Democrats: Obama:

The Washington Post's Anne E. Kornblut looks at Sen. Obama challenge in trying to run as the anti-politics candidate. LINK

The Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet covered the DNC meeting, and said Sen. Obama was trying to "dilute the weakness on his resume -- his lack of experience -- by offering instead 'hope,' a word he used eight times in his speech."LINK

Larycia Hawkins writes in an opinion piece for the Chicago Tribune urges Sen. Obama to mount a third party candidacy and expresses relief that, for her, the recent gaffe by Sen. Biden revealed once and for all that "Obama worship stems from white fascination with an alleged anomaly--an articulate black male."LINK

Christie Parsons and Mike Dorning of the Chicago Tribune on Sen. Obama's "raucous" rally at George Mason University. LINK

2008: Democrats: Edwards: morning television:

While appearing this morning on NBC's "Today," John Edwards discussed his new health care proposal, claiming that it would cover the 47 million Americans who don't currently have insurance, bring down costs for most Americans, and assist them with payments. He would also "ask employers to do more," while the government helps to subsidize.

After Lauer referred to Sens. Clinton and Obama as "superstars," Edwards said jovially, "You're not including me in that group?"

Lauer asked Edwards to explain what is perceived as a "harsher tone" coming from the Senator, which Edwards explained by saying, "There is a seriousness and maturity that is going to be required," to run for president.

2008: Democrats: Edwards: media assessments:

John Edwards is clearly getting a look from the media this week before Obama-mania cranks up again over the weekend. Following his "Meet the Press" appearance yesterday, the New York Times' John Broder's front page look at John Edwards 3.0 -- "more seasoned and unshackled." LINK

"He is campaigning as a harder-edged economic populist now, which he says represents more a change in tone than in substance. He says he is both more electable and more authentic than Mrs. Clinton, and more experienced than Mr. Obama," writes Broder.

"The rapid emergence of Mr. Obama has scrambled the Democratic field in a way that poses a particular challenge for Mr. Edwards. He now faces intense competition for the role of fresh-faced change agent. His appeal to voters who feel disenfranchised by the economy and aggrieved by the war must now carry over the similar message being developed by Mr. Obama."

Broder goes on to Note his labor courting and early state organizing as two key advantages he currently holds in the race.

Newsweek's Howard Fineman Notes that many of the Democratic presidential contenders are not shying away from throwing a few elbows toward their frontrunning opponents and perhaps nobody more so than John Edwards. LINK

"Edwards embodies the darker tone. In a hotel 'holding room' after the DNC meeting, he was a tougher, more combative character than the one I had met eight years ago. Now you see the Dennis Quaid grin less often. 'I've grown up,' he said with a shrug," writes Fineman.

The Washington Post's Matthew Mosk on Edwards revisiting his Iraq mea culpa. LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper takes a look at former Sen. John Edwards' (D-NC) television appearances over the past few days, including his spot on "The Tonight Show" where Jay Leno praised him for his negativity-free 2004 campaign. LINK

2008: Democrats: Edwards attributes Obama's pre-war judgement to lack of cong'l intel:

Under a "Edwards Attributes Obama's Pre-War Judgement to Rival's Lack of Congressional Intelligence" header, ABC News' Teddy Davis reported Sunday that Edwards agreed with NBC's Tim Russert that Sen. Obama's pre-war judgement about Iraq was "on the money" but Edwards quickly downplayed its significance by saying that Obama, who was a member of the Illinois state legislature at the time, was not "burdened" by the bad information that Edwards was receiving at the time as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. LINK

The RNC hammered Edwards following his appearance on MTP with a missive to reporters entitled: "Edwards Turns to the Dark Side: '04 Golden Boy Tosses Sunshine Demeanor for '08 Agenda of Aggression and Attacks."

The RNC highlighted Edwards saying that Clinton Administration officials were also wrong about Iraq intelligence, his jab at Obama's experience, and his taking a pass when asked if Sen. Clinton has been "open and honest" with regards to Iraq.

2008: Democrats: Edwards: health care:

Sen. Edwards' failure to endorse a single payer health care system drew the ire of some proponents of such a plan. The New York Sun's Josh Gerstein has the story. LINK

"Edwards: Tax rich to expand health insurance," reads a New York Daily News headline. LINK

Rob Christensen of the Raleigh News & Observer on the same: LINK

More from the AP: LINK

While reserving final judgment for when he sees details, Time's Joe Kein wrote Sunday that he's "not sure" he likes the sound of Edwards' universal health care plan. "Expanding Medicaid and putting more responsibility on the employers," writes Klein, "is exactly the wrong way to go." LINK

2008: Democrats: Edwards: personnel:

For the Washington Post's Style section, Howard Kurtz reports that Edwards has hired liberal blogger Amanda Marcotte. LINK

"But the trouble with bloggers is that they leave a sometimes inflammatory trail.

As Noted by OpinionJournal's James Taranto, Marcotte wrote last month of the Duke rape case that she "had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke are being persecuted just because they held someone down and [sexually assaulted] her against her will -- not rape, of course, because the charges have been thrown out. Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair."

A misguided attempt at sarcasm? "No comment," Marcotte e-mailed Friday. "But thanks for asking!""

2008: Democrats: Vilsack:

ABC News' Teddy Davis reports that Vilsack sought to separate himself from his presidential rivals Saturday by urging Congress to stop funding U.S. fighting in Iraq. LINK

"Without identifying anyone by name, Vilsack used the non-binding nature of the Iraq resolution that the Senate plans to debate next week to imply that Clinton and Obama are ineffectual on the war."

"'What is the point of a non-binding resolution?' Vilsack told ABC News. 'Does that save a single life?'"

Vilsack's comments were picked up on the Saturday edition of ABC News' "World News."

More from Jane Norman of the Des Moines Register LINK

The Register's Norman writes up Vilsack's Sunday interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. The accompanying box describing Vilsack's Iraq position describes it as a "strong position on Iraq" that "starkly" differentiates him from his rivals. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire wraps the Saturday speeches and Notes that Vilsack received "big applause" when he said: "Real change is saying, We want our troops out of harm's way now. . . Not a cap -- an end. Not eventually -- immediately.'"

2008: Democrats: Gore:

Former Vice President Gore has accepted an invitation from Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (D-MI) and Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) to testify on the issue before Congress. Gore, a former member of both committees, will testify at a joint hearing of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality and the Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on Wednesday, March 21, 2007, at a time to be determined, in room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. Gore will be the only witness.

Politico's Ryan Grim offers a preview: LINK

Christina Bellantoni of the Washington Times has Gore saying: "I don't have any plans to run for president, but I appreciate the request." LINK

2008: Democrats: Richardson:

Michael Coleman of the Albuquerque Journal reports on how Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) "dazzled" many at this weekend's DNC meeting. George Washington University public speaking professor Scott Talan said of Gov. Richardson's remarks, "He didn't lecture, he didn't bore and he had a real command of the issues. When you looked at Richardson during the speech, you could tell that he knew he was getting through to people." LINK

Be sure to check out Part 3 of 5 in a series by the Albuquerque Journal's Leslie Linthicum about Richardson and his rise to the top office in New Mexico and now his quest for the presidency. LINK

2008: Democrats: Dodd:

In the Hartford Courant's report on the DNC meeting, David Lightman says of hometown senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) that he "didn't leave 'em screaming for more, but he did what he had to do." LINK

2008: Democrats: Clark:

ABC News' Teddy Davis reports that Gen. Wesley Clark's words of praise for Sen. Clinton are raising speculation about whether he is angling to be her No. 2. LINK

2008: Nader:

A Ralph Nader run may be more likely than not if Sen. Clinton emerges as the Democratic nominee, reports the New York Daily News' McAuliff. LINK

More from Reuters: LINK

2008: Debates:

Eugene Scott of the Arizona Republic reports on Arizona State University's bid to host a 2008 presidential debate. LINK

2008: House:

NRCC Chair Tom Cole says the committee won't be giving nods during primary season to any one candidate during his chairmanship.


The New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg reports that Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) attachment to the Democratic Party is "based in some measure on sentiment, and should not necessarily be thought of as eternal."

Lieberman was not willing to say whether he would remain a Democrat if the party cut off funding for the war. All of this is significant because if the Democratic Party were to lose just one member in the Senate, they would also lose the majority.

Democratic agenda:

Much of the Democratic agenda is reliant upon the IRS collecting hundreds of billions of dollars owed in taxes, but collecting even a significant portion of that owed money may prove to be more problematic than Democrats have suggested. The New York Times' Edmund Andrews takes a closer look. LINK

Political potpourri:

Roll Call reports Speaker Pelosi has been granted access to the private plane she asked for.

Mark Leibovich of the New York Times provides an obit to Sen. Kerry's presidential aspirations and writes of how the Bay State Senator plans to adjust to his day job without a campaign for the White House (past and future) hovering around him. LINK

Leibovich also provides some insight into Sen. Kerry's thinking on at least one candidate in the 2008 field: "As the 2008 presidential campaign takes shape, friends say it has annoyed Mr. Kerry to keep hearing about how formidable his onetime running mate, John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, might be."

"Friends say that Mr. Kerry feels betrayed by Mr. Edwards, whom he defeated easily in the 2004 Democratic primaries and faults for being too quick to second-guess their campaign, distance himself from it and embark on his own 2008 effort."

Click here to see the Roundtable on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos", with David Brooks, Donna Brazille, and George Will. (ABC News Premium Video)


Week ahead:

On Tuesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee holds a full committee hearing Tuesday on the FY2008 budget request and the FY2007 and FY2008 supplemental requests with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace, and Defense Comptroller Tina Jones at 9:30 am ET.

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan presents former President George H. W. Bush with the 2007 Ronald Reagan Freedom Award on at a gala dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on in Beverly Hills, CA.

Bob Schieffer hosts the Washington Press Club Foundation's Annual Congressional Dinner with remarks from Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA).

On Wednesday, Romney addresses the Detroit Economic Club Wednesday at 12:00 pm. President Bush visits Shenandoah National Park on Wednesday at 12:10 pm ET and makes a statement on the National Parks Centennial Challenge at 1:10 pm ET. Sen. Clinton huddles with her finance committee for a strategy briefing at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, D.C. (participants will include advisers Patti Solis Doyle, Mark Penn, and Harold Ickes).

On Thursday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) delivers remarks at the World Money Show on "Winning the Future Under the Next Administration" at 12:35 pm ET at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, FL. Giuliani makes fundraising stops in Bergen and Franklin Lakes county New Jersey.

On Friday, Gingrich (R-GA) and former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-NJ) are the keynote speakers at the TD Ameritrade Partnership 2007 National Conference on Friday at 1:00 pm ET at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA. The Alabama Republican Party's executive committee holds a VIP reception for Romney at 7:00 pm ET in Montgomery, AL. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) addresses the California State Republican Party Convention in Sacramento, CA at 9:30 pm ET. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) addresses the California State Republican Party Convention on Saturday at 3:30 pm ET at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sacramento, CA.

On Saturday, Sen. Obama officially announces his intentions for the 2008 presidential race at 10:00 am ET at the Old State Capital in Springfield, IL, followed by a campaign swing through Iowa. Sen. Clinton makes her first trip to New Hampshire as a presidential candidate. Giuliani speaks to the California Republican Party convention.