The Note: Rethinking Rudy


The Gang of 500's previous unanimous view that Rudy Giuliani cannot win the Republican presidential nomination has come to a stunning end, and the Gang is now cleaved into three groups of indeterminate sizes.

The first group still believes that Giuliani can't be nominated -- despite the overwhelming lead he enjoys in all current national horserace polling. Members of Group 1 believe that there are 96 reasons that the former New York City mayor absolutely can't sustain his lofty position over the next eleven months, and his oft-discussed liberal positions on social issues aren't even the twelfth-most significant factor.

Group 2 contains Gang members who believe that Giuliani's chances are infinitesimally tiny and wee, but they are extant, if all the stars align, and if all the other candidates collapse and if 2008 is truly a different kind of election than the nation has seen in years and years.

Adherents of Group 3 -- surely still the smallest of the trio -- believe that the Giuliani campaign's mantra about leadership and the post-9/11 environment and the fact that one can now walk without fear from a Broadway show to a late-night dinner at Orso, will lead him to the nomination and the White House.

Eventually, The Note will publish the full list of 96 reasons why the smart money remains on Group 1's point of view, but for today -- with the Giuliani rise THE biggest story in American politics (yes, bigger than Obama right now), let's examine the reasons why Giuliani has been able to rise so high, and why he just might be able to keep it up for at least several more months:

1. McCain=Old Man Iraq, and Romney=Flip-Flopping Mormon, and the rest of the field=nothing (yet).

2. It is (theoretically) in McCain's interest to allow nomination voters to park (temporarily, his campaign assumes) on Giuliani to keep them from going to Romney, whom the McCainiacs see as a bigger threat over the long term.

3. Romney's current flip-flop problem makes him too flawed a messenger to effectively take Giuliani out.

4. Giuliani hasn't submitted to an hour-long interview with George Stephanopoulos, Ron Brownstein, or Tim Russert (and it doesn't seem like he has plans to do so any time soon).

5. 9/11 made Giuliani a national iconic hero, and New York City less toxic as a political base.

6. Giuliani's celebrity and television-created heroic image creates frissions of excitement in every part of the country. USA Nation loves made-for-TV drama.

7. Some key Bush-Cheney advisers have been telling elite political reporters for months and months that Giuliani can win the nomination, and that has laid a foundation of cred. 8. His image suggests to some that he can make Blue States competitive -- which, post-43, would be huge for the party.

9. Until (and unless) he fails to keep pace in fundraising, people are assuming he will keep pace in fundraising.

10. The press is still giving him the benefit of the doubt of the double standard (imagine if Chelsea Clinton said the kinds of things Andrew Giuliani did this weekend….).

11. No one else in American politics can walk into any bar in the country, be instantly recognized, and get a standing ovation and a free beer.

12. The national media has fallen out of love with John McCain and needs a new Republican crush.

13. The New York-based media, which has (mostly) lost its capacity to HEART Giuliani, is so far only being read by Howie Kurtz.

14. Social conservatives are so flipped out about Rudy McRomney's shared apostasy that they aren't particularly focused on preemptively taking out Giuliani (as they did Colin Powell in 1995).

15. Giuliani displays the confidence, drive, and resoluteness he has for years and lots of Republicans like and respect that.

16. The economic conservative wing of the Republican Party is not as small as the Old Media (with its obsession with religious conservatives) would have you believe, and many of the economic conservative wing's leading members enjoy their peaceful strolls to dinner at Orso (on evenings when they have given the driver the night off).

17. Giuliani remains blissfully ignorant of what it takes to win the nomination, win the White House, and be president -- so his confidence is high and he is showing no weakness.

All of this and more will be discussed in a timely fashion in the first major public forum involving the senior campaign advisers to the top Republicans at Harvard University tonight.

Chris Henick of the Giuliani campaign, Rick Davis of the McCain campaign, and Alex Castellanos of the Romney campaign will speak at 6pm ET at the Kennedy School's fabled Forum.

Early in the day, those men will speak at a longer session with their colleagues, including Mike DuHaime and Ed Goeas (Giuliani), Bill McInturf, Brett O'Donnell, and Stuart Stevens (McCain), and Barbara Comstock, Alex Gage, and Ben Ginsberg (Romney) -- all under the watchful eye of some of America's leading political reporters.

The events are being hosted by the Institute of Politics and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

Back in Washington, DC, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's national security panel, headed by Rep. John Tierney (D-NY), holds a 10:00 am ET hearing at Walter Reed Hospital.

Rep. John Murtha's (D-PA) subcommittee holds a 1:30 pm ET closed hearing no Walter Reed Hospital in Rayburn 2359. Today's hearing is expected to put the spotlight on the leadership of Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, who has served as the Army's top doctor since he gave up command of the hospital in 2004. "The hearing will allow Kiley to explain why bureaucratic tangles and horrid conditions made life so difficult for outpatients at the Army's premier hospital, while also likely putting him in a position of defending his job," reports the Washington Post's Josh White. LINK

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) holds a 430 pm news conference following his tour of Walter Reed Army Medical Center at the Senate Radio/TV gallery.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) hold a 12:45 pm ET meeting with Los Angeles area law enforcement officials in Monterey Park, CA.

The top of the meeting will be open for a photo spray, followed by a press availability in front of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department at approximately 1:30 pm ET. (Be on the lookout to see whether the former mayor gets asked about his son Andrew's weekend comments).

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) holds a 9:00 am ET fundraiser in Grand Rapids, MI, and another in Detroit, MI at 5:00 pm ET. Both events are closed press.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is in Iowa today where she tours the research greenhouses of the Pioneer Hi-Bred International Facility at 11:30 am ET in Johnston. The Senator then speaks to Pioneer Hi-Bred International Facility employees at approximately 11:45 am ET.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) holds an 8:00 pm ET rally at the Kerckhoff Patio at UCLA in Los Angeles, CA.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) has an 8:30 am ET Democratic Party breakfast at the Chestnut Grill in Orangeburg, SC, speaks with students and faculty at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College at 11:00 am ET, and gives a 12:30 pm ET speech to the Orangeburg Kiwanis Club at Joe Fox's Restaurant. The Biden camp plans to announce this morning that the Delaware Democrat has been endorsed by state Sen. Gerald Malloy and state Rep. Jerry Govan. Both are members of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus.

In advance of a trip to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico from March 8 -- 14, President Bush makes 1:15 pm ET remarks on Western Hemisphere policy to the 17th Annual Legislative Conference of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC.

Vice President Cheney delivers 11:00 am ET remarks to the VFW's National Community Service/Legislative Convention at the Omni Shoreman hotel in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) holds a 2:30 pm ET media availability to discuss his bill prohibiting the use of funds for military operations in Iran without Congress' approval at the Senate Radio/TV gallery.

Former Sen. John Breaux (D-LA), who is considering a run for governor of Louisiana, moderates a 1:30 pm ET bipartisan discussion on the nation's healthcare system at 1:30 pm ET at the Washington Hilton & Towers. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) sits on the panel.

The National Constitution Center hosts a 6:30 pm ET discussion on the prospects of a woman president at the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach in Philadelphia, PA. Participants include Eleanor Clift, Celinda Lake, Marie Wilson, Joe Trippi, and Renee Amoore.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) delivers a 2:00 pm ET on immigration to the American Legion at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC.

A new partnership has been forged between the NAACP and ONE Campaign. The arrangement includes a ONE Campaign recruitment drive of 250,000 new ONE and NAACP members in targeted regions nationally, work with NAACP's over 1700 field chapters across America and a new "ONE-NAACP Task Force" of over 35,000 of the NAACP's leading grassroots leaders and activists for mobilization around the 2008 election and key policy making opportunities. The two groups will also join forces on a series of co-hosted forums, town halls and public meetings in important presidential caucus and primary and general election states and key legislative states and districts.

The Senate reconvenes at 1:30 pm ET and will be in a period of morning business until 3:00 pm ET. The chamber will then resume consideration of a bill (S 4) that would implement unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

2008: Republicans: Giuliani:

"Giuliani insiders expect he will be forced to address his son's comments at a California appearance today with" Gov. Schwarzenegger, reports the New York Daily News' Saltonstall and Lisberg in their recap of ABC's "Good Morning America Weekend" interview with Andrew Giuliani. LINK

ABC News' Andrea Canning on Andrew Giuliani who is too busy with golf to help his father win the presidency.LINK

In a Sunday must-read, the Washington Post's Dan Balz wrote: "For many months, McCain has been seen as the closest thing there is to a front-runner in the Republican contest. But Giuliani has emerged not only as the popular choice for the GOP nomination but also as the Republican candidate who is currently most highly regarded by the American people -- Republicans, Democrats and independents alike."LINK

"The former mayor's campaign team believes it has found a credible path to the nomination. Its foundation is a conclusion that while the overwhelming majority of Republicans differ with Giuliani on abortion, gay rights and gun control, a much smaller percentage of GOP primary voters -- perhaps no more than a quarter -- are single-issue voters who would never vote for him because of his views on those issues, a percentage borne out by the latest Post-ABC News poll."

"Another factor may be working in Giuliani's favor. Many big states -- California, New Jersey and Florida among them -- could hold their primaries Feb. 5. If the former mayor survives early tests in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, his advisers argue, he will be positioned to do well in the larger states."

In Sunday's Washington Times' Ralph Z. Hallow and Stephen Dinan had J. William Lauderback, executive vice president of the American Conservative Union, saying, "The Romney [second choice] number was markedly shallow at 9 percent". When combined with second-choice ballots, Giuliani "vaulted to the top -- followed by Romney and Gingrich with Brownback fourth, McCain fifth, and Tancredo sixth." LINK

The New York Times published an interview with Rudy Giuliani's son, Andrew, on Saturday in which the younger Giuliani made it clear that his relationship with his father is strained. LINK

The New York Daily News gave the Andrew Giuliani story the wood on Sunday. LINK

The New York Post's Sunday coverage: LINK

"In his daily interactions, Giuliani can be arrogant, abrasive and imperious, an average-size man trying too hard to prove himself a giant. But when the crises come, Giuliani has proved to be big enough," writes Jonathan Darman in his cover package (sans candidate interview) looking at the pros and cons of Rudy Giuliani. LINK

More Darman: "His strength in crisis can blur into stubbornness; his resolute conviction sometimes leads to churlishness and a tendency to divide the world into good and evil, with little apparently in between. Voters will have to decide whether his virtues are worth his vices in the White House."

Newsweek's poll showing Giuliani 25 points ahead of McCain in the GOP nomination contest: LINK

Jonathan Alter wonders if Giuliani is enough of a non-Bush candidate for this particular moment in presidential electoral history. LINK

Keying off the New York Magazine cover story "9/10 Rudy," the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz offers a Style section look at the former Mayor's "earliest adversary," the New York press corps. LINK

Morning show politics:

"Obama's eloquent piety is seldom received better than in a church full of Democrats especially black ones and he wowed them with his call for a new generation of black leaders to get to work and get to the polls. . . But Clinton had a secret weapon of her own -- her husband," reported ABC News' Jake Tapper on "Good Morning America."

Also on "Good Morning America," ABC News' George Stephanopoulos sized up the fight for the votes of African Americans: "It is going to be more important in this next set of primaries than it has ever been in the past. . . One of the things you did see, though, was Sen. Obama having an advantage because he is one of them -- because he is African American and he really did seem to capture the crowd with a tough love message that only he could deliver."

With regards to the stories that came out over the weekend about Giuliani's strained relationship with his son, Stephanopoulos said: "This could be a real tough challenge for mayor Giuliani. . . especially in the Republican primaries. This is a difficult family situation, obviously. I think the Giulani campaign -- they're hoping that people will understand that this is a kind of personal tragedy that brings great sadness to the family and that they will give him space to deal with it. The voters are going to be watching how he handles this."

On NBC's "Today," Chris Matthews told host Meredith Vieira that in order to match Sen. Obama's crowd appeal, Sen. Clinton brought "the biggest gun she's got, and that's Bill." "Hillary has to keep reminding people…she's Bill Clinton's wife," said Matthews, and that she needs to "lose the training wheels."

Matthews claimed he was the "least surprised" at Mayor Giuliani's strong position in the GOP race because "Republicans are a John Wayne party." Mayor Giuliani is "so strong, you're afraid of him," said Matthews, and said that as crime rates are rising, "Rudy can hit the crime button the way the other guys can't."

Appearing on CBS' "Early Show," Jeanne Cummings of said there is general dissatisfaction in the conservative community with Sen. McCain.

More Selma coverage:

"It may not mean a thing but the line to hear Obama is several times longer" (than the line to see Clinton), reported ABC News' John Cochran on the Sunday edition of World News Tonight. "Some say they admire her, but they are more impressed by Obama."LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper on "who won the showdown in Selma?" LINK

On his "Political Punch" blog, Tapper writes that Sen. Obama "credited the 'Bloody Sunday' civil rights marchers of 1965 with the fact that his parents -- a black African father, and white Kansas mother -- were empowered to fall in love and get married."LINK

"Um," writes Tapper, "Obama was born in 1961; the Selma march was four years later."

"Barack Wins Battle of the Bridge," blares the New York Daily News wood. LINK

For the Sunday edition of "World News," ABC News' Sonya Crawford interviewed Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) about his dilemma over whom to side with. LINK

The Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet also looks at the dilemma facing Rep. Lewis -- but be sure to read all the way to the bottom.LINK

"Last week, Obama spokesman Bill Burton told me they had the endorsement of" Rep. Lewis, "who was beaten in the March 1965 Selma protests. On Sunday, Burton told me he was 'mistaken.'"

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) picks a side in Selma, reports the obsessive Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times. LINK

Sweet describes Emanuel as coming out Sunday "from under the table where he has been hiding."

"The visit to Selma, a historically rich, economically struggling city, became a proxy battle for black support between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama, whose candidacy represents a threat to Mrs. Clinton's traditional base. That competitive dynamic intensified on Sunday with the debut of Mr. Clinton on the campaign trail, six weeks into his wife's bid, and among a bloc of voters who are at once devoted to the former president and torn between his wife and Mr. Obama," write Jeff Zeleny and Pat Healy of the New York Times. LINK

"Hillary Clinton was very good, Barack Obama was a little better," write the New York Daily News' Fenner and Katz. LINK

Politico's Jonathan Martin Notes Obama supporter Rep. Artur Davis' (D-AL) thinly veiled reference to Sen. Clinton's "longevity" and "seniority" and that those attributes are not necessarily good things. LINK

The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut and Peter Whoriskey: LINK

The AP's Nedra Pickler:LINK

The Selma Times Journal:LINK

Montgomery Advertiser:LINK

The Chicago Tribune: LINK

New York Post: LINK

The politics of US Attorney appointments:

Watch this space (and others) for more on this story this week. It has potential to overshadow a lot of business.

Sen. Domenici (R-NM) said he regretted contacting the former US Attorney in New Mexico, David Iglesias, to get an update on an investigation. Sen. Domenici also said he "urged the Justice Department to dismiss" him. The New York Times has the story including Rep. Heather Wilson's (R-NM) refusal to comment on the matter. LINK

Five recently ousted prosecutors are scheduled to testify before Congress tomorrow.

The Washington Post's Dan Eggen on the same: LINK

Politics of Iraq:

Reuters' Susan Heavey writes up Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) claim that the Senate is closer to passing legislation that would limit involvement in Iraq to "counterterrorism efforts." LINK

2008: Los Angeles Times poll of RNC and DNC members:

The Los Angeles Times' Mark Z. Barabak reported Saturday that Sen. Clinton and Gov. Romney have "emerged as the leading presidential favorites among party insiders," according to a new Los Angeles Times Poll of 313 of 386 DNC members and 133 of 165 RNC members from Feb. 13-26. LINK

"Among Republicans, Romney had the most backing among party insiders, with 20% support, followed by Giuliani with 14%, McCain with 10% and" Gingrich "with 8%."

"In a potentially worrisome sign for McCain, just over 1 in 10 RNC members said they would not support him if he won the party's nomination in his second attempt."

"A similar poll of DNC members about four years ago found significant backing for Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts as well as surprising support for Edwards and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean -- at a time when the latter two made comparatively weak showings in voter surveys. The three ended up as the top contenders for the Democratic nomination, won by Kerry."

"Among Democrats, Sen. Clinton of New York had the backing of 20% of party leaders, followed by Edwards with 15%, Obama with 11%, former Vice President Al Gore -- who is not in the race -- with 10% and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson with 9%."

"Regardless of whom the insiders supported, Giuliani and Clinton were each rated their party's strongest prospective nominee with the best shot at winning the White House."

2008: Republicans:

Although Rudy Giuliani can claim success at this year's CPAC, and Mitt Romney told the crowd what it wanted to hear, conservatives have still not found a person who can convince voters he's a true conservative but can get elected in the general election, writes John Fund for Opinion Journal. LINK

In an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, Clarence Page finds that polls teach us about ourselves, particularly when it comes to Giuliani's lead on McCain. LINK

2008: Republicans: Romney:

Gov. Romney told Politico's Roger Simon and Mike Allen that he has an affinity for bloggers when he sat down with the duo after his CPAC speech. LINK

Be sure to read to the bottom of the interview, Mike Allen asks: "What the White House reporters really want to know is whether your Crawford will be in Deer Valley, Utah, or Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.? (He has homes both places.)" LINK

Romney answers: "Well, that's a hard choice. But without a question, it would have to be in Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H. We've actually chuckled about that, thinking about it the last couple of weeks and months. I wouldn't want to impose the Secret Service and the press corps on our nice little community New Hampshire. So maybe I'd get to visit once a year for a quick weekend and then get the heck out. Because I wouldn't want to intrude on the beauty and the calm of that fabulous place."

As teased in the interview set up, look for a column based on the interview coming soon.

In the New Hampshire Union Leader on Sunday, Garry Rayno mined his recent Romney interview to write up Romney's views on America's Judeo-Christian tradition and the values from that religious tradition that continue to guide the country today. LINK

"While this country welcomes Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and other faiths, he said, the Judeo Christian tradition remains its foundation," wrote Rayno.

Sarah Liebowitz and Eric Moskowitz of the Concord Monitor report that Gov. Romney "never saw" his campaign's leaked memo, and that he does not, in fact, hate France.LINK

Katy Burns of the Concord Monitor joins those New Hampshirites "chuckling" at Gov. Romney, who she says "dismiss him as an unusually obvious shape-shifting pol." LINK

2008: Republicans: McCain:

In his morning email to reporters, McCain's Kevin McLaughlin circulated comments by the Wall Street Journal's John Harwood saying on "Meet the Press" that after Republican voters shop around, "they're going to come back to the guy who's got the fewest defects, who is pro-life, has been pro-life, and is -- also has a very strong profile in the national security issue, which is likely to be dominant in the election."

A Union Leader editorial asserts that Sen. McCain "still does not believe in the First Amendment," evidenced by his "patently unconstitutional campaign finance law, which restricted the free speech rights of Americans and aided incumbent members of Congress."LINK

In National Review's cover story, Ramesh Ponnuru makes "the Case for McCain".

"John McCain's apostasies from conservatism, unlike Rudolph Giuliani's, are well known," says Punnuru. "The mayor's polls form a ceiling. McCain's could be a floor, if conservatives are willing to reconsider their view of him. If they do, then the current Giuliani moment will be succeeded by a McCain moment. I think conservatives will give him a second look — as they should."

You can read the full text of Punnuru's interview with Sen. McCain here: LINK

2008: Republicans: Huckabee:

Michael Scherer of Salon looks at the presidential potential of Gov. Huckabee who "appears to have that special something -- the charismatic ability to communicate with the common man, which hundreds of millions of dollars never bought Bob Dole, Al Gore or John Kerry." LINK

ABC News' Teddy Davis and Tahman Bradley report that Gov. Huckabee announced at CPAC that he is taking Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform pledge despite having expressed concern to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos about signing an interest group's pledge which might put him "in a box" in his effort to "uphold the Constitution." LINK

2008: Republicans: Gingrich:

The Washington Times' Ralph Z. Hallow and Stephen Dinan declare former House Speaker Gingrich and former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R-MD) big winners at CPAC. LINK

2008: Democrats:

In his Sunday column, Robert Novak re-reported that lawyer and one-time Clinton-ista Greg Craig has switched allegiance to the Obama camp. LINK

The Chicago Tribune's John Kass wants all the Democrat '08ers to be asked if they're black enough to run for President, not just Obama. LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton:

Sen. Clinton delivered remarks on the Senate floor and sent a letter to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson describing how President Bush's economic policies have contributed to an "erosion of U.S. economic sovereignty," report the Wall Street Journal's Deborah Solomon and John Harwood.

"The theme is likely to recur among 2008 presidential hopefuls," Solomon and Harwood writes. "The comments by Mrs. Clinton, considered the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, are an early indication of how big an issue the growing unease over globalization and free trade will be in the 2008 campaign. Many Democrats won election last year in part by arguing that global trade leads to job losses and lower wages. They also are warning about the nation's heavy reliance on foreign debt to finance domestic needs, including the federal budget deficit. With polls showing voters are concerned about jobs and wages, Republicans are also expected to address the issue."

In a Sunday story looking at her ethanol conversion, the Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont reported that some of Sen. Clinton's competitors have "already quietly begun to use the change in her ethanol position to characterize Clinton as politically calculating in the nation's leading corn state. But some Iowa Democrats do not expect party activists to hold the conversion against her, pointing to ethanol's emergence as a key part of the national priority to reducing reliance on imported oil." LINK

Monday's Des Moines Register has a Beaumont look at Sen. Clinton's push for universal health care in Dubuque to an "overflow crowd." LINK

Note that Beaumont makes two references to Sen. Clinton's failure so far to campaign in basements and other small Iowa venues.

In Sunday's Los Angeles Times, Stephen Braun and Dan Morain reported that former President Clinton and David Geffen "were often at odds." LINK

"Several Geffen intimates say (Geffen) was most angered by a Time magazine article quoting Clinton as telling friends that his denial of the Peltier pardon showed he had not traded pardons for money. 'David Geffen will barely talk to me!' Clinton reportedly said."

"'That sent him up the wall,' an associate said of Geffen. 'He had a thing about people who used him to prop themselves up.'"

". . . Geffen shut down his donations to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign and began saying she had no future as a presidential candidate. His recent criticisms of her were not the first."

"'She can't win,' Geffen said during a public forum at the 92nd Street Y in New York in 2002. 'She's an incredibly polarizing figure. I think ambition is not a good enough reason.'"

"By then, Geffen had met with a new Senate hopeful, Barack Obama of Illinois."

The New York Post's Geoff Earle writes up Rep. Charlie Rangel's (D-NY) Fox News Sunday appearance with an eye toward his less than full-throated support for Sen. Clinton's presidential bid. LINK

2008: Democrats: Obama:

ABC News' Jake Tapper explores whether Sen. Obama is becoming more pro-Israel (and less pro-Palestine) as he runs for president. LINK

The Washington Post's Paul Kane Noticed Sen. Obama's streak of 56 straight votes this year came to an end when the Senator missed a Friday vote on a homeland security bill. LINK

The Washington Times ed board writes that Walter Reed needs to be fixed, but that remedies proposed by Sen. Obama and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) are "laughable." LINK

2008: Democrats: Edwards:

Ben Smith of Politico reports that the Edwards campaign is mailing a DVD to roughly 70,000 Iowans highlighting Sen. Edwards' plan for universal health care coverage. LINK

"Edwards ability to stay even, in the key early measures of fundraising and media attention, with his two rock-star rivals, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, has hinged on polls showing him with a lead among Iowa's caucus-goers. He has paid 17 visits to the state since November, 2004," writes Smith.

"'This is just another way to continue the conversation he's been having with Iowans since 2003,' said his Iowa director, Jennifer O'Malley, in an email."

Josh Gerstein reports for the New York Sun on Sen. Edwards' refusal to cede the youth vote to "the juggernaut of spontaneous student support" for Sen. Obama. LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci writes up former Sen. Edward's YMCA appearance over the weekend and the fall out of the Coulter comments. LINK

2008: Democrats: Richardson:

Gov. Richardson told Henry C. Jackson of the Associated Press that he believes "the first four states, with Iowa and New Hampshire being the top ones, will determine who the president is," and that Iowans in particular "resent that the media has created a myth that two candidates are the only serious ones." LINK

In his Sunday New York Times column, David Brooks looked beyond Sens. Obama and Clinton in the Democratic nomination and appeared impressed with Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM). LINK

"He is garrulous, amusing, touchy-feely (to a fault), a little rough-edged and comfortably mass-market. He's Budweiser, not microbrew. It doesn't hurt that he's Hispanic and Western," wrote Brooks.

"In short, when you try to think forward to next winter, you see that this campaign will at some point leave the 'American Idol'/'Celebrity Deathmatch' phase. The Clinton-Obama psychodrama may cease to fascinate while the sheer intensity of coverage will create a topsy-turvy series of revolutions."

2008: Democrats: Kucinich:

Rep. Kucinich touted his "Medicare-for-all" plan in New Hampshire, where he is "doing things differently" by giving the state more emphasis than he did in 2004, reports Benjamin Kepple of the Union Leader.LINK

2008: independent: Bloomberg:

Eleanor Clift of Newsweek takes a look at Giuliani's successor, Michael Bloomberg, and his flirting with a potential presidential run. Clift quotes an anonymous former Bloomberg aide that the Mayor is not likely to make a decision about a run until March 2008 -- once the country is familiar with the two major party nominees and have a chance to express some potential buyer's remorse. LINK

2008: Senate:

Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) is in the crosshairs of Democrats in 2008 and their new poll suggests that she beatable, but Republicans are saying that is wishful thinking. Barbara Barrett and Rob Christensen of the News and Observer have more.LINK

2008: House:

Rory Reid, the son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the chairman of Sen. Clinton's Nevada campaign, said he is thinking about a run for Congress against Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV), reports Molly Ball and David McGrath Schwartz of the Las Vegas Review Journal. LINK

Schwarzenegger era:

Gov. Schwarzenegger's one-time campaign workers now earn and average of 27% more than they did during his run for office and find themselves in state jobs, the Los Angeles Times' Jordan Rau reports. LINK


The AP's Erin Teixeira reports on the resignation of NAACP President Bruce S. Gordon. LINK

Tuesday politics:

On Tuesday, he President and Mrs. Bush host the King and Queen of Jordan for a private dinner at the White House Tuesday evening.

Emily's List holds its annual Women in Power luncheon honoring Speaker Pelosi at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) delivers 12:30 pm ET remarks, followed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 12:40 pm ET. Sen. Clinton addresses the convention at 12:50 pm ET, and Speaker Pelosi delivers 1:00 pm ET remarks.

Sen. McCain delivers 8:45 am ET remarks to the Federation of American Hospitals' Public Policy Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) speaks at 8:15 am ET, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) at 9:15 am ET, and HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt delivers 9:45 am ET remarks.

The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce continues its legislative conference at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC with HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt leading a 10:00 am ET panel discussion on healthcare, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) leads an 11:00 am ET discussion on immigration. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) deliver 12:30 pm ET keynote addresses, and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Colombian Ambassador Carolina Barco Isakson participate in a 3:30 pm ET panel discussion on trade with Latin America.

The American Legion holds its annual Legislative Rally and Washington Conference at the Renaissance Washington Hotel in Washington, DC. Rep. Hunter delivers 9:15 am ET remarks, followed by House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) at 9:30 am ET, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson at 10:30 am ET, and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) at 10:45 am ET.

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman testifies before a 10:00 am ET meeting of the House Appropriations Committee.

The Senate Select Intelligence Committee holds a 2:30 pm ET closed committee hearing on Iraq.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez testifies before a 2:00 pm ET hearing of the House Appropriations Committee.

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) holds a 9:00 am ET briefing on children's health care at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) address The National Council of La Raza's 5:30 pm ET annual Capital Awards Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

Wednesday politics:

On Wednesday, Sen. McCain participates in an 11:00 am ET news conference on government waste at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, DC, with Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste.

Rep. Rangel is the keynote speaker at an 8:00 am ET breakfast on the last day of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 17th Annual Legislative Conference at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) holds a 9:30 am ET discussion on small business, and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) deliver 7:00 pm ET addresses at the Legislative Awards Dinner at the Mayflower Hotel.

The House of Representatives holds a joint meeting with the Senate to receive an address from King Abdullah II of Jordan in the House Chamber

Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-MS) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) deliver 9:30 am ET testimony on antitrust immunity at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates attend the Center for Democracy and Technology's 2007 Gala Dinner at 6:00 pm ET at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) delivers an 8:45 am ET keynote address to the Networks Financial Institute's Insurance Reform Summit at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) follows at 10:30 am ET.

Thursday politics:

President Bush on Thursday begins a trip to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Sen. McCain holds a 6:30 pm ET "exchange of ideas" at the Hudson Theatre in New York City.

Former President Jimmy Carter delivers a 1:00 pm ET lecture on his book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC.

Friday politics:

On Friday, Sen. McCain holds a 12:30 pm ET fundraising event in Charlotte, NC on Friday.