WASHINGTON, Feb. 8
There are problems and there are PROBLEMS.
President Bush and the war.
Mitch McConnell and the Novak. LINK
Mitt Romney and the religion.
Hillary Clinton and the ed boards (the Wall Street Journal's over Iraq, Washington Post's over bundler disclosure, and the the Las Vegas Review Journal over oil company profits LINK).
John Edwards and the blogger dilemma.
Rudy Giuliani and the paper trail.
Terry McAuliffe's book party and the fire marshall.
And then there is:
Speaker Pelosi and the plane.
Pelosi will be thoroughly staked out today after she delivers 10:00 am ET remarks on global warming to the House Science and Technology Committee. The hearing focuses on the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
It isn't at all clear how this contretempts inside a hubbub wrapped around a Drudge-Washington Times engine will end. But three things are certain:
1. The chances of Pelosi-Bush grand bargains on immigration, energy, health care, entitlements, and education just went from slim to slimmer.
2. Pelosi's PR team fiddled while the (more) baseless accusations burned (up the right-wing Freak Show, and then filtered to the Old Media).
3. The ball is in Pelosi's court now.
Also key today: what progress Democrats can make in the Senate and House on language and legislative strategy to get through the kabuki/non-binding portion of their efforts to end the war in Iraq.
This is subkey: The Washington Post's Murray reports: "Senior House Democrats predicted that their measure will attract overwhelming party support and possibly as many as 30 GOP votes."
Secretly not oblivious to any of this, President Bush receives a 3:00 pm ET briefing on homeland security priorities at DHS headquarters in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day, he has a 10:45 am ET photo op with former Lebanese President Amine Gemayel at the White House.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testifies about the budget before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 9:15 am ET. She meets with the President at 3:45 pm ET.
The full Senate is expected to approve Gen. George Casey's nomination to be Army chief of staff around 11:30 am ET.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee holds a hearing on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act at 10:00 am ET.
One day after the Romney-friendly Drudge Report began trumpeting his appeal to fiscal conservatives, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) focuses on energy in the Hawkeye State today. He has an 11:15 am ET tour of Iowa State University's Bio-Renewable Energy Research Facility in Ames, IA, he has a 1:15 pm ET lunch with supporters in Montour, IA, and he concludes his trip with a 2:30 pm ET visit to Marshalltown, IA.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani makes fundraising stops in Bergen and Franklin Lakes, NJ. His exploratory committee holds a 12:00 pm ET press conference call today regarding the Mayor's support in Michigan. Kind of a landmark event, that conference call, since it represents another sign for insiders of the Giuliani effort becoming a "real" campaign operation.
Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) delivers remarks on "New Realism and the Rebirth of American Leadership" at The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) at 10:00 am ET, Washington, DC. He will speak of an "Axis of Reason."
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) hosts a high-wattage book party for former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe's "What a Party! My Life Among Democrats" at the Park Hyatt at 7:00 pm ET in Washington, DC.
Roughly four years after he hammered Rep. Richard Gephardt's (D-MO) universal health-care proposal in a South Carolina debate moderated by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos as "taking money from working people" and being akin to telling people that "they're in good hands with Enron," Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) holds a 1:00 pm ET town hall meeting on his own (different) plan to provide health insurance to every American in Charleston, SC. Following the town hall meeting, Edwards holds a media availability at approximately 1:45 pm ET.
Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), John Ensign (R-NV) and Tom Coburn R-OK) hold a media availability to discuss spending legislation at 10:00 am ET in the Senate Print Gallery.
Duf Sundhein, the chairman of the California Republican Party, holds a 1:00 pm ET roundtable discussion on his tenure as chair and the future of the California Republican Party at party headquarters in Sacramento, CA.
The Scotter Libby trial continues with Libby's attorneys set to resume questioning of NBC's Tim Russert.
On "Good Morning America," ABC News' Jake Tapper reported that "Speaker Pelosi's office will review the offer from the Pentagon and respond accordingly."
"AIR-OGANT NANCY," reads the New York Post headline above the Niles Lathem story looking at the Pelosi plane flap. LINK
Marshalling more facts than Team Pelosi, Lynn Sweet writes in this morning's The Hill about the double standard that seems to exist in the wake of Speaker Pelosi's request for a different type of plane than that used by her predecessor. Former speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) used to use his plane to shuttle himself and top aides back to his district in Illinois. He even used it to bring in Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) in for a press conference when the Mark Foley story broke and Hastert's team did not want to deal with commercial airline schedules. LINK
The New York Post ed board has a field day with the story. LINK
Los Angeles Times: LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper looks at "Air Pelosi": LINK
The Washington Times editorial: LINK
Politics of Iraq:
Bob Novak has a must-read column taking to task both Senate Leaders -- Reid for losing control and McConnell for losing the PR fight. A Republican says: "Mitch McConnell is a master behind the scenes, but he has a lot to learn about going public." LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Noam Levey: LINK
The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny writes up the rift within House Democratic ranks on how toothy a resolution about Iraq to put forward for a vote next week. Zeleny also looks at the continued Senate stalemate on the matter. LINK
Kate Zernike of the New York Times profiles a Sen. Joe Lieberman (I/D-CT) unshackled by the pressures of partisanship and strongly defending President Bush's plan for Iraq. LINK
USA Today's Kathy Kiely on the House resolution: LINK
"The New Hampshire Union Leader, ABC News and WMUR-TV will produce four live Presidential candidate debates in Manchester. The first two will be held in October 2007, the final two just before the New Hampshire primary."
"The first Republican debate will be held on Sunday, Oct. 14, and the corresponding Democratic debate will be Sunday, Oct. 21. Both will be broadcast nationally as special editions of 'This Week with George Stephanopoulos.'"
"Stephanopoulos, chief Washington correspondent and anchor of 'This Week,' will moderate those debates. The Union Leader's senior political reporter, John DiStaso, and Scott Spradling, WMUR's political director, will also question the candidates."
Coverage from the Union Leader: LINK
Boston Globe: LINK
Associated Press: LINK
And the Political Radar: LINK
David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register writes this morning about caucus polls and suggests there is room for a moderate on the GOP side. LINK
Politico's Jonathan Martin looks at the 2008 field and discovers many candidates without life-long and deep roots in the places from which they are running. LINK
Martin Schram writes that the new driver of the Straight Talk Express is not McCain but Giuliani. LINK
"At least in the early days of 2007, Giuliani seems to be spending more time mining California Republicans than" Romney or McCain, reports Dan Morain of the Los Angeles Times. LINK
2008: Republicans: Romney:
The Hill's Alexander Bolton looks at Romney's "about face" on campaign funding, with past Romney statements seemingly sympathetic to Rube Goldberg contraptions not explained by Kevin Madden. LINK
The New York Times' Nagourney and Goodstein do the Romney religion thing (with a candidate interview while driving through South Carolina -- of all places) and report that Gov. Romney is still giving "strong consideration to a public address about his faith and political views." LINK
"Mr. Romney appears to be making some headway. Several prominent evangelical leaders said that, after meeting him, they had grown sufficiently comfortable with the notion of Mr. Romney as president to overcome any concerns they might have about his religion," write Nagourney and Goodstein.
Matt Barber of the Post Chronicle on "The Mitt Split" among conservatives. LINK
2008: Republicans: Giuliani:
James Lileks proposes in his article this morning that Giuliani's campaign slogan should be "He dealt with Brooklyn. He can handle Iraq" and claims Giuliani will have the best shot for the GOP nomination. LINK
2008: Republicans: Huckabee:
In an interview this morning on CNBC's Squawk Box, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) commented on Iraq that America is in a "True world war with an ideology that would eliminate the United states" and added about the President's plan, "I hope it works."
When asked about off-shore oil drilling, Huckabee said, "We should drill on the outer continent shelf, such as ANWAR… we are continually held hostage by countries who hate us such Iran, Venezuela, or Russia."
The Washington Post's ed board -- once again -- takes Sen. Clinton to the woodshed for not disclosing the names of its bundlers as President Bush did in both of his campaigns and as Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain have pledged to do in this campaign. LINK
The Washington Post was not the only news organization asking about disclosure.
ABC News' Tahman Bradley put that question to Sen. Clinton as she walked into a Wednesday meeting with backers who have pledged to raise $25,000 and up.
Sen. Clinton walked into her meeting without acknowledging the question.
When ABC's Bradley asked Clinton adviser Ann Lewis about disclosure, she said: "You'll have to check with the people who are actually doing the work of putting the finance team together. I'm not part of that." LINK
That will make Ruth Marcus' blood boil.
2008: Democrats: Obama:
Roger Simon of Politico scored a pre-announcement interview with Sen. Obama in which the presidential candidate reveals nothing new, but repeats his goal to lead a campaign that will transform the country and be powered by the people at the grassroots across all 50 states. LINK
Note Obama seems to suggest that his already-given major policy speeches and his books might just be his "white papers."
(Cue The Hill: Sen. Obama signs on policy expert and law professor from Seaton Hall onto his campaign staff. LINK)
Sen. Obama is not quite ready to fully give up the option of taking public funds in the general election despite his stated intention to currently raise money as if he will ultimately opt out of the public system. The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick has the story. LINK
Note the willingness of the McCain and Edwards camps to poke the Obama eye with their fingers.
The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and Matthew Mosk on the same: LINK
Ben Smith of the Politico on the same: LINK
The AP's Nedra Pickler. LINK
James Q. Lynch of the Cedar Rapids Gazette previews Sen. Obama's weekend Iowa swing. LINK
The Boston Globe's Joan Vennochi columnizes on the "Obama boomlet" in Massachusetts after longtime Clinton supporter Alan Solomont threw his support behind the Junior senator from Illinois. LINK
Nicole Duran of Roll Call looks at who might run for the Senate in Illinois if Obama is elected president. LINK
2008: Democrats: Edwards:
In an interview with the Kansas City Star, Sen. Edwards discusses Iraq and health care, and when asked if he worries the tax increase required for his plan is "political suicide," Edwards replied, "No. I think it's called telling the truth." LINK
The New York Post's Bishop writes about John Edwards' neighbor in North Carolina who is apparently a Rudy Giuliani fan, but the story seems to be more about rehashing the details, size, and cost of Edwards' new home. LINK
2008: Democrats: Vilsack:
Susan Estrich discusses the friend that she has who is getting behind Vilsack because she thinks he has the courage to take a strong stand against the Iraq war, because of his record in Iowa, and because she believes he can win. LINK
2008: Democrats: Richardson:
The Albuquerque Journal's John Arnold previews Gov. Bill Richardson's (D-NM) speech that he will give this morning at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. It is expected that Richardson will propose a halt to the creation of new U.S. nuclear weapons in the hopes of getting North Korea to stop their program. LINK
Jeff Jones of the Albuquerque Journal writes this morning that after review by the New Mexico State Attorney General Gary King, Richardson is not breaking New Mexico law by collecting cash for his '08 bid during the current legislative session. LINK
In an op-ed for South Carolina's the State, Mike Fitts makes the case for Gov. Richardson as a top-tier candidate based on his experience. LINK
Gov. Richardson stands strong against cockfighting, reports Tin Korte of the Associated Press. LINK
Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) told his colleagues yesterday in their weekly conference meeting that he has done nothing wrong in the California land deal that has come under scrutiny in the press recently. And Rep. Miller apparently has the support of Minority Leader Boehner. Patrick O'Connor and John Bresnahan of Politico have the story. LINK
Big Casino budget politics:
Sen. Conrad's (D-ND) and OMB Director Rob Portman's parry and thrust over budget negotiations -- specifically on entitlement programs -- gets some New York Times play. LINK
The Libby trial:
On Russert's testimony yesterday, Howard Kurtz writes, "(h)e was careful, sober and subdued. He spoke in a flat monotone. He offered responses such as "I don't recall saying that specifically, but I may have," and "You'll have to refresh my recollection on that." Gone was Russert's usual bombast and showmanship." LINK
"What the hell is going on with 'Hardball,' " said Tim Russert during his testimony in the Scooter Libby trial in the Los Angeles Times' Richard Schmitt of the Los Angeles Times. LINK
"House Democrats are preparing a $1 billion package of small-business tax breaks to be paired with an increase in the federal minimum wage, hoping to break a stalemate with the Senate over one of their top legislative priorities," reports Sarah Lueck of the Wall Street Journal.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) sent a letter yesterday to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales demanding that a recently "fired" federal prosecutor be allowed to continue overseeing a congressional corruption investigation, the Wall Street Journal and others report.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Leader McConnell wonders why "some in Congress" want to change "Part D" of 2003 Medicare drug benefit.
Jackie Kucinich reports that House Republican leaders will "unveil the first of a regular series of radio addresses tomorrow as part of a new initiative that leaders say will better communicate with members of their conference and beyond." LINK
The Union Leader's John DiStaso reports that New Hampshire independents are trending Democratic and "will make up 39 percent of the Republican primary voters but more than 60 percent of Democratic primary voters." LINK
Casting and counting:
Jerome Sherman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that Democrats in the House and Senate are pushing to get rid of the electronic touch screen voting machines before the 2008 election and replace them with devices with paper trails so voters can verify their selections. LINK
"The railroad industry is hiring relatives of Capitol Hill lawmakers and staff members as it faces tighter federal safety legislation, employing a tactic untouched by the Democrats' new ethics proposals: lobbying by congressional family members," reports Elizabeth Williamson of the Washington Post. LINK
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank uses Rep. Mike Pence's (R-IN) call for "unanimous consent to add to the Congressional Record the names of all the members of the Colts offense, defense substitution and the coaching staff" to prove that Congress doesn't know what to do with its time. LINK