The Note: Philly Stakes


Your Rezko nugget of the day, from the Chicago Sun-Times' Michael Sneed: "Dem presidential contender Barack Obama's handlers may be telling the press Obama has NO 'recollection' of a 2004 party at influence peddler Tony Rezko's Wilmette house, but a top Sneed source claims Obama not only gave Rezko's guest of honor, Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi, a big welcome . . . but he made a few toasts!"

The New York Post's Maggie Haberman writes up the "delicate dance" over guns that Obama and Clinton find themselves in. (Wednesday is the anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre.)

"In a state where the largest city, Philadelphia, has so many gun murders that it's been dubbed 'Killadelphia,' there are also 250,000 members of the National Rifle Association -- and the Legislature just defeated a bill aimed at tracing stolen guns," Haberman writes. "Navigating the politics of guns leading up to next Tuesday's Democratic primary has become tough for both Clinton and Obama, who are trying to play to both sides in a primary with a patchwork demographic."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., used Tax Day to define his economic proposals in the broadest way to date. "The speech . . . afforded the clearest view to date of what McCainomics might look like," Michael Cooper writes in The New York Times.

"There was a dash of populism, as Mr. McCain criticized executive pay and corporate wrongdoing. There was a strong supply-side bent, with Mr. McCain focusing on cutting corporate taxes and making permanent the Bush tax cuts that he once opposed. And there was a decidedly less hawkish note on deficits."

"McCain, who has pledged to balance the federal budget if elected, did not mention the budget deficit," The Boston Globe's Brian Mooney writes. "But he did criticize fellow Republicans, as well as Democrats, for fiscal irresponsibility."

The piece with the strongest dose of populism: "McCain also proposed a gas tax holiday between Memorial Day and Labor day of this year, eliminating the 18 cents per gallon federal levy that consumers pay for a gallon of gasoline during the busy summer travel months," ABC's Bret Hovell, Tahman Bradley, and Teddy Davis report. "That is expected to cost between $8 billion and $10 billion dollars, but would only be a one time expense."

"The thrust of McCain's approach would be to limit the size of the government, though the presumptive Republican nominee also recently proposed rescuing as many as 400,000 homeowners facing the threat of foreclosure," Michael Finnegan writes in the Los Angeles Times.

"Though the package of ideas drew support from some economists for its pledge to cut taxes and simplify the tax system, many analysts called the proposed holiday in the 18-cents-a-gallon gas tax a gimmick. Others questioned whether McCain's plans would bloat the federal budget deficit."

Is McCain shifting on litmus tests? Tuesday on MSNBC, he made it sound like former governor Tom Ridge, R-Pa., couldn't be chosen for a spot on the ticket because he supports abortion rights. "I don't know if it would stop him but it would be difficult," McCain said.

The Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody unearths this quote from 2000: "I would not rule out anyone on the basis of any single issue including the position of abortion."

ABC's Teddy Davis and Talal Al-Khatib see McCain shifting perhaps a bit on the policy of "rogue-state rollback" he endorsed in 2000.

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