The Note: Political S.A.T.

The GOP's new state party chair in New York says he's ask Rudy Giuliani to re-challenge Sen. Hillary Clinton next year, ace Michael Slackman reports. LINK

"Mr. Giuliani, through his spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, said he 'is not even thinking about politics right now,' and at least one person close to him said he had no desire to be one of 100 senators."

Justin Sayfie has the latest polls from Florida on his supersite: LINK

2008:

The Boston Globe's Rick Klein looks at the plan unveiled yesterday by Sen. John Kerry to provide health care coverage for all children, funded by rolling back tax cuts and encouraging states to expand their Medicaid and children's health programs. Kerry sat down for a Globe interview and talked about how his campaign experiences are fueling his desire to be a "national voice" on issues. LINK

"Kerry said the bill fulfills a pledge he made on the campaign trail, where he vowed to make such legislation the first bill he'd file as president. He has signed up 300,000 'citizen cosponsors,' recruited via his campaign e-mail list. Kerry said he is planning to 'gin up energy' for his bill through speeches around the country."

"He will have his work cut out for him: The bill is not expected to get a warm reception in the Republican-led Senate, although Kerry promised to reach across the aisle to Republicans members who favor expanded healthcare."

Interesting comments from Sen. John McCain as well, who knows a thing or two about increased influence in the Senate after a presidential campaign.

Tealeaves from:

Biden: LINK

Santorum: LINK

Media:

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reports that another syndicated columnist, Maggie Gallagher, was on the Bush Administration payroll in 2002, getting $21,500 from the Department of Health and Human Services to defend the President's plan to encourage marriage, writing a magazine piece for the HHS official in charge of the initiative, writing brochures and briefing officials. LINK

"'Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it?' Gallagher said yesterday. 'I don't know. You tell me.' She said she would have 'been happy to tell anyone who called me' about the contract but that 'frankly, it never occurred to me' to disclose it."

Iraq:

The Washington Post's Karl Vick and Robin Wright turn in a great story detailing the work by the "midwives of democracy" -- the organizations in Baghdad to train Iraqi candidates, parties, and election workers. LINK

The Washington Post's Doug Struck spends some time with two Sunni leaders who weighed the dangers and upsides of running in the elections -- one who decided to run, and one who decided to sit it out. LINK

The Boston Globe's Thanassis Cambanis looks at some of the female candidates on the Iraqi ballot. LINK

Paul Richter of the Los Angeles Times writes that the $92 million push to register Iraqi ex-pats to vote has "fallen far short of expectations, drawing fewer than 10% of the eligible voters in the United States and fewer than 25% worldwide, officials said Tuesday." LINK

What's a big issue in the Iraqi election: electricity and water. Iraqis tell the New York Times they won't vote for slates that sponsor those ministers and officials. LINK

Just another word for nothing left to lose:

There's a must-read front-page Wall Street Journal story on Bush Administration policy toward Russia.

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