Political News Summary: Feb. 11

We cringe a bit at repeating Elisabeth Bumiller's oddly gratuitous Sunday lead, but we found it noteworthy, particularly for the fact that Edwards isn't quoted anywhere in the story: "In less time than it takes to say, 'Senator John Edwards,' the North Carolina Democrat whose presidential ambitions have not gone unnoticed at the White House, President Bush has decided that it is time for full-scale Republican politics." ( http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/10/politics/10BUSH.html )

Senator Edwards' week-old trip to New Hampshire got yet another Sunday-night showing on C-SPAN last night, and our two favorite moments were: a) Edwards apparently failing to recognize Dayton Duncan (YOU don't have to know who he is, but trust us, Edwards does, and as a former Granite State primary combatant might say, it will be Gaffe City if he does something like that in 18 months); and b) a nice old lady being blown away by how young and handsome the Senator is.

The Sunday Boston Globe offered this: "As the clock ticks into the election year, the state Republican Party is desperately dialing for candidates in its search for a name to put on the ballot against US Senator John F. Kerry. But it's not getting any enthusiastic responses. GOP state chairwoman Kerry Murphy Healey even went so far as to call up retired General Electric CEO Jack Welch. She got as far as his secretary who called back and said Welch was not interested … [I]t's a tough sell, particularly after the 1996 election when William F. Weld, then the most popular political figure in the state and with access to big GOP donors, couldn't beat him. It's no wonder the national party has written off the race — which means no financial support from the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "The national party has zero interest," said one Massachusetts GOP leader. 'They won't even return phone calls about it."' ( http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/041/metro/Political_Capital+.shtml )

Now, we suspect that the Washington Times had this op-ed in the can for a little while. Otherwise we'd be scratching our heads over why, on the day before the campaign finance reform debate starts up again in the House, Senator Russ Feingold has an op-ed NOT on CFR, but calling for President Bush to "honor the terms of the War Powers Resolution, which requires the president to do more than outline his global military objectives with tough-talking generalities." ( http://www.washingtontimes.com/commentary/20020211-74331352.htm )

If you were going to compare the New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert to something from the world of Chinese food, it would not be sweet and sour. We think "hot and sour" is more apt, and we mean that as high praise. Check out Kolbert's New Yorker-length profile of the Rev. Al Sharpton in this week's issue, for the sweeping vantage.

Iowa's off-year precinct caucuses happen today, and the Des Moines Register 's Root notes that no prospective 2004 candidates are currently trolling in the state. About 25,000 Democrats and a few more Republicans than that will take part. ( http://desmoinesregister.com/news/stories/c4789004/17298670.html )

Politics

The Washington Post had a Sunday story on how House Republicans aren't counting on Bush coattails as they prepare for the midterm elections. ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51578-2002Feb9.html )

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