The Note: Bet the Ranch

In Saturday's Manchester Union Leader, Denis Paiste penned the pat on the back for New Hampshire boy and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg. Giving a thumbs-up for the (semi) swift budget passage, Senate Majority Leader/Dr. Bill Frist first complimented Gregg for pulling it off, and secondly, for pulling it off . . . with relative promptness. Playing timekeeper, Frist proclaimed, "This is about the fifth quickest we've passed a budget report." When questioned about Sununu and his secretive filibuster posturing, Frist remained mute, Noting that any presumption on his part would be indiscrete. "I know that Senator Sununu will do what's right, and I'm sure he's assessing the situation as he sees these negotiated offers go back and forth." LINK

Economy:

This one should probably be double listed under our "Economy" section as well as our "Politics" section, but since it is an off-year we'll keep it here. "If predictions hold true, employers will hire 13 percent more new college graduates this year than they did last year, according to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers," reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. LINK

Reproductive politics:

USA Today's Susan Page looks at how both Democrats and Republicans are facing the idea of reaching out to voters whose views on abortion don't exactly jibe with the party line, trying to thread the needle while holding fast to their absolutist positions and figure out whether their respective 2008 nominees can represent them if they hold the opposite view. LINK

The politics of immigration:

USA Today's Charisse Jones writes that the debate over immigration is becoming all the rage in many state legislatures, as lawmakers try to figure out the extent of benefits, including drivers licenses, that they want to grant people who entered the country illegally. LINK

2008: Republicans:

The Los Angeles Times' Tom Hamburger writes up Pat Robertson's "This Week" comments that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, despite his different views on social issues, would make a good president -- and Sen. Frist wouldn't. Robertson also irked Muslim leaders by saying he'd be wary of appointing Muslims to top positions in the U.S. government, particularly judgeships -- though surely it would be because of a specific person's ideology, not their religious faith, as President Bush said in Thursday's press conference. LINK

Rudy Giuliani will deliver a commencement address at Middlebury College on May 22.

Josh Gerstein takes seriously the Haley Barbour presidential talk, but Notes that it all seems to be based on a weird contradiction: he'd gain traction as an outsider, but everyone who talks him up is a consummate insider. LINK

Sens. John McCain and Susan Collins gave commencement speeches at Maine Maritime Academy on Saturday. McCain was reserved in his comments about a possible run for President, saying, "Senator Collins calls me every morning and every evening and urges me to do so, but I'm going to wait a couple of years and then make a decision." LINK

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune Notes that Gov. Tim Pawlenty was in Washington last week. LINK

A preemptive forecast piece from Sunday's Concord Monitor (with the assistance of an avid fan of Fantasy Primary 2008) puts some money on Mitt Romney's campaign visits for the 2008 presidential race, though there is some skepticism as to how his Mormon affiliation will play with conservative Christians. LINK

Just asking . . . .

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