The Note: Intraparty Love and Warfare



We now return you to your regularly scheduled programs on gas prices, home sales, Michael Jackson, the season finale of "Lost," and some singing competition on Fox we hear is pretty popular with the kids.

As the filibuster fight fades away from evening network newscasts (even cable seems destined to find other storylines to fill the time today) and the consciousness of Americans (okay, okay we're not sure it was ever really there), it still remains the dominant theme in politics as many a big-foot reporter delve a bit further into 2008 ramifications.

Here are tastes of your absolute must-reads for the day:

1. The New York Times' Adam Nagourney on Sen./Leader/Dr. Bill Frist's complicated take-away from the filibuster fight. This kicker quote from Phyllis Schlafly on the next SCOTUS step says it all: "'Frist kind of hangs and falls on this,' she said. 'He has got to get this through.'" LINK

2. Dan Balz of the Washington Post also looks through the lens of the GOP "intraparty warfare" and the cracks in the party unity that have been so prominent (and electorally helpful) under President Bush. LINK

3. From a slightly broader perspective, Jeanne Cummings has your best overall round up of the political implications in the Wall Street Journal.

4. Los Angeles Times duo Brownstein and Hook offer an important reminder that President Bush will be playing the central and critical role in determining the fate of the compromise reached Monday night. LINK

5. The Manchester Union Leader editorial concludes thusly: "Frist has again showed that he is no match for Senate Democrats. If he cannot effectively lead 55 Republican senators, how can he be trusted to lead the party and the country three years from now?" LINK

President Bush today tours a fueling station at a Shell service station in Northeast Washington at 10:10 am ET. At 3:00 pm ET, Bush meets with the President of Indonesia. At 4:00 pm ET, he speaks at an Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration.(Yay APA heritage!)

And in this brief respite from official judicial storms, assuming Priscilla Owen is confirmed today (the vote is around noon ET), the Bush legislative agenda keeps rollin' along and Senate Democrats get a chance to talk about something else.

The House meets to vote on the national defense authorization act for FY06. Both caucuses meet behind closed doors; we do expect the leaders to come to cameras at points TBD this ayem.

The House Republican leadership attends a Memorial Day celebration on the Capitol steps at 9:00 am ET. Majority Leader DeLay does an off-camera pen and pad at 10:55 am ET. House Speaker Dennis Hastert meets just before noon with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Sens. Reid, Durbin, and Schumer have a 12:45 pm ET pen and pad to discuss the Democrats' legislative and political agenda for the next few months. (The latter two are honored by the Alliance for Justice at noon for their leadership.)

Sens. Arlen Specter and Tom Harkin hold a press briefing to urge the Senate to quickly consider legislation allowing government-backed research of embryonic stem cells left over from in vitro fertilization. Sen. Sam Brownback has threatened a filibuster but Harkin and others are working to corral the 60 votes needed for cloture.

The Senate Finance Committee, fresh from pushing an AMT fix faster than the White House wants one, will hear testimonials on Social Security solvency.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee marks up the energy bill; the Judiciary Committee continues to mark up asbestos trust fund litigation (Did y'all catch the Freedom Works response ads to Arlen Specter's tax arguments?); and the Senate Intelligence Committee meets behind closed doors.

Amnesty International releases its annual report today at 10:00 am ET.

The South Carolina Senate Democratic Caucus dines tonight with Virginia Gov. Mark Warner at Leaside (that's right behind Jim Hudson Automotive) in Columbia.

Two new ads to tell you about this morning. The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) has a spot on DC cable that calls Sens. Clinton, Kerry, and Kennedy the "Hypocrite Caucus" for espousing equal opportunity while denying Janice Rogers Brown and up or down vote. LINK

And the Senate Accountability Project, a progressive 527 backed by trial lawyer money, will broadcast an ad today in Nevada to respond directly to Progress for America's ad criticizing Sen. Harry Reid. The ad compares critics of Reid to Sen. Joe McCarthy and in a case of what we presume is unintentional irony (perhaps): the ad also attacks "shadowy interest groups." The tag line: "What's happening to Harry Reid? Nothing. He's standing even taller. . . . Whatever they say. Whatever they spend. Whatever it takes." Which means, according to a consultant working on the ad, they'll match PFA's buy point-for-point. LINK

Sen. Edwards is scheduled to speak about global challenges facing the United States and Europe at the London School of Economics at 11:30 am ET.

Sen. McCain tapes an appearance on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" this afternoon. The show will air early tomorrow morning at 12:35 am ET.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party today plans to announce that Sen. Evan Bayh will be their keynote speaker at the state party convention on June 10.

The Center for American Progress will announce today that former President Bill Clinton will keynote their first Campus Progress National Student Conference on July 13.

Gov. Schwarzenegger will discuss his "reform agenda" at the 79th Annual Golden State Breakfast (formerly the Sacramento Host Breakfast) at 11:00 am ET.

Filibuster compromise: will it last?

" . . . for now, the initial signs are that the deal is working, at least over the contested appellate-court positions. The Senate agreed in an 81-18 vote to end the filibuster on Bush federal appeals-court nominee Priscilla Owen, clearing the way for her likely confirmation today to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal," writes Jeanne Cummings in the Wall Street Journal.

Anita Kumar of the St. Pete Times wasn't able to find an expert who thinks it will last. LINK

"A Republican Senate leadership aide said that if Democratic signatories engage in a frivolous filibuster, then the Republican signers will happily support the 'nuclear option,' which would set a new precedent to ban judicial filibusters," writes Charles Hurt in the Washington Times. LINK

"One of the signatories to the agreement, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, said yesterday it 'will require stronger collaboration by the president' with the Senate," Notes Bloomberg's Greg Stohr.

The White House seems to have a different view, and "Indeed, Nelson and Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chafee, a Republican who opposed the nuclear option, said opponents probably lacked the votes to stop such a maneuver. If that tally carries over to a Supreme Court nomination, Bush would have more leverage to select a conservative along the lines of Judges Michael Luttig of the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Samuel Alito of the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit. Both have voted to limit the power of Congress to regulate local affairs and allow restrictions on abortion."

Adds Cummings in the Wall Street Journal: "For their part, liberal activists declared victory, noting (sic) that Democrats had preserved their right to filibuster future nominees deemed ' extraordinary. ' Nan Aron, head of the Alliance for Justice, one of the main organizers against Mr. Bush's court appointments, labeled all candidates rumored to be on the White House high-court short list as extraordinary choices. And Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was quick to note (sic) he wasn't ruling out trying to use the filibuster, or continuous debate."

The Los Angeles Times' Ron Brownstein and Janet Hook write that President Bush and his Supreme Court nominee(s) are really in the driver's seat as to whether the agreement holds, and look at the various interpretations of what the deal means in terms of the ideology Democrats are willing to accept, the desire among senators for a stronger advice and consent role on judicial nominees, and what it could signify for ongoing bipartisan deal making on other issues. LINK

Write Kathy Kiely and Jim Drinkard of USA Today, determinedly optimistic that the deal could, if it doesn't fall apart, lead to more compromising, "The deal over Bush's judge nominees was a demonstration of how a small group of senators can have an outsized impact in the 100-member chamber. Republicans hold 55 seats, enough to compel action on most matters. But on controversial legislation, opponents can prevent action by mounting a filibuster -- an extended debate that takes 60 votes to end. Thus, even a solid GOP block still needs help from a few Democrats." LINK

The Washington Post's Peter Baker further sets up the "battle royale" yet to come over Supreme Court nominees -- and the consensus is that despite recent stumbling blocks, President Bush won't back down on his choices. LINK

". . . Bush is operating from a position of some weakness. With his approval ratings hovering in the mid-40s, the lowest of his presidency, he has struggled to find traction in the Republican Congress on his top domestic priority, restructuring Social Security. The House defied Bush's veto threat yesterday by voting to ease restrictions on stem cell research, and Congress is poised to send him a pricey highway bill over his objections. Looking ahead to a trying summer, the president cannot count on many easy wins. Even if the Senate confirms John R. Bolton as U.N. ambassador, it will have come after an ugly fight, analysts noted."

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post looks at the brief moment in the sun that bipartisanship and moderates enjoyed yesterday on the Hill. LINK

The Gang of 14 is still a crew of shiny, happy people, writes Roll Call's Paul Kane.

But the bipartisan love's fading fast, writes the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman. LINK

And Sen. Chuck Schumer, talking tough to the President about the Senate's advisory role, is helping it along, writes Roll Call's Mark Preston, who gets a great blind quote from a senior Democratic senator lamenting squishy principles for letting "three of the worst ones" go through.

The Washington Post's Michael Laris and Spencer Hsu compare the differing stances of Virginia's two Republican senators. LINK

The State reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham's office is buzzing as many constituents are calling up to share their disappointment with Graham's cooperative actions during the filibuster drama. "The calls won't quit, and they're almost all against Lindsey," state Republican Party chairman Katon Dawson said. Dawson counted more than 900 phone calls in 36 hours. LINK

The Wall Street Journal editorial board calls the compromise a "charade."

"Its main point is to shield the group of 14 from the consequences of having to cast difficult, public votes in a filibuster showdown. Thus they split the baby on the most pressing nominees, giving three of them a vote while rejecting two others on what seem to be entirely arbitrary grounds, so Members of both parties can claim victory."

Filibuster: 2008:

Has Sen. Frist martyred himself for judges?

His appearance yesterday with President Bush and Justice Owen, and the channeling of conservative anger toward the Mod Squad, indicates that, at least in the short term, Republican grass top activists are willing to overlook his arguably unsuccessful stewardship of his party at a critical time. (See the Union Leader editorial cited above, though . . . )

In the official statements and in conversations yesterday with top movement conservative activists, Frist was spoken of sympathetically. The blogs blame the party, not him.

So while the loss may temporarily have engendered more trust in him by activist leaders (who, believe you us, have always been appreciate but a little wary of the doctor from Tennessee), it has not burnished his credential as a leader who gets results.

And when activists in late 2007 and early 2008 retrospectively consider the crop of candidates, that may matter more.

Notes Adam Nagourney in the New York Times: "In a sign of the complications Dr. Frist faces in trying to balance running the Senate as he prepares to run for president in 2008, two conservative Republican senators who are also talking about running immediately attacked the agreement. Dr. Frist, of Tennessee, had promised conservatives that he could pass the measure to prohibit Democrats from using filibusters to stop votes on judicial nominations." LINK


"At the same time, Mr. McCain's role in brokering the compromise may have severely ruptured his already strained relations with the party's conservative bloc, a group that is critical to winning the presidential nomination, conservatives and some of Mr. McCain's supporters said." LINK

"'He got himself out on a limb very early, which is an awkward position for a leader,' Scott Reed, a Republican consultant, said of Dr. Frist. 'McCain has a new title as a superleader of the Senate, because he was able to put together this coalition of 14 senators and move things forward."

"If the other 13 people thought I was doing what I was trying [to] because of my political ambitions, we never would have gotten agreement. I knew it would hurt me. I'm not dumb," said John McCain of the compromise deal to The Hill's Geoff Earle in an article with the headline, "McCain eclipses Frist . . . " LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle's Zachary Coile chatted up UVA's wiseman Larry Sabato and got a whole slew of excellent quotes. LINK

And in The Hill's companion piece running beneath the headline, " . . . but Frist hangs tough on 'nuclear,'" Alexander Bolton looks at Frist's warning that the nuclear/constitutional option is still very much on the table. LINK

The Washington Post's sage Dan Balz writes that Republicans were the ones facing the bitter pill of the agreement yesterday, and looks at the warring factions within the party likely to shape the 2008 presidential campaign, chiefly between Frist and Sens. George Allen and Chuck Hagel, who condemned the deal and kept faith with religious conservatives, and Sen. McCain, who will focus on drawing independents and moderate Republicans over the social conservatives, as he did in 2000. LINK

David Broder crowns Sen. John McCain the real leader of the Senate. "If -- as many expect -- McCain and Frist find themselves rivals for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, the gap in their performance will be remembered," he writes. LINK

Note to Paul Begala: we checked with the Post, and that is indeed a real Broder column and not a parody.

Filibuster: non-zero-sum analysis:

The New York Times' Carl Hulse looks at some saber rattling by Republican Senators who are not Gang members. LINK

The Washington Post's Chuck Babington looks at the up-or-down vote on Judge Priscilla Owen scheduled for today, and examines the fallout -- both short-term and long-term -- of the agreement that avoided the showdown over changing the Senate's filibuster rules for judicial nominees. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has wasted no time claiming victory, but the Republican message machine has been subtler, with both grudging respect for the deal and some head-shaking over whether or not Democrats are now in a corner on protesting a judge's philosophy. Most interesting, though, are Republicans' comments that seem to indicate the doomsday clock has only been turned back about five minutes instead of having been stilled for the rest of the session, warning that the showdown could resume again at any time. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Mary Curtius writes that a dinner in March between Sens. Ben Nelson and Trent Lott got the compromise ball rolling in a very nice look at how the various moving parts came together. LINK

The New York Times' Toner and Stevenson do three things: (a) reflect perfectly the New York Times and Gang of 500 sensibility in their lede ("For all the euphoria Monday night that the political center had held…" the duo write -- in an obvious attempt to get Rush Limbaugh to name their names later today.); (b) suggest that the deal has only whet the appetite of activists for the SCOTUS battle; and (c) reveal their divined short list of McConnell, Luttig, and Roberts. LINK

The New York Times ed board lets its ambivalence about the deal spill out all over the page, and it engages in some Manhattan fantasizing about the impact the deal will have on the President as he thinks about a SCOTUS pick. LINK

Howard Dean isn't so sure that the deal is best for his party. LINK

Phil Burress and other conservatives in Ohio will today discuss plans to recruit a more conservative candidate to run against Sen. Mike DeWine in next year's Senate primary.

Filibuster: the follow up:

John Bolton will "absolutely" be confirmed before Memorial Day, David Rogers quotes Majority Leader Frist as saying in the Wall Street Journal.

"Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), who took the lead in helping to craft the compromise, said he hopes the result will be to ' help the whole [legislative] process ' and, in his case, focus more attention on immigration overhaul. ' The only way I'm going to succeed on immigration is if there is a lot of debate and discussion in the country," Mr. McCain said. "The judges' issue was sucking the oxygen out of the room . . . Now maybe we can focus on this issue."

"June is an early test. The Senate is expected to try again to enact an energy bill and to begin the process of passing the annual spending bills that fund the daily operations of the government."

Might Social Security reform be next issue the Gang of 14 tackles? The Hill's Kucinich and Young have that story, although it seems largely based on the dreamy ways of the senior Senator from South Carolina. LINK

Doug Jehl of the New York Times wrings the Bolton sponge again, and out falls Sen. Voinovich's letter urging the defeat of the President's U.N. choice and Sen. Thune's tantalizing undecided status. LINK

Speaking of Thune -- read this entire article. LINK

Key quote: "What goes around, comes around."

Guess who said it and about what!!

Bush and stem cells:

After yesterday's House yesterday's historic House vote to repeal the restrictions on stem cell research imposed by President Bush despite his first veto threat, a bipartisan group of senators looked to capitalized on all the new warm cooperative feelings and sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist urging a vote on the Specter-Harkin Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, identical to the House bill.

The letter, signed by Specter, Harkin, and bill cosponsors Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Gordon H. Smith (R-OR), and Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), says it's time to expand stem cell research beyond the approved lines, which have been contaminated by mouse feeder cells and give researchers access to more advanced stem cell lines. The senators also say the bill strengthens the ethical requirements scientists must follow in conducting the research, and points to polls showing that a majority of Americans support it.

"Moreover, none of the additional lines require the creation of new embryos; instead, these lines could be derived from any of the more than 400,000 embryos that are left over from fertility treatments and will otherwise be discarded," the letter reads.

Harkin and Specter will be joined by Hatch, Feinstein, Smith, and Kennedy for a 12:30 pm ET press conference. According to Harkin's office, there are 60 votes supporting the measure in the Senate.

ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer Notes that in the last ABC-Washington Post survey, 63 percent of Americans said they support embryonic stem cell research, compared to 28 percent who said they oppose it, and also points out that Gallup found earlier this month that 60 percent of Americans said they think research using human embryos is "morally acceptable."

In terms of the breakdown of support among groups, "[s]upport for stem-cell research is sharply lower among highly religious Americans, evangelicals and political conservatives. But that doesn't mean these groups all broadly oppose such research; weekly churchgoers favor it, but by less of a margin (50-40 percent), and evangelicals and conservatives are divided on the question, by 45-41 percent and 45-46 percent, respectively. In only one group we measured, people who say religion is the single most important thing in their lives, does opposition reach a majority, 53 percent.," Langer reports.

The Washington Post's Mike Allen and Ceci Connolly recap the vote, Noting that 50 Republicans broke ranks to join Democrats in the 238 to 194 vote, despite the return to the spotlight of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who led the opposition to the measure on the House floor and the White House event featuring children whose parents adopted them as embryos. As Senators push to get their identical version scheduled for a vote, the House margin, short of the 290 votes needed to override a veto, gave both sides a chance to claim victory and set up a familiar showdown possibility, with moderates looking to broker a deal. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar sizes up the potential tough spot President Bush could find his party in if he vetoes the legislation. LINK

Bush agenda:

Writes the Wall Street Journal editorial board on Sen. Chuck Grassley's AMT repeal legislation: "We're all for repeal, though we'd also like to know what Mr. Grassley is going to get in return for doing Senate Democrats this favor. Are they going to help him pass a broader tax reform, one that lowers rates in return for broadening the base? Or short of that, how about making permanent the 15% dividend and capital gains tax rate that has helped the economy so much since it passed in 2003?"

"As a policy matter, Mr. Grassley would be better off waiting until the bipartisan Bush tax commission puts more reform options on the table. Then again, the Iowa Senator is a 100% pure-bred pol. For him to put AMT repeal on the table so soon probably means that tax reform is a livelier prospect than most observers have thought."

Write two reporters in the Wall Street Journal "New legislation designed to tighten regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, expected to be debated today in the House Financial Services Committee, falls far short of the Bush administration's demands for reining in the two providers of funds for home-mortgage lending."

There's a must-read Journal front-pager on the housing boom as well.

First Lady Laura Bush, on her return from the Middle East, warns that the spread of democracy in the region will be slow, the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei reports. LINK

Roll Call's Chris Cillizza looks at a couple of appropriations bills that the House recently used to nudge the President and urge the White House to keep them better informed.

Bush in Rochester:

The Washington Post's Michael Fletcher wraps President Bush's Social Security campaign stop in upstate New York yesterday, and takes Note of AARP's drive to get its 2.5 million members to contact members of Congress urging them to overhaul Social Security, but not by setting up private accounts. LINK

"Except for the arrest of two protesters outside the school, Bush came and went without incident," writes Joseph Spector of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. LINK

And the local Rochester paper did a mini focus group on the President's appearance. LINK

"If President Bush got one point across during his talk Tuesday on Social Security, it's that there is a problem and it needs to be fixed."

"But when he laid out his plan for allowing workers to voluntarily invest a portion of their Social Security taxes, he turned off roughly half of the nine people who gathered at the Democrat and Chronicle to watch the speech on television and offer their opinions."

USA Today's Richard Benedetto takes a good look at how grassroots protesters have gotten more sophisticated as they follow President Bush from event to event -- not just on the ground, but also using local media. LINK

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin will meet privately with House Democrats today to talk about the fight over revamping Social Security, Roll Call reports.

The politics of abortion:

In today's Manchester Union Leader, John DiStaso discusses the dart-throwing by a pair of abortion rights organizations at Granite State Attorney General Kelly Ayote, whose job could be in jeopardy with the recent appeal of the parental notification bill. It is speculated, however, that the current (pro-choice) New Hampshire governor will likely base his decision on whether to renominate Ayote on more substantive factors than who shouts loudest in his ear. LINK

House of Labor:

In an interview yesterday with Gannett, Teamster President James Hoffa broke ranks with the Democratic Party and the AFL-CIO, praising President Bush for starting a national conversation on Social Security and urging Democrats to compromise with Republicans on comprehensive legislation to fix it.

Hoffa doesn't favor personal accounts and doesn't want to raise the retirement age and, it's true, the Teamsters have large problems with multiemployer pensions, but it's the first time we know of that a major labor leader has bucked the trend on this issue.

Hoffa's Teamsters are one of a half dozen major unions who have good working relationships with Republicans, and several unions -- including the one that first endorsed John Kerry least year -- have publicly called on the labor movement to look beyond the confines of the Democratic Party and begin to work more closely with GOPers on legislation. Hoffa was a guest of the President at the 2002 State of the Union address as he lobbied the administration to relax the consent decree under which the Teamsters have operated for years.

Hoffa's pronouncement will likely stir recriminations and much outrage from unions like AFSCME who are linked, lock, stock and barrel, with the Democratic leadership. AFSCME and other unions are spending millions to back outside groups opposed to Social Security privatization/personal accounts.

The Teamsters are one of several major AFL-CIO unions who have formed a coalition opposed to what they see as stagnant leadership of the labor movement.



"The mayor has made a second television buy, totaling $1,237,000, of commercials that start airing today and run through Memorial Day, said Joseph Mercurio, campaign consultant to Democratic mayoral candidate Virginia Fields."

"Mercurio, who has become the unofficial monitor of Bloomberg's commercial placements, said the mayor is spending $990,000 for broadcast TV, $195,000 on cable and $52,000 for Spanish-language TV," reports New York Post scribe David Seifman. LINK

Please consider this our formal request for a press friendly "Joe Mercurio" type in each and every 2008 battleground state.

The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg continues to add up the Bloomberg dollars spent on campaign advertising thus far, as the Mayor buys another $1 million for another week. Jimbo also includes some gripes from the less affluent campaigns. LINK

Fish-n-chips Karen Hicks is set to go head to head with Michael Whouley (now with Anthony Weiner), as she joins the Gifford Miller team. LINK

The New York Daily News' Michael Saul has the fruits of a Gifford Miller editorial board with his paper and reports the city council speaker has yet to decide whether his kids will go to public or private schools. LINK

The Hill's Savodnik looks at the potential impact Sen. DeWine's involvement in the filibuster compromise might have on his son's chances at filling the seat once held by Rob Portman in the House. LINK

The Washington Post's Michael Shear Notes Gov. Mark Warner's appearance (!!) at a gala honoring him and raising close to $1 million for Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine's gubernatorial campaign. LINK


The New York Post's editorial board uses Jeanine Pirro's decision to forgo a reelection campaign this year because of future political plans as a peg to try and pressure Sen. Clinton to reveal her future political plans. LINK

"If re-elected, will Clinton ditch her Senate seat -- or even keep it, as Sen. John Kerry did his -- and launch a presidential race? More to the point, will Sen. Clinton be candid with the voters in '06 about her plans for '08? Stay tuned."

The New York Times' Peter Applebome mentions Karl Rove TWICE in his ruminations on a possible Pirro-for-Senate campaign. LINK

Kate Sheehy and Fred Dicker of the New York Post take a long-ish look at the Al and Jeanine Pirro relationship. LINK

Democrat Mike Gronstal announced yesterday that he will soon announce whether he's giving the Iowa gubernatorial race a go. LINK

Adam Smith of the St. Petersburg Times had a Mitch Bainwol sighting yesterday; he was in Florida raising money for Charlie Crist's gubernatorial bid. LINK

The Hill reports on Nancy Pelosi's efforts to steer top-tier Democratic donors (who have already maxed out on giving to campaign committees) to races featuring 10 vulnerable Democrats. LINK

The Rosen trial:

Soaking up what could be his last couple of days of Southern California sunshine, the New York Post's Ken Lovett writes up the prosecutor's cross-examination invocation of the "Lazio lectern approaching soft money" pledge from 2000. LINK

The New York Times' Leslie Eaton, possessed of a Jaime Sommers-quality ear, heard Rosen speak "confidently and eagerly in a deep voice." LINK

Josh Gerstein writes that Rosen's late admission that he did know early about a grand jury may have harmed his credibility with the jury. LINK

2008 Republicans:

The New York Post's busy Fred Dicker reports on some large contributions made to Gov. Pataki's Virginia-based 21st Century Freedom PAC and Notes trial lawyers don't solely give to Democrats. LINK

And with his right hand, Sen. McCain, per the New York Times, unveiled his "much-anticipated proposal for a Clean Sports Act on Tuesday . . . " LINK

The New York Times' ever-droll uptown gal Jennifer Steinhauer tracks Pataki chief of staff John P. Cahill's first two weeks on the job at the World Trade Center site. LINK

Scott Greenberger of the Boston Globe looks at Gov. Mitt Romney's changing views on abortion. Romney said last week that he is now ''in a different place" on abortion, but would not elaborate on his comments. Romney would not be the first presidential candidate to have shifted his abortion views over time, of course. LINK

2008: Democrats:

It's worth Noting Monday's Joan Vennochi column in the Boston Globe on Sen. Kerry's announcement that he has signed Form 180 and plans to send it to the Navy soon, at which point, says Kerry, the Navy will release all documents to the public. Note Vennochi's headline, which doubles as her description of Kerry: "The Caveat Emperor." LINK

And Note the homestate paper's dripping contempt of the kind that used to drive Jim Jordan nuts.

The Washington Post's Roxanne Roberts seems charmed by Teresa Heinz last night at the 11th annual Heinz Awards. LINK

Washington State gubernatorial election trial:

The Seattle Times' David Postman looks at Republicans' first key witnesses on the stand in the trial over the Washington state gubernatorial election -- Bill Huennekens, superintendent of King County elections, who spent most of yesterday trying to explain a falsified ballot report, and Nicole Way, the county's absentee-ballot supervisor, who Republicans hope will link the report to higher-level malfeasance. Yesterday, Judge Bridges handed the state GOP a victory by saying it could enter into evidence King County records showing 875 more absentee ballots counted than voters having been recorded as casting their ballots by mail. LINK

The heart of the Republican case is that King County's elections operation was an "unholy mess," writes Gregory Roberts of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. LINK

John Harwood considers the long-term political implications on page A4 of the Wall Street Journal.

Schwarzenegger era:

The Los Angeles Times' Rachel "I Like Mike" Abramowitz looks at the take-down of Gov. Schwarzenegger by Warren Beatty in a commencement speech over the weekend in a nice little round of chest-beating that's broken Hollywood's silence on the Governator's tenure in office. It doesn't get any better than Rob Stutzman calling you a "crackpot." LINK


Spokane, WA City Councilwoman Cherie Rodgers, who has called for Mayor Jim West's resignation, will take questions in an online chat on the Spokesman-Review Web site today. LINK