7 days to the Inauguration
Today, the President has two closed-press meetings, one at the Pentagon at 9:45 am ET and the other with teachers at the White House at 1:15 pm ET.
Vice President Cheney delivers a speech on Social Security at Catholic University at 1:00 pm ET.
Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer discuss foreign court influences on American constitution law at American University at 4:00 pm ET.
And/but: says the Associated Press: "Bob Shrum, the veteran political guru who guided Democrat John Kerry's unsuccessful presidential campaign, is leaving his consulting firm to teach at New York University."
Per the Boston Globe, while the future of Shrum, Devine, and Donilon remains up in the air, we enjoy any Shrum mention that brings up his one-time status as the nation's top college debater. LINK
Kit Seeyle in the New York Times Notes Shrum's 26 Senate race victories." LINK
In the cosmological world of The Note, this is a big deal.
We were working on our analysis of "what it all means" when, lo and behold, we got an e-mail in the inbox that helped clear things up.
To: Bob Shrum
From: Gabe Pressman
Bcc: The Note
Re: Welcome to New York
As the dean of the New York political press corps, I've been asked to provide you with some helpful hints on how to navigate the political waters here in Gotham. You'll no doubt discover quickly that it's very different from Washington, DC.
1. There's no such thing as a "Jeff Plaut primary" or even an"Evan Stavisky primary" in New York. So, if you ever decide to get back into the game full time, you would still pretty much be guaranteed a monopoly on the whole uber consultant thing. (Unless of course you count the "Wolfson Primary.")
2. Don't listen to all those naysayers who will tell you that a power lunch at City Hall restaurant (http://www.cityhallnewyork.com/) is trite or passé. You can still pick up as much good political intelligence there as you can at The Palm.
3. "Inside City Hall" on NY1 News is must-see TV for the chattering class here (http://www.ny1.com/ny/OnTheAir/NY1Shows/index.html?topicintid=8&subtopicintid=31&contentintid=114). It's kind of like CNN's "Inside Politics," but it will never choose tsunami coverage or a "Security Watch" segment over a good piece of video showing Ed Skyler strong-arming a reporter as a lead.
4. Beware: Whatever political damage (lasting or fleeting) you think Rudy Giuliani may have suffered due to the Kerik flap, it has had no effect whatsoever on Sunny Mindel's influence around town
5. There are those in Democratic circles who think you may have botched the whole Hispanic outreach thing in the last presidential cycle. The Hispanic vote simply cannot be overlooked in New York. Seriously, if you are looking for restaurant recommendations above 110th Street, contact anyone from the Bloomberg advance staff — at this point they know that stretch better than most of the locals.
6. New York politics has its fair share of "strange bedfellows" too — just like DC. So don't act surprised if former spokespeople for Carl McCall, George Pataki, and Rudy Giuliani all join in one harmonious chorus to sing the virtues of a Jets stadium on the West Side.
7. Lucky for you, accessorizing with a scarf is still totally acceptable to the fashion mavens on Seventh Avenue. On the other hand, if you keep wearing the same scarf over and over, Lloyd Grove (remember him?) is going to have a field day.
8. Congratulations on no longer being covered by Deborah Orin (with her propensity to find anonymous "Washington Democrat strategists" who will say bad things about you); you will now be covered by Fred Dicker (who will find anonymous "top-level Democratic strategists" to say bad things about you).
9. Here are some simple things to remember when dealing with the local media here — each member unique like the snowflake:
A. Melissa Russo is a sucker for policy and the homeless.
B.Jay DeDapper likes the inside game.
C. Jim Rutenberg might dress like Austin Powers, but he has the hearing of Steve Austin, so watch what you say.
10. Between "Inside City Hall," the 92nd Street Y, Tina Brown's show, the New Yorker yakkathon, my Sunday morning show, and cable TV, it's possible you could begin speaking on arrival here and never stop, so be careful.
11. There is no Gridiron Dinner in New York, but there is the Inner Circle — the only difference is the level of musical talent — and, remember: Ernie Anastos is like Carl Leubsdorf, only more so.
12. Not sure if you plan to own a car here, but the cab drivers operate their vehicles pretty much like Oatsie does hers — only at higher speeds and with more traffic.
13. You think the NATIONAL Democratic Party is dysfunctional — wait until you get a load of what passes for a party in the city and the state these days!!!
14. Everyone — from the surly guy at the deli selling you a lemony cake to the city council to the busboy at Esca (a restaurant you will L-O-V-E) — calls them "Chuck" and "Hillary," and Chuck and Hillary don't seem to mind.
15. Unlike in DC, here it is totally okay to cry at the opera.
16. If you start to miss Washington Democrats, just head over to the Regency hotel on Park any old morning for breakfast — you are sure to find a bunch of them there — but watch the carbs.
17. Setting goals is important in this competitive city — I think you should aspire to beat Phil Friedman in the ratio between "races working on" to "quotes in the Times" — he's formidable, but I think you got a shot, kid.
18. Similarly, I'm sure you will want to set up a salon culture like you had in DC. Fred Hochberg has a big head start on you — I suggest getting invited to one of his swank dinners and slipping off to the bathroom to take Notes.
19. Two words — Fresh Direct.
20. When the Post (Note: from now on, that means the Murdoch paper) begins referring to you in headlines simply as "Shrummy," take it as a compliment. It means you've arrived — just like Giffie.
21. In DC they line up at midday at BreadLine. In New York they line up at midnight at Magnolia. That tells you all you need to know about the differences between the two cities.
22. In New York they know that in another 20 years Ron Fournier will be Marc Humbert — assuming they have heard of Ron Fournier.
23. When you read Frank Bruni's best-ever restaurant reviews you may find youself wishing he had gotten this gig four or so years earlier.
24. Now that you will have more time to work out, consider running around the Central Park resevoir to be like Sunday morning shopping at the Social Safeway — it's the best way to meet people and see and be seen.
25. If Wayne Barrett calls, treat it like you would a call from Mike Wallace. Except you won't be having Wayne over at the Cape house.
26. You will find the Tuscan food in New York only slightly worse than at your home in Tuscany.
27. Your scarf ain't got nothing on Hank Morris' sweater.
28. Here in New York, no one calls it "The Daily Biscuit" -- they call it "The Note."
29. With the mayoral race this year, a governor's race in '06, Sen. Clinton's re-elect, at least three potential '08 presidential candidates, and much of your party's donor community all located right here — congratulations, you've made a great choice of venue to step back from politics.
President Bush's 20/20 interview:
As the President and First Lady Laura Bush sat down yesterday afternoon with ABC's Barbara Walters, Mr. Bush talked about his decision to go to war in Iraq, even though evidence now concludes that no weapons of mass destruction were there.
Barbara Walters: This was our main reason for going in. So now when we read, "Okay, the search is over," what do you feel?
President Bush: Well, like you, I felt like we'd find weapons of mass destruction. Or like many, many here in the United States, many around the world, the United Nations thought he had weapons of mass destruction, and so therefore, one, we need to find out what went wrong in the intelligence gathering. Saddam was dangerous. And . . . the world was safer without him in power.
Walters: But was it worth it if there were no weapons of mass destruction? Now that we know that that was wrong? Was it worth it?
Bush: Oh, absolutely.
The full exclusive interview airs this Friday on ABC News' "20/20" (10:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET).
Carla Ann Robbins of the Wall Street Journal has an excellent profile of incoming NSA Steven Hadley, which includes this great paragraph:
"Fixing Mr. Hadley on the ideological spectrum is difficult; neither moderates nor hawks will claim him — or Ms. Rice — as part of their camp. News reports have described him as Mr. Cheney's man, dating back to his Pentagon service in the first Bush administration. But he got that job thanks to a recommendation from Brent Scowcroft, national-security adviser to former Presidents Ford and Bush, and the archetypical moderate Republican internationalist who has been an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq."
Oh heck. Here are two more:
"Mr. Hadley gets high marks for intellect and personal discipline. But even with those skills, 'almost nothing ever got decided at the deputies' level,' says one senior official who blames ideological and institutional divisions, but also says that 'Steve wasn't one to force a consensus.' Mr. Hadley also is identified with one of the most dramatic process snafus of the first term: taking personal responsibility for the failure to excise — even after the Central Intelligence Agency insisted — from President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address the charge that Iraq sought to buy uranium in Africa for a nuclear-weapons program."
"Ms. Rice has described Mr. Hadley as her 'alter ego.' Aides say the two plan to coordinate appointments of senior staff, to ensure a better relationship between the NSC and State, which the White House has considered a rebellious province for the past four years. In theory, their close alliance also would give Ms. Rice additional fire power if she decides to take on Mr. Rumsfeld and the Pentagon."
The Washington Post's Michael Fletcher and Maria Gold outline President Bush's education proposal to extend reading and math testing into high school. Bush said the money for the program would come from $1.5 billion earmarked in his budget — much of which will come from existing programs. LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Nick Anderson breaks down the plan's specifics. LINK
The New York Times' Anne Kornblut (let that roll pleasingly off of your tongue!) covered the President's day (GA our butt!!) and gets Tom Davis to repeat his skittishness about partial privatization/personalification." LINK
Ryan Lizza in The New Republic has a great look at the institutional politics of Social Security and gets Rep. Adam Smith to rule out voting for a proposal that includes private accounts. He raises the question: will the GOP use the Byrd rule if it can't get 60 Senate votes?
"It would just be sad for the president to tie his shoelaces together right out of the starting block," Rep. J.D. Hayworth tells the Washington Times' Stephen Dinan about the president's immigration proposals. LINK
David Broder gives props to outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge for his "new model of federalism" that partners federal and local law enforcement authorities in dealing with national security issues, training of emergency personnel, and the prospect of terrorist attacks. The model's outlined in Ridge's National Response Plan, which gets governors and mayors in on the act." LINK
And the AP's Pete Yost has a less positive piece about the outgoing Secretary. LINK
On today's front page, the Washington Post's Tom Edsall and Jeffrey Birnbaum offer up a look at the corporate donations/lobbying interests funding the inaugural festivities next week, reminding us that campaign finance laws don't apply, and the limit set this year for contributions is $250,000 each. "At least 88 companies and trade associations, along with 39 top executives — all with huge stakes in administration policies — have already donated $18 million toward a $40 million goal for the country's 55th inaugural celebration." LINK
"Practically all the major donors have benefited from Bush administration policies, especially from corporate and individual tax cuts, deregulation and the new prescription drug benefit that is part of Medicare. Most also stand to boost profits further because of Bush's second-term proposals, which include limiting medical malpractice suits, creating private investment accounts as part of Social Security and making a tax-code revision that is expected to reduce taxes on investments."
Note, as the duo does briefly, what Dan Bartlett surely will — the Washington Post Co.'s own contribution!!!!
AP reports that the Department of Homeland Security has told the District of Columbia to use federal homeland security funds to pay for $11.9 million of the $17.3 million in costs it will incur for the Inauguration. LINK
Deborah Orin on the New York performers heading to DC for the balls and festivities. LINK
On Inauguration day, we humbly suggest that you watch, listen or immerse yourself in ABC News. Beginning at 7:00 am ET on Good Morning America, Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer, and (at 10:00 am ET) Peter Jennings will anchor a marathon of high definition coverage, bringing a unique and comprehensive perspective on the fours years past, and more importantly, the four years present and future. ABC News Now, ABC News Radio and ABC News.com will also provide live, original programming throughout the day.
The Los Angeles Times' Johanna Neuman writes that the protests are expected to be less intense this time around. LINK
More on the planned protests from USA Today's Craig Wilson. LINK
And the Washington Post's Manny Fernandez. LINK
Street closings, courtesy of the Washington Post: LINK
Bump … "Newly disclosed documents in the John Walker Lindh case appear to conflict with assertions made to Congress by Michael Chertoff, nominated this week as homeland security secretary, about the Justice Department's handling of ethics concerns in the high-profile prosecution," Eric Lichtblau fronts in today's New York Times . LINK
"At his confirmation hearing in 2003, Mr. Chertoff said he and his deputies in the criminal division did not have an active role in discussions about ethics warnings in the case from lawyers elsewhere in the department."
"But in previously undisclosed department documents, provided to The New York Times by a person involved in the case who insisted on anonymity, a longtime lawyer in the division who worked under Mr. Chertoff detailed numerous contacts he had with lawyers inside and outside the division on Mr. Lindh's questioning."
Report Doug Jehl and David Johnston of the New York Times :, "At the urging of the White House, Congressional leaders scrapped a legislative measure last month that would have imposed new restrictions on the use of extreme interrogation measures by American intelligence officers, Congressional officials say." LINK
The Washington Post 's Robin Wright and Jim VandeHei write that the U.S. is now downplaying expectations for voter turnout in the Iraqi elections on Jan. 30, as well as the outcome, in an attempt to get ahead of concern over how the insurgency and Sunni participation will affect election day. LINK
The Iraqi vote "won't be perfect," Scott McClellan said Wednesday. LINK
It is very, very hard to be an election worker in Iraq, and particularly dangerous if you're a Sunni. LINK
Tom Friedman calls elections in Iraq "the last bad option" in a must-read column Notable for his nuggets on the principles of Middle East politics. LINK
Washington governor's race:
Gov. Christine Gregoire. LINK
The Seattle Times' Andrew Garber and Ralph Thomas Note that Republican legislators were largely silent during Gregoire's 45-minute inaugural address. But the leadership denied that there was much bitterness among them, and pledged to work with her. LINK
The Washington Post 's Blaine Harden offers a comprehensive look at Gregoire's new administration, the road since Nov. 2, and the state of the fight over the re-vote idea. LINK
Sam Howe Verhovek of the Los Angeles Times Notes that the dispute over the gubernatorial results "overshadowed the historic nature of the inaugural ceremony, in which Washington became the first state in the nation's history with an all-female trio in its top elected positions." LINK
In terms of the election challenge to be heard tomorrow in Chelan County Superior court, the judge "removed himself from the case yesterday after Franklin County attorneys took him up on his offer to have him bounced, no questions asked." LINK
Keith Ervin of the Seattle Times reports that King County, which the U.S. Department of Justice had threatened to sue for not getting military ballots mailed out on time, released a log of absentee ballot mailings yesterday showing that election officials made the deadline. LINK
Lewis Kamb of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer looks at Gregoire and Rossi's ongoing fund-raising efforts to pay for the legal bills resulting from the recounts and legal challenges." LINK
Sen. Kennedy's speech, reviewed: LINK
Attention critics of Ken Blackwell: can you now give the man credit for at least this announcement? LINK
Joe Andrew endorses Simon Rosenberg today, but come now: how many DNC members does Joe Andrew control?
The two Senators from Massachusetts say they'd be fine with any of the candidates, at least publicly. LINK
The chief of staff to James Hoffa was suspended by the Teamsters oversight board for allegedly improperly using a housing allowance. LINK
Roll Call 's Josh Kurtz reports that Doris Matsui is officially getting into the race to succeed her husband, and she has the support of Leader Pelosi.
The big question: New York grows its way out of a recession without Wall Street, seemingly a triumph for the administration in power. But will Mayor Bloomberg get the credit? LINK
(Or maybe a weak dollar, luring all those foreign tourists, is responsible).
The Times' editorial board liked Bloomberg's state of the city speech, with a few exceptions. LINK
One of Gifford Miller's supporters was indiscrete with an internal campaign memo that called for him to attack his Democratic opponents." LINK 2006:
Stu Rothenberg opines in Roll Call on Rep. Rahm Emanuel's chances of making a big difference in the Dem House ratio, given districting and redistricting.
Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe doesn't like Rahm's zeitgeist. LINK
The Chicago Sun-Times' Dave McKinney and Scott Fornek size up a possible LaHood-Blagojevich race. LINK
In his State of the Commonwealth speech on Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner urged the legislature to pass an $824 million transportation bill to help ease traffic on the Commonwealth's clogged roads, and tried to set up his legacy as one of bipartisanship. LINK
In his State of the State address tonight (Note to the Boston Globe : shouldn't it, as our eagle-eyed readers pointed out to us, be State of the Commonwealth?), Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is also expected to talk about transportation — namely, merging the Turnpike Authority and the Highway Department to give people a little relief on tolls. The Boston Globe 's Scott Greenberger outlines the rest of Romney's speech, in which he'll also discuss education, health care, jobs, and low-cost housing. LINK
George Pataki has a huge party, Rudy Giuliani has a small party, and John McCain has no party — Deb Orin on inaugural plans for these 2008 potential hopefuls. LINK
David Yepsen said this about Tom Vilsack's Condition of the State speech: "At a time when we need to eat our peas, Vilsack served up blarney.
It begs two questions: If things are so great in Iowa, why are so many of our kids leaving? And why is our population growth below the national average?" LINK
Noted here that former Georgia Senator and current Fox News contributor Zell Miller, guesting on Hannity and Colmes last night, took particular pains to mention Virginia Gov. Mark Warner's name as a solid Democratic 2008 hopeful who can win at least one state in the South. And Mr. Miller gave Sen. Hillary Clinton more credit for her own political evolution than some Democrats do.
Yes, the Sam Brownback thing is real … LINK