The Note: Taking the Fork


After a well executed North Carolina press conference (classy lav microphones, included), John and Elizabeth Edwards head from New York City to Santa Monica, CA today in advance of a private fundraiser there this evening. Tomorrow both Sen. Edwards and his wife plan on attending the SEIU/CAP health care forum in Las Vegas, NV.

Debate in the House of Representatives on the war spending bill resumed this morning a final vote is expected around noonish.

The $124 billion bill would finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but demand that troops withdraw from Iraq by September 2008. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said any delay in approving the funds could "have a genuinely adverse affect on the readiness of the Army and the quality of life for soldiers and their families."

ABC News' Jake Tapper reports that the Democratic leadership believes it has the votes for passage now that the liberal "Out of Iraq Caucus" has decided not to stick together as one voting bloc, but allowing each member to vote his or her own way. If the whip count is correct, Speaker Pelosi avoids what would likely be seen as a huge defeat.

Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Chris Dodd (D-CT), and Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) take part in a 9:00 pm ET rally for Culinary Union Local 226 in Las Vegas, NV. Dodd and Richardson will hold media availabilities following their remarks.

President Bush starts off his day by attending a 12:05 pm ET (closed press) RNC luncheon at the Everymay. After lunch, President and Mrs. Bush venture over to the 1:30 pm ET signing of H.R. a bill which designates the Department of Education Building the Lyndon Baines Johnson Building. At 3:00 pm ET the president delivers remarks for Greek Independence Day in the East Room of the White House.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) holds a 7:00 pm ET town hall meeting at the Franklin Opera House in Franklin, NH. He will remain in the Granite State tomorrow.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) was scheduled to hold a 10:00 am ET media availability in Milwaukee, WI. He has no campaign activity planned for the weekend and hits the Texas fundraising trail on Monday.

Former President Bill Clinton will be honored by the Greater New York Salvation Army at a 6:30 pm ET gala at the Hilton in New York City, with proceeds going to the Salvation Army's Emergency Disaster Services.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with Talkers magazine, hosts a 10:00 am ET debate between talk show hosts on immigration in Washington, DC.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice begins travel to Egypt, Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Jordan.

Don't miss Sen. Chuck Hagel's (R-NE) Sunday appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday.

Tomorrow, the Democratic '08ers will make remarks and take questions in back-to-back appearances at a health care forum sponsored by the Service Employees International Union and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The event takes place at the University of Nevada Las Vegas in Las Vegas, NV.

Here are the speaking times (all times EASTERN):

12:30 pm Edwards

12:53 pm Richardson

1:15 pm Obama

1:37 pm Clinton

1:59 pm Dodd

2:21 pm Kucinich

2:43 pm Gravel

Be sure to tune into "Good Morning America" on Monday morning for a town hall meeting with Sen. Clinton from Des Moines, IA.

You can see the rest of the weekend in politics below.

Politics of Iraq:

On "Good Morning America," ABC News' Jake Tapper reported that the House war funding bill has 'major strings attached' and that Democratic leaders believe they have enough votes to get the measure passed. On the horizon though, should this pass, the President has promised to veto it.

"Liberal opposition to a $124 billion war spending bill broke last night, when leaders of the antiwar Out of Iraq Caucus pledged to Democratic leaders that they will not block the measure, which sets timelines for bringing U.S. troops home," reports the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman. LINK

The New York Times on the Pelosi persuasion: LINK

"Iraq war spending bills advanced in both chambers of Congress as Democrats expressed increased confidence of winning a showdown House vote Friday calling for withdrawal of most U.S. troops next year," reports the Wall Street Journal's David Rogers.

Bloomberg's Laura Litvan and Nicholas Johnston report on Speaker Pelosi's long hard slog to secure support for the Iraq spending bill. LINK

Former President Clinton told reporters on a conference call, "It's just not fair," the way the press has been depicting his wife, Sam Youngman of The Hill reports. Said President Clinton, "This dichotomy that's been set up to allow him to become the raging hero of the anti-war crowd on the Internet is just factually inaccurate." LINK

2008: Democrats: Edwards: political:

On "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos said that the other candidates "will be cautious for several weeks." Cokie Roberts added that the question people may begin to start asking, "Will he be able to devote his time to the presidency? Forget the campaign. But what if he is president?"

ABC News' Jake Tapper takes a look at the political ramifications of the Edwards announcement and poses some unanswered questions on his 'Political Punch' blog. LINK

". . . (s)ome Democrats said Mr. Edwards' decision to continue his bid could pose some risks should his wife's illness worsen and raise questions about his decision to continue campaigning in a race where he has often placed third in polls in an intensely competitive Democratic field," write John Broder and Adam Nagourney of the New York Times. LINK

The Boston Globe's Rick Klein writes that by putting Elizabeth's struggle and their marriage front and center, "the diagnosis could boost the candidate's visibility at a critical time." LINK

Mark Johnson and Kristin Collins of the Raleigh News & Observer have Hargrave McElroy, a Raleigh teacher who is among Edwards' closest friends, saying that she "tackles problems with pragmatism." LINK

"'She's not given to hysterics,' McElroy said Thursday. 'I've never seen her throw up her hands and say, 'Oh my gosh, there's no fixing this.' I doubt very seriously that when the cameras stopped rolling and she went home, that she broke down. I think you saw exactly the way she's going to approach this.'"

Jill Lawrence and Rita Rubin of USA Today write up what is likely ahead on the campaign trail for the Edwardses. LINK

The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut reports that Sen. Edwards plans to remain in the presidential race with his wife's encouragement. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Hook, Wallsten, and Zucchino write, ". . . the long-term political implications are uncertain. His wife's illness may engender sympathy and add an element of human interest to Edwards' campaign. But there is a risk: Some voters may regard his presidential bid as a misplaced priority, especially if his wife's condition deteriorates." LINK

"Democratic pollster Peter Hart said Edwards would have to strike a 'delicate balance. . . between a loving husband and an ambitious politician.'"

"What's more, Edwards' campaign will be colored by the progress of his wife's disease. Having promised Thursday to be with her 'anytime, anyplace' that she needs him, Edwards may have to make long detours home from the campaign trail."

ABC News' Jennifer Duck writes about Edwards' blog where he discusses his views on his campaign now that his wife's cancer has returned. LINK

2008: Democrats: Edwards: medical:

The New York Times' Denis Grady writes, "According to statistics from the cancer society, 26 percent of women with Stage 4 breast cancer survive for five years. But, the society said, that statistic should not be applied to women like Mrs. Edwards who have recurrences, but only to women who are in Stage 4 when the disease is first diagnosed. Mrs. Edwards had "regional" disease at the time of diagnosis, meaning it had spread to some lymph nodes; five-year survival for women in that category is 81.3 percent, and cancer specialists said that the stage at initial diagnosis is the one that still counts." LINK

"Elizabeth Edwards's chance of surviving five years is well below 50 percent if her experience is similar to that of other women whose breast cancer has returned within five years of its original discovery and treatment," reports the Washington Post's David Brown. LINK

News & Observer: LINK

Boston Globe: LINK

2008: Democrats: Edwards: reaction:

The News & Observer wraps reaction to the Edwards announcement. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's ed board praises Elizabeth Edwards for a "demonstration of fortitude" that is "itself a lesson for the rest of us."

ABC News' Jennifer Parker offers an in-depth review of Edwards' press conference yesterday as well as the statements of support presidential candidates offered to the Edwards family. LINK

The Des Moines Register's David Yepsen on the Edwardses' announcement: "Those of us in this business spend a lot of time picking at presidential candidates, their strategies, positions and staffers. Sometimes about the only thing you can say is they're also human beings. You feel for them when they hurt." LINK

The Note adds its voice to the good wishes for Mrs. Edwards and her family as they continue to fight this battle.

2008: Democrats: Edwards: media:

Politico's Ben Smith explain in detail how he got the Edwards announcement wrong yesterday. LINK

Smith writes, "Though I've spent the last several years at major newspapers -- the New York Observer and the New York Daily News most recently -- I've done much of my reporting on blogs, and have developed an instinct to let my readers know whatever I know, as soon as I know it. The medium typically allows you to refine and update a story as it changes -- including saying, 'Well, my original source had it wrong.'"

"But the scale of this story was simply too big to report that way, to share information with high but imperfect confidence -- and without making that level of confidence crystal clear. I should have waited for a second source, or hedged the item much more fully. Or simply waited for the news conference like everybody else."

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan Notes that Elizabeth Edwards joked about the unreliability of recent press reports. LINK

Politics of prosecutorial independence:

The Washington Times' Jon Ward on Sen. Specter suggesting to White House counsel Fred Fielding yesterday that selected lawmakers could question Mr. Rove and other administration officials "in public, but not under oath." LINK

"'Mr. Fielding did not accept or reject it,' White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters."

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf and Jake Tapper report on the second congressional committee that voted in favor of issuing subpoenas on a day when Gonzales said, "I will not resign." LINK

The Washington Post's Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein look at Bush Administration efforts to make Rove aide Tim Griffin U.S. Attorney in Arkansas. LINK

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports on Leader Reid's comments where he asked rhetorically if the U.S. Attorney in Florida who is working to get Abramoff's sentence reduced is a "Bushie". LINK

USA Today breaks down who each fired attorney is and just what happened to them. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

"In his first weeks as defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, repeatedly argued that the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had become so tainted abroad that legal proceedings at Guantánamo would be viewed as illegitimate, according to senior administration officials. He told President Bush and others that it should be shut down as quickly as possible," reports the New York Times. LINK

Iowa: contacted undecided Republican and Democratic county chairs from February through March to see whom on the GOP and Democratic sides, respectively, they were considering supporting. LINK

The top finisher on the Republican side was Mitt Romney with 55 percent. The top finisher on the Democratic side was John Edwards with 71 percent.


Molly Ball of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that a "guerilla" campaign of Nevada Republicans to move the state GOP caucus to the same early date as the Democrats, is close to success, though there are concerns that Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) may "derail the move." LINK

2008: Republicans:

Exploring a Pew Research Center survey, the Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook writes, "(p)ublic allegiance to the Republican Party has plunged since the second year of George W. Bush's presidency, as attitudes have edged away from some of the conservative values that fueled GOP political dominance for more than a decade." LINK

2008: Republicans: Giuliani:

The Giuliani campaign says it is not clear the former mayor would support an assault weapons ban today, even though Giuliani was in the front row when President Clinton signed the crime bill with the assault weapons ban, reports the New York Times' Richard Perez Pena in a must-read. LINK

"Rudy Judi's Bombshell: Reveals That He's Her Third Husband'" headlines the New York Post's Maggie Haberman/Andrea Peyser exclusive on the would-be first lady's previously unknown first marriage. LINK

"There's no evidence Mr. Giuliani had a role in any of his clients' woes," write the Wall Street Journal's Christopher Cooper and Robert Block. "But the Democratic National Committee regularly emails to reporters a file on "Rudy's Known Controversial Dealings," including what it calls "war profiteering" from his firm's investment in a small security company with Iraq contracts. And press reports are popping up with increasing frequency portraying his private-sector work in an unflattering light."

While campaigning Thursday in the Washington, D.C. area, Giuliani sidestepped whether he supports giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship without first requiring them to leave the country, reports ABC News' Teddy Davis and Paul Fidalgo. LINK

ABC News' Matthew Zavala reports on Giuliani's comments yesterday when he said that Alberto Gonzales should be given "the benefit of the doubt." LINK

2008: Republicans: Romney:

Mike Glover of the Associated Press reports that Gov. Romney is keeping his distance from Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson (D-UT), following the mayor's calls for President Bush's impeachment. The two men exchanged endorsement television ads for each other in their last campaigns after their work together on the 2002 Olympics. LINK

2008: Republicans: Tancredo:

"Rep. Tom Tancredo has raised more than $1 million for his exploratory presidential bid, saying that makes it far more likely he will follow through with a full-fledged candidacy," reports the Rocky Mountain News. LINK

2008: Democrats: Anti-Clinton web video creator revealed:

ABC News' Jake Tapper reports on Obama's comments regarding the YouTube ad using the same type of defense he did when the Geffen controversy happened saying he can't be responsible for everyone's actions. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Morain raises some remaining questions in his write up of Phil de Vellis' February boasting of some of the fruits of his labor for Blue State Digital appearing on the Obama campaign Web site, despite assurances from the campaign and Blue State Digital that de Vellis did not work on the Obama account. LINK

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times Notes Obama's Verizon metaphor and writes, ". . . the Obama campaign, however, will have to grapple with the reality that in the small world of Washington operatives, there are more ties than it probably would like." LINK

Keying off of the 1984 ad, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz and Jose Antonio Vargas look at whether "the more old-fashioned art of political chicanery was at play." LINK

2008: Democrats: Obama:

The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes takes a must-read front page look at a friend from Sen. Obama's past -- Keith Kakugawa -- who has "reemerged" following background checks by reporters and campaign staffers after having "fallen on hard times." LINK

"At Mr. Obama's suggestion, Mr. Kakugawa says, he called Devorah Adler, a campaign researcher who maintains contacts with Obama family and friends who might get press inquiries, to advise them and act as a go-between. Tensions rose when Mr. Kakugawa asked for some money to be wired to him via Western Union, according to both him and Ms. Adler. Ms. Adler brought in senior adviser Robert Gibbs, and together they phoned Mr. Kakugawa last Saturday."

"'Sen. Obama really does want to help,' Mr. Gibbs told Mr. Kakugawa, according to both men's recollection. The advisers suggested Mr. Kakugawa get help from social-service agencies, and that the Obama office would help with that. But he would not get money, Mr. Gibbs said."

Looking to the second quarter, the Wall Street Journal's Wirey Mary Lu Carnevale reports that Sen. Obama is inviting donors to an April 11 fund-raising briefing with campaign aides.

2008: Democrats: Clinton:

Former President Clinton is not backing down from his claim that news coverage of Obama vs. Clinton on Iraq is not fair. Per The Hill's Sam Youngman's must-read, Clinton echoed the Mark Penn talking points when he spoke on a conference call to fundraisers for his wife's campaign and said, "It's just not fair." LINK

Said President Clinton, "This dichotomy that's been set up to allow him to become the raging hero of the anti-war crowd on the Internet is just factually inaccurate."

All the members of the spinning class where Bill Clinton raised $70,000 for Sen. Clinton in a 30-minute appearance were given a long-sleeved T-shirt to wear over workout clothes and they listened to the former president's favorite music, a move to encourage him to spin with them, reports Patrick Healey and Cassi Feldman of the New York Times. LINK

"'He was wandering through the bikes in our small studio, brushing up against handle bars and wheels and introducing himself,' said SoulCycle co-owner Julie Rice," per the New York Post's Bulliet. LINK

Jake Tapper blogs about the upcoming Timbaland fundraiser for Clinton. LINK

2008: Democrats: Dodd:

In advance of tomorrow's SEIU forum in Las Vegas, Sen. Dodd plans to drop legislation today with Sens. Durbin and Kennedy aimed at modifying "the definition of supervisor in order to ensure that no employee is unjustly denied his or her right to join a labor union."

The Hartford Courant's David Lightman reports on Sen. Dodd's proposal for a "summit" to deal with sub-prime market "upheavals." Holding hearings on the subject with consumers, Sen. Dodd said, "The checks and balances that we are told exist in the marketplace, and the oversight that the regulators are supposed to exercise, have been absent until recently." LINK

Washington Times: LINK

Neil Vigdor of Stamford Connecticut's The Advocate reports that Ned Lamont returns the favor with his endorsement of Sen. Dodd's bid for the presidency. Said Lamont, "I think the people of Connecticut know the great strength of Chris Dodd is he's one of the nicest guys running for president." LINK

2008: Democrats: Biden:

ABC News' Jake Whitman reports on Biden's night cap appearance last night on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" where Leno called Biden, "articulate." LINK

2008: Democrats: Gore:

Madonna appears ready to sign on to an Al Gore 2008 presidential run, reports the New York Post's Ed Robinson. LINK

2008: calendar:

The New York Times' Goodnough writes up the Florida legislature's intention to move the Sunshine State's presidential primary to as early as January 29. LINK

2008: debates:

Some US Senators running for president are lobbying to have a debate in the Big Easy in an effort to bring attention to the still recuperating city, reports ABC News' Jake Tapper. LINK

Politics of immigration:

"The chief House proponents of a path to citizenship for illegal aliens yesterday also embraced stricter enforcement, arguing they need to move that direction if they hope to pass a bill this year," reports the Washington Times' Stephen Dinan. LINK

2008: House and Senate:

On a night when she was to attend a high dollar New York fundraiser, the NRCC hammered "The San Francisco Speaker," blogs Kate Phillip of the New York Times. LINK

Political potpourri:

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) believes it would be unconstitutional and will have "serious practical consequences" if a full House seat is given to D.C. and an additional "at-large" representative is given to Utah. LINK

Weekend politics:

After the SEIU forum on Saturday, Gov. Richardson makes 2:00 pm ET remarks to the National Convention of the Stonewall Democrats at the Riviera Hotel & Casino and then he attends a 3:45 pm ET block party at his Las Vegas campaign headquarters as well as a 10:00 pm ET keynote address to the Human Rights Campaign Dinner at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.

Sen. Dodd will be at a 9:30 am ET meet and greet of Henderson County Democratic Club members at Dragon Ridge Country Club in Henderson, NV.

Sen. Clinton heads from Nevada to San Diego and Los Angeles, CA for private campaign events. On Saturday, Vice President Cheney delivers 7:00 pm ET remarks at the Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership Dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach in Lantana, Fl.

Sen. McCain presses on in the Granite State with a 10:30 am ET town hall meeting at the Plymouth Regional Senior Center in Plymouth, NH. His next town hall meeting will be at 1:30 pm ET which is being held at the VFW in Littleton, NH. He then attends the 7:00 pm ET Coos County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner in Berlin, NH.

Mayor Giuliani meets with supporters in Newport Beach, CA followed by a 8:30 pm ET press availability at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach.

Gov. Huckabee will be in the Hawk Eye State where he will deliver 8:30 am ET remarks to area residents at the Treynor City Community Building in Treynor, IA. Next, Huckabee will seek support as he meets with area residents at 1:00 pm ET at Lucianos in Sioux, City, IA. He does the same thing at 3:30 pm ET in Le Mars, IA. Huckabee concludes his day of campaigning with 7:00 pm ET soup supper with GOP activists at the Sioux Golf & Country Club in Alton, IA.

On Sunday, Sen. Clinton will be on the Left Coast in San Francisco, CA for fundraising events. Sen. Obama hosts a reception at Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, FL at 12:30 pm ET.