Anyone remember ethics reform? It sure is easy to forget, what with the Democratic House voting along party lines yesterday to block debate on whether Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., violated House rules over an alleged threat that he has not denied making. "During the vote, Murtha sat in a darkened corner of the House floor, laughing with colleagues who surrounded him," writes Politico's Patrick O'Connor.
The New York Times editorializes: "The House's new Democratic majority is flirting with disaster as it guts key provisions of the strict lobbying reform it promised voters."
Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson writes in The Washington Post that the abortion position of former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, R-N.Y., is indefensible: "Giuliani has chosen an option that is not an option -- a belief that unborn life deserves our sympathy but does not deserve rights or justice. This view is likely to dog him in the primary process, not only because it is pro-choice but because it is incoherent."
Bloomberg's Heidi Przybyla examines the role of New Hampshire independents, who broke heavily for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in 2000, but now look more likely to vote in the Democratic primary -- something all candidates need to be mindful of. "They'll crash the party on the Democratic side and leave the Republicans pretty much alone," said St. Anselm College's Dante Scala.
The Boston Globe's Scott Helman looks at why former governor Mitt Romney, R-Mass., is mired in the single digits in polls in the South, and sees the Yankee governor's difficult calculus getting tougher if/when former senator Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., gets in the race. "He will have difficulty overcoming the disconnect between Dixie culture and his own, and persuading Southerners that a former social moderate from Boston can be their champion in the White House," Helman writes.
Romney's launching a new ad in New Hampshire and Iowa that plays off of his Massachusetts roots. "In the toughest place, Mitt Romney's done the toughest things," the ad says.
Why is McCain missing so many Senate votes? And where's the "Straight Talk Express" been? The answer is money, money, money, report Michael Shear and Paul Kane in The Washington Post. "It's the new McCain: Working furiously to rebound from a lackluster fundraising effort in the first three months of the year, he is forgoing many opportunities for public campaigning and sharply cutting back his role as a high-profile legislator with a knack for brokering deals."
As McCain and Romney snipe with each other, Giuliani is staying above the fray, writes The New York Times' Michael Cooper. "Mr. McCain's willingness to engage Mr. Romney directly appeared to stem from a combination of tactical, political and, to a lesser extent, personal considerations." We'd emphasize the personal over the tactical.
Edwards is the first on board for August's YearlyKos convention in Chicago -- a decision announced (online, of course) by the candidate's wife.
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is unveiling a new ad in New Hampshire claiming that the other Democrats are following him in demanding a troop withdrawal from Iraq. "Now, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have changed their position to follow Chris Dodd," the ad says, per the Union Leader's John DiStaso.
"This bill is drawing opposition from business, labor, Democrats, Republicans, theists and nontheists, American League and National League baseball fans," Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate's chief vote-counter, on the immigration measure.