The Note: Finding The Gang



The President is in excellent health (and/but the same cannot be said for his Social Security efforts).

Per ABC News' Ann Compton, he'll announce his recess appointment of John Bolton to be ambassador to the UN this morning. Time tbd.

Bob Novak semi-breaks his silence -- against lawyer's orders -- to push back against the CIA. LINK

Ron Brownstein uses his Los Angeles Times column to brilliant explain the risks and rewards bound up in the Hillary Clinton-DLC alliance. LINK

Governor Pataki plans to veto a morning-after pill bill, and New York liberals are going to be in high dudgeon. LINK

The MSM loves Sen./Leader/Dr. Frist's stem cell decision; it loves free trade but isn't crazy about the way the CAFTA votes were rounded up; it hates the transportation bill; it wants Paul Hackett to win tomorrow's special House election in OH-2 (although in this case, it is less liberal bias than wanting the good story); and it will spend the day reading the Ken Auletta story. LINK

Questions for you to ponder?; is the over/under for Roberts votes in the Senate appropropriately set at 70 for wagering purposes?; and why hasn't anyone reported who appeared at the Wilson leak investigation grand jury on Friday?

(Insert clunky Mondy transition here:)

A man who is as concerned as anyone with those matters, President Bush, is in Washington, and does not have any public events on his schedule today, sans the Bolton announcement, which he will make in person. He is planning to leave for Waco/Crawford on the morrow, after signing the CAFTA legislation.

Voters in Ohio's 2nd congressional district choose the successor to former Rep. Rob Portman's seat. The Republican, Jean Schmidt is favored, but the Democrat, an Iraq War vet named Paul Hackett, is receiving plenty of attention, in part because of his strong opposition to the war, and in part because of his outspoken criticism of the Commander in Chief.

Because both national committees have now spent real money on the contest, and because the district voted overwhelmingly for President Bush last year, this is one of those cases in which the national media will be justified in treating only one of the two outcomes as a real story. And you can guess which one that is. (We can hear the Chairman Rahm quotes even now…..)

Meanwhile, in Detroit, voters go to the polls for the city's mayoral primary. The main contenders include current mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and former deputy mayor Freman Hendrix.

Also tomorrow, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) begins a three-day visit to Iowa.

The 9/11 Public Discourse Project holds a discussion on foreign policy in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia at 9:30 am ET Tuesday. 9/11 Commission Vice Chair Lee Hamilton moderates a panel that includes former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger.

On Wednesday, President Bush speaks to Republican legislators about his agenda in Grape Vine, TX.

The Young Democrats of America begins its national convention in San Francisco, CA. Expect appearances by Leader Nancy Pelosi, Governor Bill Richardson, Rep. Barney Frank, Rep. Mike Honda, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Ellen Tauscher, and CA State Treasurer Phil Angelides. The full list and schedule can be found at: LINK

Gen. Wesley Clark and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) travel to the Big Apple to attend Rep. Charlie Rangel's (D-NY) 75th birthday bash at Tavern on the Green.

Robert Novak addresses the Young America's Foundation National Conservative Student Conference at 9:00 am ET.

Former Sen. Warren Rudman and former Rep. Lee Hamilton hold a 10:00 am ET press conference on Wednesday to launch Partnership for a Secure America, a new national security group.

On Thursday, the President meets with Colombia President Álvaro Uribe Vélez and his wife, with a joint press availability following.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) turns 44.

The Republican National Committee begins its annual summer meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.

On Friday, the President has no public events scheduled.

Be sure to catch the 2005 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, a three-day extravaganza beginning at 8:00 am ET Friday. At 9:30 am ET, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams joins Jon Bon Jovi and ABC's own Cokie Roberts for the opening plenary ceremony.

Bush agenda:

Kevin Hasset leads his Bloomberg piece provocatively: LINK

"Social Security reform is dead. How it died tells us a lot about both U.S. political parties." It is a must read.

In Sunday's Los Angeles Times, Janet Hook took a "glass is (more than) half empty" approach to the accomplishments President Bush and his fellow Republicans on the Hill are touting. LINK

". . . the accomplishments of the last six months may be a forecast of what Bush can hope for during the rest of his second term: pushing harder than ever for aims less ambitious than he hoped -- or than he achieved in his first term," wrote Hook.

Whereas the Washington Post's Chuck Babington and Jim VandeHei did the "glass is half full" version on Saturday. LINK

Paul Krugman's New York Times column applies his BushWorld worldview to CAFTA, energy, and transportation. LINK


Three reporters of the Washington Post interview colleagues of a 26-year-old special assistant to the attorney general and find that, yup, the young man had principles and stuck to 'em LINK

Their focus is Roberts' record on civil rights issues -- a possible area of high horsing during the confirmation hearings, with the potential to give Scott McClellan a tough time as he gets peppered with questions about the Administration's position on a range of civil rights issues (like that "quota" bill signed into law by the last Republican president!!!).

Look no further than his decision in the 2003 "hapless toad" case to get a sense of where John Roberts stands on the "federal government's power to regulate interstate commerce," writes the San Francisco Chronicle's Bob Egelko. LINK

Charles Lane of the Washington Post tries to shake the tree for information about Judge Roberts's view of capital punishment. LINK

The New York Times is doing an outstanding job not demonizing the Federalist Society (at least: not as much as it would have ten years ago) in its ongoing Roberts coverage. Jason DeParle today takes a broad look. LINK

The leak investigation:

Bob Novak today writes on Plame, Harlow and Pincus.

"A statement attributed to the former CIA spokesman indicating that I deliberately disregarded what he told me in writing my 2003 column about Joseph Wilson's wife is just plain wrong. Though frustrated, I have followed the advice of my attorneys and written almost nothing about the CIA leak over two years because of a criminal investigation by a federal special prosecutor. The lawyers also urged me not to write this. But the allegation against me is so patently incorrect and so abuses my integrity as a journalist that I feel constrained to reply." LINK

"There never was any question of me talking about Mrs. Wilson 'authorizing.' I was told she "suggested" the mission, and that is what I asked Harlow. His denial was contradicted in July 2004 by a unanimous Senate Intelligence Committee report. The report said Wilson's wife 'suggested his name for the trip.' It cited an internal CIA memo from her saying 'my husband has good relations' with officials in Niger and 'lots of French contacts,' adding they 'could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.' A State Department analyst told the committee that Mrs. Wilson 'had the idea' of sending Wilson to Africa."

"So, what was 'wrong' with my column as Harlow claimed? There was nothing incorrect. He told the Post reporters he had 'warned' me that if I 'did write about it her name should not be revealed.' That is meaningless. Once it was determined that Wilson's wife suggested the mission, she could be identified as 'Valerie Plame' by reading her husband's entry in 'Who's Who in America.'"

Fabulous, inscrutable Time magazine item about Karl Rove and Colin Powell: LINK

Fabulous, inscrutable Saturday New York Times correction: "An article on Thursday about the part played by Walter Pincus, a reporter for The Washington Post involved in the C.I.A. leak case, misstated his view about the reason an administration official might have volunteered information to him about the role reportedly played by the wife of the diplomat Joseph C. Wilson in arranging her husband's trip to Niger. Mr. Pincus wrote in the current issue of Nieman Reports that he believed the official was "practicing damage control by trying to get me to stop writing about Wilson" - not by trying to get him to write about Mr. Wilson." LINK

"The article also misstated the month in 2003 that the special prosecutor in the case said that another reporter, Judith Miller of The New York Times, talked to a specified government official. It was July, not June."

"The article also carried an erroneous dateline. It was written in Washington on July 27, not 26." KQ Kit Seelye of the New York Times looks at how newsrooms are dealing with the Judy Miller fallout. LINK


Elsa Walsh can barely contain her apparent horror at Sen. Harry Reid's unique ways (Oh, the McCue teasing!!!) in her non/semi-loving New Yorker profile. LINK

Maura Reynolds of the Los Angeles Times wraps the Sunday chatter on stem cells, leading with Sen. Specter's whip count (62) and his hope to achieve a veto-proof majority (67) when it comes time to vote. LINK


Author/professor/Texan/Michigander/RNC adviser/presidential confidante Matthew Dowd uses space on the New York Times op-ed page to tell us this important thing: demographic and economic changes in Mexico will make dealing with illegal immigration from that country less of an issue in the near future. LINK

Politics of national security:

Writes the New York Sun's Josh Gerstein (with his tongue somewhere), "Is the Bush administration's decision to de-emphasize use of the phrase 'war on terror' an unheralded concession to last year's unsuccessful Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Kerry of Massachusetts?" LINK

2008 Republicans:

With the New York Times this weekend declaring (Globe-like) that George Pataki "is all but certain to mount a presidential bid," LINK the paper today says that Pataki will veto a morning-after pill bill (Romney-like) with all the attendant political talk. LINK

This after the state's branch of NARAL says it is going on the air in New York, Iowa, and New Hampshire with a TV ad buy that the paper describes as a "blitz," but we wonder how big the buy really is.

The AP has the story too. LINK

The Republican Wing of the Republican Party in Massachusetts does not trust Gov. Romney. LINK

The Boston Herald Notes that if Gov. Romney makes a 2008 bid his vacation spot in Wolfeboro, N.H may be end up like the next Kennebunkport. LINK

Saturday's Boston Globe reported that Romney's legislative agenda is now considered DOA by Democrats in the legislature. LINK

"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's dramatic decision to break with the White House by supporting expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell research exposed a deep split among Republicans and set the stage for President Bush's first veto," writes Andrea Stone and Judy Keen of USA Today. LINK

Sen. Santorum's "radical feminist" moniker, as applied to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," makes the front page of the Washington Times's web site. LINK

In the New York Post, D. Orin writes it up. LINK

When asked for reaction, DSCC spokesman Phil Singer had this to say to the New York Daily News: LINK "'Every time Rick Santorum opens his mouth, he shows that he would have been one of the 13th century's greatest senators. . .'"

The AP's James Jefferson passes along the Note that New Hampshire's Strafford County Republicans (HEART) Huckabee (and/but not just for his name) -- and asked him to pack up and join them for an August 27 picnic. LINK

2008: Democrats:

David Yepsen speculates in the Des Moines Register that although Tom Vilsack's new PAC may cloak him in Hawkeye support, a favorite son status for the Iowa governor could potentially corrupt the state's Democratic caucuses. LINK

Tim Higgins of the Des Moines Register reports that although Vilsack may appear to be working through Labor Day -- on a presidential candidate's to-do/visit list -- spokesman Matt Paul maintains that New Hampshire simply requested the honor of the Iowa governor's presence (at a state Democratic fundraiser). LINK

Todd Morrison of the Manchester Union Leader writes that John Edwards once again brought the issue of poverty to the table at a New Hampshire pig roast this weekend. LINK

The Manchester Union Leader's John DiStaso details Edwards' reservations surrounding John Roberts' seeming resistance to governmental regulation. LINK

Which is to say: Edwards got Union Leader stories both weekend days for his troubles!!!


"As the fight over the Central America Free Trade Agreement in the House ended last week with a narrow vote for passage, campaign strategists from both parties were already beginning to gauge how the issue might play out in key races next November, " writes Roll Call's Ben Pershing and Erin Billings.

"Seeking to capitalize on the CAFTA fight in their quest to regain the majority, Democrats immediately began arguing that several Republicans exposed themselves to campaign peril with their votes."

"One issue that continued to spark interest in both parties was the potential impact of a strongly-worded letter sent by 20 unions to House Democratic leaders last Monday. The letter expressed disappointment that the leaders were not formally whipping against CAFTA and pointedly said, 'Our work to help elect at-risk members, at your urging, will not extend to those who vote against us on this issue.' The letter specifically mentioned Democratic Reps. Melissa Bean (Ill.), Jim Matheson (Utah) and Dennis Moore (Kan.), all of whom hold swing districts and all of whom voted in favor of CAFTA."

Fred Dicker -- he of the New York Post -- forces state GOP chair Minarik to say that he opposes Randy Daniels as the party's gubernatorial nominee not because he is black, but because he has low name ID and limited fundraising ability. Oh, and Dicker thinks that Jeanine Pirro will announce for attorney general this week and take a pass on facing Sen. Clinton. LINK


The Cincinnati Enquirer's Wilkinson writes of the slightly less frenetic candidate campaign schedules in Ohio's second congressional district on the Sunday before election day. Be sure to Note Tom Noe's name in this homestretch story. LINK

Michael Saul's New York Daily News column follows the New York Times' weekend reporting on the Ferrer campaign going up (this week) with the first TV ad in the Democratic primary and Notes a hefty final week buy from Team Miller. LINK

Have you heard the one about Mike Bloomberg chasing Jews to the Catskills? The New York Times' McIntire has. LINK

The New York Daily News has some one-liners for you from Bloomberg's Borscht Belt campaign swing. LINK

The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg gets a byline and a contributor's line in a two-item piece that has (a) the third installment of his coverage of prominent Gotham City Democrats supporting Republican Mike Bloomberg (Howard Wolfson, speaking for himself -- and not the Democratic Party of New York or Sen. Clinton -- doesn't like it, but Howard Dean and Maureen White can't seem to find time to return Jimbo's calls.); and, (b) recent polling about Hispanics and Freddy Ferrer, which Jef Pollock says is on the up-and-up. LINK

You can call me "Al TV":

"Time" women Karen Tumulty and Laura Locke get to the guts of Al Gore's television undertaking -- launching today -- that is now consuming much of his post- (and he asserts that it is most definitely "post-") political life.

"Current TV is only one of the ventures that Gore has undertaken in the afterlife he created for himself as a businessman who is out to change the world. The former Vice President, 57, is chairman of Generation Investment Management, a London-based investment firm that he started last year with former Goldman Sachs Asset Management CEO David Blood. For a partnership that no one seems able to resist calling Blood & Gore, they have a serious and high-minded investment philosophy. Generation aims to find and invest in companies that will pay off by virtue of enlightened approaches on energy, the environment, employee relations and other policies that will benefit society as well as their bottom lines." LINK

"The concept for Current TV has evolved substantially since Gore and Hyatt, an old friend and political ally, started talking in December 2001 about developing a new way of delivering the news. They thought of creating a left-leaning political website or a liberal alternative to Fox News. Ultimately, Gore and Hyatt assembled 21 investors who put up a reported $70 million with which they last year bought Newsworld International (NWI), an international news channel, from Vivendi. The fact that nearly all of them are also big Democratic contributors (including Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, MTV creator and former America Online exec Bob Pittman and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein's financier husband Richard Blum) has raised questions about whether they are investing in Gore's business plan--or doing him a favor. 'There may be a mixture of motives,' concedes Orville Schell, dean of the journalism school at the University of California, Berkeley, and a board member of Current TV.' "

"That's why it's no small irony that the biggest boon to the venture came from none other than media baron Rupert Murdoch, whose Fox News Channel Gore once called a 'fifth column' that has turned 'daily Republican talking points into the definition of what's objective.' Chances are, Current TV would never have got even this far had Murdoch not given it NWI's existing slot on his DirecTV satellite system, which accounts for 14.5 million of the nearly 20 million households Current reaches. It's a big start toward the 50 million Gore hopes to attain in five years. 'Rupert Murdoch right now is the biggest contributor to the possible success of Current,' says John Higgins, business editor of Broadcasting and Cable magazine."

(Perhaps Time doesn't remember when Murdoch team taught Gore's Columbia J-school class….)

David Bauder of the AP has specifics on the output of Current TV. Some industry professionals are squeamish about potential political undertones, but the programmers -- hoping that Gore's name can score an audience, and subsequent ratings -- maintain there will be no ideological preaching.

"Based on material previewed on its Web site, Current at first glance seems like a hipper, more irreverent version of traditional television newsmagazines."

"Most of its programming will be in 'pods,' roughly two to seven minutes long, covering topics like jobs, technology, spirituality and current events. An Internet-like on-screen progress bar will show the pod's length." LINK

The Washington Post has Stylin' coverage too. LINK