The Note: Peggy Noonan Has Never Met Belinda Carlisle

Would-be Republican presidential candidates how haven't already read and digested Glen Justice's must-read Saturday New York Times story about young Bush fundraisers looking for a 2008 pony need to re-evaluate how badly they want to win. LINK

Saturday's New York Times had Patrick D. Healy playing sloppy-seconds catch up to the New York Post on Gov. Pataki's Virginia PAC donors -- adding in a sensitive Ground Zero connection. LINK

Bob Novak's weekend column suggested that George Pataki has been talked to by the right people about taking the U.N. job, and that John Kerry's Rice gambit was '08 tinged. LINK

Does Newt Gingrich's view of the death penalty and his past personal life make him any more (or less) ineligible to speak at Catholic U. than, say, Stanley Tucci? The Saturday Washington Post story examining this reveals Victor Nakas to be an awesome flack. LINK

She's a star wherever she goes: the Palm Beach Post on the visit of Sen. Clinton to the area and her call for leaders with vision. Is this a stump speech, or the makings of one? LINK

On Sunday, the New York Times' Rick Lyman looked at Florida as a case study for the drastic measures that governors are taking to deal with Medicaid costs, by restricting access and dialing back services. Gov. Jeb Bush's proposal involves allowing the 2.1 million Medicaid recipients in Florida to buy their own coverage from managed care organizations -- making the state the first to allow private companies to determine services. LINK

Politics:

Why do opposition Senators so often vote for the incumbent party's cabinet nominees? David Lightman explains. LINK

All stem cell lines tainted? LINK

Monica Davey on the Blagojevitch-Madigan-Mell feuds. LINK

David Postman of the Seattle Times reports that Washington state Democrats are ready to throw down and settle the dispute over the election of Gov. Christine Gregoire in the legislature, rather than in the courts, where Republicans are fighting it. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Evan Halper reports that in his quest to get California fiscally solvent again, Gov. Schwarzenegger has left tax breaks for the rich and corporations untouched. LINK

And a tip of the hat to Noteworthy Renaissance man and New York Times Book Review and Poetry magazine contributor David Orr for snagging the National Book Critics Circle award for excellence in reviewing. Even The Note cannot live by prose alone. LINK

Shrum's out. Breaux's sold out.* So who's in? Well, Mark Penn announces today that his firm is expanding beyond polling to include media and communications strategy. Former WH Political Director Craig Smith and Edwards Communications director David Ginsberg have joined the firm to beef up the political and communications strategy, as well as creative whiz Marius Penczner, who created the ads for Clinton 96, Gore 2000, and some of Edwards 2004. Look for an ad in Roll Call this week for more.

* = we say lovingly

Massy media:

David Nyhan, rest in peace. LINK

He was a great man, with the energy and verve typical of that breed of Boston Globe political wiseguys the likes of which we will never see again -- and our world is the worse for that.

It has come to this: Glen Johnson, who used to write about George W. Bush and John Kerry, now writes about pigeons and open inspection holes. LINK

David Shribman returned to the Boston Globe on Saturday -- to write about football!!! LINK

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