McCain may not be eager to voice his support for the current president these days -- but there is a President Bush he's happy to feature. George H.W. Bush taped a video greeting featured by the McCain campaign yesterday in South Carolina: "I'm proud to be with you at the 'No Surrender' rally," he said. Campaign manager Rick Davis says it wasn't an endorsement, telling The New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer, "The optics are wonderful for John McCain, but it wasn't meant for political purposes." OK, but why is McCain on the campaign trail if not for "political purposes"? Is it the room service, or the long bus trips?
On balance, the "No Surrender Tour" was a success, writes the Arizona Republic's Dan Nowicki. It "could fuel his resurgence," he writes. "The pro-war tour comes at a time when McCain is starting to recover in the national polls."
The Las Vegas Sun profiles the campaign managers of the leading Democratic contenders, and J. Patrick Coolican and Michael J. Mishak nail it with this line about their staffs: "Clinton's circle can seem almost Cosa Nostra-like in their demands; Obama's staff lives on a steady diet of Kool-Aid; and Edwards' team is deeply focused on issues, even at the expense of the campaign's prospects."
What would we do with the license plates? The Senate votes today on a bill that would give the District of Columbia voting representation in the House of Representatives. "It will be tight," ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports on the Senate, where 60 votes are needed. "And even if it passes, President Bush has threatened to veto the bill."
Another GOP retirement in another inconvenient place: Rep. Jim Ramstad, R-Minn., "becomes the sixth Republican House member to retire this cycle and leaves an open seat in a bona fide swing district," per The Hill's Aaron Blake.
Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, may not have a single friend left in the Republican Party, but the ACLU claiming the stall by his side.
This is more electricity than we've seen at a John Kerry speech in a while. "A vocal audience member was hauled off by police and shot with a Taser gun" at Kerry's speech at the University of Florida yesterday, reports Jack Stripling of the Gainesville Sun. (Worth the click for the video.)
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which is conducting an inquiry of Karl Rove and other White House political operatives, is running out of money, ABC's Justin Rood reports. "Without a last-minute infusion of nearly $3 million, the special task force may be unable to pay its staff and buy the kind of technical equipment it needs to investigate allegations that White House political operatives may have improperly injected politics into government activities," Rood writes.
Forget Norman Hsu -- here's the scofflaw video that's making the rounds in Republican circles this week. (Hint: His first name is Orenthal -- and the good stuff starts 30 seconds in.)
Here's what the GOP's been looking for, and it's . . . Alan Keyes? He only lost by 43 points to Obama -- does that give him Clinton-like scars? "I'm like a lot of folks, who have just looked at [the Republican field] and been unmoved," Keyes said in announcing his candidacy on a radio program, per the AP.
"The truth amnesty disclosure project is reportedly recommended by the participating extraterrestrials themselves." -- Alfred Webre, of the Institute for Cooperation in Space, at a press conference at the National Press Club, per The Washington Post's Dana Milbank.
"I'm still worried about all those men who don't wash their hands. . . . That's going to be part of my healthcare plan." -- Clinton, on "Good Morning America," responding to this story.
"The reason they did it is not just because they thought I was cute." -- Obama, on why the Service Employees International Union backed him in the 2004 Democratic Senate primary in Illinois.
"Thank you AFSCME!" -- Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., after appearing before the SEIU.