The Note: Pal Joey


— -- WASHINGTON, August 9

If you want to understand the Lieberman story going forward, you have to play four-dimensional chess.

First Dimension: It is an article of faith among most elite Democrats that Joe Lieberman will get out of the race once he sees today's Democratic unity event in Hartford; once he understands how hard it will be to raise money; and once he starts getting insistent phone calls from his colleagues. Watch Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, Tom Carper, and Bill Clinton. (Don't expect to hear from Al Gore anytime soon.) But anyone who watched Lieberman's morning show appearances can sense that the man is not going to quit (at least not easily, and not yet).

Second Dimension: It is an article of faith among most elite Democrats and among bloggers that Bush/Cheney/Rove/Mehlman can't win a third straight election painting the Democrats as the Jane Fonda Party (weak on defense, angry, vaguely anti-American) because Iraq has caused a tipping point with the American people. This is NOT an article of faith among Bush/Cheney/Rove/Mehlman, who know how to use the media's obsession with the Lieberman story to define the terms of the midterms. If you find odds you like, bet against the capacity of B/C/R/M to get this done, but The Note does not recommend you take that as an even bet.

Third Dimension: It is an article of faith among Democratic operatives who dropped in at the end to help Lieberman and among national political reporters who covered the race that the Lieberman effort was pathetically disorganized. In mechanics, scheduling, and message control, the primary campaign was a mess. Can Lieberman put the right people in place to run a strong general election campaign? If so, it is an article of faith at The Note that he CAN win this race; not necessarily WILL, but CAN. Also, watch behind the scenes for the war for the soul of Joe Lieberman (with his wife, children, and twin of a different mother -- Al From -- on one side, and most everyone else on the other). James Carville endorsed Lamont this morning; what about Carter Eskew?

Fourth Dimension: It is an article of faith among the press that this race is about Iraq. And it certainly is a lot about Iraq. But Lieberman is not all wrong when he also says it is about whether his party will tolerate bipartisanship as an affirmative good -- even with George Bush as president. For most Democrats (and certainly for the ones who nominated Ned Lamont), they are done with cooperating and, as one told The Note this morning, they are only for "bipartisanship when it is 'bi,'" and they don't think B/C/R/M have ever or will ever do their part to make it "bi." The fight to define what this race is ABOUT -- in Connecticut and nationally -- is just beginning.

The political universe will be dominated by reaction to Sen. Lieberman's primary defeat and his decision to pursue an independent candidacy between now and November.

Ned Lamont is expected to be joined by former Lieberman supporters Sen. Chris Dodd, Connecticut Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo, and others at a unity rally on the steps of the capitol in Hartford, CT at 11:00 am ET.

Sen. Lieberman has no planned public events at this writing, but does plan to give a series of one-on-one interviews throughout the day. Per ABC News' Audrey Taylor and Jake Tapper, the Lieberman campaign has filed the official paperwork and signatures with the Secretary of State's office to run as an independent in November.

DCCC Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) hosts a conference call with reporters to discuss the results at 9:45 am ET. A response from Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and DSCC Chairman Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is also expected to come this morning after they had ample time to put their fingers in the wind last night. (We're told you can expect that Schumer statement at approximately 10:00 am-ish ET.) DNC Chairman Howard Dean travels to Wyoming today for a party fundraiser and is also expected to release a statement this morning on last night's results.

President Bush continues his abbreviated summer vacation at his Crawford Ranch with the First Lady. RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman attends a DeWine rally and holds a media availability with the Senator, after giving a speech this morning touting the Party's new themes.

Sen. Hillary Clinton offers tons of opportunities for on-camera reaction to Lieberman as she campaigns throughout NYC today, having stopped first at the Harlem YMCA to meet with the children and staff of the venue's summer camp program at 8:30 am ET. She then rushes to Brooklyn to meet with seniors and local Brooklyn leaders at 10:15 am ET before heading to Queens to do the same at 1:45 pm ET. She wraps up the day at an event to celebrate Congressman Charlie Rangel's 76th birthday in Manhattan at 7:15 pm ET.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) swears in Merita Hopkins as an Associate Justice of the Superior Court at 11:00 am ET in Boston, MA.

Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) holds a bill signing ceremony for ocean and lake protection in Nassau County at 10:30 am ET.

Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) attends a North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party fundraiser to help elect Democrats to the state legislature as part of his "Raising the States" initiative in Bismarck, ND at 6:00 pm ET.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) officially kicks off her re-election campaign as she travels to Marquette, Traverse City, Alpena, and Lansing, MI.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Joe Erwin holds a news conference at 10:30 am ET to discuss outsourcing and South Carolina's "staggering unemployment rate" in Columbia, SC.

The Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition, the National Council of Arab Americans (NCA), and the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation (MAS) hold a news conference to announce plans to hold a march and demonstration in Washington, DC to protest the "U.S.-Israeli War against Palestine and Lebanon." The press conference is scheduled to take place at the National Press Club at 9:30 am ET, and the march is scheduled to take place in front of the White House on Friday.

Sen. Lieberman's defeat:

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting:

Ned Lamont: 146,061 (52%)

Joe Lieberman: 136,042 (48% )

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: Democrats rally around Lamont (or not?):

Per ABC News' Jake Tapper, Sen. Hillary Clinton's political action committee, HILLPAC, has already cut a $5,000 check to Ned Lamont.

Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) HOPEFUND plans to send a $5,000 PAC check today to Lamont's campaign. "Lieberman Defiant In Defeat," the Hartford Courant's Pazniokas wrapping up the night and evaluating the prospects of a three-way race in November, Noting Lieberman supporters like Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Democratic congressional candidate Dianne Farrell were now backing the primary winner. LINK

"Lamont Defeats Lieberman in Primary," the New York Times points out that Senate Minority leader Harry Reid and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) are planning to announce this morning that they are supporting Lamont and that Lieberman's will to remain in the race "may soon collide with the will of many Democratic leaders in Washington and Connecticut." LINK

"Lieberman's NH supporters differ on his next move," Union Leader. LINK

"Voters Say it Ain't So, Joe," the New York Post on Lieberman's vow to run as an independent a "major headache" for national Dems.


"Political Gains and Pains," the New York Post lists the winners and losers behind Lieberman loss, Al Gore being a winner and Bill and Hillary Clinton being "losers." LINK

Well before the results were known, the Delaware News Journal reported the following on Sen. Carper's thinking: "If Lieberman loses, Carper said he should follow through on his promise to run as an independent and rejoin the Democratic fold if he wins a three-way race in November." LINK

Democrats Sens. Ken Salazar (CO) and Daniel Inouye (HI) have announced their disappointment in the results of last night's primary yet continue to throw their support behind Lieberman. Sen. Salazar touted Lieberman's record in Connecticut and their close friendship, while Sen. Inouye declared his concern about the polarizing issue of the war in Iraq, saying "I am very concerned about a trend in my party. It mirrors what has happened with the Republican Party, where one issue - such as abortion - is paramount in defining a 'good party member'." LINK and LINK

"Lamont's victory was fueled by new grassroots energy in the Democratic Party that is tired of losing elections. They are sick of Democrats who duck and cover rather than challenging the Right," Campaign for America's Future communications director Toby Chaudhuri writes The Note.

"Lieberman loses primary," the Washington Times using the phrase "referendum on the Iraq war" for about the umpteenth time this morning, while Noting the pressures Lieberman might face running as an independent and a to-do list from DailyKos blogger (and Lamont supporter) Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: morning shows:

"A political casualty of war?," asked ABC News' Diane Sawyer in the first headline on "Good Morning America."

"One reason things turned out this way? The Internet," reported ABC News' Jake Tapper in his look at the blogger influence on the race. Here's his piece on the same: LINK

Sen. Lieberman did the full round of morning shows this morning and told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that, "I'm in 'til November, and I certainly will not be all alone." Lieberman also made the points that only 15 percent of all registered voters participated in yesterday's election, that he was pleased that he "closed with some strength," and that his decision to run as an independent is not "selfish."

When questioned by NBC's Matt Lauer about the likely incoming calls today from fellow Democrats including Sens. Frank Lautenberg (NJ) and Chris Dodd (CT) and potential call from former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Joe Lieberman deliberately announced there is no one who would be able to persuade him not to run as an independent: "I'll always take the calls of friends, but my mind is made up."

Six years ago, after Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and other African-American leaders expressed misgivings about Gore's selection of Lieberman, the Connecticut Senator appeared before black delegates to the Democratic National Convention to assuage concerns about his record, including his failure to oppose a 1996 California ballot measure to abolish state-funded affirmative action programs and his support for experiments with vouchers.

"I feel as if I'm with family," Lieberman was quoted in 2000 by the Washington Post. "Don't let the press or our opponents divide us."

In a sign of how much things have changed since Lieberman took the stage to what the New York Times called "a prolonged standing ovation from the black delegates" and a "singing round of 'Happy Birthday' to Ms. Waters," Sen. Lieberman closed his interview on "Today" by singling out Rep. Waters along with Lamont as the people from whom he wants to "take back" the Democratic Party.

In light of yesterday's results, NBC's Tim Russert predicted on "Today" that "the war will be the central issue in the midterm elections."

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: analysis:

"Lieberman Defeated in Democratic Primary," the Washington Post on the "brutal swiftness" of Sen. Lieberman's "fall from grace among his fellow Democrats" which Dan Balz and Shailagh Murray attribute to "the growing strength of the antiwar movement inside the Democratic Party."LINK

The Washington Post duo also write that "some Democrats fear" the "continued divisions within the party" could affect Democrats' chances of "capturing three closely contested Republican-held U.S. House seats in Connecticut."

From the New York Times: "'This shows what blind loyalty to George Bush and being his love child means,' said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the leader of the Democratic House Congressional campaign. 'This is not about the war. It's blind loyalty to Bush.'" LINK

"Lieberman Loses Senate Primary In Antiwar Vote," Wall Street Journal on Sen. Lieberman's loss possibly sending "an ominous signal to other incumbents supportive of President Bush and the Iraq war."

"Lieberman's Loss: Joe Will Rise Again," Dick Morris in a near-must-read bullish on Lieberman's chances as an independent and more confident than ever that "Al Gore is emerging as the one for" Sen. Clinton "to worry about in 2008." LINK

"Hartford Current," ABC News' Jake Tapper discusses the results of the primary last night in Connecticut, where it appears as if Sen. Lieberman might have a shot as an independent in November. Just like in the 2000 recount, Lieberman admits his need to "push it down because you gotta go forward." LINK

"A Message, Loud And Clear," the Hartford Courant's Lightman analyzes where the outcome of last night's race will take the Democratic in the future, writing, "Three-term incumbent Joe Lieberman's primary defeat, many analysts said Tuesday night, could be the start of a return to the kind of one-issue, no nuance politics that badly wounded the party during the Vietnam era" causing a significant blow to the party's "center-left coalition that helped Bill Clinton win two terms in the 1990s and nearly got Al Gore and Lieberman elected in 2000." LINK

The Hotline's Jonathan Martin (a man with intimate knowledge of Connecticut politics) writes of the class divide apparent in last night's results. LINK

The Hotline's Marc Ambinder and Connecticut's own Kevin Rennie write of potential national and local support for Lieberman's indy bid from Republicans. LINK

Lieberman supporter Lanny Davis offers an opinion piece on placing the results in perspective. LINK

NRCC communications guru Carl Forti paints the Lamont victory as a "major setback" for the Democratic House candidates in Connecticut.

"The divided CT Democrat Party's grassroots and donor base will now continue to train their attention on vanquishing Senator Lieberman when their three House candidates need all the help they can get to defeat the state's independent, well-funded GOP incumbents," spins Forti.

"In addition, Sen. Lieberman's independent bid has the potential to draw a significant portion of votes away from Lamont, and with a nominal GOP candidate on the ballot, the opportunity to bring more Republican voters into the fold."

"Lamont defeats Lieberman," the Boston Globe has Lieberman aides claiming tightening of the race in the final days of the primary occurred because "Lamont is untested as a candidate" and "his supporters aren't committed to his candidacy." LINK

Senate majority whip Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Lamont's defeat: "The McGovern wing of the Democratic Party is staging a comeback."

"Lieberman loses, won't quit," the Chicago Tribune's Zeleny on Lieberman's "punishing rebuke" and traces the turning points and warning signs leading to it. LINK

"Angry Voters, Not Blogger Buzz, Lifted Lamont, Activists Say," Bloomberg's Roger Simon. LINK

"Connecticut Democrats Oust Lieberman in First Test of Anti-War Sentiment," Bloomberg News. LINK

"John Olson, president of the state's AFL-CIO and a former party chairman, said a three-way Senate race will pose a threat to the three Democrats trying to unseat Shays and the state's two other Republican House members."

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: Republican reax:

In an address to the City Club of Cleveland this morning, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman was expected to label the Democratic Party the "Defeat-ocrat Party," seizing upon the Lieberman loss, who he called "a callback to a different kind of politician. . . and a different kind of Democrat," to portray the modern Democratic party as embodying "isolationism, defeatism, and a 'blame America first' attitude."

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: op-eds and editorials:

"Lieberman Lesson," a New York Times op-ed Notes that Lieberman's problem "wasn't so much the war as the perception that he's a less than reliable partisan." LINK

"Lieberman's Loss: Joe Will Rise Again," a New York Post op-ed. LINK

"Incumbent Tumble Lets the Nuts in," New York Post columnist John Podhoretz on Lieberman loss ending "bipartisan consensus" on the Iraq war. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: Ned Lamont:

"Lamont Relied On Net Roots -- And Grass Roots," Washington Post. LINK

"Liberal, Locked in, and Loaded," the New York Daily News profiles Ned Lamont. LINK

Rep. McKinney's defeat:

Sen. Lieberman is not the only incumbent who failed to win re-nomination today. In a Georgia run-off election, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) was defeated by fellow Democrat Hank Johnson. The race was largely a referendum on McKinney, who came to national attention in March when she struck a Capitol Police officer who didn't recognize her.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting:

Hank Johnson: 41,178 (59%)

Cynthia McKinney: 28,832 (41%)

"Georgia voters oust McKinney from Congress seat - again," the Associated Press, Noting that McKinney also lost her seat in 2002 before reclaiming it in 2004. LINK

"House Incumbents McKinney, Schwarz Fall in Primaries," Washington Post. LINK

"Johnson Declares Victory Over McKinney," Atlanta Journal-Constitution. LINK

Rep. Schwarz's defeat:

In Michigan, Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-MI) went down to defeat at the hands of former Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI). The moderate Rep. Schwarz, who supports embryonic stem cell research and abortion rights while opposing a ban on same-sex marriage, was targeted by the anti-tax Club for Growth. The centrist Rep. Schwarz is close to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and some pundits will link his loss with that of Sen. Lieberman's to suggest that moderates of both parties are endangered in this polarized era.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting:

Tim Walberg: 33,144 (53%)

Joe Schwarz: 29,349 (47% )

"Walberg Ousts Schwarz," Detroit Free Press on the incumbent's defeat. LINK


"DeLay Rules out Campaign for His Former House Seat," the New York Times on DeLay's lawyer James Bopp Jr. who said in a telephone interview with the New York Times that being appointed or nominated to another office by Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is one of the ways to keep DeLay off the ballot. LINK

"DeLay Says He's Now an Ex-Texan," the Los Angeles Times. LINK

"DeLay is taking name off ballot," Houston Chronicle Notes that "mounting a successful write-in candidacy will be extremely difficult" for Republicans. LINK

"With DeLay withdrawal, GOP draws blank in race," Dallas Morning Star. LINK

A source close to Sugarland Mayor David Wallace tells ABC News that he expects Mayor Wallace -- who is "extremely close" to announcing that he will be a write-in candidate -- to be endorsed by DeLay. This Wallace source did not know whether the endorsement would come on the same day Wallace announces his candidacy or whether it would come shortly thereafter.

Asked whether Wallace would face any negative fallout from being endorsed by someone who resigned from Congress while under indictment, the Wallace source said that the people of the 22nd congressional district of Texas know that the Mayor of Sugarland is not Tom DeLay.

The Wallace forces are hoping Republicans will rally around their candidate.

One Republican who would have to be persuaded not to run is Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs who told ABC News: "I haven't made that decision yet but I'm certainly giving it my full thought."

Before the recent court decisions, Sekula-Gibbs had filed with the Federal Election Commission and was hoping that Texas GOP delegates would have the chance to place her name on the November ballot. With that possibility foreclosed by the recent court decisions, Sekula-Gibbs, like the other Republican hopefuls, has to decide whether she wants to run as a write-in candidate.

Having been denied the opportunity to run against Tom DeLay and Bob Ney, Democrats can be expected to portray Wallace and Ohio's Joy Padgett as the "handpicked" successors of "ethically challenged" GOPers.

"With DeLay Out, GOP Searches for Write-In Candidate," Washington Post. LINK

Note that Stu Rothenberg is quoted as predicting: "All things being equal, if current trends continue, the Democrats take the House. That's a pretty strong statement for August." Also Note that unnamed "GOP officials" are said to believe that state Sen. Joy Padgett, Rep. Ney's handpicked successor, may run afoul of Ohio's "sore loser" law.

Ney drops out:

"Candidate for Rep. Ney's Seat May Be Ineligible," the AP on possibility that state Sen. Joy Padgett may not be eligible to replace Rep. Bob Ney, obscuring GOP efforts to secure a smooth fall transition. LINK

"After Ney Exit, Padgett Faces Ballot Hurdles," The Hill. LINK

"Democrats Like Ney's Pick," Columbus Dispatch. LINK

2006: landscape:

"Antiwar challengers across US get a vote of confidence," the Boston Globe. LINK

2006: House:

"Perlmutter wins 7th District," the Denver Post on Peggy Lamm conceding to Perlmutter after 80% of precincts reported Perlmutter leading 53% to 38%.LINK

"GOP takes aim at Braley's legal work," Quad City Times on Republicans' targeting Iowa's 1st District Democratic candidate, Bruce Braley, for his litigiousness. LINK

"Pelosi: Iowa race key to Democrats' House control goal," the Des Moines Register prints Pelosi's comments on Iowa's 1st District race. LINK

2006: Senate:

"Bouchard, Stabenow Will Face Off in November," Detroit Free Press on County Sheriff Michael Bouchard's Republican primary victory yesterday against minister Keith Butler 60-40 percent. LINK

"Democrats Unify as Gov. Rendell Embraces Casey," Philadelphia Inquirer on Gov. Ed Rendell's stump yesterday for Democratic Senate candidate Bob Casey Jr. LINK

"Candidates line up for a sprint to the finish," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch saying that the victories of neither Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) or Democrat Claire McCaskill were a surprise. LINK

2006: Governor:

"A question of openness," the Boston Globe's ed board calls Massachusetts' Republican gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R-MA) to answer questionnaires from women's groups candidly, which she has thus far failed to do. LINK

"Gallagher considers quitting race for governor," the Miami Herald on GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher possibly dropping out to rally behind more "affable" candidate Charlie Crist. LINK

"Gubernatorial Challenges," Rocky Mountain News profiles both Republican candidate for Governor Bob Beauprez and his Democratic opponent Bill Ritter. LINK

2006: ballot measures:

"Minimum-Wage Measure Fights for Home on Ballot," Columbus Dispatch. LINK


"State fair brings our presidential hopefuls," Quad City Times on the Iowa State Fair, which begins Thursday. LINK

2008: Republicans:

"Frist to Barnstorm for GOP in August," The Hill on Sen. Bill Frist's (R-TN) plans to stump for fellow Republicans across the nation. LINK

"McCain Courts House Republicans for '08 Race," The Hill. LINK

"We are pleased to announce that United States Senator Gordon Smith will be joining Straight Talk America as a co-chair of the PAC. He will help direct Straight Talk America's efforts to help elect Republican candidates in the 2006 elections," per a Straight Talk America press release.

2008: Democrats:

"Eyeing 2008, Hillary Turns Right on Wrong Road," David Boaz's New York Daily News op-ed on Sen. Clinton's problematic shift towards center-right: "Clinton is sliding right on all the wrong things. Rather than countering the perception that she's a big government left-winger, she's simply adding pieces of the agenda of the big government right to her portfolio." LINK

"John Edwards a no-show as hundreds flock to rally," Montana's Great Falls Tribune on Edwards bailing on a Raise Montana rally to support upping the minimum wage, as "mechanical problems with his plane prevented him from attending." LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

"California vice," the San Francisco Chronicle's ed board criticizes Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R-CA) election-year placation "of the most powerful and politically active special interests, prison guards and tribal-gaming operators." LINK

Politics of immigration:

"LA Dem Melancon Tries to Use Immigration Issue to Advantage," The Hill. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

"Bush Eschews Harsh Medicine In Treating U.S. Oil Addiction," Wall Street Journal front page story.


"Senator Calls for V.A. Secretary's Resignation," the New York Times on Senate Minority leader Harry Reid calling for Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson to resign. LINK

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