THE NOTE: Rudy Set for Conservative Slam


The battle is rejoined: "A failed veto override on a major children's health insurance program yesterday prompted House Democratic leaders to promise to push a new version of the bill, daring Republicans to oppose them," The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Christopher Lee report. "The new version will probably give Republicans some face-saving alterations but no substantive change."

Also in the news:

Sam Brownback's still on the speaking schedule today for the "Values Voters Conference," but he'll head to Topeka, Kan., this afternoon, for a 4:45 pm ET announcement where he'll drop out of the presidential race, ABC's Julia Bain reports.

"The Brownback bus never really got rolling," Randy Scholfield writes in the Wichita Eagle. "The high point of his campaign was finishing third in an Iowa straw poll that most of the leading GOP candidates skipped. He recently finished behind Ron Paul in fundraising. Ouch. That might have been the last straw. Brownback's main problem is a charisma deficit. He isn't exactly the life of the party. On the stump, he looks and sounds like a church deacon."

The battle for the rural vote is getting messy. Edwards yesterday called for tougher enforcement of manure laws, in the campaign pledge that's least likely to get probed at a presidential debate. He would also "push for a national moratorium on building or expanding livestock confinement facilities," the Des Moines Register's Tony Leys reports, as he "stepped into a raging rural controversy this week."

So as Edwards got his shoes dirty, Clinton is holding a "Rural Americans for Hillary" lunch at a Washington lobbying firm "which just so happens to lobby for the controversial multinational agri-biotech Monsanto," ABC's Jake Tapper reports.

Edwards camp: "While corporate America and lobbyists may want someone like Clinton in the White House, regular Americans are ready for someone who will stand up for them and fight for real change." Clinton camp: "In 2004, John Edwards said 'If you are looking for the candidate that will do the best job of attacking the other Democrats, I am not your guy.' But he's become that guy now that his 2008 campaign has stalled."

And when Clinton dabbled in rural politics in New York this week, it wound up a distraction. Clinton and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., want to earmark $1 million for a Woodstock museum in peaceful and lovely Bethel, N.Y., but Senate Republicans yesterday stripped the "Flower Power Pork" from a spending bill, ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports.

Romney, now touting the endorsement of Bob Jones III, has much at stake in his speech today. He plans to focus on reducing the number of out-of-wedlock births, Politico's Mike Allen reports. "The agenda reflects an effort to tap into the changing priorities of religious conservatives," Allen writes.

McCain has never been a favorite among this set, but today he plans to cast himself as "only major candidate in either party" who has been pro-life his entire public career, ABC's Bret Hovell reports. "Wisdom suggests that we should be willing to give an unborn child the same chance that our parents gave us." McCain will say, according to remarks released by his campaign. "I know you might not always agree with me on every issue, but I hope you know I'm not going to con you," he will say, reprising a swipe he took at Romney last week, Hovell writes.

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