The Note: Leftward Bound


More today from the man who threatens to blow up the best laid plans of the various candidates: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, I-N.Y. He told ABC's Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America" that it's "just an accident" that he's visiting states that are important in the presidential race, and he moved just a smidge closer toward ruling out running for the presidency or the vice presidency. "I'm gonna fill out my term as mayor of the City of New York, and not run for president," said the new owner of "I plan to finish out my term as mayor of the city of New York and then go into philanthropy."

Also making news:

Congress took another step toward a constitutional crisis yesterday, with the House Judiciary Committee voting to hold White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress. It "sets the stage for what would be the first congressional contempt citation of an executive branch official since the Reagan administration," though it may do little to resolve the US attorneys mess that's being explored by Congress, Richard Schmitt reports in the Los Angeles Times. "Pathetic," White House press secretary Tony Snow says. Sorry, was that a legal opinion? You only have to work with these guys for 18 more months. . . .

President Bush plans to up the ante over Iraq and defense funding this morning with a speech in Philadelphia, ABC's Ann Compton reports. He will challenge congressional leaders to either pass the defense appropriations bill before the August recess, or to delay their planned August recess.

The bloodletting continues at Sen. John McCain's campaign. Now he's lost his top ad-makers, Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens, the duo that was charged with crafting the "McCain 2.0" brand. The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes reports, "The two men told friends they had considered leaving for days, as they hadn't been paid and the campaign's financial straits raised questions of when and how much they would be."

McCain, R-Ariz., would love to have, say, Romney money, but he won't tap into the personal fortune of his wife, Cindy, to keep his campaign afloat. "I would never do such a thing. I don't think it's the appropriate thing to do," McCain tells Deborah Solomon in this weekend's New York Times Magazine. He also says he has no regrets about supporting the troop "surge." "You got to do what's right," he says.

What happens if, while you're testing the waters, your friends jump out of the pool and run home? Ask former senator Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., who lost another aide under puzzling circumstances: Research director J.T. Mastranadi quit after just 10 days with the (non-)campaign. The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reports that Mastranadi told a friend he "was 'fed up' with the 'lack of structure' and was unclear about his role in the coming campaign." The campaign can label this typical pre-campaign restructuring, but does anyone doubt that there are some fundamental problems in Thompson's world (which may or may not stem from his wife's involvement)?

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