Another troublesome sign for Pelosi: Public support for Democrats' leadership has frittered away along with their hopes of ending the Iraq war, per the new ABC News/Washington Post poll. "Six weeks ago the Democrats held a 24-point lead over Bush as the stronger leadership force in Washington; today that's collapsed to a dead heat," ABC polling director Gary Langer reports. A lack of progress in Iraq is driving the declining public confidence in Congress, but Democrats can take solace in one fact: "President Bush and the Republicans aren't doing any better."
Senator Craig Thomas: 1933-2007
Thomas' death last night draws fond reminiscences from all quarters for the low-key senior senator from Wyoming, who passed after a battle with leukemia. The three-term senator -- who replaced Dick Cheney in the House when Cheney joined the George H. W. Bush Cabinet -- "stayed clear of the Washington limelight and political catfights," per the Associated Press' Mary Clare Jalonick.
No Senate balance-of-power implications here -- at least not yet. Wyoming has a Democratic governor, Dave Freudenthal, but his spokeswoman has already said that he intends to follow state law and choose a replacement from a list of three finalists provided by the state Republican Party. The term for Thomas' replacement, however, will expire at the end of 2008, leaving both of Wyoming's Senate seats up for grabs next year, with Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., also up for reelection. This could be a prime red-state pick-up opportunity for the Democrats; last year, Wyoming's state-wide House race was one of the closest in the country. Cheney for Senate, anyone?
Also in the news today:
A USA Today/Gallup Poll has the Democratic race virtually tied, with either Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., or Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., leading by a single point, depending on whether Al Gore is included in the field. Big news for the Obama camp, but this is so at odds with other recent polling that it will take another similar poll or two to change perceptions of Clinton as clear front-runner.
The top three Democratic '08ers got their faith going at last night's Sojourners forum in Washington, and it was Clinton who gave the most revealing answer of the evening. "I'm not sure I would have gotten through it without my faith," Clinton said when asked about how she overcame her husband's infidelities. Former senator John Edwards, D-N.C., said he prays every day and said he couldn't name his single biggest sin, while Obama's appearance "focused more on policy than the personal," per the round-up by the AP's Nedra Pickler.
The Obama camp jumped on Clinton's debate assertion that the US is safer under the Bush administration's leadership, distributing a memo citing reports that detail ways the country is less safe now than it was before 9/11. Though it didn't mention Clinton by name, the memo was "a direct shot at Clinton," The New York Post's Ian Bishop reports.
Gov. Bill Richardson's, D-N.M., suggestion of an Olympic boycott drew him a rebuke from the US Olympic Committee -- and a warning that such talk could hurt American chances of winning future Olympic bids. "Even the discussion is harmful," Steve Bull, the USOC's chief lobbyist, told The Hill's Ian Swanson.