The Note: Everybody into the Pool



Politico-medios and the whole Gang of 500 are just starting to realize that this will be the first election cycle in many, many years without New York Times' columnist Bill Safire and his famous and essential year-end quiz.

The Note hereby squats on that sacred turf, months in advance, and warns you all that we will take over Safire's December office pool quizmaking role.

For now, as a show of good faith, we present readers with a timely (and unique) political prognostication test.

Unique, because we are only providing the potential answers, and not the questions or the actual answers.

1. Question 1

A. Harold Ford

B. Patrick Kennedy

C. Anthony Weiner

D. Katherine Harris

2. Question 2

A. June 20, 2005

B. August 8, 2005

C. September 30, 2005

D. November 18, 2005

3. Question 3

A. Hillary Clinton and abortion

B. Evan Bayh and trade

C. John Edwards and unions

D. Bill Richardson and everything

E. all but C

4. Question 4

A. Susan Collins

B. Dennis Hastert

C. Chuck Hagel

D. Chuck Grassley

E. Ray LaHood

5. Question 5

A. add-ons and carve-outs

B. add-ons and pilot carve-outs

C. progressive carve-outs

D. none of the above

6. Question 6

A. John McCain

B. George Allen

C. Bill Frist

D. Rick Santorum

E. all of the above

F. none of the above

7. Question 7

A. immigration

B. Social Security

C. taxes

D. energy

8. Question 8

A. Rahm Emanuel

B. Chuck Schumer

C. Howard Dean

D. none of the above

9. Question 9

A. Michael Jackson

B. Matthew Cooper

C. Bob Novak

D. Jack Abramoff

10. Question 10

A. the Pope

B. Justice Rehnquist

C. Don Imus

D. a United States Senator

11. Question 11

A. Al Gore

B. Bill Bradley

C. Ralph Nader

D. Howard Dean

E. all of the above

F. none of the above

12. Question 12

A. Iowa and New Hampshire

B. Iowa, Michigan, and New Hampshire

C. a one-day four-state showdown

D. Iowa and New Hampshire -- and, long after, a California/Super Tuesday mix

13. Question 13

A. "Two Americas"

B. "Stronger America"

C. "Let America Be America Again"

D. "Americans, Not Americants"

E. "America -- More than Just A Land of Aloof Intellectuals"

14. Question 14

A. Antonin Scalia

B. Clarence Thomas

C. Alberto Gonzales

D. Michael Luttig

E. none of the above

15. Question 15

A. Tom DeLay

B. Roy Blount

C. John Boehner

D. Tom Reynolds

16. Question 16

A. Patti Solis Doyle

B. anyone else

17. Question 17

A. David Sanger and North Korea

B. Elisabeth Bumiller and Roland Betts

C. the Boston Globe and Gov. Romney's political future

D. everyone and Ornstein, Mann, and Hess

18. Question 18

A. "compassionater and conservativer"

B. "a long-time leader on national security"

C. "understands the job isn't over"

D. "carrying the Bush mantle"

E. "making history"

F. "talks to Rove regularly"

19. Question 19

A. the deficit

B. Medicare reform

C. Social Security reform

D. vouchers

20. Question 20

A. William G. Myers

B. Priscilla Owen

C. Janice Brown

D. William Pryor

E. none of the above

21. Question 21

A. Pat Healy

B. Fred Dicker

C. Marc Humbert

D. Ben Smith

E. David Chalian

Answer's (and questions) in tomorrow's Note!!!!!

As for today:

At 11:10 am ET, President Bush delivers a speech on freedom and democracy in Iraq from the White House Rose Garden.

ABC News' Terry Moran reports that the headline of the event may be the guest list -- Bush will speak to a few dozen invited Iraqi-Americans who voted in the January 30 election, some representatives of the NGOs who assisted in holding the election, and a few Iraqi judges and lawyers visiting the U.S. for a look at how our legal system works.

"Bush's remarks will be brief, and center on familiar themes: He will 'herald the progress' toward freedom and democracy in Saddam Hussein's former fiefdom. He will praise U.S. troops who help make such progress possible. He will talk about the stirrings of democratic movements in other Middle Eastern countries, and he will note where such yearnings are still being squelched."

"What Bush will NOT do: Pressure -- directly or indirectly -- Iraqi politicians to conclude their drawn-out negotiations and form a government. 'We don't want to get near that at all. This is their process.' Aides say Bush is neither impatient nor worried about the dithering in Baghdad. 'It's politics. And politics is better than the alternative.'"

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman joined Sen. Mel Martinez for a town hall meeting in Orlando, FL to talk about the shared values of the Hispanic community and the Republican Party, 7:30-9:00 am ET. Tonight he speaks at the Lincoln Day dinner in Lee County, FL.

At 8:30 am ET, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez spoke to Women in International Trade and the Washington International Trade Association about the Bush Administration's trade priorities for the next four years.

At noon ET, the American Enterprise Institute holds a conference on personal Social Security accounts.

At 1:00 pm ET, the Club for Growth holds a telephone briefing to discuss a new TV ad campaign in three states which targets Republicans supporting pay tax increases and Red State Democrats on Social Security.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, hold a briefing at 1:15 pm ET.

At 9:30 am ET, Rev. Jesse Jackson visits the hospice of Terri Schiavo in Pinellas Park, FL, where he will try to visit her, and will join the vigil outside. He has called for her feeding tube to be reinstated.

At 3:00 pm ET, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the New America Foundation, and the Urban Institute hold a briefing on proposals to revamp the Social Security retirement program.

At 3:30 pm ET, former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman talks about her new book, "It's My Party Too: Taking Back the Republican Party -- and Bringing the Country Together Again," at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani hits the couch tonight on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.


The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima wraps the developments from Indonesia after a powerful underwater earthquake caused the deaths of hundreds of people and the destruction of buildings on an island near Sumatra, and the anxious vigil both citizens and governments in the area are keeping over the possibility of another devastating tsunami. LINK

The U.S. government quickly offered aid. LINK


The Washington Post's Manuel Roig-Franzia and Mike Allen look at the battle now waging over examining the body of Terri Schiavo after her death, and the meetings yesterday in Washington between protesters and House lawmakers, reporting that the House Government Reform Committee has withdrawn its subpoena for Schiavo to appear at a hearing at her hospice. The duo also Note the move in Washington among the staffs of Sens. Harkin and Martinez to work on legislation requiring a federal court review when families have disputes about a patient who did not leave a living will. LINK

USA Today's Larry Copeland and Donna Leinwand have Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a Presbyterian minister who has led protests outside the hospice and outside the White House on Monday, calling Congress out on its subpoena of Terri Schiavo, asking whether it was just a stunt. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's John Harwood senses a conciliatory trend in recent legislation about abortion and the death penalty, and writes that "[a]ctivists on each side are essential elements of the major parties' bases. But Republican and Democratic politicians lately have seen more incentives for striking a different tone."

"After their 2004 defeat, Democrats have been looking for ways to project a more moderate message about their values. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, the consensus front-runner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, recently drew attention with a speech emphasizing the tragedy of abortion, though she didn't abandon support for abortion rights."

"For their part, Republicans have echoed Pope John Paul II's invocation of a 'culture of life' in their calls for curbing abortion, as well as for continued nourishment of Terri Schiavo. But they have also seen the Catholic Church amplify its opposition to the death penalty at a time when Catholics loom increasingly large as a swing voting constituency."

"One test case may come this fall in the off-year Virginia governor's race. The Democratic candidate, Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, opposes the death penalty, which Republican strategist Chris LaCivita says makes him too 'liberal' for a state Mr. Bush carried last year. But Mr. Kaine cites his Catholic faith in opposing capital punishment and abortion, though he vows to uphold laws under which both are practiced. He opposes public funding of abortion, and favors parental notification in abortions for minors."

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick and John Schwartz report that the Schindlers authorized the sale of a list of several thousands donor names and e-mail addresses they'd collected to an outside group to help them raise money. LINK

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, in Tampa yesterday, said the politics of the Schiavo case won't hurt Republicans because voters reward leaders who act on principle. LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva writes that Florida's Republican Governor is no Jeb-come-lately to the subject of Terri Schiavo. LINK

A little wishfully, John Podhoretz writes: "it might yet be the case that politically committed Americans may hold a different -- and more positive -- view of the effort to save Terri Schiavo's life than the entire U.S. population." LINK

Paul Krugman's column today will cause a stir: "The closest parallel I can think of to current American politics is Israel. There was a time, not that long ago, when moderate Israelis downplayed the rise of religious extremists. But no more: extremists have already killed one prime minister, and everyone realizes that Ariel Sharon is at risk." LINK

The Colorado Supreme Court's ruling that jurors improperly consulted Bibles when determining a sentence is bound to resonate in the clash of worldviews and philosophies drawn out by the Schiavo case.

The New York Times' Kirk Johnson writes that "the dissenting judges said the majority had confused the internal codes of right and wrong that juries are expected to possess in such weighty moral matters with the outside influences that are always to be avoided, like newspaper articles or television programs about the case. The jurors consulted Bibles, the minority said, not to look for facts or alternative legal interpretations, but for wisdom." LINK

"Professor Howard J. Vogel, who teaches ethics at Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and has a master's degree in theology as well as a law degree, said, 'I don't think it's a religious text that's the problem here, but rather whether something is being used that trumps the law of the state.'"

No word on whether this will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan and Amy Fagan report that some congressional Republicans are upset that the courts are not, well, being activist courts in the Schiavo case. LINK

Social Security:

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports that now some of the "conservative intelligentsia" have a problem with President Bush's plan to include private accounts as part of the Social Security system, for reasons including its expansion of government involvement and promises for an entitlement program, and that it's too complex. LINK

Free advice from Dick Morris to Karl Rove: "Why not give us choices? Of course, if Bush offers us choices, he will also escape political damage when we make the choices. It will not be by his fiat that our taxes go up or our benefits drop. It will be by our informed choice, coupled with the inexorable demographics of the retirement population and their financial impact on the Social Security system. We will accept that. Individual choice for how to deal with Social Security's insolvency: That's how Bush can break the logjam." LINK

The State's Lauren Markoe reports that the Club for Growth is targeting Sen. Lindsey Graham with a new statewide TV ad today, scolding him for favoring raising the cap on wages subject to Social Security taxes. Markoe Notes that the Club gave $2,500 to Graham's first Senate campaign in 2002. LINK


Writes Robert Pear in the New York Times: "The Bush administration said Monday that it had sent the first of some 20 million applications to low-income people who might qualify for financial assistance with Medicare's new prescription drug benefit." LINK

"But lawyers and other advocates for low-income people said the form was so complex that they expected fewer than 5 percent of the people to respond."

Bush agenda:

Note the Cheney paragraph in David Sanger's and Scott Shane's preview of the Silberman-Robb report on intelligence failures. LINK

John Bolton, President Bush's nominee to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, isn't getting much love from some parts of the diplomatic community, AP reports -- 59 former American diplomats have sent a letter to the Senate urging lawmakers to reject his nomination. LINK

The Bush Administration's "push for military superiority in space" is making arms control advocates nervous both here and abroad, writes the Washington Post's Walter Pincus. LINK

The President has proposed moving the ever-popular Community Development Block Grant program and seventeen other community development programs to the Commerce Department, targeting the programs for a 35 percent cut. The Washington Times' Brian DeBose quickly discovers the idea has bipartisan critics including Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) who insists, "I fully support the administration's goal of halving the deficit by 2009, but am deeply concerned some cuts to domestic spending will be to the detriment of our urban areas." LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Gary Marx finds a story in Florida besides Terri Schiavo, discovering the self-proclaimed "termites" determined to end Castro's Cuban regime to the tune of $4.7 million in Bush-supported U.S. aide since 2000. LINK

Riffing on Cuba again, Marx (no relation) sketches the life of Frank Calzon, head of Center for a Free Cuba in Washington, who makes a daily habit of pressing politicians such as Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) for more than his current $5 million in U.S. funds to-date to fight Castro's Cuba. LINK

This week's featured Political Player on the Washington Post's Fed page: President Bush's top domestic policy adviser, Claude Allen. LINK

The political landscape:

The Washington Post's John Harris turns in an interesting read about the demographics of government -- i.e., "Geriatric Washington," Noting that as a town/industry, DC is more tolerant than others of advanced age and potential infirmity among the ranks of its elite and powerful. Looking not entirely specifically at the age roster of the Supreme Court, Harris also raises the question of whether governmental institutions should self-regulate -- maybe not with a mandatory retirement age, but keeping an eye on what corporate governance expert J.P. Donlon charmingly refers to as a "sell-by date." LINK

It's getting more partisan and more homogenized out there, the Washington Post's Dan Balz reports, taking look at some new data released by the political analysis firm Polidata showing a trend of fewer and fewer "split ticket" districts in which voters chose different parties for president and Congress -- just 59 out of 435 in 2004. And redistricting and party ID are two main reasons. LINK

E.J. Dionne writes in the Washington Post that the increasingly extreme views that liberals and conservatives hold of one another cause each side to overestimate the other, and further the idea that the political status quo and all of the ideas surrounding it are intransigent. Which can make it tough (or easy) for people on either side to remain faithful to their principles and not the politics of a situation. LINK

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz looks at a new study that concludes 72 percent of faculties at American universities are liberal and 15 percent are conservative -- by their own description. "The study did not attempt to examine whether the political views of faculty members affect the content of their courses," he Notes. LINK

The Boston Globe's Brian MacQuarrie profiles one family of evangelical Christians in Ohio as a way of looking at how religious views shape voters' politics -- and how Democrats are waking up to that. LINK

The New Republic's Noam Scheiber gets New York Times op-ed real estate to write that "the practical effect of the idealistic arguments the Republican leadership puts forth to defend much of its agenda -- from health care to education to immigration reform -- may be to sell the middle of the electorate on longtime Democratic positions." LINK

The Congress:

What do Mark Twain, Buster Keaton and Walt Disney have in common? They all filed for bankruptcy. And that sentiment, echoed by 12 bankruptcy judges, is why the Los Angeles Times' Peter Gosselin discusses if the new bankruptcy bill is good or bad. The judges (not "real judges according to a Washington credit card industry lobbyist) say it does; others, such as SCOTUS shortlister Edith H. Jones disagree. LINK

Leader DeLay:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's supporters are rallying to his defense despite this weekend's stories, the Houston Chronicle reports. LINK

Rush Limbaugh was in full defense mode yesterday for the Leader as well.


The great Jonathan Karl, essayist extraordinaire and ABC News' senior foreign affairs correspondent, has a piece in the Weekly Standard about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's brand of diplomacy.

"If her first months in office are any indication, Secretary Rice's State Department is going to be radically different from Colin Powell's. Rice has forbidden her senior staff to make even off-the-record comparisons between her and Powell, but they don't need to. Rice's senior advisers like to say that she will be an effective secretary of state because when people talk to her they believe they are talking to the president. Powell may have been respected around the world, but he was viewed as out of step with the administration. As a result, when he spoke to a foreign leader, there was often a nagging question: Is Colin Powell speaking for the Bush administration or is he speaking for himself? Nobody asks that question about Condoleezza Rice. So when Rice hits somebody, it stings." LINK

"Rice's proximity to the president, combined with the sense of urgency she brings to her new job, has turned the State Department into a political power center again, the kind of place where Karen Hughes, one of President Bush's two or three closest advisers, would take a third-tier job. Even Dina Powell, who as director of White House personnel had no shortage of opportunities in the administration, chose to go to work for Rice as an assistant secretary of state. The State Department has been something of a political backwater for more than a decade. In the Clinton years, Warren Christopher was so inactive that a running joke among Foreign Service officers during his tenure was to complain about something and add, 'None of this would be happening if Warren Christopher were alive.' Madeleine Albright traveled more, but that only contributed to the perception that she was out of the loop and AWOL when the major national security decisions were being made by the National Security Council. And in George W. Bush's first term, Powell made his biggest headlines when he was at odds with the White House."

"Rice sees the best chance -- and most urgent need -- for democratic gains in the Middle East, and it is there that she will push hardest. She can already claim some successes. Ayman Nour was released from prison on bail on March 12, and President Mubarak, facing American pressure, announced that Egypt will hold a multicandidate presidential election. This exercise, though, may prove to be a sham. In the past, Mubarak, president since the 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat, has never faced a political opponent. And even in the upcoming election, all candidates will have to be approved by the Mubarak-controlled parliament. One test of the election's legitimacy will be whether Nour, who declared his candidacy shortly after he was freed, is allowed to run. Either way, Secretary Rice seems willing to keep the pressure up."


The Supreme Court says the media can be sued for reporting a politician's false charges against a rival, Notes the Los Angeles Times' David G. Savage. Wade, about those SBVfT . . . LINK

The Los Angeles Times' David Savage adds a second SCOTUS story on the Court's decision to make no decision in the case of 51 Mexican nationals on death row in California, Texas and elsewhere. LINK

The Washington Post's Chuck Lane Notes Chief Justice William Rehnquist's presence on the bench after going to the hospital on Sunday night due to difficulties with his tracheotomy tube. LINK

Stem cell politics:

The Boston Globe's Scott Greenberger looks at the bill introduced in the Massachusetts state Senate yesterday that would allow require scientists conducting embryonic stem cell research to be licensed by the Department of Public Health -- a measure that is expected to pass both chambers of the state legislature, but not necessarily with enough support to override a veto by Gov. Mitt Romney, who opposes the therapeutic cloning allowed by the legislation. LINK

Ann Dolan of the Boston Herald takes Notice of the efforts by lawmakers to come up with a bill that Romney won't veto. LINK


Iowa's break from the race for the White House ends this week with visits from President Bush and former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, the Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont writes. Bush hits Cedar Rapids tomorrow to discuss Social Security reform in a town hall meeting with Sen. Grassley -- and guests on talk radio! Edwards will talk poverty, chat with the Des Moines Register's ed board and reporters, and make a nostalgic trip to the Hotel Fort Des Moines for a fundraiser for Rep. Leonard Boswell. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Blasts New York 1: "Sources tell NY1 News that Governor George Pataki expects to announce in the next few weeks he's not seeking a fourth term, and is instead deciding whether to run for president." LINK

The story was picked up by the New York Post's Fred Dicker, who got a Pataki spokesman to deny it. LINK

Pataki did defend his lieutenant governor from the Post's prying eyes. LINK

2008: Democrats:

You videotape us at an appearance with her, we'll circulate a letter by you praising her -- or so it would seem Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's gubernatorial campaign staff are saying. The Houston Chronicle's R.G. Ratliffe reports that Hutchison's aides on Monday released a 1993 letter by Perry calling then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's efforts to overhaul the health care system "commendable." LINK

And Mayor Bloomberg, in an interview with NY1, seemed quite open to endorsing Sen. Clinton for re-election.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Alabama are making nice again, and on his trip South he's looking for ways that Democrats can make inroads in the 2008 presidential race. LINK


As mid-term elections near in the Purpleish-turned-Red state of Florida, the Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten says the brothers Bush may have weighed the state Republican ship with dual anchors: Schiavo and Social Security; how the equally unpopular issues will play out in electing the Governor's successor and GOP attempts to oust Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, no one quite knows. LINK


Wrapping a scrappy debate between L.A. mayoral candidates James Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa the Los Angeles Times' Michael Finnegan and Jeffrey L. Rabin report the two Democrats sparred over crime, traffic and schools, trading bitter shots on all subjects, but boiling the race down to one issue: integrity. LINK

The New York Times' Campbell Robertson helpfully enlists Hank Sheinkopf to explain to its Manhattan readers that Mayor Bloomberg's pothole-filling brags are aimed at so-called "outer boroughs" with which they might be unfamiliar. LINK

Virginia gubernatorial candidates Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore went toe-to-toe yesterday over how Kaine said Kilgore characterized his religious beliefs, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. LINK


William Donaldson defends Sarbanes-Oxley and section 404 in today's Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times' Metro government and politics correspondent, Patrick D. Healy, briefly paints a picture of Bernard Kerik and Rudy Giuliani, sobbing together. LINK

The Boston Globe's Joan Vennochi dispenses some tough love to the Bay State's women politicians. LINK

Invoking Clintonisms, the MPAA's new chief/former Ag Secretary Dan Glickman sat down with the Washington Times, prompting the paper's Christian Toto to Note Valenti's heir wants to "build a bridge" between Blue Hollywood and Red America. LINK

For Parade Magazine types, here's what you need to know about the upcoming NRA convention in Houston next month.

First, it's extremely likely that actor Tom Selleck will be elected to the NRA board. Former Georgia Sen. Zell Miller and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore will also likely get that honor.

Second: you will no doubt hear the strains of Hank Williams blessing America and Charlie Daniels sticking it to the liberals.

Third, Rep. Tom DeLay keynotes a gala banquet the night of April 16.