Monday, August 21, 2006
Political Hot Topics
HARD LINE AGAINST IMMIGRATION IS THE "SAFER POSITION" FOR GOP: There seems to be little doubt that a hard line against illegal immigration is the safer position in a GOP primary. But many Republicans believe, in a year when many national trends are not blowing their way, that it is also the safer position in a general election. It is a counterintuitive strategy: The way to win a swing district is not with a campaign aimed at swing voters. Instead, the goal is to motivate conservatives with anti-illegal-immigration appeals, hoping they overcome their disenchantment with GOP policies in Washington. Of course, Republicans also hope to snare independents and even some wayward Democrats with the immigration issue. But they plan to do it with hot words -- not with the cool centrism that is more typical in districts where both parties have run competitively. Washington Post: In Porous Border, GOP Sees An Opening

DEMS ADD NV, SC TO CALENDAR: Seeking to broaden the party's nominating process, Democratic leaders voted Saturday to add Nevada and South Carolina to the opening rounds of the 2008 presidential contest. The move could prove significant by introducing new voices and issues into the race for the White House -- but only if Democrats choose to seriously campaign in the two added states. Iowa and New Hampshire -- host of the first caucus and primary, respectively -- have long dominated the early balloting, and many of the Democrats' 2008 prospects have opposed changing the political calendar. None wished to anger activists in those traditional proving grounds. Los Angeles Times: Democrats Add Nevada, S.C. to Early 2008 Voting

NH SEC. OF STATE REACTS: Secretary of State William Gardner said he will choose when New Hampshire Democrats vote for their Presidential candidates -- not the Democratic National Committee, which [Saturday] ordered the state to share more of the nominating spotlight in 2008. "As chairman of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean is not going to pick the date of the New Hampshire primary," Gardner told the New Hampshire Sunday News. Democrats in Chicago approved a calendar calling for New Hampshire to retain its first-in-the nation primary with residents casting votes Jan. 22, three days after Nevada would conduct its caucuses. "The primary's going to be held on a date that honors our tradition and the action taken by the DNC dishonors that tradition," Gardner said. He said the "tradition" means Iowa and New Hampshire kicking off the nominating process. Gardner plans to wait until late next year to set the actual primary date. Manchester Union-Leader: Dem bums! DNC puts NH behind Nevada

COUNTDOWN TO PRIMARY DAY IN AK... GOV'S JOB ON THE LINE: It's not every year that the primary election, where voters select a Democrat and Republican to face off in the governor's race, upstages the general election, where people actually choose a new leader. But this time, the incumbent governor is in danger of losing his warm-up campaign, despite promising that he's the only one who can usher in a gas pipeline deal that will fuel the state's economy for the next 50 years. "It's become painfully obvious that many of you are questioning your support for me," Murkowski says in a new campaign commercial, his face framed by soft lighting and a string of yellow roses rising behind him. In the spot, which began airing over the weekend, Murkowski asks voters for one more chance. Anchorage Daily News: Republican voters face year's biggest decision

REPUBLICANS' "SAFETY WALL" OF CASH HAS "ERODED": The traditional fundraising advantage held by incumbent lawmakers -- which Republicans have regarded as a safety wall in their effort to keep control of Congress -- has eroded in many closely contested House races, as many Democratic challengers prove competitive in the race for cash. In a year of bad omens for the GOP, the latest batch of disclosure forms filed with the Federal Election Commission offers one more: Incumbency no longer means that embattled Republican representatives can expect to overwhelm weakly funded Democratic challengers with massive spending on advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts... Of this year's 27 most vulnerable [GOP] incumbents, 14 face challengers who have raised at least $1 million, according to FEC reports. At this point in 2004, no Democratic challenger had raised $1 million. What's more, all but one of the 27 Democratic challengers has raised at least $400,000. Washington Post: GOP's Financial Edge Shrinks

ROVE'S REP, "VISION" ON THE LINE: [Karl] Rove knows something about tough battles, and he's in another one. Freed from the uncertainty over whether he would face criminal charges -- an indictment would have forced him to vacate his West Wing office -- Bush's top strategist is focusing his full attention on the fall elections. Some Republicans see him as their best hope for heading off disaster in November... At stake is more than Rove's reputation as a canny tactician. A Democratic takeover of the House or Senate would not only jeopardize President Bush's ability to pass legislation but also enable Democrats to launch the sort of inquiries and subpoenas that Republicans used to bedevil the Clinton White House. Losing control of Congress would undercut Rove's vision of building a durable Republican majority. USA Today: GOP counts on Rove to head off disaster

TIME COVER: "THE PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS OF HILLARY CLINTON": If you ask anyone around Hillary Clinton the question that everyone is asking, the answer comes back in a shot: The freshman Senator from New York is far too busy concentrating on her re-election in November to be giving even a passing thought to 2008. Thank you very much. But politics is ultimately a game of logistics, and the junior Senator is putting the machinery in place for a campaign that looks far grander than a re-election cakewalk in New York. All it will need is for someone to throw the switch. TIME: Ready To Run

McCAIN BUILDING HIS '08 TEAM: Senator John McCain is locking up a cast of top-shelf Republican strategists, policy experts, fund-raisers and donors, in a methodical effort to build a 2008 presidential campaign machine, drawing supporters of President Bush despite the sometimes rocky history between the two men. Mr. McCain's effort to woo a diverse lineup of backers and scare off rivals has augmented his travel schedule on behalf of Republicans - which this week and next includes trips to Iowa, Louisiana, Virginia, South Carolina, Ohio and Florida. New York Times: McCain Mines Elite of G.O.P. for 2008 Team

McCain's bench

LIEBERMAN ON RUMMY... "TIME FOR NEW LEADERSHIP AT THE PENTAGON": Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, facing continued criticism from many in the Democratic Party because of his support for the war in Iraq, leveled his most pointed criticism yet at the Pentagon during a television interview on Sunday, calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Ned Lamont, who defeated Mr. Lieberman in the Democratic primary this month, said later that he had advocated that stance for months, and he questioned the timing of the senator's criticism... "I think it's still time for new leadership at the Pentagon," Mr. Lieberman said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "With all respect to Don Rumsfeld, who has done a grueling job for six years, we would benefit from new leadership to work with our military in Iraq." New York Times: Lieberman Jabs at Rumsfeld, Saying Military Needs a Change

KERRY SAYS LIEBERMAN IS "DEAD WRONG" ON IRAQ, "OUT OF STEP" WITH VOTERS: Senator John F. Kerry yesterday blasted Senator Joseph I. Lieberman over his decision to stay in the Connecticut senatorial race as an independent, saying Lieberman "is making a Republican case" to voters and is echoing the words of Vice President Dick Cheney in his campaign. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, said on ABC's "This Week" that Lieberman is "dead wrong" on the issue of the Iraq war, and said he is making a "huge mistake" by aligning himself with Republicans who support it. He urged Democrats to coalesce behind Ned Lamont, who defeated Lieberman in the Aug. 8 Democratic primary, based largely on his strong antiwar stance. Boston Globe: Kerry calls Lieberman 'out of step' with voters

OBAMA ARRIVES IN AFRICA WITH "FANFARE": The last time he traveled to Africa, he wore a backpack and walked with anonymity. Fourteen years later, he arrives with a title, an entourage and such fanfare that some roads in his father's village have been freshly paved in his honor. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) arrived [in Cape Town, South Africa] Saturday to begin a two-week, six-nation sweep through Africa, a journey steeped in political significance and personal reflection as he returns to the continent of his late father for the first time as a U.S. senator. Amid the jubilation, Obama worried his visit had mistakenly raised expectations that he could shower prosperity on a Kenyan province that has long been awash in poverty. "There is a sense that somehow I can deliver the largess of the U.S. government to that region," he said in an interview last week as he prepared for his trip. "And I can't." Chicago Tribune: Obama returns to Africa as celebrity

HAGEL HITS GOP POLITICAL TACTICS ON TERRORISM: American politicians are undermining the U.S. fight against terrorism by seeking political advantage from arguments over national security, Sen. Chuck Hagel said Sunday. The fight against terrorism is "too serious to be left to headline seekers or politicians or political parties," the Nebraska Republican said on "Fox News Sunday." Hagel, a possible 2008 presidential candidate, has often been a critic of Bush administration policies, particularly its conduct of the Iraq war. Hagel acknowledged concern about GOP tactics on subjects such as a federal judge's ruling last week that ordered the U.S. government to stop warrantless wiretapping of telephone calls involving suspected terrorists. After the ruling was handed down, the Republican National Committee issued a statement saying: "Liberal judge backs Dem agenda to weaken national security." That type of comment is counterproductive, Hagel said. Republican Sees Danger in Party's Barbs Over National Security

"MATINEE MITT" WOWS 'EM IN L.A.: California Republicans believe a handsome, blue-state Republican such as Mitt Romney would turn the presidential map upside down in 2008, appealing to the voters on both coasts who normally back Democrats in national elections. Mr. Romney is eyeing a White House bid as he finishes his last few months in the Massachusetts governor's mansion, and made his case to state party activists this weekend at the California Republican Convention. They loved him -- cheering wildly for a stump speech that closely resembled a stand-up routine and later praising him as someone with the right kind of fiscal and conservative values. "He's got the charisma Kennedy had and the morals we wish Kennedy would have had," said Republican Donee Chabot of Los Angeles, who works in real estate. Washington Times: Romney golden to GOP in blue state

RENDELL'S CASUAL RACE: Far ahead in the polls and flush with campaign funds, Gov. Rendell so far is running a more low-key campaign than he did four years ago, when he battled from behind to win the Democratic primary and, later, the general election. Though he still spends a lot of time on the road, his campaign stops have, for the most part, been marked by feel-good speeches about what his administration has accomplished over the last 3 1/2 years, rather than big, bold campaign promises about what he would do if he is reelected. And though he's taken several bus tours around the state, he's done them without the usual entourage of reporters and television cameras recording his every word. At campaign stops, he never even mentions his opponent, Lynn Swann, by name. Philadelphia Inquirer: Rendell's campaign is low-key and upbeat

ANTI-WAR PROTESTERS EXPECTED TO GREET BLOOMBERG IN IRELAND: Not all Irish eyes will be smiling when Mayor Bloomberg visits the Emerald Isle tomorrow. Some anti-war protesters, angry with Bloomberg's support of Israel and President Bush, said they will hold a peaceful vigil while he dedicates a memorial in Ballymote, County Sligo, to the New York's Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment. "We had no problem originally with the mayor's visit to Sligo, but we were very concerned about his recent comments in support of Israel," said Tim Mulcahy, one of the organizers of the Sligo Anti-War Movement. "He's not the person who should receive a warm welcome here in Sligo," Mulcahy told the Daily News. Last month, Bloomberg issued a statement commending "President Bush and his cabinet for their continued support of Israel and its right to defend itself." New York Daily News: Irish anti-war activists to protest Mike's visit
Posted By Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau: 8/21/2006 09:13:00 AM ET | Permalink
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