The Note: Tough Duck

"Two big unions that broke away this week from the AFL-CIO are moving quickly to launch a new national labor federation by September. 'We're looking at Ohio or another Midwest battleground state for the founding convention,' a top source in the breakaway group told me yesterday," reports Juan Gonzalez in his New York Daily News column. LINK

Bob Novak on the unions and the Democrats: "James P. Hoffa of the Teamsters and Andrew Stern of the SEIU have rejected organized labor's political illusion. They may not know how to cure what ails the nation's unions, but they cannot buy Sweeney's notion that salvation lies in electing Democratic politicians." LINK

"James P. Hoffa of the Teamsters and Andrew Stern of the SEIU have rejected organized labor's political illusion. They may not know how to cure what ails the nation's unions, but they cannot buy Sweeney's notion that salvation lies in electing Democratic politicians."

Ethics:

The Hill's O'Connor reports on Speaker Hastert's efforts in urging the Ethics Committee to create new rules governing privately funded travel for Members of Congress. LINK

"The Senate Select Committee on Ethics is expected to end its investigation of alleged classified leaks by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) in the next eight to 10 weeks, according to a source familiar with the probe," reports The Hill's Alexander Bolton. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Michael "Coop-a-Loop" Cooper of the New York Times gets the "word" "Patakidämmerung" into the paper in his wrap up of George Pataki's big announcement, and quotes some prominent Pataki supporters urging him to run for "national" office. LINK

"Gov. Pataki and his inner circle might really believe he could be President one day. But observers outside of Pataki-land, on both the left and the right, aren't buying it," writes New York Daily News columnist Bill Hammond who gives Grover Norquist and Howard Wolfson some play. LINK

The New York Daily News reports: "Hours later, [Pataki] held a reception at the East Side's swank Water Club to thank deep-pocket contributors - the kind who could help bankroll a presidential run." LINK

"Several people in attendance said he also made a joking reference to his newfound love for Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina - all early stops on the way to the presidency."

New York Daily News editorial board: "Ten-plus years have produced a decidedly mixed record, but the clock is still running. Pataki has 17 months to recover his early verve and add to the positive side of the ledger, starting at Ground Zero." LINK

The New York Post ed board has mixed feelings about Pataki's record and possible "national" run. LINK

And in the same space, John Podhoretz leads a chorus of voices saying Pataki shouldn't run for president (although the Pod sees a Senate run -- sans HRC -- as the right move). LINK

Sen. Bill Frist gets ink in USA Today for his gun liability vote maneuvers. LINK

Roll Call's Paul Kane on McCainiana: "Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has taken a pair of recent steps that could help lay the groundwork for a White House bid in 2008, severing his official ties with a nonprofit reform group and restarting his political action committee."

"While his Straight Talk America PAC gives him a renewed political platform, McCain also has formally stepped down from the board of the Reform Institute, a group he formed with his top strategists to push his signature issue of campaign ethics."

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