In the twenty-year history of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton(?) American politics, here are the five biggest stories respresenting the greatest political achievements, from greatest to less great:
1. George W. Bush's fundraising, 1999-2000.
2. The large governor of a small Southern state (a/k/a "Bill Clinton") defeating an incumbent Republican president, 1992.
3. George W. Bush's consolidation of the Republican base, 1999-2004.
4. Bill Clinton's surviving impeachment and thriving in his last two years in office, 1998-2000.
5. Laura Bush's enduring popularity, 1999-present.
Today, the effort to rejigger that list begins in earnest, as the Hillary Clinton for President finance operation (years in the making) moves a bit more above ground.
"She's going to raise more money than all the other candidates put together," in the first six months of 2007, said John Catsimitidis, identified by the hypnotic (how else to explain all these scoops?) Ben Smith of Politico, as "a New York supermarket magnate," although he should probably be called "the most blabbermouthy donor on the planet and a man completely without any sense of how to set expectations."
On a day when Clinton's finance team is bringing its big, bundling guns to Washington to get every oar in the water (The Note mixes metaphors!!!), we ask:
Why is Clinton such a formidable fundraising force?
Let The Note count the ways and whys:
Terry McAuliffe:There may be two "greatest presidents in the history of the United States" in his view, but The Macker by every possible account plans to put another Clinton in the White House, and there is only ONE "greatest fundraiser in the history of the Democratic Party."
Whitehaven and Chappaqua: Outside of Hyannisport, there are no greater venues within the party for fundraising, donor maintenance, and donor cultivation.
Bill Clinton: He's laying low for now, but just wait until the two-for-the-price-of-one Fundraising Spouse-in-Chief starts to buckrake, $4,600/head, in places such as Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, Texas, California, etc.
The (other) surrogates: There are plenty of other big names (former cabinet secretaries, Carvilleian staffers, etc) who can do events that will pull in tens of thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands.
EMILU's List: Early money is like unstoppable, and Ellen Malcolm's army of checkbook-toting ladies is going to produce millions and millions for the one candidate who puts her skirt on one leg at a time.
The (other) lists: Contact lists, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and e-mails in abundance, allowing Clinton to reach out and touch a lot of givers.
Iraq: Long seen as Clinton's worst enemy, in fact it is now her best friend for fundraising -- bringing down the Republican Brand overall, bringing down McCain's numbers, and allowing pollster Mark Penn to dazzle donors with data galore showing today's snapshot demonstrating Clinton's electability, thereby shooing away a potential donor's reason not to give. (The Politico's "GOP Views Clinton As Virtually Unbeatable" headline will be pointed out to many a Clinton donor today.)LINK
The Empire State empire: Bush had Texas money; Clinton has her own large, wealthy home state, with single buildings on the East Side holding more donors who can and will max out than the entire state of Delaware has. Q. How much can Clinton raise in New York alone? A. More than any candidate has ever raised in one state in the history of the Republic.
Old rich friends: Sure, there have been some defections to other candidates, but in every big city in America (and plenty of medium and small ones) there are bundlers who bundled for Bill in the '90s, and are ready to bundle for her now. (Get those Lincoln Bedroom lists and FOIAs for Clinton letters on behalf of corporate interests to the executive branch ready for cross referencing.)
The fierce organizational zeal of Patti Solis Doyle: Possessing the instincts of a Chicago alderwoman on the take (The Note means that in a good way.) and the authority to say "yes" and "no" (There are no "maybes" in HillaryLand.), the campaign manager has her eye on the money prize. LINK
The Internet: A lot of people have spent a lot of time thinking about how Clinton can leverage her campaign strengths, including her historic-first female candidacy, into the free gold of Web riches.
The chits: The Hill chronicles the money Clinton has raised for and given to other Democratic officeholders. LINK
Lack of candidate shyness: She will ask with the audaciousness of Bill Nelson and the repetity of Chuck Schumer.
Primal belief in the fundraising imperative: Like Bill Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Karl Rove, and George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton knows that only a fool goes into political battle without substantially more resources than the opposition. While other candidates turn to their staffs and ask, "Do I really have to go to all these fundraisers??," Clinton will work tirelessly to make sure that what has to happen happens.
And lastly, money begets money: This is an axiom embraced by all (successful) fundraisers. The more that comes in, the more that comes in. Now that may seem counterintuitive. Why give money to a moneybags? But that's easily explained by the simple principle that in politics -- as in Hollywood and high school -- people (and money) congregate around the "winners."
This morning, Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign hosts a couple of hundred people at briefings by the Senator and her staff at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, D.C. The scent of a winner will be in the air.
The attendees, report the Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum and Matthew Mosk, are expected to raise at least $25,000 each for Clinton's campaign this year. LINK
Last night, Sen. Clinton hosted "about 70 top fundraisers" from around the country to a reception at her Washington, D.C. home. "The high-dollar rainmakers committed to collect at least $250,000 each" for Clinton's campaign, "and many have pledged $1 million."
While Sen. Clinton is raising coin in Washington, DC, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) is in his native Michigan today (where, as he likes to say, "the Romney name is golden") to deliver an 11:15 am ET speech on the economy at the Detroit Economic Club. Romney holds a media availability immediately following his remarks, tentatively scheduled for 1:35 pm ET.
Per the Wall Street Journal's Wirey Jackie Calmes, Romney will "endorse free trade and reject the isolationism and protectionism that has taken hold in both political parties."
On the issue of entitlements, Romney "won't propose changes in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid . . . but instead will press for all sides to come to the bargaining table."
On the issue of energy, Romney is expected to tell his "Motown" audience that "any increase in automotive fuel-efficiency standards should be part of a comprehensive energy policy."
He will also push for making President Bush's tax cuts permanent, shielding savings and investment income from taxation, and limiting the power of trial lawyers, per Bloomberg News. LINK
Sen. Chris Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, holds a 10:00 am ET hearing on "predatory" lending practices and home foreclosures.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee hears from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at 10:00 am ET as an assortment of House and Senate panels continue hearings on the President's budget.
Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a 10:00 am ET hearing on the reliance on private military contractors for Iraqi reconstruction.
This afternoon, the President and First Lady travel to Shenandoah National Park, where they will participate in a roundtable on the National Parks Centennial Initiative, which, according to the White House, is intended to "leverage public-private investment to generate up to $3 billion over 10 years to help parks prepare for their 100th anniversary in 2016." The President speaks on the National Parks Centennial Initiative at 12:55 pm ET.
Wal-Mart, SEIU, Center for American Progress, Howard H. Baker Jr. Center, Kelly Services, CWA, AT&T, Intel, and Committee for Economic Development are scheduled to announce a major health care campaign at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill at 11:00 am ET.
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee holds a 10:00 am ET hearing on "The Hazards of Electronic Voting" with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.).
The House Education and Labor Committee holds a 10:30 am ET hearing on "Strengthening America's Middle Class" with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka, Georgetown University's Judy Feder, and Bill Archey President and CEO of AeA, the nation's "largest industry association representing the electronics and information technology industry."
The tech savvy Laura Crawford and Jim Dyke announce the creation of a website where anyone can upload their own political ads of :30 or :60 and view other posts. LINK
In their must-read Washington Post story, Birnbaum and Mosk report that the guest list at the Clinton's home last night included "such major Democratic donors as Haim Saban, a Hollywood studio investor, Alan J. Patricof, a New York financier, and Kevin O'Keefe, a Chicago lawyer." LINK
The Washington Post duo report that Terry McAuliffe's salesmanship in the month of January appears to have worked: several who attended a dinner at Saban's Beverly Hills estate made the trip to DC yesterday, including Clarence Avant, a former Motown Records executive.
"Among those invited to the event last night at Clinton's home were Chris Korge, a Miami lawyer who has been building a Florida network of donors for her, New York investment banker Steven Rattner, Stanley Chesley, a Cincinnati lawyer and major Democratic Party donor, Susie Tompkins Buell, co-founder of Esprit clothing company, and O'Keefe, who befriended the Clintons in college and later worked in the Clinton administration."
"Among more than a dozen Washingtonians were Democratic activists Smith and Elizabeth Bagley, former Maryland congressman Tom McMillan, former Federal Communications Commissioner Susan Ness, and DLA Piper partners John Merrigan and Mac Bernstein."
Keying off Sen. Clinton's fundraising blitz this week, the Wall Street Journal's Jeanne Cummings writes "though party caucuses and primaries are still a year off, the money race begins in earnest this month, as candidates try to generate big numbers for the first quarterly financial disclosure report due on March 31. Advisers to Mrs. Clinton and Republicans Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani have said their campaigns are shooting for about $30 million in that first report."
But Team Clinton has higher goals in mind. Note what finance director Jonathan Mantz said.
"Jonathan Mantz, the campaign's finance director, recently declined to specify his fund-raising target: "It's a huge number. I've seen a lot of different figures, whether it's $80 or $100 [million], it's a huge number."
The Washington Post's Matthew Mosk looks at the ways in which '08ers have carved an earlier presence in key states this cycle. LINK
Bloomberg News reports that Sen. Chris Dodd – who happens to chair the Senate Banking Committee -- raised $3 million from American International Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley in the last quarter of 2006, which amounts to more than what any other presidential candidate raised in that period. LINK
On the Republican side, "Sen. John McCain, who is pushing a bill for a federal crackdown on independent '527' political groups, has accepted campaign money from the prime financier of an independent group McCain accused of 'dishonest and dishonorable' tactics in the 2004 presidential race," reports Politico's Kenneth Vogel. LINK
Dick Morris' must-read Hill piece on the "inevitability" of Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani (more credible on the former than the latter) is a must read because it explains the importance of the 2007 primary better than has been done to date. LINK
If Sen. Obama's efforts to quit smoking have made you curious, ABC News is keeping track the other presidential contenders' smoking habits as well. LINK
The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza on McCain and Romney battling for congressional endorsements. LINK
2008: Republicans: Romney:
ABC News' David Chalian reports that Mitt Romney will formally declare his presidential candidacy on Feb. 13 in Dearborn, MI, and will then travel to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. He will punctuate his first official campaign swings with a gala fundraiser in Boston. LINK
More on the announcement plans from the Boston Globe's Scott Helman. LINK
2008: Republicans: Giuliani:
Maggie Haberman and Geoff Earle of the New York Post write up the latest CNN/WMUR poll numbers showing Giuliani with sky high favorability ratings and locked in a virtual tie with McCain in the GOP primary horserace. LINK
The New York Daily News' Saltonstall looks at how a nomination calendar with California, Illinois, Florida, and New Jersey up front may help Rudy Giuliani's candidacy. LINK
The Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody reports that Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, ripped Giuliani in a Tuesday interview.
Asked about Giuliani's status as the frontrunner, Perkins said, "He's the front runner but it's kind of like here in DC, you drive over the Potomac at night and it looks beautiful but if you get down near it you certainly wouldn't want to take anything out of it and eat it. It's polluted. It's got problems."
Sewell Chan of the New York Times strangely questions Giuliani's presidential intentions a day after the former mayor made his intentions more clear than ever. Note, too, the South Carolina GOP Chairman, Katon Dawson, floating Ground Zero as a possible location for Giuliani's formal declaration of candidacy. LINK
The Chicago Tribune looks at Giuliani's contracts, speaking fees, and business dealings. LINK
The Citadel has announced that Giuliani will deliver the commencement address to the South Carolina Corps of Cadets Class of 2007 on May 5. LINK
2008: Republicans: Huckabee:
At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast meeting with reporters yesterday, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) responded to a question about Cummins' firing thusly: "He was my chief legal counsel in my office for a while, so I'm very fond of Bud. I think he was an excellent US Attorney. I thought it was unusual to ask him to step down, but I'm also close friends with Tim Griffin who took the position -- so, I have nothing but good to say for him. But the process was at the best awkward -- that would be fair to say."
Politico's Jonathan Martin wraps Huckabee's Monitor breakfast. LINK
John DiStasio of the Union Leader curtain raises the upcoming Granite State visits of Sens. Clinton and Obama.LINK
In a New York Times op-ed, Gloria Steinem offers her support for both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama and hopes the discussion will move beyond whether or not the country is ready for the first female or African American president. LINK
Jason Horowitz of the New York Observer follows the recent Washington Post and New York Times looks at the Clinton vs. Obama battle for the black vote and takes a closer look at their battle for black elites and power brokers. Rev. Jesse Jackson tells Horowitz that Obama's got his vote and Rev. Al Sharpton Notes that Sen. Clinton called into his radio show to wish him and his listeners a happy anniversary. (Sharpton also makes sure to keep riding the fence by telling Horowitz that Obama has all "the right stuff.") LINK
Former CBS News political director Martin Plissner offers a New York Times op-ed arguing America is indeed ready for a black president. LINK
2008: Democrats: Clinton:
Per Politico's Carrie Sheffield and Jim VandeHei: "What many conservatives regard as the nightmare scenario -- President Hillary Rodham Clinton -- is increasingly seen by veteran Republican politicians and strategists as virtual inevitability." LINK
Michael McAuliff of the New York Daily News Notes Sen. Clinton has her 2012 Senate reelection committee up and running with the FEC. . . just in case her 2008 plans don't work out. LINK
"A spokesman for her 2008 White House team said the filing is 'pro forma' and required once a committee raises $5,000."
Sen. Clinton is the first front-runner candidate to RSVP to an AFSCME forum on Feb. 21 in Carson City, NV, reports Geoff Dornan of the Nevada Appeal.LINK
On his "Political Punch" blog, ABC News' Jake Tapper asks whether Sen. Clinton "is like the movie 'Steel Magnolias'."
"They can pack it with stars, jam it into every theater, run it on TNT and basic cable every single weekend, and still men aren't going to want to watch it."
2008: Democrats: Obama:
"BARACK SMACKS SMOKES," reads the New York Post headline above the brief re-telling of yesterday's Chicago Tribune story. LINK
Politico's Ben Smith profiles media consultant and closest political adviser to Sen. Barack Obama David Axelrod, who Notes "simple personality conflicts" as the reason he was fired as chief ad maker during Edwards 2004 presidential bid. LINK
The Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont curtain raises Obama's Iowa trip. LINK
More on Obama's trip to Cedar Rapids, IA from The Cedar Rapids Gazette. LINK
"Wooing College Student Key Element of Obama White House Bid," blogs Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times. LINK
2008: Democrats: Edwards:
As every 2008 presidential campaign scrambles to read every word their campaign bloggers have ever blogged, Edwards spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri tells the New York Times that the campaign is weighing the fate of two bloggers whose anti-Catholic and anti-Christian previous writings as bloggers is causing some controversy. The New York Times' Broder has more. LINK
Nightline's Terry Moran asks: "Does John Edwards condone hate speech?" LINK
2008: Democrats: Richardson:
Kate Nash of the Albuquerque Tribune has a wide-ranging interview with Gov. Richardson, where they touch on everything from Richardson's weight and appearance, his reputation for parties, and the "awkwardness" of running against the wife of his good friend President Clinton. LINK
Leslie Linthicum of the Albuquerque Journal reports this morning on Gov. Richardson's radio interview in which he said, "I'm the first Latino -- we checked this -- to run for President." LINK
2008: Democrats: Biden:
Maureen Dowd dedicates her New York Times column to pumping up Joe Biden's confidence after a first rough week as a presidential candidate. LINK
2008: Democrats: Kucinich:
With the backing of some Hollywood stars, Rep. Kucinich is trying to make some headway for his bill creating a Department of Peace and Nonviolence, which now claims 52 cosponsors, reports Jonathan E. Kaplan of The Hill. LINK
To promote the Department of Peace, Joaquin Phoenix was on Capitol Hill with Rep. Kucinich yesterday. LINK
Politics of Iraq:
Moveon.org will begin airing ads attacking GOP Senators who blocked the debate over the President's Iraq war plan as early as today, reports Politico's Ryan Grim. LINK
"Senate Republicans are pressing for an early vote now to get members on record against withholding funds for the war," reports the Wall Street Journal's David Rogers.
"The strategy, which has the quiet backing of the White House, has evolved over a nonbinding resolution sponsored by Sen. Judd Gregg (R., N.H.) to express opposition to Congress taking any action that might endanger U.S. forces, including the "reduction of funds for troops in the field."'
In his news analysis, Carl Hulse of the New York Times explains how Democrats are trying to hang the "obstructionist" label on Republicans, not unlike what the GOP attempted to do with some frequency when it held the majority. LINK
Hulse's kicker quote gets to the point: "'The reality in Iraq sets it own time limits, sets its own dimensions,' said Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island. 'If it continues to be chaotic, it will accelerate calls for this vote, and calls for even more.'"
ABC News' Jake Tapper has a video report on the showdown in the Senate. LINK
For some Senate Democrats, the strategy has moved from non-binding to pro-binding, as Democrats who opposed the non-binding resolution as too weak may use the upcoming 9/11 Bill to attach binding resolutions to cap troop levels and funding for future deployments.LINK
House Democrats threatened to take up a resolution next week opposing the surge proposal, report the Los Angeles Times' Noam N. Levey and Janet Hook. LINK
"The majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, needs to call a timeout and regroup. By changing the issue from Iraq to partisan parliamentary tactics, his leadership team threatens to muddy the message of any anti-escalation resolution the Senate may eventually pass," writes the New York Times editorial board appearing somewhat frustrated with its base. LINK
The Washington Post's Peter Baker on the President turning to Gen. David Petraeus to rally Hill support.LINK
Bush Administration agenda:
The Bush Administration's recent firing and hiring of some US Attorneys came under scrutiny before a Senate committee yesterday when one Justice Department official conceded there was no specific cause for the removal of US Attorney Bud Cummins of Arkansas. Former RNC Political Director and Karl Rove deputy Tim Griffin was appointed to the position. David Johnston of the New York Times has the story. LINK
More from USA Today's Kevin Johnson. LINK
The Hill's Jessica Holzer reports on the effect on Wall Street as congressional Democrats lay siege to the credit card industry and the market braces itself for "headline risk."LINK
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters yesterday that the Democrats will unveil their long term agenda sometime next week, reports Roll Call's Jennifer Yachnin has more.
House of Labor:
The Hill's Sam Youngman interviews Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), about help given to Kerry in 2004 and the union's plans for 2008. LINK
The Libby trial:
The New York Times' Lewis writes up the possibility that Scooter Libby may not take the stand in his own defense. LINK
David Halbfinger of the New York Times writes up Hollywood's day on the Hill pressing issues from piracy to the middle class needs of the majority of the movie industry's workers. LINK
From Foley to Abramoff, and from "Duke" to "Dusty," ABC News' Brian Ross keeps us up to date on the political scandals of yesteryear.LINK
ABCNews.com also has a photo gallery. LINK
ABC News' Anne-Marie Dorning examines the strategy to go "from villain to victim" as San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom becomes one more in a long line of scandal-burdened politicians who check themselves into rehab for alcohol. LINK