The Note: The Bounce of the Live Cat

ByABC News
June 12, 2006, 10:09 AM

— -- WASHINGTON, June 9

At this writing, there are no discernable political effects from the death of Zarqawi and the Iraqi cabinet appointments.

Nothing, we mean, that allows us to name a single midterm election race whose outcome will be different because of these developments.

And yet this is the ONLY story going as the week ends, so to review:

1. No public polling data to tell you about.

2. No DeanPelosiReid statements to tell you about.

3. The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg -- saying, in effect, "Back off, Abramowitz" -- has this: "Still, Bush's top aides - Karl Rove, Nicolle Wallace and Joel Kaplan - were clearly buoyed by the announcement, smiling and jovial as they gathered for the president's announcement."

4. The bloggers, the talk radio and cable hosts, the network political units: all P-R-E-D-I-C-T-A-B-L-E.

5. There is a canary-in-the-coal-mine press release from the Republican National Committee, part of their "The Real Dem Agenda" series with the charming picture of Leader Pelosi, that says in part: "COMMITMENT TO DEFEATISM, Some Democrats Call Al-Zarqawi Killing 'A Stunt' And Others Question Our Purpose In Iraq"

It features Pete Stark, John Murtha, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich, Hillary Clinton, and Dana Milbank. Cultural anthropologists can read it all here: LINK

6. Per the Wall Street Journal: "The National Republican Senatorial Committee yesterday dashed out a news release attacking the antiwar stance of Amy Klobuchar, a candidate seeking the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party's nomination for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota. 'Today's announcement should give pause to those who believe we cannot be effective in fighting terror in Iraq -- and that includes Amy Klobuchar and her DFL,' it said."

7. No offense to Scott, but Tony tick tocks with the best of them. The man should consider a career in journalism or as a Barnes and Noble kids storytime reader.

(Now: some newspaper reporter needs to prove Rush wrong and tick tock the long-gestating development of the White House's pre-packaged media rollout plan, which is not evil but smart.)

8. When the White House has Ray LaHood and Scott Reed on board, can Tony Fabrizio be far behind? (Reed, in Bloomberg: "This is a severe blow to the naysayers who have dominated the terms of the debate all year long. . . . Morale in the GOP will now rise.'')

With no gloating and feeling like he is in his first throes, President Bush is at Camp David today. At 9:10 am ET Mr. and Mrs. Bush greet the Prime Minister of Denmark and his wife on their arrival at Camp David. The two leaders hold a 10:50 am ET joint press availability. On Monday and Tuesday of next week the President plans to meet with his national security council to discuss Iraq.

NRCC Chairman Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) holds a 10:00 am ET pen and pad briefing with reporters.

Treasury Secretary nominee Paulson meets with Sen. Frist at 10:30 am ET.

The grand jury investigating the CIA leak case is expected to meet at 9:30 am ET.

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) discusses his immigration reform plan at 1:30 pm ET in Boston, MA at his brother's presidential library. At 5:30 pm ET in Dorchester, MA, Sen. Kennedy plans to address the future of Medicare and Social Security.

The first annual liberal blogging convention, Yearly Kos, is underway in Las Vegas, NV. Attendees will hear from Gen. Wesley Clark, Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Barbara Boxer, and many more prominent party figures (like Jennifer Palmieri) today. Howard Dean, Harry Reid, Mark Warner, and Tom Vilsack are expected to participate over the weekend. Here's the full schedule of events: LINK

"Sen. Reid understands that Republicans are going to continue to attack with everything they have, but he will use the speech to highlight a simple game plan designed to reject the Republican agenda of distract, distort, and divide while embracing a new direction for all," says Reid spokesman Jim Manley.

Manley also Notes that Reid is going to give the Democratic radio address this weekend on Iraq and deliver a address the Campaign for America's Future conference on Monday in Washington, DC.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean speaks to the Virgin Islands Democratic Party Unity Luncheon in St. Thomas at noon.

In anticipation of Tuesday's Democratic primary, Virginia Senate candidates Harris Miller and Jim Webb debate at the Washington Post Radio station in Washington, DC. The discussion airs on 1500 AM and 107.7 FM at 10:00 am ET, and will be rebroadcast at 11:00 pm ET tonight on Newschannel 8. Miller and Webb are vying to take on Sen. George Allen (R-VA) in November.

(Can anyone explain why there is no public polling in this primary race?)

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is in Syracuse, NY today announcing grant money for the Metropolitan Development Association at 3:30 pm ET and attending a ceremony honoring the Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative at 5:45 pm ET. This evening, Sen. Clinton plans to attend the Association for the Help of Retarded Children Rose Ball in Woodbury, NY at 8:00 pm ET.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) visits New Hampshire today where he keynotes the annual Grover Cleveland Dinner. Tomorrow, Sen. Bayh raises funds for State Senate candidate Molly Kelly in Keene, NH, and State Senator Iris Estabrook in Rollinsford, NH.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is scheduled to be the featured speaker this evening at the New York State Conservative Party annual dinner, New York, NY.

Gov. Romney (R-MA) is in California for political meetings and to spend time with his family.

Embattled Gov. Jim Doyle (D-WI) touts his dedication to stem cell research when he delivers the keynote address to the Wisconsin Democratic convention tonight. He then heads to the Golden State where he will keynote a stem cell conference at Stanford University. Also speaking at Friday's convention will be Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI).

You won't want to miss "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday. George will talk exclusively with former US Administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer on Zarqawi and what lies ahead. Also, NRCC Chair Tom Reynolds and DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel go head to head over the 2006 landscape, the Bilbray-Busby showdown in California, and more.

On Sunday, "This Week" will feature George Will's much anticipated interview with Grover Norquist. Here's a tease:

WILL: "Looking ahead two more years to 2008, probably fair to say the frontrunner for the Republican nomination is John McCain, who you have accused of Caesarism in his approach to leadership and have called him 'completely unstable.'"

NORQUIST: "What McCain has done is flip-flopped on the gun issue, on the tax issue. He used to be a Reagan Republican on taxes. He's voted against every one of President Bush's tax cuts. He voted for the first one before he voted against it, but he's voted against all of them."

"He used to be a critic of Kyoto, then he became a champion of Kyoto. He used to have the correct policy opposing campaign finance reform before the Keating 5 scandal and then he became a champion of restricting First Amendment rights."

"He's flip-flopped back and forth not because of where the American people are, but because of where the cameras are. And the challenge there, as an elected official who is -- the phototropism of going to the cameras is very damaging, from a conservative perspective, because that's unlikely to lead to conservative governance."

Can't wait for Sunday for your "This Week" fill? Have no fear. You can catch the "This Week All Week" webcast right now. George and Sam Donaldson chat about Iraq, and you won't want to miss ABC News political director Mark Halperin's take on the 2008 presidential race this week and find out which Democrats are doubling down on bloggers. Check it out here: LINK

Check out our look at the weekend political schedule below.

Politics of Zarqawi:
The Zarqawi killing seems to have added to the Brooksian view at 1600 that they may just be on a roll.

"White House officials were ebullient yesterday during a senior staff meeting where Zarqawi's death was discussed. One participant voiced optimism that a string of favorable developments -- the possible stabilization of Iraq, an initial easing of tensions with Iran, and public appreciation for the U.S. economy's strength -- will continue," write Bloomberg's Keil and Rosenkrantz. LINK

Washington Post header: "After Zarqawi, No Clear Path In Weary Iraq" LINK

". . . now the American people have something to grab onto that may help make the war in Iraq seem winnable - a clear victory against an unambiguous, unmistakable evil," writes John Podhoretz in his New York Post column. LINK

Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times reports that although the President was pleased with the news of al-Zarqawi's death, he cautioned jubilance. Meanwhile pollsters Noted that his death brings "reprieve" for Republicans, but there needs to be "sustained good news." LINK

The Washington Times' Amy Fagan reports that while Democratic leaders came out in support of the effort to "destroy" Zarqawi, some Democrats dismissed the measure, claiming it was not that significant and was being used by the White House to draw attention from other issues. LINK

"'This insurgency is such a confused mess that one person, dead or alive at this point, is hardly significant,' said Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat. 'Our troops are no safer today than they were yesterday. And no American is safer today.'"

The Wall Street Journal's ed board sees the killing of Zarqawi as simply "an opportunity" and opines that for it to amount to a "turning point," the Maliki government -- backed by Bush and the US military -- would have to "go on the offensive in Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle."

Politics of Zarqawi: the '08ers weigh-in:
While appearing on CBS' "Early Show," Sen. McCain was asked if the killing of Zarqawi would make it possible for US troops to come home sooner. "I think it makes a difference in the long-term," said McCain while adding that he "never believed" the US could draw down its troops as quickly as "some have speculated."

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) reacted to the killing of Zarqawi on FNC yesterday. Asked if it represented a turning point, Romney said: "Well, I think it is significant. But I think it would be premature to suggest they'll disappear. They'll keep on fighting."

Asked about when US troops can leave Iraq, Romney said: "I think we'll see, hopefully, the kind of stability returning to Iraq that will allow our troops to, perhaps, pull back. Perhaps go into Kuwait or other places and surrounding areas to respond, if needed. But I'm very hopeful that the direction that you're seeing in these last several weeks is a direction which would lead to our young men and women being able to return home in the not too distant future."

Politics of Iraq:
"Senior administration and military officials now acknowledge that there is little chance the United States can reach the milestone of reducing American troop levels in Iraq to 100,000 by December, a goal that earlier in the year had seemed within reach," reports the New York Times. LINK

Iraq prime minister Nouri al-Maliki lays out his strategy for a democratic Iraq in a Washington Post op-ed. LINK

Rep. Jefferson:
"With an eye toward charting the high road on ethics," writes The Hill's Josephine Hearn, House Democrats will vote on ousting Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) from the Ways and Means Committee next Thursday. LINK

Kornacki of Roll Call Notes that these developments could highlight tensions between the Congressional Black Caucus and Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who released the kickstand two weeks ago when asking Jefferson to relinquish his coveted committee seat "in the interest of upholding the high ethical standard of the Democratic Caucus."

The Los Angeles Times on same: LINK

Estate tax politics:
The Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins and Robert Guy Matthews report that Dr./Leader/Sen. Frist hopes to persuade Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to support a compromise on estate-tax repeal that would tax only the estates of the wealthiest Americans.

"Yesterday afternoon, Ms. Cantwell, Ms. Landrieu and other Senate Democrats met in Mr. Frist's office to discuss a deal. Ms. Landrieu, who voted against the full estate-tax repeal, 'does think there is room for a compromise,' her spokesman said."

Per the Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum, Frist vows "this won't be the last time this year the Senate votes on" the repeal of the estate tax, even though his counterpart, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), calls the bill "an absolute farce." LINK

The New York Times explores Leader Frist's decision to bring the estate tax repeal to the floor without having first locked up the votes. LINK

The Washington Times on the death of the death tax repeal: LINK

After the estate tax repeal unsurprisingly failed yesterday, Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) told the Los Angeles Times' Richard Simon what the nation has been thinking of the Republicans' recent initiatives: "The conservative base will appreciate the fact that we are trying." LINK

Politics of same-sex marriage:
The Wall Street Journal reports that after the Senate defeat of a gay-marriage ban, some on the religious right "debate seeking the requisite 34 states needed to call a constitutional convention."

The Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer calls the marriage amendment "a ban we don't (yet) need." LINK

Sen. Specter vs. the Bush Administration:
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is poised to become the leading new headache for the Bush White House, reports Rick Klein of the Boston Globe. LINK

The Washington Post's Walter Pincus has Sen. Specter saying in an interview: "I think he [Cheney] is serious about trying to work something out. For the first time, he said they are willing to consider legislation." LINK

In the same paper, Michael Fletcher writes that a recent exchange of letters between Cheney and Specter brought into public view the "simmering" tensions between the Administration and Specter, who has been openly critical of the administration's electronic eavesdropping and data-collection programs. LINK

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg covers similar territory and Notes the personal phone call Mr. Cheney placed to Sen. Specter yesterday. LINK

Politics of immigration:
The Wall Street Journal's Wirey John Harwood has an "adviser" to Sen. McCain, who like President Bush "backs 'comprehensive' border and guest-worker bill, saying, "I don't see how it comes out of conference in that form." The well-quaffed Harwood also reports that even before Bilbray's tough talk helped him win a San Diego House seat, GOPers in both House and Senate were mulling the possibility of passing a "security-only bill" before the midterms while business groups prepare to push a separate visa increase for "skilled workers."

Big Casino budget politics:
"Lawmakers have agreed to a long-sought $94.5 billion bill to pay for the war in Iraq and deliver an infusion of hurricane relief. The bill won't clear Congress for President Bush's desk until next week. . ., " reports the Associated Press. LINK

Note that the President apparently won't have to veto this baby. The Streak lives.

The Fitzgerald investigation:
Get ready to pony up. The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire reports that Mary Matalin is hosting a $500-a-head June 20 reception for Scooter Libby's defense fund. "A flier for the event says $5,000 co-hosts include former Commerce Secretary Don Evans, former Energy Secretary Spence Abraham, and Bush political ad-man Mark McKinnon."

Death penalty politics:
On the front page of the Washington Post, Candace Rondeaux and Michael Shear report that Gov. Tim Kaine's (D-VA) decision to put on hold for six months the execution of a "triple-killer" to examine his mental state "renews questions about the governor's commitment to enforce the death penalty." LINK

New Hampshire phone jamming:
The Democratic National Committee has directed its legal team to provide pro bono legal assistance to the New Hampshire Democratic Party as they seek to depose national Republican officials in the legal proceedings surrounding the 2002 phone jamming case. Specifically, if the court approves, the DNC's lawyers intend to depose Ed Gillespie, Terry Nelson, Chris Lacivita, Alicia Davis, Chris Cupit, and Darryl Henry.

Yearly Kos:
Politicians, union leaders, interest groups, and liberal devotees are flocking to Las Vegas' Riviera Hotel and Casino to eat, drink, and be merry with over 1,000 "netroots" activists at the Yearly Kos convention, paying tribute to the expanding blogosphere that's shaped the new media and allegedly transformed some Democratic campaigns.

Per the San Francisco Chronicle's Garofoli, "the most important outcome of this convention could end up being good old-fashioned networking, gained from actual human interaction. Or, as Yearly Kos organizer Gina Cooper described it, 'Showing that there are people behind the pixels.'" LINK

Unlike some of her fellow '08ers (Warner, Vilsack, Clark, and Richardson), Sen. Hillary Clinton is not scheduled to address the liberal blogging convention in Las Vegas, NV, Notes the New York Sun's Josh Gerstein. LINK

(Don't miss the to and fro between DailyKos' Markos Moulitsas and the DLC's Tammy Sun, or Joe Trippi's typical straddle.)

". . .mainstream media reporters are barred from the workshops even though the bloggers are putting it out there for all to see on their blogs." LINK

2006: landscape:
The Wall Street Journal's Harwood writes that Democrats find "mixed results" in Tuesday's results beyond CA-50. Democratic turnout in Montana's Democratic Senate primary exceeded balloting in the primary re-nominating Burns but the DCCC-preferred Steve Filson lost "badly" to business executive Jerry McNerney in a California House race against Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA). "DCCC-preferred candidates earlier lost primaries in key Kentucky and Ohio races."

2006: Governor:
Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer tells the Detroit News' Mark Hornbeck that the governor's race between incumbent Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) and Republican Dick DeVos will cost $100 million. LINK

Kathleen Gray of the Detroit Free Press reports that Granholm (via the Michigan Democratic Party) has finally entered the television ad war after watching four months (and $5.4 million) of statewide ads from challenger DeVos. LINK

"Because [Granholm] is an incumbent with a very high name recognition, it was imperative for her not to get out too early, but save her money for the longer stretch. But DeVos was smart to go on the air early. It was shrewd because it shows he's competitive," says Craig Ruff of the Lansing-based Public Sector Consultants.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver was surrounded by his former rivals to present a united Democratic front heading into the general election. The Des Moines Register has the story. LINK

The Dayton Daily News reports on Rep. Ted Strickland's (D-OH) call on his Republican opponent Secretary of State Ken Blackwell to step down from his post of overseeing the November 7 election. LINK

"Mel Martinez, the first Cuban-American elected to the U.S. Senate, will endorse Crist" today in his race for governor, reports the Florida Sun-Sentinel. LINK

In the Florida Democratic primary, a new Florida Chamber of Commerce poll claims that State Sen. Rod Smith has caught up with US Rep. Jim Davis. LINK

The St. Petersburg Times Notes Smith's association with and contributions from Eddie Dugger, whose American Institutional Services, a prison vending service, was recently raided by the FBI. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:
The San Francisco Chronicle's Marinucci writes up Schwarzenegger's "re-branding," complete with a new, green campaign bus. LINK

2006: Senate:
Virginia Senate Democratic primary candidate Harris Miller is on the defensive according to the Washington Post's Chris Jenkins, over his history as a lobbyist for Oracle, Microsoft, and other global enterprises that push for open borders and free trade, i.e. non-union beliefs. LINK

As Chris Matthews likes to do in every debate he moderates, he asked Miller and Webb if Sen. Clinton should run for president in 2008. Per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Miller said he is backing former Gov. Warner. Asked if he would support Clinton or Warner for president, Webb said, "I remain undecided." LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Infield Notes that Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is seizing upon his base's preoccupation with immigration by making it an issue with opponent Bob Casey (D), even though Pennsylvania is geographically distant from the debate's epicenter. LINK

The AP reports that Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) has lost yet another key staffer -- this time, it was her chief of staff in Washington. LINK

2006: House:
US News & World Report's Gilgoff on Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) efforts to convince his House Republican colleagues that he is viewed quite differently back home in Ohio than he is in Washington, where he is now best known as Representative #1: LINK

2008: conventions:
Per Page Six of the New York Post, the DNC's technical committee is visiting New York this week to assess the infrastructure of the potential 2008 convention host city. LINK

2008: Republicans:
The New York Post's Page Six picks up the Giuliani/Romney social dinner at Davio's Sunday evening. LINK

Gov. Romney touted his state's health care reform while in San Diego. LINK

The AP on proud papa Pataki at his son's graduation from the Marine Corps' basic school in Quantico. LINK

2008: Democrats:
On his first trip to New Hampshire as a potential 2008 presidential candidate, Tom Daschle told the Union Leader's John DiStaso that he wants to keep the Granite State as host of the first presidential primary in the country with no caucuses between Iowa and New Hampshire. LINK

"The beauty of New Hampshire is it affords people who may have no money or organization to at least hold open the possibility that he or she can be competitive because of his or her ability to connect with the voters," Daschle said.

The AP's Mary Clare Jalonick writes, "The former three-term senator, who is considering a White House bid, excoriated President Bush in a speech to Democrats in Manchester, arguing that the chief executive and his administration 'have got to be the most arrogant crowd I ever worked with.'" LINK

And don't miss Jim Cole's excellent accompanying AP photo which tells us two important things.

1. The Merrimack Restaurant is as much a must-stop as it has ever been.

2. June 2006 may even be a bit early for Granite Staters to start gathering in large numbers to poke and prod the potential '08ers.

While in Israel, John Edwards endorsed Prime Minister Olmert's unilateral realignment plan. LINK

House of Labor:
The AFL-CIO takes on China. The New York Times' Greenhouse has the story. LINK

In his farewell address to the House, Tom DeLay went out with one last swipe to the Democrats, using his speech to "deride compromise, defend partisanship, and attack liberalism."

Per the Dallas Morning News, "Most Democrats in the chamber listened for about five minutes before leaving, providing an apt coda to a career built on unapologetic, take-no-prisoners tactics." LINK

The Houston Chronicle on the Hammer keeping his moniker till the end: LINK

DeLay went out with a hiss from House Democrats, reports the Washington Times' Christina Bellantoni. LINK

The New York Times: LINK

The Chicago Tribune: LINK

The Los Angeles Times: LINK

The Washington Post: LINK

Susan Hirschmann, former DeLay chief of staff, embarked on $85,000 worth of private travel from 2000-2002, according to the Center for Public Integrity's latest report on privately funded travel. The Washington Post's R. Jeffrey Smith has the details. LINK

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne looks at the "resounding" 61 to 39 percent defeat of Proposition 82, the California ballot measure that would have guaranteed access to preschool for all of California's 4-year-olds and writes that its proponents might have gotten closer to their honorable goal with a "smaller program directed at the poorest kids and requiring a smaller tax increase." LINK

Sen. Robert C. Byrd:
Kathy Kiely of USA Today Notes on Sen. Robert Byrd's long standing career in the Senate, making him the longest serving Senator in history and writes, "Some say the Senate will always be a place where gray hair rules." LINK

The weekend political schedule:
Minnesota's Democratic Farmer Labor Party convenes for its annual convention in Rochester, MN.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) celebrates his 53rd birthday tomorrow before heading to Iowa on Sunday to campaign with Chet Culver and Bruce Braley.

Northeastern University hosts former Governor Michael Dukakis and CNN analyst William Schneider for a conference on the "Swing Voter in American Politics" in Boston.

The Western Governors Association will have its annual meeting at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona beginning Sunday.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is scheduled to give the commencement address for the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH on Sunday and then raise some funds for Sen. DeWine's reelection campaign.

Gov. Romney will help raise some funds for the Arizona GOP tomorrow in Scottsdale, AZ.