The Note: Hanging on the Telephone

Leader DeLay:

The Washington Post's Mike Allen fleshes out yesterday's Hill reporting about conservative groups rallying to House Majority Leader DeLay's defense, Noting that the Conservative Union and including the Heritage Foundation, Leadership Institute, and Family Research Council met with him last week and have promised to use their grassroots resources to do damage control on his ethics charges. They "also have talked about holding a salute or tribute dinner for DeLay. They said the proceeds would benefit a children's charity not associated with the majority leader." And in response to ads by Campaign for America's Future and the Public Campaign Action Fund going after DeLay, the Leader responded "Bring it on." Because that worked so well for the President and John Kerry. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan conducts a battlefield report, as liberals and conservatives prepare for battle over House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Liberal advocacy groups Campaign for America's Future and Public Campaign Action Fund will run $100,000 in ads while the American Conservative Union and other conservative Republicans shore up support and plot the best way to help. Where the story goes next -- the Texas trial, Abramoff's indictment, House Ethics, or Mike Allen's laptop -- is anybody's guess. LINK

USA Today's Jim Drinkard ledes with liberal groups hoping to use DeLay's ethics issues as fundraising booster, offering a good roundup of the anti-DeLay activity -- including DeLay spokesman Dan Allen hitting back and playing the Soros card. LINK

Newsweek's Howard Fineman recognizes the signs of a Majority Leader fighting for his political life -- and the over-the-top move drawing a parallel between himself and Terri Schiavo put blood in the water. With his fund-raising machine under suspicion and even the Wall Street Journal expressing its . . . distaste, might not help Tom DeLay in the K Street corridors of power where he's "feared and hated" or the GOP leadership where he is "not beloved," Fineman writes. LINK

"This is a city dedicated to ambition, but also to the occasional ritual (and largely ineffective) cleansing. The goal of the truly power-hungry is to find new routes to the top without antagonizing a critical mass of the trampled and the angry. DeLay succeeded for quite some time; that time might be about to end. True, Republicans control both chambers of Congress. But just because DeLay won't be subpoenaed to testify on the Hill doesn't mean he is safe."

Bush agenda:

Coordination or control? The Washington Post's Michael Fletcher reports on A1 that President Bush is keeping his Cabinet close, requiring the department heads to spend as many as four hours a week working out of a special office created in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House and meeting with the President's policy and communications aides. LINK

Some see something evil; others see good coordination. Seems like the latter to us.

The New York Times reports that President Bush has nominated Vice President Cheney's son-in-law for a top Homeland Security post. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's John Wilke chronicles the complaints against Office of Special Counsel head Scott Bloch.

In a weird Wall Street Journal op-ed, Peter Robinson tries his best at a Safire-esque channeling of Ronald Reagan and asks him what he makes of the march toward democracy in the former Soviet states.

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