The Note: There Is No Like What


Vice President Cheney has left Afghanistan. ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports that when a suicide bomber attacked Bagram Air Base this morning -- apparently targeting Cheney -- the Vice President said he heard the explosion. After the explosion, Cheney was taken to a bomb shelter by Secret Service for a short period of time. He never altered his overall schedule and continued on to Kabul to meet with President Karzai.

More from the Associated Press: LINK

After the dismissal of a tainted juror Monday, deliberations in the Scooter Libby trial continue today.

Republican and Democratic Senators hold their weekly policy luncheons behind closed doors at 12:30 pm ET at the Capitol in Washington, DC. The key to watch for: can Harry Reid herd enough cats to get a consensus position on the way forward in Iraq?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears on CNN's "Larry King Live" at 9:00 pm ET. They key to watch for: does the Speaker enunciate a consensus view on the way forward in Iraq?

The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers -- a/k/a "the 536 Member -- writes: "Democrats face a crucial question as an Iraq war-spending bill begins moving through the House: Can Congress continue to fault U.S. policy from a distance, or must lawmakers take hold of it and risk owning the outcome?" LINK

"The new Democratic majority has followed the politically safer course of nonbinding resolutions and a Senate proposal to revisit the 2002 war authorization. But with action needed on a $93.4 billion Iraq-spending request, harping from the sidelines may no longer be enough to satisfy independent voters who looked to Democrats in the 2006 elections to effect real change."

For some versions of the latest Republican and Democratic talking points on funding the Iraq war, be sure to tune into the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing at 2:30 pm ET for testimony from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Iraq-Afghanistan War funding.

The 2008 must-read stories continue to flow like hot lava:

1. The Washington Post: Hillary Clinton's Senate financial disclosure forms were incomplete. LINK

(Note question: How could She allow this kind of sloppiness to happen when she knows she is going to be so closely scrutinized?)

2. The Boston Globe: Mitt Romney campaign memo leaked. LINK

(Note question: Who had the motive and opportunity to leak, and who does the document make most angry?)

3. Dick Morris, Eileen McGann, and the Washington Times postulate that John McCain is dead, while Bloomberg's Chen and Susan Page of USA Today simply float the Notion. LINK and LINK and LINK and LINK

4. John Edwards creates a general election record on Iran. LINK

(Note question: What would happen if a less -- or more -- "seasoned" candidate said something like this?)

5. On Rudy Giuliani's hot start in his presidential bid, New York Post columnist John Podhoretz, part of a grown/growing movement of mythology-creating conservatives, postulates that despite being pro-choice and signing legislation mandating benefits for gay couples, conservative Republican voters know that the former Mayor is one of them. LINK

And: "One of the early -- and quite amazing -- sidelights of the race for the Republican nomination for President in '08 is how so many prominent conservatives are lining up behind Rudy Giuliani, who has perhaps the slimmest conservative credentials of any of the major GOP hopefuls," writes John Gizzi of Human Events. LINK

(Note question: Is Team Rudy orchestrating this stuff, or is it organic?)

6. Chris Lehane makes the biggest error of his career and goes negative on Dubuque, Iowa. LINK

(Note question: While Senator Clinton is denouncing slash and burn politics, her campaign's chief West Coast spokesperson has viciously and personally attacked Dubuque. If Senator Clinton is indeed sincere about her repeated claims to change the tone of our politics, she should immediately denounce these remarks, remove Mr. Lehane from her campaign, return his quotes, and apologize to the people of Dubuque. While Democrats should engage in a vigorous debate on the issues, there is no place in their party or our politics for the kind of personal insults made by Senator Clinton's principal West Coast fundraiser. Will she? Thank you.)

President Bush holds a 9:10 am ET meeting with El Salvador, President Elisa Antonio Saca Gonzales. He then participates in a 10:25 am ET ceremonial swearing-in for the Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte at the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC. President Bush will welcome the Miami Heat basketball team (Shaq-sized jokes included) at 3:45 pm ET in the East Room of the White House to congratulate them on their NBA championship.

National Governors Association chair Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) participates in a 10:00 am ET plenary session with Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) at the J.W. Marriot in Washington, DC, and Govs. Napolitano and Pawlenty hold an 11:35 am ET news conference to close the NGA's winter meeting. Gov. Napolitano then delivers a 12:30 pm ET address on immigration at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) delivers the 12:30 pm ET keynote address to the Apollo Alliance summit on clean energy at the Hotel Washington in Washington, DC.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) holds a 12:00 pm ET closed press fundraising luncheon at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. One day after participating in off-the-record editorial board meetings with ABC News and CNN in Washington, DC, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) is back in the nation's capital today for editorial board meetings with NBC and CBS. (He was forced to cancel and try to reschedule a Monday ed board meeting at Fox News when his commercial aircraft was delayed in its Boston departure.)

Former President Bill Clinton receives an award for commitment to the Hispanic community and delivers remarks at the League of United Latin American Citizens' 6:00 pm ET National Legislative Awards at the J.W. Marriot in Washington, DC. Joining President Clinton will be fellow awardees Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, and Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA).

Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) holds 12:00 pm ET media availability after meeting for a private discussion with the Community Service Society of New York and SEIU Local 32BJ at Baruch College in New York City.

Former Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) delivers a 12:30 pm ET address to the Latino Leaders Network at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) holds a 6:30 pm ET town hall meeting on Iraq at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) delivers 1:45 pm ET remarks to the Credit Union National Association's government affairs conference at the Hilton Washington Hotel in Washington, DC. Later, Sen. Dodd attends a private dinner with influential progressives organized by America Coming Together's Steve Rosenthal and Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards in Washington, DC.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) speaks at a New Jersey fundraiser for Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), and then addresses the Tuesday Group's monthly meeting of conservative activists and officials.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) delivers 5:00 pm ET remarks to the International Franchise Association at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean (VT) attends the 6:00 pm ET Grand Opening of the Navajo Nation Washington Office in Washington, DC.

Attention all presidential hopefuls and staffs: Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) hold a 2:00 pm ET meeting with Gov. Chet Culver (D-IA) and Iowa's congressional delegation to discuss Iowa issues at the U.S. Capitol.

The Senate Finance Committee holds a 10:00 am hearing on "America's Energy future," including testimony from Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT).

Politics of Iraq:

ABC News' Polling Director Gary Langer breaks down a new ABC News/Washington Poll that shows Americans' disapproval on the Iraq war has hit an all time high. LINK

Looking at the same data, Dan Balz and John Cohen of the Washington Post write that a majority of Americans "now support setting a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces from the war-torn nation and support putting new conditions on the military that could limit the number of personnel available for duty there."LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Dick Polman has less than flattering things to blog about Democratic congressional leadership thus far, citing a Charlie Cook quote that, "They couldn't find a unified message if it was tattooed on their butts." LINK

The Boston Globe's Bryan Bender reports that Democrats are taking a hard line on what will be considered in the Pentagon's emergency budget request to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. LINK

Bush vows to fight Democrats on war funds, reports the Washington Times' Jon Ward. LINK

2008: Yepsen:

David Yepsen, the Des Moines Register columnist famous for saying that there are only three tickets out of Iowa, writes in the wake of Vilsack's exit that there may be "only three tickets into Iowa - Gulfstream, Citation and Cessna." LINK

With regards to Romney, Yepsen writes: "he had a poor announcement tour and is bogged down in accusations that he flip-flops on issues. (So much for an image of decisiveness.)"


ABC News' Gary Langer offers up his analysis of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll that shows being divorced, a cigarette smoker, Mormon, or more than 70 years old could be potential pitfalls for presidential hopefuls in 2008. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Dan Morain on why California is the place for campaign donations. LINK

2008: nomination calendar:

The AP reports that a Pennsylvania state senator plans to convene a joint hearing next month in the hopes of moving up the Keystone State's primary from April 22 to February 5 -- which is when California, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey are considering holding their primaries. LINK

A New Jersey Assembly committee unanimously approved a measure that would move the state's presidential primary to the first Tuesday in February, The New York Times' Ronald Smothers reports. LINK

(It has already passed the Senate and Gov. Corzine has offered his blessing.)

2008: Republicans: South Carolina:

In a story setting the stage for the all-important South Carolina Republican presidential primary, which suggests that history might be repeating itself, Politico's Jonathan Martin writes "(i)n conversations with Republican politicians and operatives here in South Carolina, it is almost imperative to preface a conversation by asking whether they are a "Quinn person" or a "Tompkins person." LINK

"Now, seven years later, there seems to be a reprisal of that now-infamous primary in the offing. McCain is back in the running and retains the services of Quinn and his team. Tompkins and his people are with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. One difference, however, is that this time around, some of the people who lined up with Tompkins and Bush in 2000 are backing the man they worked against that year rather than Romney. McCain has garnered endorsements from numerous elected officials, donors and activists who were in Bush's corner last time."

2008: Republicans: Giuliani:

Rudy Giuliani is studying everything from Iraq to tax cuts at "Simon University," led by Bill Simon, the New York Post's scholarly Maggie Haberman reports. LINK

ABC News' Tahman Bradley reports on Giuliani's speech yesterday to the Hoover Institution, where he touted himself as a candidate who would keep this country safe from "the war the terrorists have against us." LINK

"Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani addressed his Democratic past on Monday and offered one reason for his political conversion - taxes," ledes the Associated Press on Giuliani's speech. LINK

Giuliani "said not a peep about abortion or gay rights. He skipped any mention of Iraq until a questioner asked him," reports the Washington Post's Dana Milbank. LINK

"His brief foray into foreign affairs meticulously avoided Iraq. 'We've got to say to the rest of the world, 'America doesn't like war, America is not a military country,' ' he recommended."

"Giuliani Grilled on Foreign Policy," blogs Richard-Perez Pena, for the New York Times' "The Caucus." LINK

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports this morning that Giuliani will hold a March 10 fundraiser in Reno, NV. LINK

2008: Republicans: Romney:

"Here are some views of Mitt Romney causing concern inside his campaign: His hair looks too perfect, he's not a tough war time leader, and he has earned a reputation as "Slick Dancing Mitt" or "Flip-Flop Mitt," lede's the Boston Globe's Scott Helman's must read in which he divulges the contents of a 77-slide PowerPoint presentation that appears to be a "significant strategic blueprint" for his campaign. While there are no apparent "big bombshells," there are some choice highlights: LINK

"The plan concedes that, with McCain and Giuliani in the race, Romney is unlikely to be the top pick for those voters looking for a "war/strong leader."

"A page titled 'Own the future' dubs McCain the past, Giuliani the present, and Romney the future."

"Like every Republican in the race, Romney faces the delicate task of how to talk about President Bush, whom the country gives low job-approval ratings. But the plan lists two ways Romney can set himself apart from Bush. The first says, simply, 'Intelligence.'"

Daniel Gross of Slate writes that Romney's success as CEO could possibly help explain his alleged "flip flopping." LINK

2008: Republicans: McCain:

USA Today's Susan Page describes McCain as a "candidate on a tightrope," with his courting of the conservative base and his defense of the Iraq war. Page Notes that in a recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, one in four independents and two in three Democrats say they're much less likely to support him as a result of his Iraq stance. LINK

Bloomberg's Ed Chen Notes that McCain's attempt to appeal to all GOP factions may not be working as well as the Senator has hoped, looking into the how's and where's of his stumbles. LINK

Writes Chen: "Conservatives, especially religious activists with whom he clashed in the past, remain suspicious of him; meanwhile, some backers who admired his maverick streak are disillusioned with his appeals to the conservative base. Polls show him losing ground to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and the Arizonan seems visibly uneasy cast as a pillar of the Establishment."

The Washington Times' Joseph Curl reports that despite his hard line against "homosexual 'marriage' and abortion, independents are abandoning" Sen. McCain "in droves," a trend election analysts say could be "fatal" to his 2008 White House ambitions. LINK

"'It's almost bipolar,' said pollster John Zogby, who has done work for Mr. McCain in the past."

"'He walks a very thin line here. What made John McCain so popular was the maverick, independent, anti-party establishment, war-hero status. He was popular among independents, Democrats, and not unpopular at all among Republicans. But in the process of redefining himself from the hawkish, pro-surge, hug-the-president McCain, the redefinition has un-defined him,' Mr. Zogby said."

First it was Bill Clinton, but now Sen. McCain is a 'pander bear' according to Doug Patton of Human Events. LINK

2008: Republicans: Brownback:

The AP writes up Sen. Brownback's trip to Spartanburg, S.C. where he tried to gain some support and momentum heading into a county GOP straw poll later this week. LINK

2008: Republicans: Hunter:

"Republican presidential candidate Duncan Hunter, a California congressman, has used his political action committee to run New Hampshire television ads introducing himself to voters -- in what some specialists say could be a violation of campaign finance laws," writes James Pindell of the Boston Globe, Noting that while Rep. Hunter's campaign believes these are simply "issue ads," some legal experts put them in "'some pretty dangerous [legal] territory.'" 2008: Republicans: Tancredo:

ABC News' Jake Tapper offers a podcast interview with Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) where the congressman discusses representing Columbine and how he sees an opening for his presidential campaign. LINK

2008: New Hampshire:

The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that the New Hampshire Democratic Party headquarters were broken into over the weekend, but officials don't appear to be releasing much other information yet. LINK

The AP has Democratic state chair Kathy Sullivan saying there was no sign of personal information being taken, or "nothing that would be a problem for any of our activists or donors." LINK

2008: Democrats: Geffen dust-up:

Terry McAuliffe's joke that Clinton campaign donors would be rewarded with limousine rides and ambassadorships happened on Jan 28, not "two weeks ago," says a New York Times correction to its front-page article from Friday. The correction also Notes the joke was not delivered at a Clinton fundraiser, but at a McAuliffe book party. LINK

James Carville told Don Imus this morning that he expects to see the next Clinton/Obama dustup handled "a little bit different on both sides."

2008: Democrats: Gore:

"I think he's gonna run," James Carville told Don Imus today about Vice President Gore's potential candidacy, repeating a number of things he has said in the past. "Running for president is like sex, Don," said Carville as he repeated his Gore talking point. "You don't do it once and forget about it."

The Washington Post's Reliable Source reports that the Arlington-based New Media Strategies set out to gauge the former veep's buzz in the YouTube/MySpace/Facebook universe. "What they found: The number of 'friends' on the official Draft Gore site on MySpace (yes, there is one) surged by 14 percent overnight, 'a healthy jump,' said NMS's Howard Mortman. But the five largest Gore fan groups on Facebook grew just 4.5 percent. And the 10 clips of his appearances posted to YouTube drew fewer than 400 sets of eyeballs by yesterday afternoon." LINK

NBC News' Andrea Mitchell on "Today" explored the possibility that Vice President Gore, the "inconvenient candidate," might run for president, calling him "Hillary Clinton's worst nightmare."

Said Mitchell, "the new Al Gore: he is suddenly cool, and coy about keeping his options open."

The Washington Post's Richard Cohen writes that Gore "cannot make war but he can still make a difference." LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper looks at the Center for Policy Research charging that Gore is a hypocrite because his mansion outside Nashville uses 20 times more then the national average in electricity giving him an estimated $30,000 utility bill. LINK

Glenn Thrush of Newsday writes that Clinton's camp is sizing up Al Gore to gauge whether or not he will run for president. If he is going to run, one good indication will be if Gore begins to slim down, according to a "Clinton insider." LINK

Donna Brazile pens in a Roll Call op-ed her belief that Gore would "win both the nomination and the presidency" should he run.

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the long-time foe of federal rules to curb emissions, sent Gore a note of congratulations, reports the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire. LINK

"The note (sic) signals that times are indeed changing when it comes to the debate in Washington over fossil fuels emissions."

2008: Democrats: Edwards:

In an exclusive interview, Sen. Edwards told ABC News' Terry Moran that a non-aggression treaty with Iran is possible if Iran begins agreeing to some of the demands outlined by international bodies. LINK

We await on-the-record or background reaction from the Democratic '08ers and their teams.

Josh Gerstein of the New York Sun takes a look at Edwards' seemingly softened stance. LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton:

The Washington Post's John Solomon and Matthew Mosk have Sen. Clinton's spokesman saying that the Senator's failure to report the existence of the family foundation and the Senator's position as an officer was "an oversight." LINK

"Her office immediately amended her Senate ethics reports to add that information late yesterday after receiving inquiries from The Washington Post."

The Washington Post's editorial board breathes a sigh of relief at Sen. Clinton's decision to reveal the identities of its bundlers after all. LINK

"Sen. Hillary Clinton is now set to speak at a civil rights commemoration Sunday just 300 yards from where Sen. Barack Obama is making his own address," reports The New York Daily News' Helen Kennedy. LINK

2008: Democrats: Obama:

In his Boston Globe column, Peter Canellos follows up the barrage of "Obama Smokes" articles from two weeks ago with another that focuses on the health ramifications for the Senator. LINK

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mark Naymik writes that several would-be Obama rally attendees were left out in the cold in Cuyahoga County. LINK

Howard Wilkinson of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on Sen. Obama's "astounding" success at his Cincinnati breakfast fundraiser. LINK

Joe Hallett and Mark Niquette of the Columbus Dispatch report that while no endorsements have been made, Sen. Obama seems to have a new fan in Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, who said "What I see in him is a new generation of leadership. . . he's an inspirational leader as well as an intellectually superior person. He and I have just clicked." LINK

2008: Democrats: Biden:

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) pens an op-ed for the Boston Globe in which he outlines how he and "Senator Carl Levin will offer legislation to repeal that authorization and replace it with a much narrower and achievable mission for our troops in Iraq." LINK

2008: Democrats: Richardson:

Five Western governors -- including Richardson of New Mexico and Schwarzenegger of California -- agreed yesterday on a plan to "cut their states' emissions of gases linked to global warming and to establish a regional carbon-trading system, though they stopped short of saying how drastically they will seek to reduce greenhouse gases," reports the Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin. LINK

The Albuquerque Journal on the same: LINK

Andres Oppenheimer of McClatchy Newspapers has an interview with Richardson and concludes that Richardson's resume is impressive, in English or in Spanish.LINK

2008: Democrats: Kucinich:

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Sabrina Eaton on Rep. Kucinich's pledge to raise $50 million with one million $50 contributions: LINK

House of Labor:

The Washington Post's George Will on the "exquisitely" mistitled "Employee Free Choice Act." LINK

Cornell's Lance Compa pens a Washington Post op-ed defending the "Employee Free Choice Act." LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

Robert Pear of the New York Times writes that in a meeting with the nation's governors "when President Bush reported on progress of the war, the governors pressed him to provide more money so they could guarantee health insurance for children." LINK

"Health care for children ought to be a priority, irrespective of anyone's views on the war," Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-GA) said.

More from ABC News' Teddy Davis: LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

ABC News' Matthew Zavala recaps Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R-CA) speech yesterday at the National Press Club where emphasized the need for bipartisanship politics. LINK

The Washington Times' Jon Ward on Gov. Schwarzenegger's "feel-good centrism." LINK

Libby trial:

An art curator in her 70s was dismissed from the Libby trial yesterday after she disclosed to her peers that she had come in contact over the weekend with information about the case of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff.

Washington Post: LINK

Pelosi politics:

Under a header, "Pelosi Falls Short on Election Promises," Politico's Daniel W. Reilly and Jim VandeHei write that Speaker Pelosi is learning it's hard to govern with a slim majority. LINK

Political potpourri:

The Supreme Court said Monday that in the fall it will consider the constitutionality of a statewide primary election system in Washington state in which the top two finishers advance to the general election even if they are from the same party, reports the Associated Press. LINK

Studying Joe Lieberman's voting record so far this year, Politico's Carie Budoff concludes that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I/D-CT) deserves the label "Dependent Democrat," but with an important asterisk. LINK

A former chief of staff to then-Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) pleaded guilty yesterday to corruption charges stemming from accepting gifts, gambling chips and trips.

The Washington Post's coverage: LINK

The Washington Post's Reliable Source on Sen. Ted Kennedy's (D-MA) wife renting him an Aston Martin Vanquish for his 75th birthday. LINK

Dean's Democrats:

The Note is pleased to announce that DNC executive director Tom McMahon and Kristen Morgante of the Democratic consulting firm of McMahon, Squier & Associates were engaged over the weekend.

The couple met on former Gov. Howard Dean's (D-VT) 2004 presidential campaign.

Their betrothal became official this weekend when the gentlemanly McMahon went down on his knee to ask for Morgante's hand.