The Note: Philadelphia Freedom


Alan Greenspan (freed of official responsibility) speaks the R-word: "Consumers are beginning to shrink in, the automobile markets are beginning to contract, production is beginning to ease, and we are in the throes of recession," he tells CNBC.

Clinton picks up a superdelegate -- and, oh yeah, a new member of Congress has been elected in Northern California. "Twenty-nine years after her first unsuccessful run, Jackie Speier has won election to Congress," Will Oremus writes in the San Jose Mercury News.

How's this for a back story? "Speier was an aide to one of the seat's former occupants, Rep. Leo Ryan, when she traveled with him to Guyana in 1978 to investigate the People's Temple cult," Oremus writes.

"She was wounded in the attack by cult members that left her mentor dead. Speier launched a long-shot bid in the following year's special election to fill Ryan's seat, but finished third. This time, after six years on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and 18 in the state Legislature, Speier was running as the clear favorite to replace [the late rep. Tom] Lantos."

The Chicago Tribune's Christi Parsons identifies a Pennsylvania battleground: "If Barack Obama has any chance of beating Hillary Clinton in this state's Democratic primary April 22 -- and a poll released Tuesday shows him narrowing her lead to single digits—he's going to have to charm voters, especially women, in and around the Philadelphia suburbs they call the Main Line. In this haven of old money and high society, Obama and Clinton are fervently wooing the economically conservative but socially liberal voters, many of whom are disenchanted with Republican politics once so dominant in this land of stately homes and private clubs."

Among the GOP woes: "With seven months until the 2008 elections and filing deadlines now coming and going, House Republicans face a significant number of recruiting holes," The Hill's Aaron Blake reports.

Worth watching in the Senate: "A growing number of Senate Democrats began to acknowledge Tuesday that the aging Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) is no longer fit to chair the Appropriations panel, but there is no consensus within the caucus over whether, when or how to remove him from the powerful perch," Roll Call's Erin P. Billings and Emily Pierce report. "While Byrd's future has been a subject of Senate rumors for months, the issue appeared to ripen Tuesday when a group of about 15 senior Democrats privately discussed whether Byrd is capable of shepherding an upcoming supplemental spending bill for Iraq."

In time for the Oregon primary May 20, Obama's brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, is getting a promotion: Brown's head basketball coach is taking a job at Oregon State University, the Chicago Tribune's Andrew Zajac reports.

The kicker:

"I can only imagine the headline in The Washington Post: Biden throws out people for cheering for Democratic candidate." -- Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joe Biden, D-Del., imploring his colleagues not to mention Barack Obama during Tuesday's hearing.

"If he can throw in a cameo in the next 'Monty Python' movie, we have a deal." -- Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki, taking up comedian John Cleese on his offer to serve as a campaign speechwriter.

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