Roll Call's Mark Preston writes that the gas additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) that's responsible for contaminating groundwater, could be a touchy subject in the 2008 presidential race, and New Hampshire voters are likely to carefully watch how possible White House contenders vote on any energy bill that offers a federal liability shield for those who produce it.
Notes Preston, "Congress is expected to address the MTBE issue in the coming months, when House and Senate negotiators try to reach agreement on a bill to overhaul the nation's energy policy. The House has already approved an energy bill that includes liability protection for MTBE producers. The Senate may begin considering its bill as early as next week, but it does not contain liability protection language."
Leader DeLay favors the liability protection; Leader Frist is far more cagey.
The Manchester Union Leader's John DiStaso is pleased as punch (not to mention a bit amazed, considering the New Mexico governor's Hispanic background) at Bill Richardson's sanctioning of the Granite State's primary status. The presidential aspirant envisions a simple solution to up-front minority involvement. "I believe that as long as primaries following New Hampshire have diverse constituencies, the problem is resolved." Richardson's New Hampshire visit concluded yesterday with dos dinner dates: one with environmental organizations, the other with the Democratic State Committee. DiStaso also Notes other potential '08 candidates buzzing around: Virginia Sen. George Allen will be welcomed at a Lilac Luncheon (another presumably flower-laden event) on June 25; while U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (CO) will join the Republican State Committee on Saturday for breakfast over issues; and Wesley Clark will get his morning coffee while he keynotes the Democratic Committee's Flag Day breakfast on Sunday. LINK
Jane Norman of the Des Moines Register keeps a close eye on Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh as he assesses the odds of an '08 White House bid. At a Greater Des Moines Partnership meeting in DC yesterday, he declared his intention to stop by/stump through Iowa in August. LINK
The Indianapolis Star goes all Boston Globey on Bayh, writing that his travel plans hint at a future presidential bid. LINK
"Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana told an audience of Iowa business people yesterday that he is 'doing the practical things' to keep open the option of running for president in 2008," reports the Louisville Courier-Journal's James Carroll. LINK
More: "Afterward, Bayh told reporters that he is going to Iowa -- an early caucus state in presidential campaigns -- in August."
The AP reports that the state Republican Party is funding radio ads that are running in New Mexico and New Hampshire calling out New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on his "rich" lifestyle. The Republican ad was fueled by news that the Richardson administration has ordered a $5.5 million jet for use by state officials and that the governor has "three personal chefs." The Richardson camp rebutted the claims saying the governor rarely takes the state aircraft and Richardson has one chef, not three. LINK
A New Hampshire Democrat sends this along: "I received a letter yesterday from the New Hampshire Senate Democratic Caucus signed by State Sen. Sylvia Larson, NH Senate Democratic Leader:"
" . . . Speaking of helping in a big way, I wanted to invite you to a very special dinner with Senator John Edwards."