The Note: The Note for America



Today's don't-even-consider-missings:

1. The New York Times' Andrew Revkin on White House official Phil Cooney, the chief of staff of the Council on Environmental Quality, who edited a key government policy statement on global warming to allegedly soften its references to the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment. Everyone can read/see what they want to here!!! LINK

2. The missive from truth-teller David Rogers of the Wall Street Journal, who writes, "As spending bills advance in Congress, Republicans are struggling to balance high-profile science and environmental demands at home against the mounting costs of U.S. commitments overseas."

"President Bush's ambitious foreign-aid budget is certain to be squeezed in coming weeks, and both the House and Senate are trimming at the edges of the Pentagon's 2006 budget request as lawmakers look for more money for domestic programs. But the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was dramatized again yesterday, when the House Appropriations Committee approved a revised $408 billion military budget that includes more than $45.2 billion in contingency funds to pay for operations after Oct. 1."

3. A potential blockbuster from Bloomberg's Ryan Donmoyer: "The U.S. Interior Department inspector general concluded that the Bush administration offered in 2002 to overpay a prominent Florida family for oil and gas rights on Everglades land, according to people familiar with the matter."

"In a report to the Senate Finance Committee to be made public today, Inspector General Earl Devaney says the department nearly tripled earlier estimates of the value of the mineral rights, the three people said. The agreement wasn't completed and the people familiar with the situation said Devaney's findings would scuttle it."

"The report says that Ann Klee, a Bush administration political appointee, led the effort to reach an agreement with the Collier family shortly after she was named in January 2001 to administer the transition at the Interior Department between presidential administrations."

"Klee, and two Interior Department lawyers, Barry Roth and Peter Schaumberg, relied on a private sector estimate that recommended the $120 million payment after soliciting several appraisals, all of which were lower, Devaney's report says. It also says at least one career Interior Department official contested the high estimate."

4. All the details you didn't pick up from yesterday's ABC News/Washington Post poll. LINK

5. Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean. LINK

Not to mention all the great reporting from North Korea starting this week by ABC News' Bob Woodruff, who's taking a look at the tense relationship between that country and the United States from the inside. Woodruff and an ABC News team were granted extraordinary visas to report from North Korea, providing the first extensive reporting by an American news organization inside that country since then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's October 2000 visit there. LINK

Today . . .

President Bush meets with Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan at 10:30 am ET. He talks about strengthening Social Security in Washington, DC at 1:15 pm ET, then sits down for an interview with Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto at 4:00 pm ET.

House Republicans and Democrats hold their respective closed-door party caucuses at 9:00 am ET.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) participate in a stakeout on implementing the 9/11 commission's recommendations at 10:00 am ET.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), House Republican Conference Chairman Deborah Pryce (R-OH), and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) talk about their upcoming legislative agenda at 10:00 am ET.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) holds a pen-and-pad briefing at 4:25 pm ET.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI, Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) hold a news conference to discuss Democrats' defense record, supporting the troops and military families, and the defense appropriations bill at 11:15 am ET.

At 10:00 am ET, the House Judiciary Committee looks at reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act.

The House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing on overhauling the tax system, focusing on fairness, simplicity of the tax code, and how it affects economic growth.

Mark McClellan, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, talks about the Medicare drug benefit at a noon ET luncheon meeting of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

At 2:00 pm ET, the Senate special committee on aging holds a hearing on the benefits of embryonic stem cell research.

After meeting with President Bush, Prime Minister Erdogan holds a news conference with Turkish media at noon ET, talks to members of the House Turkish Caucus at 3:00 pm ET, and meets with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist -- complete with photo op -- at 4:00 pm ET.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was scheduled to talk on the record at 9:00 am ET at the Council on Foreign Relations about legislation that would put an across-the-board tariff on Chinese imports and U.S. trade policy toward China.

Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Xavier Becerra (D-CA) hold a news conference on CAFTA at 9:30 am ET.

On today's schedule for the first day of the Greater Des Moines Partnership's trip to DC: Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) at the congressional leadership luncheon. Tomorrow, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) addresses the group. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been invited to announce the World Food Prize laureate at the State Dept. on Friday.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson wraps up his two-day trip to New Hampshire today. Early this morning, he appeared on Charlie Sherman's radio show, then delivered a speech to the Franco-American Club in Manchester. At 10:00 am ET, he's a guest on Laura Knoy's New Hampshire Public Radio show, and at 6:00 pm ET, he attends the Carroll County Democratic Party dinner in Bartlett, NH.

At noon ET, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman headlines a post-primary luncheon sponsored by the New Jersey Republican State Committee in New Brunswick, NJ.

Former President Bill Clinton will partake in his first official book signing for the paperback edition of his book, "My Life," in Indianapolis, IN at 4:15 pm EDT. He also addresses the Special Libraries Association Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada.

Rock the Vote's 12th annual awards dinner -- complete with red-carpet entrance -- begins at 6:00 pm ET, honoring former President Clinton; Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL); and the Black Eyed Peas. Former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe and former Congressman Jack Kemp chair the event, featuring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and hosted by Amber Tamblyn, featuring Mya and a performance by Nikka Costa.

Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist, Washington Capitols owner Ted Leonsis, and the Chicago Tribune's great Clarence Page are among the dozen contenders facing off in the "Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest" at 7:00 pm ET.

Russell Crowe promotes "Cinderella Man" on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

Bush agenda: international:

The Washington Post's Robin Wright curtain-raises the meeting today between President Bush and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, who will be looking for U.S. cooperation in a joint crackdown on a Turkish rebel group in northern Iraq. In a meeting with Post editors and reporters, Erdogan underscored Turkey's support for the new Iraqi prime minister, Ibrahim Jafari, and talked about the need for cooperation between the two countries on the insurgency. The U.S. will look to push Erdogan on the country's ties to Syria and Iran. LINK

Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times leads her news-of-day piece on Bush and Blair with the joint denial of the "fixed" intelligence accusation in the Downing Street memo. LINK

Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post re-caps the Bush/Blair presser, and Notes with fabulous understatement, "While sensitive to Blair's domestic problems, Bush often stops short of meeting the prime minister's political needs." LINK

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank looks at the comments and controversy surrounding the finally posed question about the Downing Street memo in yesterday's news conference with President Bush and British Prime Minister Blair, complete with Bush's comments that the memo had been politicized because it was released during Blair's election, and Blair's good manners when commenting on a less-than-hoped-for White House response to his request for aid to Africa. Indeed, no "Love Actually" moments here. LINK

Writes the Wall Street Journal's editorial board: "We're not sure what motivated Tony Blair's visit yesterday to the White House; he came to town with a losing hand -- and played it. The British Prime Minister wants President Bush to commit the U.S. to billions in debt relief to the world's poorest countries through a mechanism called the International Finance Facility, which the Administration rightfully considers a nonstarter. Mr. Blair also wants the U.S. to sign on to his views on global warming. This is tilting at windmills in more ways than the Prime Minister may realize."

"Instead, what Mr. Blair mainly got was a commitment from the Administration to release another $674 million in humanitarian relief -- most of it food aid -- for Africa, above the $3.2 billion per year it already provides. This is not nothing. By one estimate, the additional money will help feed 14 million people at risk of starvation in East Africa for a year. But if Messrs. Bush and Blair are to avoid falling out publicly at next month's G-8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, they will need to do more than split their differences. A better approach to thinking about development is required."

On the Washington Post's op-ed page, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Rep. Vin Weber, the chairman of NDI, argue that President Bush's goal of democracy in the Middle East is the right thing to do, and that the right way to make that happen is to honestly and forcefully encourage Arab leaders to substantively move toward democratic action, and support both the infrastructure and the independent media in the region. LINK

Bush agenda: domestic:

The Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Weiss details the Bush Administration's plan to help the fish farming industry expand into offshore federal waters as a way to lessen the dependence on imported seafood. LINK

The Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin has more details on environmentalists' concerns. LINK

ABC News/Washington Post poll:

Yesterday we brought you some of the headlines from the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll -- including the President's career-high 52 percent job disapproval rating, fueled in large part by the "corrosive effects of the war in Iraq" and the gap between what Americans say are their political priorities and what they see occupying President Bush and lawmakers in Washington. LINK

"Iraq is a major thorn," reports ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer. "With discontent over U.S. casualties at a new peak, a record 58 percent say the war there was not worth fighting. Nearly two-thirds think the United States has gotten bogged down in Iraq, up 11 points since March. Forty-five percent go so far as to foresee the equivalent of another Vietnam." In addition, 52 percent said they think the war on terror has not improved the long-term security of the United States, and 50 percent say they approve of the way the President has handled the war on terror.

And discontent has grown -- all around. Thirty percent of Americans say President Bush is doing a better job in his second term than in his first, and 54 percent -- a six-year high -- say they disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Neither party is faring well among voters either; 60 percent say President Bush and his party aren't making progress on the country's problems, and 53 percent say Democrats aren't focusing on the right issues either.

Speaking of those issues, 62 percent said they disapprove of how President Bush is handling Social Security, and Americans are split at about 50-50 on whether they support a stock market option in the retirement plan. Sixty-three percent said they don't think the President's plan helps the program's long-term stability.

In terms of 2008, Note particularly the favorable/unfavorable ratings of Sens. Hillary Clinton (51/46), and John McCain (57/32).

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank and Claudia Deane lead by focusing on Iraq, and Americans' perception that the U.S. is not safer because of it, and Note that they're getting impatient with the country's efforts there. LINK

"The surge in violence in Iraq since the new government took control -- 80 U.S. soldiers and more than 700 Iraqis died in May amid a rash of car bombings -- has been accompanied by rising gloom about the overall fight against terrorism. By 50 percent to 49 percent, Americans approved of the way Bush is handling the war on terror, down from 56 percent approval in April, equaling the lowest rating Bush has earned on the issue that has consistently been his core strength with the public. Some authorities on war and public opinion said the figures indicate that pessimism about the war in Iraq has reached a dangerous level. 'It appears that Americans are coming to the realization that the war in Iraq is not being won and may well prove unwinnable,' said retired Army Col. Andrew Bacevich, now a professor at Boston University. 'That conclusion bleeds over into a conviction that it may not have been necessary in the first place.'" Full poll questionnaire and results: LINK

Social Security:

"President George W. Bush's drive to add investment accounts to Social Security is running up against an old cliche: Timing is everything," writes Bloomberg's Heidi Przbyla. "When Bush first pitched the idea of overhauling the government retirement insurance program -- in the 2000 election campaign -- the bull market was just peaking, and the notion (sic) of putting Social Security money in stocks had broad appeal."

"Now, public anxiety about a four-year lull in stock returns and pension-plan failures at U.S. companies is playing a major role in undermining Bush's effort to sell his proposals, administration officials and opponents say."

USA Today's editorial board argues that taxing the rich more won't fix Social Security's solvency problems. LINK

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), on USA Today's op-ed page, argues that raising the cap on benefits subject to the Social Security tax beats cutting benefits. LINK

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), on the same page, says the President's "fiscal discipline" approach is the way to go. LINK

Judicial nomination battles:

The Washington Post's Chuck Babington writes that with the impending confirmation of Judge Janice Rogers Brown to the DC Circuit, some liberals are getting jittery about the filibuster deal. LINK

"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) yesterday postponed Senate consideration of several controversial judicial nominees despite pressure from Republican senators and conservative activists to challenge immediately a recent compromise to avert the so-called "nuclear option," reports The Hill's Alexander Bolton. LINK

Sen. Allen (R-VA) continues to hold his fellow potential 2008 candidate's feet to the fire.

"'The sooner the better,' Allen said yesterday, shortly after Frist announced he had no intention of bringing up Myers immediately. 'It should happen before there is any vacancy on the Supreme Court.'"


George Will looks at the medical marijuana decision and reasons that labels about judicial activism, restraint, conservative, and liberal don't necessarily mean much. LINK

The politics of national security:

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation would gain the right to demand a variety of records in terror cases without a judge's approval, under an expanded version of the law known as the USA Patriot Act that the Senate intelligence committee approved late Tuesday after a closed-door debate," writes Eric Lipton in the New York Times. LINK

Reports Mike Allen of the Washington Post, "Senators urged the Pentagon's inspector general yesterday to release more information about the involvement of White House officials and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in an aborted $30 billion air-tanker deal that exposed gaping holes in the government's controls on large purchases." At issue: a 257-page report, complete with 45 deleted references to White House officials, that concludes Pentagon officials broke laws when working with Boeing on a deal for refueling planes. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz were among the 88 witnesses interviewed for the report. LINK

"The Defense Department spent at least $400 million in recent years buying boots, tents, bandages and other goods at the same time it was getting rid of identical items it had paid for but never used, government investigators told House members yesterday," reports the Washington Post's Griff White. LINK


The Los Angeles Times' Mary Curtius writes that the Bolton nomination is just not destined to go quietly, with the White House nixing Sen. Chris Dodd's proposal to give Democrats information on reports Bolton asked for about National Security Agency intercepts, which would have had Democrats come up with a list of names to be checked against the names included in the intercepts that Bolton received. Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte passed along the refusal, and White House spokesman Scott McClellan called the Dems' proposal a stalling tactic. Now it's a question of whether Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will schedule the Bolton vote for this week or next. LINK

North Korea:

The White House is skeptical, but China's ambassador to the United Nations is hopeful about North Korea saying it's committed to multinational disarmament talks, the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler reports. LINK

AP writes that getting North Korea to the negotiating table is just the first in a long series of steps. LINK

Guantanamo Bay:

AP reports that former President Jimmy Carter agreed Tuesday that the prison at Guantanamo Bay should be closed. LINK


Roll Call's Mark Preston reports that beginning Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid plan to hold joint office hours weekly to give Senators the opportunity for some face time. Whether it'll help partisan rancor remains to be seen, but it's an interesting idea. And points to Sen. Sessions for being skeptical yet downright funny.

"The recently passed bankruptcy-reform bill may turn out to be a plus for landlords who own retail property while making it harder for struggling retailers to emerge from bankruptcy protection," writes Ryan Chittum in the Wall Street Journal.

The politics of immigration:

The Washington Post's Robert Samuelson writes that it's time to figure out what the debate over immigration really means, and whether it will be a catalyst for anger and fear or embraced as part of the nation's identity. LINK

Dean's Democrats:

" . . . Howard Dean, unapologetic in the face of recent criticism that he has been too tough on his political opposition, said in San Francisco this week that Republicans 'all behave the same, and they all look the same. . . . It's pretty much a white Christian party,'" writes Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle. LINK

Note Josh Earnest's attempt to tamp down the story and the Wade Randlett quotes.

And here's a bit more from Marinucci's story: "Garry South, a leading Democratic strategist, said of Dean, 'The only thing we can hope is that he understands the difference from being a shadow president to being the head of the party when we're out of office.'"

"His job is to 'get the Democratic Party ready for the next election,' South said. But 'if he views himself as the public face of the Democratic Party, then we have a problem.'"

Just asking: why would Howard Dean appear on "Today" and therefore nationalize what had been an inside-the-Beltway curiosity?

On "Today" this morning Matt Lauer wasn't having any of Dean's attempts to move the conversation back toward Democratic talking points.

Dean began his first answer to Lauer by reading John Danforth's recent musings about the power the conservative Christian movement has within the Republican Party.

"I think it is pretty hard to deny that that is what the party predominantly looks like," said Dean as he refused to back away from his remarks.

When Lauer asked if Dean's chairmanship is in jeopardy, Dean reasserted how closely he works with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and protested that the Republicans were trying to divert the national political conversation to Howard Dean instead of focusing on issues important to Americans.

We wonder if Reps. Sensenbrenner or Tancredo will have any response to Dean's citing their immigration views.

Roll Call's Erin Billings and Paul Kane report that Chairman/Dr./Gov. Howard Dean heads to the Hill Thursday to be the featured guest at the weekly Senate meeting of the Democratic Policy Committee on the Hill, "where he'll have a chance to rebut some of his critics in the face of a controversy regarding comments he made about the work habits of GOP leaders." If we excerpted everything you should read, we'd reprint the whole thing here, so just be sure to take it all in.

The Hill writes up Steny Hoyer on Howard Dean: LINK

"'I don't agree with those comments, and I share the view expressed by Mr. Edwards,' Hoyer said in response to a question from The Hill at his weekly press briefing. 'I don't think they express the views of our party . . . and I think probably, upon reflection, they don't express . . . Mr. Dean's views. I think they were overstated.'"

Former President Jimmy Carter also appeared on "Today" to discuss child eye care. At the end of the interview, Matt Lauer snuck in a question about Dean's most recent comments. Carter backed Dean up a bit, saying that he understood the DNC Chairman's comments to be directed at Republican leaders, and not Americans who may vote Republican.

Linda Feldmann of the Christian Science Monitor takes a macro look at Chairman/Dr./Gov. Dean's approach. LINK

At the DNC . . .

An addition to Team Dean, busily planning for a 50-state field and recruitment capacity: Pam Womack, a respected fixture of the Democratic Governors Association, has been officially appointed the DNC's political director.

We say "officially" because she's been overseeing the field and grassroots effort since Dean's transition to chair.

Dean wants to put DNC staff field operatives ("organizers") in all 50 states by the end of the year.

For the past several months, Womack has been the party's point of contact with the states, identifying what they need and figuring out how the DNC can help them get it. To date, according to DNC communications director Karen Finney, Womack's staff has met with 32 teams of state party officials and plan to reach the fiftieth state by the end of July.

As political director, Womack will work with other elected officials and the various Democratic campaign committees, and oversee the party's national field infrastructure.

"I'm thrilled that Pam has officially joined the team," Dean said in a statement. "Her extensive experience working with state parties, governors, mayors, community leaders and campaigns will be invaluable as we implement our plan to rebuild our state parties and aggressively reach out to the grassroots, community leaders and elected officials in building a strong national and local democratic party in every state and territory."

Womack was previously the director of campaigns and elections at the DGA. That's where she first got to know the then-governor from Vermont.

One Notable subtraction: Maura Keefe, the affable Democratic strategist and former Hill chief of staff, has returned to Maine after thirteen long years in Washington, DC. She'll continue to advise the governor's team informally.

Keefe met Dean as a senior adviser for his presidential campaign and became an instrumental member of his transition team. She also oversaw surrogate booking for the DNC during the presidential campaign. Before that, she was the top aide for Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut.

Incidentally, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson told reporters yesterday that Dean was doing a "good job" as chair of the DNC. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

From the release about the "My Life" paperback edition: "Not only has President Clinton lost weight since "My Life" was first released, but so too has the book. The "trade" paperback "My Life" has shed approximately 16 ounces and costs over $17 less than the hardcover."

"Both the trade and mass market books include a new preface and an afterward, in which President Clinton details his life and work since leaving the White House in 2001, including his Foundation efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and promoting tsunami recovery with former President Bush. He also details his experience with heart surgery and the opening of his presidential library in Little Rock in November 2004."


"Doug Forrester won the Republican nomination for governor last night, edging out Bret Schundler at the end of an acrimonious seven-way race in which he spent more than $9 million of his own money to dominate the television airwaves," leads the Newark Star Ledger's Howlett. LINK

"The victory by Forrester, a wealthy businessman from Mercer County, sets up what is expected to be a free-spending contest against the Democratic nominee, Jon Corzine, with both candidates dipping into their substantial personal fortunes."

". . . Forrester, who became a multimillionaire by founding a company that manages pharmacy benefits, won the Republican nomination for New Jersey governor yesterday after vastly outspending six opponents to promise lower property taxes and a crackdown on the state's notoriously corrupt political culture," writes David Kocieniewski in the New York Times. LINK

"His victory, coupled with Sen. Jon S. Corzine's clinching of the Democratic primary, sets the stage for a potentially exorbitant race between two extremely wealthy men who have already said they will bypass New Jersey's public financing system so they can spend unlimited amounts of their own money."

The Associated Press has the raw numbers for you. LINK

With almost all of the precincts reporting, Forrester garnered 35.7 percent of the vote, compared to Schundler's 31.3 percent.

What is that expression about payback? The New York Post's Seifman and Campanile report Michael Bloomberg's contributions (and those of his associates) to State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and his Albany Republican colleagues may soon be a thing of the past. LINK

This story may well prove to be the inspiration for Mayor Bloomberg's favorite give and take when he next goes before reporters.

The Observer's Ben Smith offers up an excellent West Side stadium post mortem. LINK

The courting of Sheldon Silver by Mayor Michael Bloomberg is exquisitely and painfully detailed by Jennifer Steinhauer in the New York Times. LINK

"The mayor attended the bris of two of Mr. Silver's grandsons, paid a condolence call when the speaker's brother died in August and held news conferences as often as possible in the speaker's Lower Manhattan district."

"In large part, according to interviews with many of the participants in the maneuvering, the project was doomed because Mr. Doctoroff calculated long before Mr. Bloomberg was even in office that the city could build the project while sidestepping lawmakers in Albany and New York."

"As such, according to the administration's critics, Mr. Bloomberg and his aides failed to build a political coalition in Albany early enough to sway crucial lawmakers. It was only last summer that they realized that any one of Albany's three leaders would have veto power over the stadium project, at which point they began to cultivate Mr. Silver and, to a lesser extent, Joseph L. Bruno, the State Senate majority leader. At the same time, the Jets scrambled to gain the support of minority lawmakers and others for the stadium the team would occupy."

No Working Families Party endorsement just yet. LINK


Every lede we read about Rep. Katherine Harris's entrance into the 2006 Senate race contains the requisite appositive about her role in the 2000 recount, which is why Democrats in Washington yesterday seem to have been more excited about her decision than Republicans.

It is certainly true that many Republicans in Washington who profess to know what Mr. Rove wants (although that is often difficult to divine) think he was encouraging her not to run.

The NRSC's statement is bland: "Nelson is extremely vulnerable and this race will attract a lot of attention from many candidates as a result. This seat is a top priority for the NRSC and we'll provide the necessary resources to win."

But beyond those initial impressions, it's certainly true that Republicans in general seem to understand what it takes to win a statewide race in Florida more than Democrats do, that Ms. Harris is not the same person she was five years ago, that she can raise a heck of a lot of money, and that if she gets the nomination and plays her cards correctly, she could prove more formidable a challenger than some in her own party think.

"Harris came to Washington in 2002 as a lightning rod who drew wary praise from Republicans and suspicion from Democrats who tended to see her as a partisan dragon lady or a lightweight with too much mascara. She has since softened her image and impressed fellow Republicans with an energetic style and a good grasp of policy. She has compiled a conservative voting record while focusing on bringing federal money to her district," writes the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel's Mark Hollis. LINK

More: LINK

It'll be interesting to see where she stands on Social Security now.

AP catches up to Chris Cillizza: "North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven is slated to meet with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political strategist in Washington this week. But he says it has nothing to do with a potential run against Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad." LINK

2006: Republican fundraising:

Next Tuesday night, the Republican congressional campaign committees -- the NRSC and the NRCC -- team up for the President's Dinner -- one of the off-year's hottest fundraisers.

$2,500 gets you a ticket to hear President Bush at the Washington Convention Center and the chance to circulate among attendees like Mary Carey. LINK

Each committee has special treats for donors who've written larger checks.

If you've given more than $15,000 to the NRSC in the last year -- more than $30,000 during the last cycle -- you 're a member of the Senate Trust and get tickets to a Monday night dinner at the Hay-Adams with former Sen. Bob Dole as the honored guest and a Tuesday afternoon lunch at the Four Seasons with Vice President Cheney, Majority Leader Frist, Sen. Mitch McConnell, and many more.

Another lunch on Tuesday -- contribute $5000 and you , a new member of the Presidential Roundtable group, will get an invite -- features a reception with Sen. John McCain and an address by former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie. The lunch is at Ortanique downtown.

Special NRCC donors get lunch with Karl Rove on Tuesday, a tour of Washington on a "luxury" motorcoach and a closed-door reception with NRCC big-wigs. $10,000 gets you a photo with top Republican officials, and $25,000 gets you a photo with President Bush and 10 tickets to every event.

If you want to know how the NRCC flatters prospective donors, check out this press release from Equus Resources, which announces that "its President, Randy Harris, has been invited by the National Republican Congressional Committee (the "NRCC") to attend an Emergency Board Meeting of the Business Advisory Council (the "BAC") in Washington, DC to provide input and make recommendations on critical issues facing the Congress and the American public. These issues include social security, the energy cost crisis, and immigration."

"Mr. Harris also plans to attend the President's Dinner on June 14, joining many members of Congress and other business and government luminaries, and, while in Washington, to meet with HUD personnel and Congressional staff to explore the availability of new and expanded federal grants and related assistance programs pertaining to the mortgage industry." LINK

Or read this news brief: LINK

Roll Call's Ben Pershing reports that more than two dozen senior House Republicans still haven't ponied up their cash for the President's Dinner next week, and are furiously working to get the money in.

2008: Republicans:

Check out the Wall Street Journal's editorial on Sen. Sam Brownback's "hold" on OCSE nominee Karen Finley: "More likely, the Senator is angling to impress the GOP's anti-abortion wing, whose support he will want if he decides to run for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008. Yes, Ms. Finley is a pro-choice Republican, but she's also one of the party's biggest financial contributors and has backed pro-life candidates, such as President Bush and Bob Dole."

"Last time we checked, it required a coalition to sustain a political majority, and Ms. Finley is being nominated for what is basically a security (not a social policy) post. Republicans don't want to become the mirror image of those Democrats who blocked Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey from speaking at their convention in 1988 because he was pro-life."

"Three branches of a company with nearly $120 million in state contracts gave Gov. Pataki's Virginia-based political action committee $30,000 last Friday, records show," writes The New York Post's Fred Dicker. Pataki's spokesperson denies any quid pro quo. LINK

Al Kamen of the Washington Post reports that Gov. Romney's reportedly got himself quite a nice French accent. LINK

2008: Democrats:

In his Boston Globe op-ed, Robert Kuttner analyzes why he believes Sen. Hillary Clinton will be a polarizing candidate in 2008 if she runs. Clinton's amazing abilities to appeal to a cross section of voters and her fundraiser abilities will make for a strong campaign, but Kuttner worries that she is "irrevocably seen as a pushy woman, but also a wronged woman -- which makes her seem weak at a time when Americans need someone strong." LINK

John DiStaso of the Manchester Union Leader chronicles New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's journey to New Hampshire. The self-described "tax-cutting new progressive Democrat" -- which implies exhibiting a spendthrifty nature while still championing economic advancement programs -- Richardson brushed off inquiries of Chairman/Dr. Dean's recent comments by remarking that we all put our foot in our mouth sometimes. He commended Dean's efforts to build the party from the ground up and theorized that states are a perfect springboard for national policy initiatives. Hoping to energize support for alternative resources, Richardson says would like to see the nation wean itself from dependence on foreign oil. Pushing to have Western primaries tag along closely behind the kick-off states, he denied any interest (in English) of vying for White House residency in a few years, but then in a nod to his heritage -- and to throw off those unfortunate unilingual journalists -- refuted that statement in Spanish. LINK

Richardson voiced disapproval on federal immigration control, saying, "it shows federal immigration policies are not working. It shows Congress has failed to adopt a federal immigration policy." LINK

PoliticsNH quotes Richardson: "I want to be very clear to the media in the back of the room. No I will not run for president in 2008," and then said in Spanish to the Latino Summit audience, "but, yes I am." LINK

At the same summit, he urged Latinos to realize that their vote will be "decisive" in the next election. LINK

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner managed to dodge probes into his own 2008 aspirations, even while concentrating on the future (generation) with Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, writes Todd Dorman of the Sioux City Journal. The pair met yesterday in Iowa and ruminated about education enhancements to raise the standards of American students/schools. LINK

The Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont previews who may be (read: you can bet will be) in attendance at the National Governors Association's summer gathering in Iowa next month. Campaigning is discouraged during the conference, but sometimes you can't keep an ambitious politician down, says Virginia Gov. Mark Warner. LINK


Roll Call's Chris Cillizza Notices the new trend in presidential hopefuls: strenuously and publicly exert yourself. He writes in the new Atlantic Monthly about Gov. Mike Huckabee's weight loss program, Gov. Mark Sanford's 200-mile bike-ride, and exploits from the likes of Vilsack, Bayh and even former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. And guess which former West Virginia governor enjoys clog dancing, which ranks among out favorite sports. LINK

Sen. John Kerry:

The Los Angeles Times' Stephen Braun writes that Swift Boat Veterans' John O'Neill is insisting that Kerry's document release is still incomplete, and that questions remain about Kerry's assetion that his boat entered Cambodian waters in December 1968, Kerry's medal commendations, and his discharge from the Navy. LINK

James Taranto has fun with John Kerry's Yale transcript in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. "So Mr. Kerry was almost as distinguished a scholar as the schoolmate who went on to become president of the United States. That doesn't seem so bad -- but for candidate Kerry, it would have been devastating. After all, much of Mr. Kerry's appeal, such as it was, rested on intellectual snobbery."

The Schwarzenegger era:

Evan Halper of the Los Angeles Times writes that local government leaders in cities and counties aren't happy with Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed spending cuts going before voters in the fall special election, and if they don't come up with an alternate plan of their own, they could end up working with groups opposed to the ballot measure. LINK

"The gathering resistance is a significant setback for Schwarzenegger. Cities and counties have been among his loyalists, sticking with him as other public-sector groups waged a bruising public relations attack on him over an earlier measure affecting their pensions. The governor abandoned that proposal after analysts said it would end benefits for survivors of public safety workers."

"Now, Schwarzenegger faces the prospect of local government leaders campaigning against a spending cap for which there is no overwhelming public enthusiasm. Despite a statewide television ad campaign featuring the governor talking with cafeteria customers about overspending in Sacramento, a poll last month by the Public Policy Institute of California found that just 43% of likely voters supported the measure."

Washington governor's race -- settled:

The case is settled, but the parties keep on fighting, write the Seattle Times' David Postman and Ralph Thomas. LINK

Deep Throat revealed:

The New York Observer looks at the money to be made off of last week's Deep Throat revelation. LINK

Free Matt Cooper and Judith Miller:

Some thoughts from Theodore Olson, writing in the Wall Street Journal: "Whatever the Court may decide about a First Amendment or common-law evidentiary privilege for confidential sources, it will perform a service by taking the case and clarifying the law. Reporters need to know whether they can promise to protect a source's confidentiality and what protection, if any, the law will give them if they do. It ill-serves society for reporters and their lawyers to be operating in the dark -- not knowing whether a reporter's promise to protect a source will be respected by the courts, or whether it will result, instead, in a prison term unless the reporter decides to break his word. By the same token, sources are entitled to know whether their need for anonymity will be honored."

"A free and energetic press has proven to be among our most precious resources. It cannot function where rules are uncertain and simple miscalculations may result in incarceration. Whatever the extent or degree of a confidential-source privilege, and whether it is qualified by exigent circumstances or special law-enforcement needs, there is no player in this vitally important area that would not benefit from a clear articulation of the operative principles."


Buried in his article about the Sami al-Arian trial in South Florida is this interesting tidbit from Josh Gerstein: "In a brief interview yesterday, Mr. al-Arian's lawyer, Mr. Moffitt, stood by his statement Monday that prosecutors had named a Washington lobbyist, Khaled Saffuri, as a co-conspirator in the case. In his opening statement, Mr. Moffitt said a man named Saffuri who worked with a prominent anti-tax activist, Grover Norquist, helped Mr. al-Arian establish ties with the Republican Party and was considered 'another co-conspirator.'" LINK

"Asked yesterday precisely when prosecutors made such an assertion, Mr. Moffitt said, 'I've got enough paper in my head . . . I'm sure we saw it.'"

"A spokesman for the prosecution had no comment on the claim. Mr. Saffuri's name does not appear on a list of unindicted co-conspirators that prosecutors filed publicly in April."

"Mr. Saffuri, who now works at a law and lobbying firm, Collier Shannon Scott, did not respond to several requests to comment for this story. Last month, he testified before Congress as chairman of a Muslim-American political organization, the Islamic Free Market Institute."

We call dibs on Bono watch. LINK

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham make their case on the New York Times op-ed page for a tariff on exports to Beijing as a response to China's "mercantilist" policy toward the yuan. LINK

The New York Times' Joe Follick writes that state supreme court justices in Florida seemed to worry in arguments yesterday that the state overstepped its constitutional authority in providing funds for non-public schools. LINK