The Note: Brutal Honesty


About ten percent of the Gang of 500 is made up of political journalists.

The biggest challenge for anyone who is president or who wants to be president is figuring out how to get this group of roughly 50 people to change their collective mind, since it is almost always the case that the group believes that every politician is doomed to failure.

The Note has only two obligations: to be brutally honest about what those 50 people are thinking at any given time, and to plead with the group to be willing to think anew about everyone.

With that -- and reinforcing that the following are the views of the Gang of 50, rather than those of The Note -- here is the state of play for at least the next 45 minutes. All of this was gleaned on a Valentine's Day triple date last night at Galileo with Judy, Al, Carl, and Susan:

George W. Bush -- He is out of touch, out of time, out of luck, and out to invade Iran.

Al Gore -- He's definitely running, which he will announce in September after collecting an Oscar, a Nobel Prize, and lots of publicity; he's definitely not running.

Hillary Clinton -- Can't win unless she says "I made a mistake," at which point she will look weak and indecisive, making it impossible for her to win; too burdened by Clinton Fatigue; a woman can't get elected (at least not THIS woman).

John McCain -- Too old, too temperamental, too anxious to appease the Right, and too damaged by Iraq.

Barack Obama -- Not enough specifics, but, let's face it, we all want to believe again; an African-American can't get elected (well maybe THIS African-American can).

Mitt Romney -- Flip-flopping (Mormon); ruthless (Mormon); opportunistic (Mormon); slick (Mormon); a Mormon can't get elected (not ANY Mormon).

John Edwards -- Ruthless, opportunistic, slick; he needs to sell his big house; and he is really, really ahead in Iowa.

Rudy Giuliani -- That Gallup poll number is eye popping; we'll let him build some more strength before we help him self-destruct; when is he going to answer real questions?

Chris Dodd -- Banking money and DNC ties could make him the last man standing if the Big 3 fall.

Newt Gingrich -- Crazy like a fox, but if Dick Morris is for him, we have to reconsider the whole thing.

Tom Vilsack -- He must win Iowa, at which point, winning Iowa will be adjudged meaningless.

Mike Huckabee -- At some point, a candidate has to turn down certain cable interview requests, or we begin to wonder about the stature question.

Bill Richardson -- Clinton Fatigue and "eye of the tiger" questions are big problems that can only be overcome if he comes in fourth in the first quarter money derby.

Sam Brownback -- Break through on something -- money, an issue, a poll -- and we'll reconsider.

Joe Biden -- No chance to win, but we vote to keep him around for sport; the partition plan might get him the Deputy Secretary slot under Holbrooke.

Jim Gilmore -- We aren't certain we can pick him out of a line-up.

Wes Clark -- Wake us up if he is really in the race, and then we'll go back to sleep.

Tom Tancredo -- Please let him in the debates.

Dennis Kucinich -- Please don't let him in the debates.

Duncan Hunter -- We aren't certain we can pick him out of a line-up.

Mike Gravel -- Please don't let him in the debates.

Chuck Hagel -- Anoint him by consensus now and call off the election.

As for the man who still holds the job all the aforementioned seek, President Bush delivers 10:00 am ET remarks on the global war on terrorism, focusing on Afghanistan, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

ABC News' Karen Travers reports that "the President will not announce any new policy but the White House is pitching this as a 'substantive speech' about a 'major front in the global war on terrorism.'"

"His remarks are scheduled to last approximately 50 minutes."

"The speech is hosted by the American Enterprise Institute. There will be 450 people in the audience, including 150 members of the diplomatic corps, 40 Senators and Members of Congress and invited guests of AEI."

"The speech will be a 'comprehensive overview' of where the U.S. has been and where it is going in the war on terror. A 'significant amount' of the speech will be devoted specifically to Afghanistan."

President Bush plans to welcome members of the Congressional Black Caucus to the White House for a meeting at 2:40 pm ET, per ABC News' Ann Compton.

The House of Representatives meets at 10:00 am ET to continue debate on the Iraq war resolution.

Attempting to set the terms of debate before heading into the President's Day week-long congressional recess. . .

The Senate Democratic leadership (Reid, Durbin, Schumer, and Murray) holds a 10:30 am ET pad & pen session with reporters.

The Senate Republican leadership (McConnell, Kyl, Cornyn, and Ensign) highlight their goals on camera at 12:30 pm ET in the Senate Radio/TV gallery.

Former Vice President Al Gore and Live 8 Producer Kevin Wall announce a global climate crisis campaign and concert at 12:30 pm ET at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, CA. When asked, Gore will say he has no plans to run for president, and then 148 reporters will e-mail/call Mike Feldman.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) holds a 7:00 pm ET fundraiser and rally at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, MA.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), fresh off an Imus appearance, pays a 10:30 am ET visit to Meals on Wheels in Nashua, NH, and has a 12:15 pm ET lunch with New Hampshire Senate Democrats in Concord, NH. The Senator then speaks at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard at 2:45 pm ET in Kittery, ME, and attends in a 4:15 pm ET meet-and-greet in Portsmouth, NH.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) plans to attend the Senate Armed Services Committee 9:30 am ET hearing on military readiness with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway. At 10:15 am ET, Clinton plans to join Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) to host "a celebration of the enactment of legislation requiring that a statue of Sojourner Truth be placed permanently in the United States Capitol."

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) participates in the AARP's health conference at 11:00 am ET at the Reagan Trade Building. He then joins an 11:30 am ET forum on climate change at the Russell Senate Building, and later holds a 1:30 pm ET discussion on Iraq at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

Former Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) appears on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno", airing at 11:30 pm ET. (Gov. Vilsack plans to hold a 9:30 pm ET conference call with reporters at the conclusion of his taping with Leno.)

First Lady Laura Bush participates in an 11:00 am ET discussion on malaria control in Africa, sponsored by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC.

Several opponents of the President's Iraq troop increase hold a 1:30 pm ET press conference at the Capitol in Washington, DC. Participants include House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA), Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), Vote National Chairman Jon Soltz, and Iraq war veterans Robert Loria and Andrew Horne.

In a videotaped interview at 11:00 am ET, Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) will outline details of a strategy to use appropriations to oppose the war in Iraq at

Politics of Iraq:

In a must-read, the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman has one anonymous Republican lawmaker who is "close to the leadership" saying that GOP leaders have "50 to 60 Republicans on their watch list, with between 40 and 60 expected to break with the White House tomorrow." LINK

Weisman Notes that Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) "threatened to block a planned week-long recess" in the Senate "unless Democratic and Republican leaders first agree on terms for bringing to a vote a bipartisan resolution opposing the troop buildup."

"For a time on Wednesday, an unusual scene played out on the House floor, with some Republicans coming forward one by one to speak against the Iraq policy while fellow party members argued against them," writes Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's ed board calls this week's House debate on a vote of no-confidence in the mission in Iraq "one of the most shameful moments in the institution's history."

The Washington Post's Walter Pincus reports that Democrats on the Senate intelligence panel have questioned whether the recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq "gave political advantage to the Bush administration by making 'rapid withdrawal' of U.S. troops the only alternative military option the NIE explored." LINK

Presidential presser:

ABC News' Karen Travers and Nitya Venkataraman report on Bush's press conference yesterday where he insisted to reporters that Iran is supplying insurgents in Iraq with weapons. LINK

"What you actually saw was both the press and the President learning from the lessons of the Iraq war," said ABC News' George Stephanopoulos to Charlie Gibson during the network's live coverage of the presidential press conference. "A lot of the reporters in that room determined to press on the quality of this intelligence and how the Administration knew what it was claiming, and the President determined not to over-promise, not to make claims that he couldn't support, about whether the senior officials in the Iranian government were actually behind this," added Stephanopoulos.

Washington Post: "Iranians Aid Iraq Militants, Bush Alleges" LINK

Washington Times: LINK

Under the headline "Bush Declares Iran's Arms Roles in Iraq Is Certain," the New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stoleberg and Marc Santora write, "Mr. Bush's remarks amounted to his most specific accusation to date that Iran was undermining security in Iraq. They appeared to be part of a concerted effort by the White House to present a clearer, more direct case that Iran was supplying the potent weapons -- and to push back against criticism that the intelligence used in reaching the conclusions was not credible." LINK

"President Bush said Wednesday that he did not believe morale of troops in Iraq had declined because of repeated deployments to the war zone," writes the Los Angeles Times' Peter Spiegel. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

Roll Call's Erin Billings reports on the White House's intensified lobbying efforts with Congress, as President Bush tries to press his priorities with a Democratically-controlled legislature and a narrowing window of time.

Texas Monthly's must-read edition:

In the forthcoming issue of Texas Monthly, former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd writes that President Bush's gut-level bond with the American people "may be lost" and that "wholesale change" is needed in Iraq. LINK

"Sending in a small contingent of troops is likely going to be seen as not helpful," Dowd writes.

"He'd be much better off with the public if he said, 'This is a mess, we made mistakes, and the only way to fix it is a wholesale change.' And that could mean either a serious increase in troop strength or withdrawal."

Dowd opines that Bush's problems stem from his success in the 2002 midterm elections. "...when all the levers of power in Washington became Republican, creating consensus seemed to become unnecessary at the White House."

Of course, these are all things that others have said before. But Dowd's comments are sure to get lots of attention in Washington because of the very senior role that he played for Bush's presidential campaigns.

He was Bush's "senior strategist" in 2000 and his "chief strategist" in 2004.

Dowd is one of 15 prominent people who offered thoughts on Bush's legacy to Texas Monthly in individual essays. The others are: Douglas Brinkley, Robert Caro, Bobby Inman, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Robert Dallek, Michael Lind, Paul Begala, Niall Ferguson, Elspeth Rostow, H.W. Brands, Donald L. Evans, Marvin Olasky, and Bruce Bartlett.

The cover depicts a not-yet-finished portrait of President Bush.

GOP agenda:

In his column today, Bob Novak takes aim at the "chicken Republicans," after acquiescing to Senate Democrats on a continuing resolution on spending. LINK

Writes Novak: "The GOP defeat would have been a plausible outcome if Democrats held a commanding Senate majority. In fact, the Senate margin is 51 to 49, with Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota hospitalized and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut barely a Democrat. What ails Senate Republicans is lack of principle and lack of will, two reasons why they lost the 2006 elections."


In an on-line column that is full of hyperlinks, the Washington Post's David Broder writes about how presidential candidates are choosing their announcement venues, and gives highest marks to Vilsack and Obama for picking a home venue. LINK

ABC News' Susan Donaldson James looks at the impact blogging is likely to have on the presidential campaign. The Associated Press reports on continued efforts in the Texas legislature to move its primary up to February 5, 2008. LINK

2008: Republicans:

ABC News' Jake Tapper and Sheila Evans offer a story on the GOP contenders all vying for support from social conservatives and to do so, perhaps changing their tunes. Sen. McCain has agreed to speak at the Clark County Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner on April 19 in Las Vegas, NV. And he is not the only GOP presidential candidate planning travel to the Silver State. Gov. Romney is scheduled to hold a March 12 fundraiser at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas. The Review-Journal's Molly Ball has the details. LINK

With California poised to move up its presidential primary date , Politico's Mike Allen follows the activity of Sen. McCain and Mayor Giuliani, who have been paying enormous attention to the Golden State and its moderate Republicans. LINK

"McCain strategist John Weaver sees California as 'a golden opportunity for the GOP to reclaim the national mantle,' and asserts that Arizona senator 'is the one guy who can do this while holding the base together.'"

With a little less than a year before the nomination season is upon us, Boston Herald columnist Wayne Woodlief has started giving odds for the Republicans: McCain 2-1, Romney 3-1, Giuliani 5-1. "House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, one of the most powerful Democrats in South Carolina politics, will not endorse a presidential candidate during the 2008 primaries as part of a promise made months ago to party leaders," reports the AP's Jim Davenport taking an endorsement that could have packed a punch off the table. LINK

2008: Republicans: Giuliani:

Radio Iowa's trail-blazing Kay Henderson reports, "During a telephone interview yesterday with Radio Iowa, Giuliani brushed aside remarks from Ann Romney. She bragged recently to a crowd that Romney was the only one among the top GOP candidates who had been married just once. 'You know look, I've mistakes in my life. I've tried to learn from them, tried to grow from them,' Giuliani said. 'I think each one of the other candidates has probably made mistakes. . . I don't know that we have a perfect person running for president of the United States, but I think in life you make mistakes and then you do the best you can to learn from them and grow.'" LINK

Prostate-cancer survivor Mayor Giuliani will make public the results a comprehensive physical exam, reports the New York Post's Maggie Haberman under the headline, "Rudy Will Let Public Check His Check Up." LINK

Several '08 campaigns did not return calls about whether they would follow in Giuliani's lead, Haberman reports.

"Rudy is in. America's mayor wants to be America's president," said ABC News' Diane Sawyer in the headlines on "Good Morning America" based on Giuliani's interview with CNN's Larry King last night. Sawyer went on to say that Giuliani is addressing "Iraq, abortion, and how he's said he's made mistakes."

The New York Times Richard Perez-Pena handles Mayor Giuliani's announcement (again) that he's running for president. LINK

Giuliani conceded that the U.S. went to war without enough troops and that Congress would not have approved the war if it had known more about Iraq's weapons.

Perez-Pena writes, "On the issue that looms largest over the campaign, Iraq, Mr. Giuliani used the interview to offer a harsh assessment of the Bush administration's decision-making. His comments more closely aligned him with his chief rival in Republican primary polls, Senator John McCain of Arizona, who has supported the war, as Mr. Giuliani does, but has criticized its conduct."

The Washington Post's John Solomon and Matthew Mosk report that Giuliani "will wait to collect his fee for a speech he gave last night until his campaign has discussed the arrangement with the Federal Election Commission and determined how best to handle a handful of speaking engagements already scheduled through the spring." LINK

The AP's Liz Sidoti also looks at Giuliani's lecture circuit conundrum: LINK

Daniel Weintraub of the Sacramento Bee writes on Giuliani's sudden rise from a long shot presidential hopeful to now a force with which others in the race for the nomination will have to contend. LINK

2008: Republicans: McCain:

Sen. McCain has already doubled the number of Republican Senators endorsing his 2008 presidential bid than did his 2000 run, report Politico's Jonathan Martin and Daniel Reilly in a story looking at the "chase for Senate support." LINK

The Arizona Republic's Dan Norwicki reports on the "couples therapy" between Sen. McCain and the "uncompromising partisans" of the right-wing blogosphere. LINK

"John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco, will serve as McCain's national co-chair and economic and technology advisor," per a campaign release.

The Boston Globe's Stephanie Ebbert reports that Romney predecessor former acting Gov. Jane Swift (R-MA) has thrown her support behind McCain. LINK

2008: Republicans: Romney:

Ann Romney discusses her battle with MS, stem cell research, abortion, and debunks Mormonism myths in a must-read interview with ABC News' Kate Snow. LINK

"Over half of the Republicans in the Michigan State Legislature are now supporting Governor Romney," per a campaign press release.

"Three of the Bay State's five Republican senators said they plan to endorse someone other than Romney in 2008, a surprising defection given that they used to offer Romney's only ideological support on a Beacon Hill where liberal Democrats rule," writes the Boston Herald's Casey Ross. LINK

Romney plans to give the commencement address at Pat Robertson's Regent University. LINK

New Hampshire GOP heavyweight Tom Rath offers up some homespun wisdom to John DiStaso in explaining Gov. Romney's weather-related postponement of yesterday's planned Granite State visit. LINK

In an Los Angeles Times op-ed, author Zev Chafets dismisses accusations that Romney's choice of the Henry Ford museum linked him with anti-Semitism. LINK

2008: Republicans: Tancredo:

M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News reports on Rep. Keith Ellison's (D-MN) office tattling on Rep. Tancredo's cigar smoking, writing, "Tancredo said he has no plans to quit his occasional cigar smoking, but as a 'peace offering' he joked that he might invite Ellison over for a cigar." LINK

2008: Republicans: Huckabee:

Little Rock station KHTV takes a look at Gov. Huckabee opening his campaign headquarters. LINK

2008: Democrats: Obama:

Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) is expected to endorse Sen. Obama's run for the White House when the Senator joins Kaine at the Virginia Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Richmond on Saturday. Gov. Kaine -- whose endorsement of Sen. Lieberman in the 2004 contest is not likely to be an Obama talking point -- has said that Sen. Obama was "real helpful" in his own 2005 run for governor. LINK

Washington Post on same: LINK

The Note will remain skeptical of the power of individual endorsements from politicians throughout the cycle. And/but a gubernatorial endorsement is always a nice nab as a statewide political network can sometimes come along with it. Gov. Kaine fits the Obama campaign narrative of a "new kind" of Democrat who attempts to rise above the partisan fray. And if conventional wisdom gets upended and no nominee has emerged by February 5, Virginia is the next big event on the calendar with its primary currently slated for February 12.

"Nineteen months to the presidential election," writes the Washington Post's David Montgomery, "and already the campaign has an A-Rod!" LINK

In his paint-by-numbers Style section profile of Obama's "on-point message man," Montgomery has David Axelrod saying of Obama: "'. . . I'd say 80 percent of what he did on that platform on Saturday was in that initial draft,' which Obama had e-mailed to Axelrod at about 4 a.m. Thursday."

"'I want to take this opportunity on this historic day to urge the Legislature to immediately send me a bill to move our state's primary from March 18, 2008, to Feb. 5, 2008,'" wrote Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in a statement per the Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn, who Notes the not unNoticed benefit it may provide to Sen. Obama's bid. LINK

Following Maureen Dowd's lead and under a "Can Obama Quit?" headline in the Lifestyles section of the Raleigh News & Observer, Joe Miller writes of the concern some have for Sen. Obama in his quest to quit smoking. With cigarette smoking being linked to psychological stress, Miller writes that that is "bad news for Obama, who will experience a level of stress few people can imagine as his life is placed under a microscope during the 11 months leading to the first caucuses and primaries, not to mention what would happen if he were the party's nominee in the November 2008 election." LINK

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times takes on the oft-cited experience factor in the Obama campaign (and looks to the Senator's wife, Michelle, as a good weapon to keep in his arsenal). LINK

In her column for The Hill, Lynn Sweet writes this morning that Obama could be jeopardizing his relationship with Sen. Reid (D-NV) for his skipping of the AFSCME forum scheduled to be held in Carson City, NV next week. LINK

Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson asks in disbelief: "Is Obama guilty of insufficient blackness?" LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton:

New York Times columnist David Brooks argues that Hillary Clinton does not owe an apology for her Iraq war vote because she was saying in public what Colin Powell was saying in private. LINK

"When you look back at Clinton's thinking, you don't see a classic war supporter. You see a person who was trying to seek balance between opposing arguments. You also see a person who deferred to the office of the presidency. You see a person who, as president, would be fox to Bush's hedgehog: who would see problems in their complexities rather than in their essentials; who would elevate procedural concerns over philosophical ones; who would postpone decision points for as long as possible; and who would make distinctions few heed."

In her "Good Morning America" wrap of the President's comments about Iran in the press conference, ABC News' Martha Raddatz included Hillary Clinton's Senate floor sound from yesterday. "No action can or should be taken without explicit congressional authorization," warned Clinton.

"Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign reached a deal to pay a key South Carolina black leader's consulting firm more than $200,000 just days before he agreed to endorse her run for president," the New York Post's Maggie Haberman reports. LINK

South Carolina state Sen. Darrell Jackson "had also been in talks with Sen. Barack Obama's campaign about endorsing him and entering into a consulting contract for more than $5,000, sources said - raising questions about whether Jackson's endorsement was bought by a higher bidder," Haberman writes.

The New York Daily News' Michael McAuliff reports Hillary Clinton will get some help from her husband or "Bubba gun,"as the Daily News calls him, at a fundraiser next month. LINK

In his always must-read "Granite Status" column, John DiStaso of the Union Leader reports that Clinton has "picked up significant local support his week with endorsements by former U.S. Rep. Dick Swett" -- whose endorsement of Sen. Lieberman in the 2004 contest is not likely to be a Clinton talking point -- and veteran New Hampshire Democratic strategist Judy Reardon. LINK

(DiStaso also takes some of the press coverage to task of how Obama and Clinton were recently treated in their inaugural New Hampshire visits as presidential candidates.)

2008: Democrats: Edwards:

ABC News' Teddy Davis has an R.N.C. spokesman calling John Edwards' claim that President Bush is waging war in Iraq at this stage "without authorization" "preposterous" but despite the broad grant of authority that Edwards and others in Congress gave the President in 2002, a leading expert in national security law believes it is reasonable for Edwards to argue that the President's authority is constrained by the original purpose for which the power was granted. LINK

The News & Observer's Rob Christensen reports on Edwards calling for a cap on troop levels. Edwards said, "We don't need non-binding resolutions. We need to end this war, and Congress has the power do it. They should use it now." LINK

2008: Democrats: Vilsack vs. Edwards on Iraq:

On Wednesday, Vilsack opponent John Edwards proposed capping the amount of money for troops in Iraq to pressure the Bush Administration not to send any more. The Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont Notes, however, that the former North Carolina senator "stopped short of calling on Congress to refuse to pay for combat in Iraq -- as former Gov. Tom Vilsack has done -- saying to do so would further destabilize Iraq." LINK

"'The problem with an immediate and total defunding and immediate and total withdrawal is it creates a greater possibility of destabilization,' Edwards said during a conference call with reporters."

After Edwards confirmed that he disagrees with Vilsack's call to end funding for all U.S. fighting in Iraq, Vilsack spokesman Josh Earnest put out a statement rebuking the Edwards position: "Capping troop levels in Iraq is nothing more than staying the course with a Bush-led military strategy that has failed our troops and failed our country."

Vilsack's web site, which was redesigned yesterday to include new interactive features, is now emblazoned with the words: "It is our responsibility to end the war now." LINK

2008: Democrats: Biden:

Chuck Raasch of the Statesman Journal comments this morning that Sen. Biden's "crystal ball" on Iraq is clearer then the other candidates he is competing against for the nomination, namely Clinton, Edwards, and Obama.LINK

2008: Democrats: Kucinich:

Sabrina Eaton of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Rep. Kucinich is taking to YouTube to attack his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, hitting Sen. Obama for voting "eight times to fund the war," and Sens. Clinton and Edwards because they "gave George Bush permission, and in effect, made it possible for the war to occur." LINK

South Carolina:

The presidential hopefuls are not the only ones benefiting from visits to South Carolina -- so too is the Palmetto State, writes The States' Aaron Sheinin. LINK

2008: Senate: Al Franken announces:

ABC News' Jake Tapper takes a look at Senate candidate/comedian Al Franken's career trajectory. LINK

All jokes aside, Franken's bid to unseat Sen. Coleman will undoubtedly bring in controversy but also the ability to bring show-business into politics, writes the Star Tribune's Dane Smith. LINK

Washington Post: LINK

The text of Franken's statement: LINK

2008: Senate:

If Sen. John Warner (R-VA) decides to retire from the Senate at the end of his term, "It is safe to say that I would run," said Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) in a comprehensive look at the eight-term Congressman by Roll Call's Susan Davis and Lauren Whittington.

2008: House:

Nicole Duran of Roll Call reports on the DCCC's "Frontline", a program to raise money and extend outreach capabilities for endangered incumbents, a list of members that has doubled in size from recent cycles.

Political potpourri:

The Wall Street's Journal John Wilke is reporting that the FBI is investigating whether newly elected Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-NV) accepted unreported gifts or payments from a company that was awarded secret military contracts when Gibbons served in Congress. LINK

Politics of immigration:

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan reports that Democrats said yesterday that "the fee increases for naturalized citizenship and visas proposed by the Bush administration amount to a 'citizenship tax' and vowed to fight it, saying taxpayers should pick up the bill for many immigrants." LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

"Four and a half months after the legal deadline, the Senate gave final approval to a 2007 spending plan that funds almost half the federal government and averts any chance of a government shutdown," reports the Washington Post's Paul Kane. LINK

"Veterans' medical services, education and health care will see spending increases even as $3.1 billion is cut from Mr. Bush's 2007 request for military-construction funds to accommodate base closings overseas," reports the Wall Street Journal's David Rogers.

Intern for the ABC News Political Unit:

The ABC News Political Unit is now seeking full-time unpaid summer interns in Washington, D.C.

There are a few requirements you should know about before applying for the internship.

--You must be either a graduate student or junior or senior in college. --You must be able to work long days, starting early, Monday through Friday. -- If your school gives credit for internships, you must receive credit. --The internship begins May 29 and runs into August.

Not only will you get to write for The Note and help us manage ABC's Political Radar, but ABC News Political Unit interns also help us by conducting research, maintaining contact lists, and attending political events.

If you write well, don't mind getting up early, and have some familiarity with web publishing, send a cover letter and resume to as soon as possible, with the subject line: "INTERN" in all caps.