Morning Political Note: Jan. 24

"Liberal groups today will highlight the record of a conservative judge as part of their campaign to tarnish President Bush's judicial nominees as right-wingers who will 'seriously threaten the rights of all Americans,'" the Washington Times (in its usual niche) reports. "Such organizations as People for the American Way, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, the Alliance for Justice and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights plan a press conference on the 'problematic record' of Mississippi District Judge Charles W. Pickering … The report is expected to include criticism of the pro-life stance of Judge Pickering, who has been nominated to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Pickering was chairman of the first national Republican platform committee that called for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion." ( )

The Washington Times also notes how little controversy there actually was over President's Bush once highly controversial recess appointments. ( )

As Senate Majority Leader Daschle plans to reconvene debate over the farm bill, the Washington Post offers a good look at how the inefficient snarl of farm subsidies is not only never going to go away, but how the money is going to fewer farmers in larger amounts, and not always to the struggling, Willie Nelson-type farm families everyone prefers to envision. ( )

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary

Dick Gephardt made it onto CBS' Early Show this morning at his populist best, decrying Enron executives as "immoral." Bryant Gumbel gave him an inordinately free and explicit shot to preview his economic speech today, and the congressman took the chance to do it, then fought off Bryant's half-hearted attempt to get him to declare his intention to seek the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination right on the show.

Of course, he'll have a bigger day next Tuesday with his response to the SOTU, but Gephardt's speech today gets advance clips in the Los Angeles Times and hometown paper the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the wires, and mentions in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post .

John DiStaso's influential "Granite Status" column in the Manchester Union-Leader leads today with Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's upcoming keynote speaking slot at the New Hampshire Democrats' 100 Club dinner on Saturday, March 2 at the Marriott Courtyard in Concord. ( )?article=8320

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