The Note: Everybody into the Pool

"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."

SCOTUS:

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

2008:

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

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