The Note: Springing Forward


Even losing one hour this weekend, there will still be numerous gab-ops to share your insights -- cribbed from The Note -- about the three rings of American politics.

Ring 1 (Iraq):All this in the House LINK, and then all this in the Senate LINK, and, then, inevitably, leading to this LINK (and/but it is not clear that either of the first two contraptions will work or, if they do, that the Democrats then will get something out of conference committee). So we know there IS a point somewhere, but remind us what it might be.

Ring 2 (other legislative business leading to bipartisan legacy deals): Even deader than last Friday. (See Ring 1, above, per usual.)

Ring 3 (2008): The Note's wild guess of the order of finish of the Big Six total raised in the first quarter (NOT cash on hand and not including transferred funds or self funding) -- Clinton, Obama, McCain, Edwards, Romney, Giuliani. Or -- Clinton, McCain, Obama, Edwards, Giuliani, Romney. Or -- Clinton, McCain, Romney, Obama, Edwards, Giuliani. Or -- something else, as long as you've got Clinton first.

Our point: It is all about the fundraising, and yet not even Susan Page knows how it's all going to turn out. Our second point: Clinton, McCain, and Romney will have the highest burn rate of spending money this quarter, and their disbursement records are going to be required reading.

And our real point (which we have made before): this is ALL the campaigns care about right now, even more than Iraq, parking tickets, and how to keep their kids from answering the phone when reporters call.

Ok, the Republican candidates ALSO care about Rudy Giuliani's rise and the possible entry of Newt Gingrich (a lot, along with his interview with Dr. Dobson), Chuck Hagel (not as much), and Fred Thompson (also not as much). (Don't miss Politico's Jonathan Martin must-read story with background quotes galore from the McCain and Romney camps, who both appear confident that the country still has much to learn about Rudy Giuliani and it likely will do so before too long. One Romney aide tells Martin, "it will be Rudy's turn." LINK)

And the Democratic candidates ALSO care about Barack Obama taking Manhattan tonight for big coin events, and Lynn Sweet of the Sun Times cares about the fact that Obama is doing a lot of private, secret, closed donor events LINK, and the Chicago Tribune cares about keeping the Obama stock story alive. LINK

Obama and his wife Michelle hold some multi-tiered fundraising events at the Grand Hyatt in New York, NY this evening around 8:00 pm ET, and Sweet will find the evening bittersweet, with some of the events pooled and some closed press.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) travels to the Carolinas today where he will raise coin and pick up the endorsement of Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) at a 2:00 pm ET in Charlotte, according to the Politico's Jonathan Martin. LINK

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) plans to discuss Cuba when he delivers 7:00 pm ET remarks at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Miami, FL. Romney will talk to the press following his speech.

Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) holds a 1:15 pm ET community meeting to discuss his health-care plan in Sioux City, IA. He then travels to Sioux City, IA for a 6:15 pm ET community meeting on his health care plan.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) holds a 6:00 pm ET town hall meeting to discuss Iraq at the Des Moines Club in Des Moines, IA.

Harold Schaitberger, the president of the firefighter union at odds with the post-9/11 record of Rudy Giuliani, delivers unrelated 10:00 am ET testimony to the House Appropriations Committee with FEMA Director David Paulson. The topic: preparing for disasters.

In his first stop on his Latin American trip, President Bush holds a 12:45 pm ET joint press availability with Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva.

The Senate reconvenes at 9:15 am ET and resumes consideration of a bill (S 4) that would implement the remaining recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. At 9:30 a.m., the chamber proceeds to a vote on a motion to invoke cloture on a sweeping amendment that combines five different GOP proposals.

Be sure to tune into "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday for interviews with Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) as well as former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS). The roundtable will include Fareed Zakaria and Torie Clark. This week's voice: Loretta Lynn.

See below for Saturday and Sunday politics.

Politics of Iraq:

ABC News' Jake Tapper reports on House Democrats' showdown over Iraq, attaching a provision to withdrawal troops to the supplemental spending bill. "No matter what," said Speaker Pelosi, "by March 2008, redeployment begins." LINK

The Washington Times has an unnamed Republican aide offering a possible Bush response to the Democrats' plan for Iraq: "The president can ignore it... what's the 'or else?' " LINK

"The House spending bill . . . would end combat duties by Aug. 31, 2008," reports the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Shailagh Murray. LINK

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) was on NBC's "Today" selling the new House Iraq withdrawal plan, and addressed its political feasibility. "The public spoke during the election, and I'm optimistic," said Rep. Murtha, and added, "We'll negotiate with the Senate to reduce the cost of this war and to reduce the war itself."

Asked if the President's current plan should be given more time, Rep. Murtha said, "I believe we'll be able to tell if this surge is working" within two months.

Ann Compton of ABC News reports on President Bush's veto threat for Pelosi's Iraq withdrawal plan. LINK

ABC News' Dean Norland reports that the House "Out of Iraq and Progressive Caucus" is ready to fight for a December 31, 2007 withdrawal deadline. LINK

"Given the Republican opposition and the Democrats' slender margin in the Senate, the significance of the new plans was as much political as it was legislative. Democratic leaders in the House were optimistic about passing their legislation, but their counterparts in the Senate faced immediate resistance from Republicans and acknowledged that their chances of attracting enough votes seemed slim," write Jeff Zeleny and Robin Toner of the New York Times below a "Democrats Rally Behind a Pullout From Iraq in '08" headline. LINK

"The proposals dramatically shift the debate on Capitol Hill from symbolic measures to concrete plans to bring troops home just two months after Democrats assumed power," write the Los Angeles Times' Levey and Simon. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers sees Pelosi as struggling to unite her party as she faces her toughest challenge as Speaker, complete with a Rogers-Pelosi tete-a-tete.

In his news analysis, the Los Angeles Times' Paul Richter writes of the Democratic shift to the endgame, but concludes with what players at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue understand -- it's all about the facts on the ground in Baghdad. LINK

The Washington Times' Christina Bellatoni finds confusion bringing "comic relief" to the House Democrats' new bill. LINK

The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray finds that Democrats have found a single voice on Iraq via their new "it club," the War Council. LINK

Mike Soraghan and Jackie Kucinich have Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) saying over yesterday's new Democratic proposal, "President Bush has learned nothing from Vietnam. Now the question is, has Congress learned anything from Vietnam?" LINK

USA Today: "House Dems face uphill battle over Iraq". LINK

Chicago Tribune: LINK

2008: Republicans: Gingrich:

ABC News' Jake Tapper reports: "Setting the stage for his entry into the presidential race, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia, gave a radio interview to be broadcast Friday with Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson's, in which Gingrich for the first time publicly acknowledges and discusses cheating on his first and second wives." (LINK questions come at 16:27 into the interview.)

''There were times when I was praying and when I felt I was doing things that were wrong. But I was still doing them,'' Gingrich says. ''I look back on those as periods of weakness and periods that I'm not only not proud of, but I would deeply urge my children and grandchildren not to follow in my footsteps." LINK

Appearing on NBC's "Today," Andrea Mitchell said Speaker Gingrich is "testing the reaction" of religious conservatives by admitting his own extramarital dalliances during the Lewinsky scandal, because with the base uneasy with the current crop of GOP candidates, "Gingrich sees a big opening."

The AP excerpts Dobson's interview with Gingrich and reports that the former Speaker doesn't view himself as a hypocrite. LINK

2008: Republicans: Hagel:

The Washington Post is still guessing at what Hagel plans to announce on Monday. "Most Republican observers believe that Hagel will announce a bid for the presidency when he takes the podium but warn that the senator is known for keeping his own counsel, making it difficult to predict his plans." LINK

The Washington Times' Ralph Z. Hallow is more confident than the Washington Post that Hagel is getting into the race as a Republican. LINK

Hagel's candidacy could "refocus the presidential contest debate, adding his Iraq doubts to those of former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III," whom the Washington Times describes as, "currently the only prominent Republican in the race who has been skeptical about the basis of the war from the beginning."

Firefighters and Giuliani:

The New York Daily News' Dave Saltonstall takes a look at the controversy including IAFF spokesman Jeff Zack saying that now that Giuliani has pulled out of the union's presentation of the presidential hopefuls, the full anti-Giuliani letter will be emailed to the 280,000 IAFF members. LINK

Maggie Haberman of the New York Post writes up the IAFF draft letter blasting Rudy Giuliani for "disrespecting" New York firefighters after the 9/11 attacks. Note Haberman's reporting on the internal IAFF debate over whether or not to invite Giuliani to its annual conference next week. The union did invite Giuliani, but he is not able to attend due to schedule conflicts, per Haberman. LINK

The Hill's hyper-productive Sam Youngman" LINK

Bloomberg's Kim Chipman: LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

A new AP-Ipsos' poll shows that Bush has crept up three percentage points to now stand at 35% overall job approval rating, but it's still one of the lowest points any President has faced at this point in their term. The AP's Terence Hunt writes, "his standing is the weakest of any second-term president at this point in 56 years." LINK

President Bush has arrived in Brazil and is expected to sign an agreement with the Brazilian president on ethanol. Protestors there are worried that this "deal could really have visions of an OPEC-like cartel on ethanol" writes the AP in USA Today. LINK

ABC News' Ann Compton is with the President in Brazil, where he hopes to spur the creation of an "ethanol OPEC." LINK

"Although the White House denies it, many see this trip as a blunt challenge to nemesis Hugo Chavez," writes Compton.


John Lyon of the Arkansas News Bureau reports on Karl Rove at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, AR, defending the firing of U.S. Attorneys, expressing sadness at the Libby verdict, and calling the Iraq war, "a difficult struggle, conducted for the right reasons and concluded in the right way." LINK

The Washington Post's Michael Abramowitz on Rove. LINK

The Arkansas Times has some video: LINK


Philip Elliott writes that early debates may be "light on top-tier" candidates because of scheduling conflicts such as the one next month in New Hampshire. One analyst said, "If you're a Mike Huckabee, a Dennis Kucinich – if you're any of those folks, it becomes very attractive. It's very attractive if the big boys don't come. A win goes down to just showing up." LINK

2008: Republicans: Giuliani:

Rudy Giuliani and his former police commissioner, Bill Bratton, met in Los Angeles on Monday. It was the first meeting between the two since 1996. Richard Perez Pena of the New York Times has the story. LINK

"Richard Emery, a prominent New York lawyer who is close to Mr. Bratton, said, 'Of all the conflicts to smooth over, this is a big one, because Bill could have an awful lot to say about Rudy in a campaign, and it wouldn't be good.'"

(In his CPAC speech last week, Giuliani called Bratton a "great police commissioner" who helped make New York the safest large city in America.)

Capping off Rudy Giuliani's week in the 2008 spotlight, Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times takes a front page look at "the Giuliani surge." LINK

As for how the McCain camp continues to (semi-publicly) think of Giuliani: "'Giuliani has not made the transition from celebrity to candidate status in voters' minds,' said a McCain aide who asked not to be named while sizing up the opposition."

The Wall Street Journal's Wirey John Harwood writes that Giuliani's strength among independents is providing him with the "early edge in the 2008 race."

"The former New York mayor leads Hillary Clinton 47%-42% and Barack Obama 45%-39% in presidential matchups. In both cases, his advantage among independents exceeds 20 percentage points."

"Giuliani runs weakest in his native region, which leans Democratic and is most familiar with his polarizing pre-9/11 tenure. Northeasterners rate him favorably by 46%-29%, a more tempered view than Southerners' 63%-8%. Giuliani trails Clinton 49%-38% in Northeast but edges her 45%-44% among women."

Spouting convention wisdom, the Boston Herald's Jay Ambrose thinks that Republicans will have the hardest time getting over Giuliani playing dress up in 1997. LINK

The New York Sun's Alicia Colon predicts that Giuliani will run as an independent, handing the 2008 election to the Democrats, if he is denied the GOP's nomination. LINK

2008: Republicans: Romney:

Romney is under attack by Republicans from his own state. The Boston Herald reports on "The Romney Report's" vow to expose the former governor as yet another flip-flopper from Massachusetts, by disgruntled Massy Republicans. LINK

Lee Banson of Utah's Desert News writes on the debate being spurred behind closed doors over Gov. Romney's upcoming commencement address to Regent University. LINK

2008: Republicans: McCain:

McCain will be in Iowa next week, stopping in three cities for campaign events, writes the Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont. LINK

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) plans to endorse Sen. McCain in Charlotte, NC today, per Jonathan Martin of Politico. LINK

While in New York last night, "McCain refused to take a whack at his GOP presidential rival last night, continuing to refer to Giuliani as 'a genuine American hero,'" writes Celeste Katz of the New York Daily News. LINK

McCain, who is making a habit of saying nice things about his opponents, said: "I'm not here to try to tout Mayor Giuliani for president of the United States, but having said that, he understands law and order." LINK

2008: Republicans: Fred Thompson:

And speaking of law and order:

Former Sen. Howard Baker (R-TN) is contacting GOP "powerbrokers" to build support for a possible presidential bid by former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN). LINK

2008: Republicans: Brownback:

The State's Mike Fitts makes the case for Sen. Brownback's candidacy, writing that if the Republican base "decides to vote for someone who really speaks its language -- and always has -- he could move up out of the second tier of candidates." LINK

2008: Democrats:

Edwards has been busy on the Hill, no not with legislation, but with racking up House endorsements, which now stands at 12, leaving him tied with Obama, but still behind Clinton. Jonathan Kaplan has more. LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton:

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank paints Sen. Clinton as the Hallmark candidate, " the person to send to the White House when you care enough to send the very best." LINK

The Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody looks at past statements of Sen. Clinton on religion including her telling Newsweek magazine in 1994: "I think that the Methodist Church, for a period of time, became too socially concerned, too involved in the social gospel and did not pay enough attention to questions of personal salvation and individual faith." LINK

2008: Democrats: Obama:

As Sen. Obama quietly slips to various fundraising events, the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet writes that "[Sen. Obama's] campaign insists you don't deserve to be able to know where he is going to raise millions of dollars unless he or his operatives feel in the mood." LINK

Writes Sweet, "This sort of selective release of information about even what city Obama is visiting on a certain day raises questions about the credibility of Obama's claim that 'we are going to transform the political process.'"

Mike Dorning of the Chicago Tribune reports on Sen. Obama's press conference that left "lingering issues about the selection of the stocks and the timing of their purchase." LINK

The main question that remains: how did the (still-unmasked) broker make those two stock picks?

The Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman and former member of the Clinton flock Phillip W. Johnston has endorsed Sen. Obama in the 2008 race. LINK

Obama was a no show at the South Carolina fundraiser and according to the Hill's Sam Youngman, was the only major candidate not to contribute to the party. Obama's campaign insists it was not a snub. LINK

2008: Democrats: Edwards:

ABC News' Paul Fidalgo Reports: In an interview for the television program "Texas Monthly Talks," former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., made his feelings about Ann Coulter known without saying a word.

Asked by host Evan Smith what he would say to Coulter if she were sitting in his place, Edwards laughed and curled his fingers into a fist, miming a punch. "No, there's absolutely nothing I…" began Edwards. "I would say to you, 'grow up.'"

"I grew up in the south in the 50s and 60s where I heard a lot of bad words used in very hateful ways to describe people," Edwards told Smith, "and I think it's very important when that happens, no matter who's saying it and who is on the receiving end of it. . .for all of us to speak out and denounce it because otherwise it becomes acceptable. And it's not acceptable."

The interview covered other ground, as well. Asked about the feasibility of impeachment proceedings against the President and Vice President, Edwards said that with something as important the war in Iraq, "I would not divert attention away from that for the purposes of an impeachment proceeding."

The Austin-American Statesman has the story, too: LINK

As does Cox News: LINK

Molly Ball of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports on the "battle for the soul of the Democratic Party" between moderates and the liberal netroots showing itself in the fight over the Fox News debate. ". . .the Democratic Party should not be presenting Fox as a legitimate source of news. They're part of the right-wing smear machine," said spokesman Adam Green. LINK

The Washington Times on Edwards v. Fox. LINK

Jake Tapper and Nitya Venkataraman of ABC News report on Sen. Edwards' decision to boycott the debate. LINK

"WAR!" Jake Tapper shouts typographically in his Political Punch blog, and asks for your thoughts on the Edwards war with Fox News, and the war within the House over…the war. LINK

Rob Christensen, Barbara Barrett and Dan Kane of the News and Observer have a quick story on Edwards' endorsements by the North Carolina delegation. LINK

2008: Democrats: Richardson:

Jeff Jones and Trip Jennings of the Albuquerque offer a story on Richardson's campaign trips which has caused him to be away for almost half of the New Mexico legislative session and as a result, his agenda may have been affected. When asked Thursday whether his presidential travels have hurt his legislative agenda, Richardson replied, "My agenda is moving. . .It's going to get done." LINK

Be sure to check out the 'Richardson Watch' by the Albuquerque Journal's Leslie Linthicum, Trip Jennings, and Jeff Jones as they break down the rumors, the polls, and the trips made by the New Mexico Governor. LINK

2008: Democrats: Dodd:

Ben Smith of Politico blogs about Dodd supporter Jim Sasser's apparent belief that Dodd would enter the White House better prepared for the job than any of the four presidents with whom he served. LINK

Sam Youngman of The Hill on Dodd's national co-chairs. LINK

Sen. Dodd is not concerned about bank mergers, reports Russell Habbard of the Birmingham News, but "Of course," he said, "the subject bears watching." LINK

2008: Democrats: Kucinich:

Kucinich is now offering a "no strings" animated picture file download on his web site. LINK

Politics of prosecutorial independence:

In his New York Times column, Paul Krugman wonders about the US Attorneys who have held onto their jobs and whether or not politics plays into their job performance. LINK

"The Bush administration, accused of politicizing the hiring and firing of U.S. attorneys, agreed Thursday not to oppose legislation to restore rules ensuring Senate oversight when new prosecutors are named, Senate Democrats said," reports Richard Schmitt of the Los Angeles Times. LINK

Democratic agenda:

ABC News' Jake Tapper on the upcoming congressional global warming committee: LINK

Plane politics:

The Hill's Susan Crabtree writes that Speaker Pelosi would like to fix an embarrassing mistake in the new rules banning travel on corporate jets that, because of way it is written, unintentionally grounded a bipartisan group of about a dozen members who fly their own small aircraft or hitch rides with others". LINK

Saturday politics:

On Saturday, President Bush begins his day with a closed 7:10 am ET meeting with Uruguay President Tabaré Ramón Vázquez Rosas in Achorena Park, Uruguay. The two then hold 8:30 am ET joint press availability. The two leaders are joined by their wives, First Lady Laura Bush and Mrs. Delgado de Vazquez for a 9:05 am ET lunch.

Sen. Clinton delivers a 7:00 pm keynote to the New Hampshire Democratic state parties' 100 Club fundraising dinner in Nashua, NH.

Sen. McCain attends the open press Waccamaw GOP Breakfast Club in Conway, SC at 8:30 am ET. In the afternoon, he goes to Tennessee.

Gov. Mitt Romney makes 7:00 pm ET remarks at the Grand Hyatt Tampa to the Hillsborough County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner, Tampa, FL. Romney will hold media availability following the event.

Giuliani attends a fundraiser at the home of Elise and Roger Norman in Reno, NV.

Sen. Edwards holds community meetings to discuss his plan for universal healthcare at 12:00 pm ET in Newtown, IA followed by a 3:00 pm ET meeting in Ottumwa, IA and concludes with a meeting at 6:45 pm ET in Burlington, IA.

Sen. Biden delivers a 9:00 am ET address at the Women for a Stronger America Breakfast at ADong Restaurant in Des Moines, IA. Biden then attends a house party at the home of Stacey and Dave O'Brien in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Rep. Kucinich delivers 4:00 pm ET remarks to the Progressive Alliance Conference in San Antonio, TX followed by a 5:30 pm ET fundraiser also in San Antonio, TX. He then holds an 8:30 pm ET fundraiser at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, TX hosted by PAC.

Rep. Tancredo attends a 1:00 pm ET campaign reception at the Hampton Meadows Complex in Hampton, NH.

Former President Bill Clinton is honored along with historian John Hope Franklin and L. Tammy Duckworth at Leadership Conference on Civil Rights' annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award Dinner.

Sunday politics:

On Sunday, Sen. McCain attends a 7:30 pm ET fundraiser reception in Sacramento, CA.

Rep. Kucinich delivers 2:00 pm ET remarks at the 6th Congressional District Democratic Farm and Labor Party Meeting at Lakes and Plains Carpenters in St. Paul, MN. He and his wife, Elizabeth, then host a 4:00 pm ET meet and greet at Sawadtee Restaurant in Minneapolis, MN.

The International Association of Fire Fighters Legislative Conference begins in Washington, DC.