Political News Summary: Feb. 11

"A senior Republican lawmaker, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Hastert received no assurances from Bush that the White House will try to block passage of the Shays-Meehan bill … 'I don't think the president is going to get involved,' said the lawmaker. 'Bush doesn't want any piece of this. He doesn't see it as his fight, he sees it as our fight.'"

The story notes that McCain, "who planned to return to Washington Sunday night to prepare for the upcoming debate — is also featured prominently in television ads that will begin airing across the country today in the districts of nine Republican lawmakers who reformers believe could be critical to the debate's outcome. The ads, which will air on cable television networks, also feature Feingold, Meehan and Shays talking about the need for reform of the campaign finance system."

"GOP lawmakers targeted by the ads are Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Elton Gallegly (Calif.), Sue Kelly (N.Y.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), John McHugh (N.Y.), Doug Ose (Calif.), Jack Quinn (N.Y.), Jim Saxton (N.J.) and James Walsh (N.Y.)."

"Most of the nine voted for earlier versions of the Shays-Meehan bill but were still undecided going into this week's debate … Campaign for America, the pro-reform group founded by former Wall Street financier Jerome Kohlberg, which is financing the television ads, is also bankrolling phone-bank operations in 30 districts across the nation, including the nine targeted by the television ads."

Also today, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Joseph Lieberman will hold field hearing on the air quality at Ground Zero. The AP picks up on a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report that "Workers near ground zero and residents of the area never heard about a government report that said the dust from the fallen World Trade Center was as harmful as liquid drain cleaner. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports today that the US Geological Survey gave its report to the [EPA]. But the paper says the E-P-A never got the news to the people who needed to hear it."

Former Attorney General and Florida gubernatorial candidate Janet Reno is expected to speak at Justice Department memorial service today for Tony Sutin, the former Justice Department official who was killed in the recent shooting at the Appalachian School of Law, where Sutin served as Dean.

On Tuesday, the subpoenaed Ken Lay is planning to take the 5th before the Senate Commerce Committee, while several former SEC chairmen testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Enron and investor issues.

Former Vice President Gore will give a major foreign policy address at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, which is open to cameras. New York also will hold some special state legislative and local elections that day, including a state Senate seat in Manhattan that has drawn statewide and Rudy and Hillary attention.

And, First Lady Laura Bush will keynote a breakfast meeting of Town Hall Los Angeles, while Second Lady Lynne Cheney visits City Springs Elementary School in Baltimore.

On Wednesday, President Bush will meet with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Over in London, Rudy Giuliani will be knighted by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace. California's three Republican gubernatorial candidates will debate in San Jose. And John Walker Lindh will have his arraignment hearing in US District Court in Alexandria, VA.

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