The Note: Special Relationships

As the AFL-CIO announced 100 layoffs Tuesday as part of its restructuring, Sweeney was in Paris attending a conference on international economic development. Though most AFL-CIO headquarters staff members support him, several said they were stunned to learn he would not be around to help the organization get through what was a tough day.

Also Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Labor told the AFL-CIO to avoid threats to remove pension fund investments from companies that publicly favor Social Security reform legislation.

The labor group's pension investment has waged a successful campaign to pressure companies that are part of a pro-reform consortium to drop out; at least two have done so to date.

Two Republican members of the House asked the government to investigate the AFL-CIO's campaign because they said the labor body's fiduciaries implicitly threatened to use a company's position on Social Security legislation as a litmus test to decide whether to expand or reduce investment.

An AFL-CIO official says the labor group plans to continue its campaign and dismisses the government's letter as a restatement of policies they're already adhering to.

The New York Times' Edmund Andrews has more on the government's letter to the AFL-CIO. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

So what did President Clinton read during his long convalescence? According to informed sources, among the books sent to him by close friends and publishers were Kent Harrington's "Red Jungle," George Pelecanos's "Drama City" (we love GP too!), Michael Connelly's "The Closers," Harlan Cohen's "The Innocent," and Purnell Christian's "The Rude Awakening," Stella Rimington's "At Risk" (a personal favorite of ours) and Michael Gruber's "Valley of Bones."

Kindly booksellers, including Bobby McCue of Mystery Bookstore in Los Angeles, Sally Owen of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City and publisher Dennis McMillan sent the President their best wishes and their best new books.

2006:

Sen. Clinton joins Rep. Israel (D-NY) on the op-ed page of Newsday today pushing for the ability to have reservists and Guardsmen enroll in Tricare, the military's healthcare system. LINK

Pataki, Pirro, Weld, and Cox were the four Republican names tested against Sen. Clinton in general election match-ups in the latest Quinnipiac University poll and none of them were able to hold Clinton below 60 percent.

Sen. Clinton can also boast of a 63 percent approval rating and 67 percent of those polled stating they believed she should be reelected.

The one finding that may cause some pause in Camp Clinton is that 60 percent of statewide register voters polled want Sen. Clinton to promise to serve a full second six-year term if reelected.

And here are the numbers 42 cares most about: Thirty-six percent of Republicans approve of the job Sen. Clinton is doing along with 57 percent of independents. Twenty percent of New York Republicans view the Senator favorably (49 percent unfavorably) as do 45 percent of self-identified independents.

The historic budget fight in Albany, with its threat of a voter referendum, Pataki/Spitzer agreement on principles, and public interest groups divided promises to leave a legacy on future executive/legislative relations in New York State. LINK

The New York Post's state editor Fred Dicker ties the delays at Ground Zero to Gov. Pataki's political future and Shelly Silver urges the Governor to "curtail some of his other activities." LINK

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