The Note: June Comes in Like a Lamb

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan for a November special election is a high-stakes gamble: Win and he clears his path to re-election. Lose and his cloak of political invincibility disappears. "

"With a deadline next week to call the special election, supporters and critics say the governor is too far along to back out despite the political risks and a determined, well-financed opposition."

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times' Robert Salladay looked at the special perks that big-money donors to Gov. Schwarzenegger get when they write their checks -- including twice-monthly conference calls during which they can learn about the Governator's campaign strategy and give him advice. The next call is June 16. LINK

"In the latest such call, a few days ago, Schwarzenegger's media expert, Don Sipple, outlined a strategy 'based on a lot of polling' to create a 'phenomenon of anger' among voters toward public employee unions. Firefighters, police officers, teachers and other state-paid workers have become the governor's harshest critics this year."

". . . The Thursday discussion, involving multiple contributors and three top Schwarzenegger strategists, offered a rare glimpse of the governor's "donor maintenance" effort: insider information, solicitous compliments, invitations to exclusive parties. It was also a window on the governor's attack strategy ahead of an expected Nov. 8 special election."

OK: who leaked the call information?

We (HEART) Tom:

Welcome back, Tom Oliphant. You were greatly missed. We wish you well in your continued recovery. LINK

Politics:

The AP reports that Republicans are seeking California to be their new Red State in the next election, with Ken Mehlman making a visit every six weeks to try to keep and boost the Republican vote, looking to incorporate Hispanic traditional values with Californians' liberal-leaning economic needs. LINK

Diane Cardwell ends her wonderful, fly-on-the-paneled-wall look at the Regency hotel's power breakfast environment with this class graf: "Despite its proximity to his East 79th Street town house, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a billionaire, has no need to solicit financial support and does not eat breakfast there. And besides, said his chief spokesman, Ed Skyler, in a terse e-mail message, 'He prefers diners.'" LINK

Jane Norman of the Des Moines Register revealed on Sunday that Iowa has some big spenders. "Iowa's Democratic and Republican parties together ranked 12th in the nation when it came to contributions, bringing in $20 million during the election cycle. Of that sum, 58 percent went to Democrats and 42 percent to Republicans." LINK

The Washington Post news desk exercised excellent judgment when it decided that the three co-authors of the second wittiest opinion piece to run this weekend (Sorry, boys, Larry David's Deep Throat New York Times op-ed was genius and wins the Gold. LINK) need no shirttail to be identified.

But for the few in the Gang of 497 who haven't yet met the trio of creators of the op-ed/art that graced the cover of Sunday's Style section with an entertaining poke in the eye of the oft-ridiculed DC cab system: Jeff is wordsmith and co-author to the political stars, Philippe is Sen. Clinton's (D-Chappaqua) longtime spokesman, and Jano is, well, Jano.

Today's Note quiz: which of these three thinks that the best way to get around the irritation of DC cabs is to leave next week and head to a war zone where a perilous cab ride from the airport costs $2,390?

Hint: those "Minister of Information" business cards from his early DNC days might come in handy as he does a 90 day stint in Iraq for NDI.

The Note looks forward to dispatches from his Sunday night sendoff, expects periodic updates from him -- and, most importantly, wishes him a safe and successful journey.

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