The Washington Post's victory-lapping-with-dignity Mike Allen reports that Sen. Mel Martinez's office is investigating whether counsel Brian Darling, who claimed authorship of the Schiavo memo, distributed it to other offices, and whether other senior aides had a role -- despite Martinez's statement Wednesday night that Darling was the only one responsible for the document, and that the matter had already been investigated. LINK
Second day coverage in Florida is not kind to Sen. Martinez. The Miami Herald headline calls him a "rookie."
"Supporters of Martinez, including Gov. Jeb Bush, rallied Thursday to his side, but some Republicans anguished privately that the latest and most high-profile misstep marks a major debacle for the freshman senator." LINK
"The memo and Martinez's handling of it, those supporters said, could damage his relationship with other senators and portray him as driven more by political partisanship than conviction. It also could lead to questions about his level of oversight of his staff and raise doubts about his attention to detail, as Martinez acknowledged that 'unbeknownst' to him, he handed the explosive memo to Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa."
Editorials are equally as brutal, with the St. Pete Times waxing incredulously. LINK
And the Orlando Sentinel, which endorsed Martinez, is very, very, very disappointed. LINK
The Des Moines Register covers the local guy's role in it all: LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook and Mary Curtius take a very interesting look at the political odd-couple partnership of Speaker Hastert and Leader DeLay, writing that it's being put to the test in the face of DeLay's ethics accusations, when the controversy is for some overshadowing Congress' legislative agenda, and the duo see itty-bitty cracks emerging in the relationship. LINK
The New York Times' Carl Hulse and David Kirkpatrick write up DeLay's call for more Congressional intervention into the judiciary at a conservative conference in Washington and quote several top Congressional GOP officials as expressing support, although Sensenbrenner seems a bit less enthusiastic. LINK
Those news desks who thought DeLay's being in Rome would mean he couldn't address the conference on "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" have, apparently, never heard of "video."
The Houston Chronicle on Dems seeking to challenge Delay in 2006: LINK
Happy Birthday, Mr. Leader.
The New York Times Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael Janofsky psychoanalyze Democrats' recent toughness against Bush nominees. LINK
Writes John "Ace" Harwood of the Wall Street Journal: "Disapproval of lawmakers rises to 46% in [the Journal/NBC] poll. 39% approve of Congress's performance. The shift follows the end-of-life controversy over Terri Schiavo, angst over high oil prices and broader concerns about the nation's direction."
"Americans 'clearly are discontented with both the climate and gas prices,' say Journal/NBC pollsters Peter Hart and Bill McInturff. Frist's negative ratings inch up to 14% from 8% two years ago, nearly matching his 15% positive ones. The poll's margin of error is 3.1 percentage points. Seeking to deepen DeLay's troubles, Democrats say writer of a controversial Senate Schiavo memo once worked with the House majority leader's associates."