The Note: Impossible Schemes



What we coulda/woulda/shoulda write as the lead of The Note today if we were sure you would be interested:

1. The list of the House members still undecided on CAFTA.

2. Letter grades for the performances of Bayh, Clinton, Vilsack, and Warner for their DLC stump speeches.

3. A DLC meeting quiz, with questions such as "Whose speech ended with the line, 'There is nothing more wonderful than making dreams come true'?"

4. The Cliffs Notes history of judicial nominees handing over memos from their Solicitor General days.

5. A (supposedly) humorous essay on how some reporters take statements from potential presidential candidates that are the epitome of non-Shermanesque (such as "I don't intend to run") and write stories suggesting that the statements were Shermanesque.

6. Detailed annotations of today's Andy Stern and Mitt Romney op-eds.

7. Detailed annotations of today's 3-pounds of Boston Globe coverage of Romney and abortion.

8. An historical comparison of the way Hillary Clinton treated the national press corps in Columbus yesterday with the way George W. Bush treated them in Indianapolis in 1999 and why the reactions by the media were different.

9. What the intern we have assigned to follow around Dick Keil has found so far.

10. An explanation of why Gordon Fischer's blog is so important.

The President's one scheduled event for the day will take place at 9:50 am ET when he signs a proclamation commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

First Lady Laura Bush is in Florida for the 10:39 am ET launch of the space shuttle Discovery. Later, Mrs. Bush appears with brother-in-law Gov. Jeb Bush at a luncheon for reading mentors, wrapping up her visit down South with a tour of the Florida Citrus Sports Camp and a visit to a literature magnet school.

Just in case you need some fresh pictures, Karl Rove is scheduled to appear at a $1,000/person fundraiser for Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's exploratory committee at 6:00 pm ET at the Ronald Reagan Center in Washington, DC.

Scott McClellan will gaggle off camera at 9:30 am ET and brief reporters on camera at 12:45 pm ET.

At 12:30 pm ET, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) joins several big-name Democrats for a news conference to unveil the Democrats' plan on retirement security. Here's a preview, courtesy of The Hill: LINK

The Senate convenes at 9:45 am ET and resumes consideration of the Department of Defense Authorization bill. The Senate will recess for the weekly policy lunches this afternoon.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) gets the John Roberts treatment at 10:00 am ET. Media availability follows. Sen. Graham (R-SC) has his meeting with Judge Roberts a bit earlier at 9:30 am ET.

The Senate Judiciary Committee tackles immigration reform today at a 9:30 am ET hearing attended by Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ) and Secretaries Michael Chertoff and Elaine Chao.

It's one of those rare double billings in Houston today. RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman and DNC Chairman Howard Dean will address the 29th Biennial Session of the Connectional Lay Organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

At a 1:30 pm ET news conference, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, among others, join the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Alliance for Free Trade to urge Congress to pass CAFTA.

Be sure to check out our expanded daybook section below with more of the day's events.

Roberts: the battle ahead:

The New York Times leads the paper with anonymous Administration officials saying that Roberts' work from the White House counsel's office and the Attorney General's office will be released, but not the Solicitor General stuff, citing the Presidential Records Act. LINK

Timespeople Stevenson, Stolberg, and Broder race through history, precedent, and the current state of things in a fair-minded way, putting more emphasis on the Democrats' peril if they appear to be fishing than on the "when documents are famous for being withheld…." paradigm.

Reports the Washington Post's Peter Baker and Chuck Babington, "The agreement to release some Roberts documents came as the White House quietly presses Senate Republicans to start hearings on his nomination before Labor Day, in part to shorten the amount of time that liberals have to research and attack him, Republican sources said yesterday. [Sen. Arlen] Specter has said he wants to hold a week-long hearing just after Labor Day following the Senate's August recess. The negotiations on timing and other matters have lasted for days and may not be resolved until mid-week, Senate aides said." LINK

Conservatives are angry that the White House is trying to disassociate John Roberts from any membership with the Federalist Society, reports the Boston Globe. LINK

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick on the Durbin-Catholic dust-up, in which the facts remain murky. LINK

A USA Today poll has good news and numbers for Roberts (and mixed news and numbers for Karl Rove). LINK

Don't miss that favorability rating for the Democratic Party at the end of the article.

"In a rare instance of capital bipartisanship, both sides in the John Roberts confirmation faceoff say his wife's links to an anti-abortion group should be off limits," writes the New York Daily News' Tom DeFrank. LINK


The Los Angeles Times' Brownstein's DLC wrap ledes with Sen. Clinton's new appointment to define the party's agenda. LINK

"The appointment solidified the identification of Clinton -- once considered a champion of the party's left -- with the centrist movement that helped propel her husband to the White House in 1992. It also continued her effort, which has accelerated in recent months, to present herself as a moderate on issues such as national security, immigration and abortion," writes Brownstein.

And despite Sen. Clinton's call for all Democrats to work together, Brownstein wisely Notes the potential trouble she may have in making both David Sirota and Al From happy with her work. . . of course, it's Al From's organization for which she is working, so we can probably guess at who will end up a bit more pleased with her results.

Reports Dan Balz of the Washington Post, "Although the next presidential campaign is three years away, Monday's session had clear overtones of that coming race. Three other Democrats actively considering running in 2008 -- Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, the newly named DLC chairman; Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.), the outgoing DLC chairman; and Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner, who just concluded a year as chairman of the National Governors Association -- competed with Clinton for attention." LINK

"Warner, Vilsack and Bayh -- all current or former governors -- used the meeting to introduce themselves to the delegates as potential national candidates, each testing new themes in carefully crafted speeches. Implicit in all three speeches was the suggestion that they have records demonstrating how to win and govern in places, such as the South and the rural Midwest, where Democrats have faltered in recent presidential elections -- a boast that Hillary Clinton cannot make for herself."

"Attendees gave all four prospective candidates good reviews, but the mob scene that surrounded Clinton afterward showed she retains a special position within the party, one that for now seems to transcend the party's ideological camps."

"Clinton's Speech Wins Over Delegates," blares one Columbus Dispatch headline. LINK

"Preening before the national media, the four peppered their speeches with lofty calls for a party that is militarily strong against terrorism, economically just, socially responsible and grounded in faith," write the Columbus Dispatch's Hallett and Marquette. LINK

Ray Hernandez of the New York Times focuses on the attacks on the President's national security record, and includes the RNC pushback on Sen. Clinton. LINK

Notes Mike Glover of the AP, "The speech was coupled with the announcement that Mrs. Clinton had been chosen to head the DLC's 'American Dream Initiative,' described by the organization as a national conversation with business, political, labor, civic and intellectual leaders on an agenda for the country and party." LINK

"The chairmanship will allow Mrs. Clinton to travel the country next year, when she is seeking another term in the Senate. The job will be an opportunity to burnish an already high-profile image that frequently energizes Democrats while also helping anti-Clinton Republicans raise campaign cash."

The New York Sun's Josh Gerstein left the DLC's "national conversation" asking, "Should Senator Clinton be considered the sole rightful heir to her husband's political legacy as a 'New Democrat'?" LINK

And Note Gerstein's excellent ear here: "Some of Mr. Warner's rhetoric seemed specifically aimed at differentiating himself from Mrs. Clinton. He mentioned the need for candidates with broad appeal in Middle America, saying, 'We Democrats neglect the heartland at our own peril.'"

It took the New York Daily News' Ken Bazinet all of five words to use "Bubba" in his write-up of what he sees as Sen. Clinton's continued move to the center. LINK

The Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont on Gov. Vilsack's vision for the way forward for the Democratic Party. LINK

The Indy Star finds a sneaky way to lede with Sen. Clinton while appearing to lead with its hometown guy. LINK

(Spotted at the DLC meeting: Mark Penn and Thomas F. McLarty.)

House of Labor:

Steven Greenhouse of the New York Times does News Analysis of the politics, policy, and personalities behind Sweeney versus Stern. LINK

Mr. Stern lays out his case in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. LINK

Steve Elmendorf -- formerly the 436th member of the House and now, apparently, the master of the obvious -- puts the political ramifications in perspective for the Los Angeles Times: "'If we have a divided labor movement in 2008, if they are distracted or divided, that's not going to be helpful to us,' Elmendorf said. 'This is bad for Democrats, and good for Republicans.'" LINK

And Note Art Pulaski's optimism and hope (which, as Cornel West will tell you, are quite different) about the unions remaining in the federation helping to make up the significant financial shortfall.

The Washington Post's Tom Edsall zeroes in on the political ramifications as well: "One immediate political consequence is that the AFL-CIO will no longer be able to coordinate get-out-the-vote drives that include Teamsters and SEIU members and their families. Under the law, the AFL-CIO can only mobilize voters who are in member unions." LINK

Will politicians take sides?

"Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) offered his unequivocal support Monday for embattled AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, just as the once tightly knit coalition of labor unions Sweeney heads began to splinter," reports Roll Call's Mark Preston and Erin Billings.

More: "Democrats said they are not concerned the split would give Republicans an opportunity to make inroads into the labor movement. But privately they acknowledge the schism could weaken a united campaign front heading into the 2006 election."

"'At a time when the White House and [Republican operatives] are doing a good job mustering their resources, one of the most stalwart engines of the Democratic Party both in terms of money and workers is splintering,' said a senior Democratic Senate aide, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity."

USA Today's Stephanie Armour ponders the future of organizing. LINK

Harold Meyerson has been waiting for more than a year to write this particular Washington Post column. " . . . . the forces for unity of any kind are growing weaker by the day. Fewer dissident leaders are voicing the kinds of reservations about leaving that were audible just a few weeks ago. Yesterday, for the first time, Stern and Hoffa began to sketch the outlines of a new organization -- indeed, Hoffa promised to split the $10 million that the Teamsters would have paid in AFL-CIO dues between his own union's organizing department and a new organizing infrastructure that the yet-to-be-founded alliance will house." LINK

"In planning to build a new federation with some organizing capacity of its own, the dissidents are harking back to the old CIO, which, with Lewis at its helm, roared out of the old AFL determined to unionize America's industrial workers. The economic and political environment is decidedly more hostile to organizing now than it was then, but Stern, Hoffa and their allies recognize that they will have to win victories on a CIO-like scale to justify their split. No one can say whether the birth of this new labor movement will lead to a desperately needed reversal in fortune for America's workers. Some stars, after all, burn most brightly just before they altogether flicker out."

Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times takes a Golden State look at how the union split may or may not impact the special election this year. LINK

"Galvanized by the fight against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and strengthened by a decade of organizing success, Southern California union leaders promised Monday they would find ways to keep the regional labor movement working together despite the split of the national AFL-CIO."

"But doing so could pose considerable challenges to union officials, who have built the Los Angeles labor movement into one of the region's most formidable political forces."

Bush agenda:

The New York Times' Edmund Andrews rounds up the President's CAFTA vote round-up. LINK

". . .Bush administration officials scrambled Monday to negotiate side deals that might get them the two dozen or so additional votes needed to ensure passage. By day's end, they appeared to have nailed down at least five," write Vieth and Simon of the Los Angeles Times. LINK

"Vote counters on both sides of the issue said it remained unclear whether President Bush would prevail when CAFTA came up for a vote in the House, expected Wednesday or Thursday."

The Los Angeles Times' Simon reports the energy bill continues to clear hurdles and move toward that pre-recess passage. LINK

President Bush pledged to a group of African American leaders to redouble his efforts in applying pressure to corporations to give more money to faith-based organizations, reports the Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten. LINK

The politics of national security:

The New York Times says, "The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission, senior administration and military officials said Monday." The article by Schmitt and Shanker can be read here: LINK

Dean's Democrats:

"Democrats for Life" are seeking a more formal relationship with the DNC, reports The Hill's Alexander Bolton. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Another big Boston Globe day for the guy in the corner office.

Gov. Mitt Romney penned a Boston Globe op-ed today to explain his decision to veto the morning-after pill bill. LINK

"Signing such a measure into law would violate the promise I made to the citizens of Massachusetts when I ran for governor. I pledged that I would not change our abortion laws either to restrict abortion or to facilitate it. What's more, this particular bill does not require parental consent even for young teenagers. It disregards not only the seriousness of abortion but the importance of parental involvement and so would weaken a protection I am committed to uphold," he writes.

More Romney: "Because Massachusetts is decidedly prochoice, I have respected the state's democratically held view. I have not attempted to impose my own views on the prochoice majority."

And Note this about his evolution: "In some respects, these convictions have evolved and deepened during my time as governor. In considering the issue of embryo cloning and embryo farming, I saw where the harsh logic of abortion can lead -- to the view of innocent new life as nothing more than research material or a commodity to be exploited."

Scott Greenberger covers Gov. Romney's decision to come back to Boston from his New Hampshire vacation to veto the morning-after bill "that would allow trained pharmacists to give out the morning after pill without a prescription and would require hospitals offer it to rape victims." Although nixed by the governor, the House and Senate have approved the legislation by veto-proof margins. Romney used this legislation to stance a "pro life" view on abortion and wrote to lawmakers, "'I promised the people of Massachusetts that as governor I would not change the laws of the Commonwealth as they relate to abortion.'" Many organizations are angry at the Governor's hard lined view and believe his stance has altered since his election. In 2002 Romney responded to a Planned Parenthood questionnaire and told the group he supported "'the substance of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.'" LINK

Romney wrote a Note to legislators after he vetoed the bill telling lawmakers, "'To those who believe that life begins at conception, the morning-after pill can destroy the human life that was created at the moment of fertilization.'" LINK

Raphael Lewis Notes Gov. Romney's evolving stance on abortion over his political career and looks back to 1994 when Romney took on Sen. Kennedy and said abortion should be "safe and legal," but in 2002 he changed his tone to, "'I respect and will fully protect a woman's right to choose… and the women of our state should make it based on their beliefs, not mine and not the government's.' With 2008 aspiration on the horizon Romney's shift is now apparent and Michael Murphy, a top political advisory once quipped that Romney was a 'pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly.'" LINK

Per yet another Globe story, Gov. Romney responds to questions about his religion in this September's edition of the Atlantic Monthly and states, "'You know, the principles and values taught to me by faith are values I aspire to live by and are as American as motherhood and apple pie.' Sen. Kennedy also commented on Romney's Mormonism saying it would not hurt the governor in a national campaign, "'We've moved on,' he said. "'That died with my brother Jack.'" LINK

The New York Times' Pam Belluck continues to be the non-Boston reporter of record on Romney's life and times. LINK

The headline above this AP story says that "GOP Sen. Santorum Rules Out 2008 Bid," which is going a little bit too far, wethinks. LINK

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calls it a "non denial denial." LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that some Santorum advisers worried about the timing of his book. LINK

2008: Democrats:

The prolific Tom Beaumont of the Des Moines Register previews the upcoming Bayh and Edwards trips to the Hawkeye State. LINK

In his Des Moines Register column, David Yepsen taps Vilsack on the shoulder and cautions that he not forget the little (Hawkeye) people as the sun sets on his governorship. LINK

Roll Call's Paul Kane reports, "[Joe] Biden, who hasn't accepted donations from political action committees for his re-election campaigns since the mid-1980s, is asking for a minimum $2,000 contribution from PACs to be considered a 'friend' of Unite Our States. That's the name of the leadership PAC that Biden officially launches this evening at a private fundraiser, a six-figure gala hosted by 20 lobbyists, former lawmakers and Democratic fundraisers."


The Wall Street Journal's Preciphs looks at the heavy odds (even with history on their side) House Democrats face in taking control.

The New York Post's powerful double duo of Seifman and Dicker won't let the "Bloomberg for Governor" thing die, even as the Mayor gets almost as Shermanesque as possible. LINK

"One month after House Democratic leaders laid down harsh new penalties for lawmakers who do not pay party dues, the tactics have had mixed results, raising some new money but also eliciting complaints from disgruntled members," writes The Hill's Josephine Hearn. LINK

Peter Savodnik of The Hill reports, "Several members of Florida's Republican congressional delegation are breaking with the White House and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) as they throw their support behind Rep. Katherine Harris's (R-Fla.) Senate bid." LINK


Once again, the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg writes about rich and prominent New York Democrats supporting Michael Bloomberg, and once again he fails to get reaction from Maureen White, Howard Dean, and Denny Farrell. LINK

E.J. Dionne says the mayor of New York City is "roughly, 40 percent Giuliani and 60 percent Lindsay." LINK

Per the New York Times, Anthony Weiner is pro-faith based service delivery, LINK, and Thomas Ognibene admits his petitions are in jeopardy. LINK

San Diego voters head to the polls today in an attempt to get their city government back on course. LINK


The Columbus Dispatch's Mark Niquette moves the Noe coin investment controversy from the unaccounted for millions of dollars to the $12.6 million in expenses Noe charged the state. LINK

Other Tuesday schedule items:

The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Science, and Technology meets at 9:00 am ET for a hearing on mass transit training in the aftermath of the London terrorist attacks. Later, at 4:00 pm ET, Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff joins the full Committee for a hearing on "The Secretary's Second-Stage Review: Rethinking the Department of Homeland Security's Organization and Policy Direction."

At 10:00 am ET, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing to discuss the impact of energy trends in India and China on the U.S. The Committee meets again at 2:15 pm ET to consider the nomination of Karen Hughes to be undersecretary of state for public diplomacy.

At 10:00 am ET, Reps. John Lewis (D-GA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Melvin Watt (D-NC) join Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV), Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) for a news briefing on the Voting Rights Act.

Democratic Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) holds a pen and pad only news briefing at noon ET.

At 10:30 am ET, Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) joins John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" for a rally promoting the Children's Safety Act.