The Note: Trouble, My Friend, Right Here

The Boston Globe's Susan Milligan has Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, saying: "'For years, the party was completely president-centric, and put all their efforts into keeping the presidency. But going into 2008, it's going to be equally important to pick up the House and Senate. Now, people recognize you can govern from either body, not just the White House." LINK

Milligan also quotes Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics and religious liberty commission, saying of Giuliani that "Southern evangelicals would never vote for a man who has been married three times and who supports abortion rights." Speaker Gingrich "would face similar problems with religious conservatives because of his messy divorces, he added."


Other schedule highlights for today include: 10:05 am ET remarks from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC); an 11:45 am ET discussion with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, and Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth; Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivers 12:45 pm ET remarks, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow speaks at 1:45 pm ET; Labor Secretary Elaine Chao takes the podium at 3:15 pm ET; Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) -- the man who cleared the path for John Roberts and Samuel Alito to take their seats on the Supreme Court -- is set to speak at 3:45 pm ET.

The 2008 presidential activity gets underway in earnest tomorrow when Giuliani, Romney, Huckabee, Brownback, Hunter, and Tancredo are all set to deliver speeches. Sen. McCain did not accept the group's invitation to speak, but he is sending his surrogate Gov. Pawlenty (R-MN) to do so on Saturday. (As ABC News' Jake Tapper reported on "Good Morning America," Citizens United is distributing anti-McCain literature at the conference describing him as no friend to conservatives.)

The Washington Times' Ralph Z. Hallow reports that sponsors of the Conservative Political Action Conference, which begins today in Washington and brings together "thousands of conservative leaders and grass-roots activists," say Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., "has 'dissed' organizers by attempting to schedule a private reception for attendees after rejecting invitations to speak at the event." LINK

"'It was a classical McCain move, dissing us by going behind our backs,' said William J. Lauderback, executive vice president of the American Conservative Union."

"Conservative activists have speculated that Mr. McCain did not want to be seen on television 'pandering' to Republican 'right-wingers' but wanted to court those same activists at a reception in the same hotel."

2008: Republicans: Giuliani:

The Associated Press reports on the new Quinnipiac University poll showing Mayor "What Exit?" Giuliani easily besting his rivals in both primary and general election matchups in New Jersey. Garden State GOP voters prefer Mayor Giuliani over Sen. McCain by a spread of 43 percentage points, and the mayor defeats Sens. Clinton and Obama by 9 and 11 points, respectively in the general. LINK

The New York Sun's Ryan Sager previews Mayor Giuliani's address to the Conservative Political Action Conference tomorrow, saying it will mark the end of a "fitful anti-courtship between the man increasingly known as 'Rudy' and a venerable right-wing institution that just doesn't know what to make of a crime-fighting, welfare-reforming, abortion-supporting, drag-wearing foreign-policy hawk." LINK

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