The Note: Pending: Six Days of November Surprises

ByABC News
October 23, 2006, 9:36 AM

— -- WASHINGTON, Oct. 23

How the (liberal) Old Media plans to cover the last two weeks of the election:

1. Glowingly profile Speaker-Inevitable Nancy Pelosi, with loving mentions of her grandmotherly steel (see last night's 60 Minutes), and fail to describe her as "ultra liberal" or "an extreme liberal," which would mirror the way Gingrich was painted twelve years ago.

2. Look at every attempt by the President to define the race on his terms as deluded and desperate; increasingly quote Republican strategists saying that the President is hurting the party whenever he enters the fray.

3. Refuse to join the daily morning Ken Mehlman-Rush Limbaugh conference calls, despite repeated invitations. LINK

4. Imbue every Democratic candidate for whom Bill Clinton campaigns with a golden halo.

5. Paint groups that run ads or do turnout for Republican candidates as shadowy, extreme, corrupt, and illegitimate; describe their analogues on the left as valiant underdogs, part of a People's Army (with homage to Rich Lowry).

6. Care more about voter disenfranchisement than voter fraud.

7. Take every Republican quote expressing some trepidation about the outcome and banner it.

8. Drop any pretense of covering good news from Iraq (uhm….) or good news about the economy, including some upcoming positive macro numbers (Quick, Note readers: name the current Secretary of the Treasury.). LINK

9. Amplify Obama-mania as a metaphor for the Democratic Party being the party of excitement and the future.

10. Fail to follow Bob Novak's analysis of the difference between Democratic and Republican oppo plants. LINK

11. Lock in the CW (which, shockingly, could be wrong) that the winner of two out three Senate races in Virginia, Tennessee, and Missouri will control the Senate.

12. Carefully document what appears to strategists in both parties to be the case -- while a few incumbent Republicans are clawing their way back into contention (including and especially, perhaps, Tom Reynolds), the number of endangered Republican-held seats is growing, not shrinking.

As in: "In a measure of the party's growing optimism, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to announce Tuesday that it will begin airing advertisements in 11 new districts, including eight the party had not considered competitive until recently, party sources say," write the Los Angeles Times' Brownstein, Hennessy-Fiske, and Jarvie in their story looking at the expanded field of play in the battle for control of the House. LINK

The Los Angeles Times data bank at the bottom of the story suggests that eight of the 11 districts newly targeted by the DCCC are represented by Reps. Melissa Hart (R-PA), Richard Pombo (R-CA), John Doolittle (R-CA), Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), Gil Gutknecht (R-MN), Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-NJ), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Ron Lewis (R-KY).

Bill Burton, the communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, tells The Note that the DCCC does not plan to make a formal announcement about its new targets either today or tomorrow.

But by Tuesday, the new targets will "become clear to everyone."

One day after opening the door to a 2008 presidential run, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) attends a GOTV rally with Senate candidate Jim Pederson, Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) and House candidate Harry Mitchell in Tempe, AZ at 1:00 pm ET.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) meets with GE Global Research leaders to discuss renewable energy technologies at 9:45 am ET in Niskayuna, NY and campaigns for Kristen Gillibrand, the Democrat running against Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) in New York's 20th congressional district, in Averill Park, NY at 3:45 pm ET.

The Garden State, Bob Menendez, Tom Kean, and the national parties all eagerly await the anticipated New Jersey Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage -- which could be coming any day now. The New York Times' Mansnerus has the story, with the focus on the potential national and state implications for November 7. LINK

In an effort to keep voters focused on pocketbook issues, President Bush will make a statement on the economy during his 1:20 pm ET event at the Urban Trust Bank in Washington, DC.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said over the weekend that President Bush intends to mention how optimism about the economy and rising hopes for strong third-quarter earnings lifted the Dow Jones industrial average past 12,000 for the first time on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the President and First Lady welcome King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden to the White House. The President also participates in an 11:20 am ET photo op with crew members of the Space Shuttle Discovery.

One has to ask: will the RNC and others convince the POTUS to scale back his national media aspirations?

Vice President Cheney attends a fundraiser at a private RNC fundraiser in Greenwich, CT at 6:00 pm ET.

First Lady Laura Bush attends a 6:30 pm ET fundraiser for Sen. George Allen (R-VA) at a private residence in McLean, VA.

Former President Bill Clinton raises money for the Ohio Democratic Party as well as for Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the Democrat running against Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH), and Rep. Ted Strickland, the Democrat running against Ken Blackwell to be governor of Ohio, from 6:00-8:00 pm ET at the Hyatt in Columbus, OH.

Obama opens the door:
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) opened the door to a White House run Sunday, saying that he has "thought" about running for president while indicating that he won't make a final decision until after the midterm elections.

When ABC News' George Stephanopoulos asked Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) Sunday if he thought the junior Senator from Illinois was ready to be president, Sen. Kerry stopped short of answering the question and patted himself on the back for selecting Obama as the keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

"I think he's a very interesting and very powerful communicator with a great deal of skill," said Sen. Kerry. "I wouldn't have picked him if he didn't. And I'm really pleased to see the way in which the country is ratifying my judgment on that."

In an "America Weakly" missive sent to reporters following "Meet the Press," the RNC Noted that Sen. Obama seemed to waver on whether the phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq should begin by the end of 2006 as he proposed in the newly published "The Audacity of Hope."

""[K]eep in mind I was writing this three or four months ago. It may be at this point it happens at the beginning of the year," said Sen. Obama.

"Barack Obama has become, in a matter of weeks, the new It candidate for the Democrats," reported ABC News' Claire Shipman on "Good Morning America."

(Note to donors/bundlers and Granite State operatives: let us know if you get a call please.)

With an impressive Nagourney/Zeleny double byline, the New York Times writes up Sen. Obama's movement toward a consideration of a presidential candidacy in 2008. Note Howard Wolfson's refusal to comment and Evan Bayh adviser Anita Dunn listed as one of Obama's experienced political advisers. LINK

The Washington Post's Dan Balz has Democratic strategist Steve Elmendorf saying of Sen. Obama: "If he runs and Mrs. Clinton runs, I don't think there's a lot of room for anyone else. The two of them take up an enormous amount of political space."LINK

Note that several Obama advisers "denied that they had conducted focus groups about an Obama candidacy, as some other Democrats have suggested." Of course, the article doesn't have any denial of polling in Iowa. . .

Sounding very Elmo-like, the Hotline's Chuck Todd is quoted in USA Today saying of Obama: "It hurts a lot of candidates not named Hillary Clinton. If he got in and she ran, there'd be no room for anybody else. There'd be no oxygen left in the room."LINK

Chuck Neubauer of the Los Angeles Times has former Dean strategist Joe Trippi saying that "Obama 'certainly has the skill, the talent and the star quality' -- and if he decides to run, 'it changes the whole dynamic of the race.'" LINK

After quoting Obama strategist David Axelrod, Neubauer writes that a "second Democratic strategist, "who asked to remain anonymous for professional reasons, said it 'may be difficult' for Obama to translate his popularity into a White House run after only two years in the Senate."

"'My guess is that he will consider [2008] too early,' the strategist said."

"'He has a lot more presidential campaigns in him.'"

The New York Sun's Josh Gerstein has Dick Harpootlian, the former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, saying, "He's a tremendously talented young man but I think he's a little green at this point. I'm sure it's flattering to hear this talk, but I think he needs to stay in the Senate awhile. He's got to get re-elected first. That was John Edwards's problem the last time around." LINK

Harpootlian, who was on board with Mr. Warner, "said he isn't sure where to look next. 'Nobody in the process right now excites me,' he said."

Gerstein Notes that Obama's record puts him to Clinton's left on the war and to her right on reining in class action lawsuits.

In a story looking at Obama's "decided and unequivocal shift" on 2008, the Chicago Tribune's William Neikirk has Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) sounding very supportive of an Obama bid for higher office. LINK

Al Hunt of Bloomberg News writes that if American politicians were stocks, Sen. Obama "would be a Warren Buffett investment: great long- term value."LINK

The New York Daily News' Helen Kennedy wisely Notes that while Sen. Clinton was being asked about the recent Time magazine cover about her perceived polarizing personality, Sen. Barack Obama was becoming "a far greater threat to her political ambitions." LINK

More from Bill Lambrecht of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. LINK

Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich each took a weekend semi-swipe in their New York Times columns at the idea that Obama is the Democratic Party's silver bullet. LINK and LINK

Pelosi politics:
There was an explosion of coverage of Nancy "Two Heart Beats Away" Pelosi over the weekend.

In her much-anticipated "60 Minutes" profile, Lesley Stahl asked the San Francisco Democrat how she would work with President Bush as Speaker, "we're professionals…this isn't personal."

In response to the Bush Administration's attacks on her ability to lead, Pelosi said, "As a mother and as a grandmother, 14 years on the intelligence committee, don't tell me I have I any underestimation of what the threat is to our country. So if you want to justify your failed policy by saying we don't understand the threat, clearly you didn't understand the situation you got us into."

Pelosi does, however, pledge that "impeachment is off the table . . . it is a waste of time, wouldn't they just love it if we came in and our record as Democrats coming forth in the next 12 years is to talk about George Bush and Dick Cheney." Instead, she believes that this election "is a referendum on them" and "making them lame ducks is good enough for me"

Newsweek's Isikoff and Bailey look ahead to what a potentially Democratic run House would look like. The duo also Notes how Nancy Pelosi has been preparing for power. LINK

". . . Over the summer, when polls started tilting toward the Democrats, Pelosi made her first moves to get the control of the chairmen-in-waiting. She assigned 40 members the job of studying the Democratic House rules and let it be known that she might not always follow the tradition of awarding chairmanships based on seniority. It was a clear warning not to cross her. In July, when she noticed few members were bothering to show up for party caucus meetings, Pelosi quietly leaked another possible rule change: attendance at the meetings would be taken into account in her committee selections. The same went for fund-raising. Members who weren't writing checks to support Democratic candidates might hurt their chances of rising in the leadership."

2006: House:
Geoff Earle of the New York Post reports Rep. Peter King (R-NY) -- who has not been considered an endangered incumbent this year -- "plans to empty his $1.6 million campaign war chest by Election Day -- a sign that the senior lawmaker is sweating his race in a dicey year for the GOP." LINK

In Sunday's Washington Post, Steve Hendrix had a friend of DCCC Chairman Rahm Emmanuel (D-IL) describing him as being "like Lyndon Johnson, who finished almost every campaign in a hospital bed. As someone from Texas, I don't make that comparison lightly, but Rahm just may be our skinny, nine-fingered, Jewish, Chicago version of LBJ." LINK

Bravo to Hendrix for minimizing the number of cliches in this Rahmbo profile, and for going to Manny's with the Chairman.

The South Florida battle between a Republican incumbent who has served 26 years in the House and his 49 year old Democratic opponent who has raised more money than any other Democratic challenger this cycle is one of the most watched House contests heading into Election Day. Abby Goodnough of the New York Times has this look at FL-22: LINK

USA Today's Martin Kasindorf takes a closer look at Reps. Richard Pombo and John Doolittle, both Golden State GOP congressmen, running for reelection, find themselves in hot water. LINK

Tom Witosky of the Des Moines Register discusses the differences between Republican Mike Whalen and Democrat Bruce Braley on trade. LINK

The Boston Globe's Joseph Williams on the possible first Muslim lawmaker in the House. LINK

Ed Vogel writes up one of Nevada's toughest House races, between Jill Derby (D-NV) and Dean Heller (R-NV). Heller is quoted in the article as saying, "If this were 2002 or 2004, the race would be over. It is because of the national mood (against Republicans) that this seat is in play." LINK

2006: Senate: Tennessee:
In a piece looking at Tennessee, Missouri, and Virginia for Sunday's Los Angeles Times, Ron Brownstein had Andrew Arulanandam of the National Rifle Association saying that the gun-rights group "will not criticize Ford, who received a B grade from the organization. LINK

"That could amount to a major bullet-dodge for Ford," writes Brownstein.

Newsweek's Jonathan Darman profiles said Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN) in the magazine's cover package on some of the centrist Democrats (Ford, McCaskill, Webb, Casey) who may hold the key to the Democratic Party gaining the majority in the United States Senate. Ford's ambition, family history, and morning prayer all get some play in the profile. LINK

Richard Wolffe of Newsweek explores how -- at the urging of the White House -- Lamar Alexander image maker Tom Ingram has been sent to rescue Bob Corker. LINK

Newsweek's Ellis Cose ponders the truthfulness of poll respondents in Tennessee when asked if they would vote for Harold Ford, Jr. LINK

Neither Corker nor Ford is very happy with the activity of their respective national parities in Tennessee. Both men say negative ads are slowing their ability to spread their message reports Brian DeBose of The Washington Times. LINK

The Nashville Tennessean on the RNC's ad attacking Ford. LINK

2006: Senate: Virginia:
In Sunday's Washington Post, Tim Craig and Michael Shear looked at how Senator "Don't Tuck Tail and Run" said recently: "The president has his ideas on Iraq, John Warner has his and I have mine." LINK

The Washington Post's Lisa Rein takes a look at the Allen and Webb attempts to soften their images in the hopes of capturing the female vote.LINK

In this week's New Yorker, Peter Boyer profiles the Virginia Senate race and writes that James Webb, a Democrat "who is licensed to carry a pistol and whose campaign vehicles include a camou?aged Jeep, will not be mistaken by voters for Howard Dean --or George Allen."

2006: Senate: Missouri:
The Kansas City Star's Goldstein and Klaske Noted yesterday that it's "no more Mr. Nice Guy" for Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO), as he makes his attacks on opponent Claire McCaskill (D-MO) personal. LINK

2006: Senate: New Jersey:
The Newark Star-Ledger's Deborah Howlett and Joe Ryan Note that the weekend's guests foreshadowed a possible 2008 showdown, as Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) campaigned for incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NY) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stumped for challenger Tom Kean Jr. (R-NJ). LINK

Kean gets front page New York Times profile treatment looking at his defeat in a GOP primary for a House seat in 2000 and the political career he has been building since then. Timesman David Chen has the story. LINK

Kean also gets profiled by David Segal in the Washington Post's Style section in a piece that Notes all the legacies on the ballot this year. LINK