Friday, August 11, 2006
Feds propose to tighten border ID requirements
(CNN) -- Federal officials outlined Friday their their upcoming plans to tighten identification requirements for travelers seeking entrance to the United States.

On January 8, 2007, those traveling by air or sea -- including U.S. citizens and others not now required to show a passport or similar identification must show one -- from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central and South America will have to present accepted documentation, according to the departments of Homeland Security and State.

Congress' 2004 passage of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative precipitated this action. The actions aim to bolster border security "and facilitate entry into the United States for U.S. citizens and legitimate international visitors," the two departments said in a press release.

Though passports are preferred, DHS is also proposing the Merchant Mariner Document and NEXUS Air Card are acceptable. The rule extends to cover land border crossings by January 1, 2008.

The public has until September 24 to comment on the proposal before a final rule is issued later this year, DHS spokeman Jarrod Agen said.
Posted By CNN's Washington Bureau: 8/11/2006 02:35:00 PM ET | Permalink
State Department renews travel warning to Pakistan
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States on Friday renewed its warning to U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Pakistan amid rising concerns over terror activity that would be directed against U.S. interests.

The warning, originally issued in April, was reissued after authorities in Britain arrested 24 people in connection with what authorities said was a plot to down commercial jetliners with explosives.

A senior Pakistani intelligence source confirmed Friday seven arrests in Pakistan last week that led to Thursday's arrests in Britain.
Posted By CNN's Washington Bureau: 8/11/2006 01:18:00 PM ET | Permalink
The politics of terrorism
From The Morning Grind

It took no time for the war on terrorism to become the hot political issue of the week, three months before voters head to the polls and choose which party is going to control Congress next year.

Democrats seized on Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-Connecticut) primary loss on Tuesday, describing it as a referendum on President Bush and the Iraq war. Republicans countered that Democrats are soft on national security and bowed under pressure from the anti-war wing of the party to ex-communicate a loyal Democrat who has served three terms in the Senate. On Thursday, the rhetoric got red hot after British authorities announced that a major terrorist plot has been disrupted. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) used the opportunity to criticize the Bush administration for the Iraq war, which was echoed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) who described Iraq as "a dangerous distraction, and a profound drain on our financial and military resources."

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman responded in kind.

"On a day when American authorities are working with our allies to stop a global terror plot, instead of focusing on political attacks, we should focus on the fact that we are at war and need every tool to win the war on terror," he said.

But Democrats see an Achilles heel for Republicans on Iraq. A CNN poll conducted earlier this month showed that 62 percent of Americans disapprove of how Bush is handling the Iraq war. But a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll released this month shows that 50 percent of Americans approve of how Bush is handling the war on terrorism. So now Democrats are seeking to tie these two issues together so that when Americans think of the war on terror, images of Iraq flash across their eyes.

"Weeks ago, we made a decision to keep pushing on the Iraq issue," a Democratic strategist, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Grind. The push will continue through Election Day, the strategist added.

While Republicans acknowledge that public opinion on Iraq is low, they also believe that Americans do not trust Democrats with protecting them.

"When we talk about the war on terror and national security, it benefits our candidates, especially on the heels of the Lieberman Lamont race," said a Republican strategist, who too, asked not to be named.
Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/11/2006 10:40:00 AM ET | Permalink
Pass the pork chops and Twinkies
From The Morning Grind

Why are the New York governor, former House speaker from Georgia and a Delaware senator taking time out of their summer schedules to attend the Iowa State Fair this weekend? It must be the pork chops on a stick and fried Twinkies -- two delicacies of the annual event. Or it might just be that New York Gov. George Pataki (R), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware) want to be president and are using this venue to engage one-on-one with the influential Iowa caucus voters. Iowa holds the first contest of the 2008 presidential election, and the way to win over caucus voters is practicing this type of retail politicking. A win in Iowa can give a candidate the momentum needed to capture their party's presidential nomination -- as we saw in 2004 with Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts). The race for 2008 is already in motion and this is just one of the many stops along the way.
Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/11/2006 10:39:00 AM ET | Permalink
Molly, we will miss ya
From The Morning Grind

We are sad to announce that an important member of our CNN and Morning Grind family, Molly Levinson, is leaving us to become the political director for CBS News. As a key member of CNN's political team, Molly helped shape the network's on-air and on-line coverage for the 2004 election. Over the past few months, she has served as the acting political director, helping the network prepare for the looming midterms and, yes, the 2008 presidential contest. Our loss is CBS's gain. From all of us at CNN, Molly, we wish you well.
Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/11/2006 10:38:00 AM ET | Permalink
Grind Trivia: Thinking Feller?
From The Morning Grind

By Robert Yoon
CNN Political Research Director

(The response has been overwhelming for this Grind trivia question, but there is still time to submit an answer. The winner will be announced in Monday's Morning Grind.)

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut), now serving his third term in the U.S. Senate, made news this week by losing his party's primary to political newcomer Ned Lamont. Three terms is nothing to sneeze at, but former Tennessee Sen. Kenneth McKellar (D) had served a whopping 35 years before being unceremoniously booted in his party's Senate primary in 1952. McKellar's campaign slogan that year was, "Thinking Feller? Vote McKellar." What was the campaign slogan of the candidate who defeated McKellar in the primary?

Submit your answer to The lucky Grind reader who answers this question correctly will win a mildly coveted, special edition "CNN Mardis Gras 2006" bead necklace and pendant. Sure to impress all of your raucous friends during your next visit to the Big Easy. If there are multiple correct answers, a winner will be selected at random by our departing political intern Josh Lipsky, whose last day is today. In your response, please include your first name, last name, and your home town and state. The answer and winner will be announced on Monday. Good luck!
Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/11/2006 10:36:00 AM ET | Permalink
DAYAHEAD/Events making news today and through the weekend
  • President Bush continues his vacation in Crawford, Texas, but takes time out today to attend a 1:15 p.m. ET Republican National Committee fundraiser at the Broken Spoke Ranch down the road from his own ranch. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman introduces Bush at the fundraiser that is expected to raise $750,000 with 350 people in attendance.

  • The Senate is in recess until September 5, 2006. (For more, see the Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook.)

  • The House is in recess until September 6. (For more, see the House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook.)

  • Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) holds a 10:30 a.m. ET conference call with Patrick Murphy, an Iraq war veteran running for Congress in Pennsylvania, to discuss the Iraq war.

  • Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), a potential presidential candidate, appears at the Politics and Eggs: 2006 Issues Forum in Bedford, New Hampshire. Tonight, he performs with his band, "The Capitol Offense" at Nancy Wall's state Senate campaign rally in Hollis.

  • Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean attends a 1 p.m. ET rally for California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides in San Francisco. On Saturday, Dean appears at a 1:15 p.m. ET kick-off picnic for the North Dakota Democratic Party in Fargo.

  • Former Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina), a potential presidential candidate, attends a fundraiser for state Sen. Daryl Beall in Fort Dodge, Iowa, this afternoon. Later in the day, Edwards attends a fundraiser for state Senate candidate Rich Olive in Ames, followed by a fundraiser for Dallas County Democrats in Waukee. On Saturday, he attends a fundraiser for Marion County Democrats in Knoxville, a fundraiser for state House candidate John Calhoun in Johnston, and then a fundraiser for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture candidate Denise O'Brien in Des Moines.

  • New York Gov. George Pataki (R), a potential presidential candidate, attends the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines at noon. Pataki then tours an ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa, at 5:30 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, he attends a fundraiser in Nevada for Dave Deyoe, a Republican running for the House. Pataki then attends a fundraiser for Jim Kurtenbach, a Republican running for the Senate. On Saturday, Pataki attends a reception for Republican Senate candidate Larry Noble at 10 a.m. ET in Ankeny, a noon fundraiser for GOP Senate candidate Tim Morgan in Newton, and a campaign event for Republican Senate candidate Linda Livingston in Ames at 4 p.m. ET. He then tours an ethanol plant at 5:30 p.m. ET in Steamboat Rock, followed by a 6:30 p.m. ET fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party in Clear Lake and ends with a 7:45 p.m. ET Cerro Gordo County fundraiser in Clear Lake, Iowa. On Sunday, Pataki attends a 12:30 p.m. ET fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party in Spirit Lake.

  • Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware), a potential presidential candidate, attends a discussion on domestic violence in Dubuque, Iowa, at 1 p.m. ET. He meets with the media at 2:30 p.m. ET. Biden then attends a 6 p.m. ET barbecue with Democratic activists in Dubuque. On Saturday, Biden attends a 10 a.m. ET fundraiser in Dubuque for Bruce Braley, a Democratic candidate for Congress. Braley and Biden then appear at an 11:15 a.m. ET event with Democratic activists. At 1:45 p.m. ET, Biden visits the Mount Carmel Motherhouse. Later, at 5:15 p.m. ET, Biden attends a fundraiser for Jan Kvach, a Democrat who is running for the Iowa House of Representatives. Biden attends a fundraiser at 7:15 p.m. ET for state Rep. Don Shoultz in Waterloo. On Sunday, Biden has brunch with Des Moines Democratic activists at noon in Des Moines and he heads to the Iowa State Fair at 5 p.m. ET in Des Moines.

  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia), a potential presidential candidate, signs copies of his book from 4 p.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET at the Iowa State Fair. On Saturday, Gingrich hosts breakfast at 9 a.m. ET in the Iowa Republican Party headquarters in Des Moines. Gingrich then attends an 11 a.m. ET "renewable fuels dialogue" in Des Moines with Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D), who is also exploring a White House bid.
  • Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/11/2006 10:33:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Political Hot Topics
    CANDIDATES SEIZE TERROR PLOT AS POLITICAL ISSUE: Democrats and Republicans alike rushed to invoke yesterday's terrorist scare in Britain in congressional campaigns, underscoring how a series of national-security-related developments are refocusing and sharpening the political debate three months before the midterm elections. Campaigning in Connecticut, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, who lost Tuesday's Democratic primary and is now running as an independent, said the antiwar views of primary winner Ned Lamont would be "taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England." Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican Senate candidate in Minnesota, used the alleged plot as a campaign wedge only hours after it was disclosed. "The arrests this morning in Great Britain make it clear that now, more than ever, this is an ongoing battle and we need leaders in Washington who remain committed to doing what is right instead of what may be seen as politically advantageous," he said. Washington Post: Both Parties Claim Edge as Terror Is Reinforced as a Campaign Topic

    BUSH CALLS PLOT "STARK REMINDER" OF THREAT FROM "ISLAMIC FASCISTS": President Bush tried to assure Americans on Thursday that antiterrorism measures taken since the Sept. 11 attacks had made them safer while acknowledging that danger remained — part of a balancing act in which his aides portrayed him as deeply involved in dealing with the foiled airline plot even as he continued his vacation here. As Americans stood in long lines at airports, Mr. Bush went ahead with his planned trip to Wisconsin to raise money for a Republican Congressional candidate and to speak about the economy during a stop at a metal factory. He made brief remarks about the arrests in Britain on the tarmac of the airport in Green Bay, saying the plot was "a stark reminder" of the threat from "Islamic fascists." "The country is safer than it was prior to 9/11," he said in Green Bay. "We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously, we're still not completely safe, because there are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in." He later flew back to his ranch [in Crawford], and aides said there were no plans for him to cut short his stay. New York Times: Bush, on a Quick Trip From His Texas Ranch, Says Americans Are Safer Than Before Sept. 11

    BOON FOR REPUBLICANS... BUT FOR HOW LONG? The unraveling of a terrorist plot in London may bolster the Republican political strategy of presenting their party as best equipped to confront a dangerous world if the issue persists for the next three months... The foiled British plot may help Republicans, said Joe Gaylord, former executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee. National security "is our one remaining strength," Gaylord said. "Every time you have one of these incidents it forces back up into everyone's minds everything from 9/11." James Lucier, senior political analyst at Prudential Equity Group in Washington, said the effects may not last until voters go to the polls on Nov. 7. "Is this particular incident going to help Republicans for more than a couple of days?" Lucier asked. "Perhaps not." Bloomberg: London Terrorism Arrests May Aid Republican Political Strategy

    SCHWARZENEGGER SENDS TROOPS TO AIRPORTS: Three hundred National Guard troops were ordered Thursday to airports in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego as state and local officials ramped up security measures around California in response to the arrests of suspected terrorists accused of plotting to blow up airplanes headed from Britain to the United States. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger assigned troops to the three largest airports that regularly receive flights from Europe in the first such deployment of the California National Guard since the Sept. 11 attacks five years ago. Uniformed troops carrying guns were to arrive at airports this morning and will stay in place for at least a week, according to Adjutant Gen. William H. Wade II, the head of the state's National Guard. San Francisco Chronicle: Governor sends Guard to four major airports -- CHP to keep an eye on bridges, other possible targets

    ...SO DOES ROMNEY: Summoned from homes and jobs across the state, Massachusetts National Guard soldiers and airmen began reporting to Logan International Airport last night to help protect New England's critical travel hub. From armed patrols to gate screening, the Guard will be assigned to the airport indefinitely to supplement security by the State Police, Massport, and the Transportation Security Administration, said Master Sergeant Pallas deBettencourt, a National Guard spokeswoman. Citing security concerns, the Guard did not release the number of personnel to be ordered to the airport. The governor's office reported that the first wave of 50 Guardsmen arrived at Logan about 6 p.m. to be briefed before deployment in the terminals, which Guard officials said was expected to begin late last night or early this morning. Boston Globe: National Guard to assist at Logan

    SCHUMER "VICTIM" OF "HEATHROW TRAVEL HELL": Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) became an unexpected victim of London terror plotters when he couldn't find his luggage amid the resulting chaos of London's Heathrow Airport. "It almost looked like a scene out of a war," said a travel-weary Schumer, speaking from London on a conference call with reporters. Schumer flew to England from New York for an annual family vacation. But his plane was delayed on the tarmac upon landing, and he soon learned from another passenger who had a BlackBerry e-mail device about the British terror arrests. Thus began an agonizing day of lost luggage, long lines and canceled flights that could have made even the most up-beat lawmaker cranky. New York Post: Schumer Caught in Heathrow Travel Hell

    19% OF '04 BUSH VOTERS READY TO VOTE DEM: Republicans determined to win in November are up against a troublesome trend - growing opposition to President Bush. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted this week found the president's approval rating has dropped to 33 percent, matching his low in May. His handling of nearly every issue, from the Iraq war to foreign policy, contributed to the president's decline around the nation, even in the Republican-friendly South. More sobering for the GOP are the number of voters who backed Bush in 2004 who are ready to vote Democratic in the fall's congressional elections - 19 percent. These one-time Bush voters are more likely to be female, self-described moderates, low- to middle-income and from the Northeast and Midwest. AP via Yahoo! News: Bush backers may abandon Republicans

    JUST 22% OF STATE LEGISLATORS ARE WOMEN: A number of groups are pushing female candidates for state-level offices across the USA. The goal is to bring different perspectives to the political debate, draw disenchanted voters to the polls and widen the pool of female candidates. The percentage of female state legislators has hovered near 22% for the past decade. "They're seeing that women are not running," says Gilda Morales of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. "And so they're actually going in and trying to not only support but train women as candidates." USA Today: Groups seek female candidates

    LIEBERMAN HOLDS FIRST PUBLIC EVENT AS INDEPENDENT: Sen. Joe Lieberman set out on his go-it-alone re-election campaign Thursday and seized on the terror arrests in Britain to argue that his Democratic opponent, Ned Lamont, does not fully understand the danger facing the nation. Lieberman's stop in Waterbury was his first public event since losing Tuesday's Democratic primary, dismissing his campaign staff and launching his independent bid. He seized on the terror plot in Britain to criticize Lamont's opposition to the war in Iraq. "I'm worried that too many people, both in politics and out, don't appreciate the seriousness of the threat to American security and the evil of the enemy that faces us - more evil or as evil as Nazism and probably more dangerous than the Soviet communists we fought during the long Cold War," Lieberman said. AP via Yahoo! News: New independent Lieberman campaigning

    SO, WHO'S THAT RALES GUY ALL OVER TV? [MD SEN Candidate Josh] Rales has launched a statewide barrage of television spots that he plans to continue through September's primary in his quest for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. A millionaire real estate investor and philanthropist from Potomac, Rales has said he will spend as much as $5 million of his money. Rales, 48, a political neophyte, promises to bring fresh ideas to Congress. He wants to see an end to the war in Iraq and to the "enormous complacency" among elected officials. He compares himself to Ned Lamont, who defeated three-term Democratic Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman this week in a Connecticut primary. But unlike Lamont, Rales has yet to connect with voters. Rales received the support of 1 percent of registered Maryland voters in a Washington Post poll in June. Washington Post: Long Shot Josh Rales Trying to Get Noticed

    INDEPENDENT WESTLUND DROPS OR GOV BID: Independent Ben Westlund, whose wild-card candidacy had shaken up the race for governor, abruptly ended his campaign Thursday after concluding he had little chance to win. Democrats -- worried Westlund was cutting into support for Gov. Ted Kulongoski -- expressed relief at his decision while Republicans sought to downplay the effect on their nominee, Ron Saxton. Westlund, a state senator from Bend, said he expected to announce his support for one of the candidates later in the campaign but would not say which one. Although Westlund is a former Republican, his campaign positions have tended to appeal more to Democratic-leaning voters. Among other things, he has called for universal health coverage, a sales tax and civil unions for gays. Portland Oregonian: Sen. Westlund quits governor's race

    PADGETT CAN REPLACE NEY ON BALLOT SAYS OH SOS: Republicans can appoint state Sen. Joy Padgett to replace U.S. Rep. Bob Ney on the Nov. 7 ballot or have her run in a special primary election, Attorney General Jim Petro said in an advisory opinion yesterday. Addressing questions from Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert T. Bennett, Petro said Ohio's "sore loser" law does not prevent someone from running for Congress in the general election if the person ran unsuccessfully for statewide office in the primary. Padgett was Petro's running mate in his unsuccessful GOP gubernatorial bid in May. Under the opinion, if Ney withdraws between Aug. 19 and Aug. 23, Republican chairmen and secretaries of the county central committees in the 18th District can appoint Padgett as his replacement. If Ney withdraws sooner, Padgett is clear to run in a special primary election, Petro said. Columbus Dispatch: Petro OKs 2 avenues for Padgett candidacy

    DEMS WANT SUOZZI "TO DO THE RIGHT THING"... DROP OUT OF GOV RACE: Gubernatorial underdog Tom Suozzi should call it quits and throw his energy and money into getting fellow Democrats elected, a group of party stalwarts said yesterday. With just a month to go before the primary, the state senators and members of Congress said Suozzi should drop his challenge to Democrat Eliot Spitzer, who leads him in the polls by nearly 70 points. The lawmakers lavishly praised Suozzi, the Nassau County executive, as a "good Democrat" who could enjoy a successful political career tomorrow by giving up a losing primary battle today. "I know Tom Suozzi," state Sen. Malcolm Smith of Queens said at a City Hall news conference. "I know he wants to do the right thing by the people of the State of New York." New York Daily News: Tom to give it up, Dems tell Suozzi

    HARRIS' TRAVEL AIDE ON PROBATION AFTER THEFT CHARGES: Before he became U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris' travel aide, Bruce Carlton Jordan journeyed across the state and dined out with money he stole from his former employers, according to court records. Jordan, 42, is a longtime friend of the Longboat Key congresswoman and began working as her volunteer driver and personal assistant in March -- about a month after he got out of jail, according to the Leon County Sheriff's Office. Now on community control and three years' probation, Jordan must pay restitution and has occasionally traded in his well-cut campaign-trail suits for jail stripes to work off the remainder of his 60-day sentence cleaning roadsides and moving furniture for nonprofit organizations. His crime: charging $1,125.79 worth of personal airline tickets on the American Express card of his boss at Florida Workers' Advocates in fall 2005 -- while at the same time passing fake work checks and filing false reimbursements that totaled $2,975.39, court records show. Charged with multiple felonies, Jordan pleaded no contest to a single grand-theft count. Miami Herald: Harris aide serving theft term
    Posted By Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau: 8/11/2006 08:54:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Thursday, August 10, 2006
    With more arrests, 6 of 11 Egyptian students in custody
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Federal agents Thursday arrested three more Egyptian students -- two in Maryland, another in Chicago -- leaving five of the once-11 missing men still at large, the FBI said.

    A group 17 Egyptians arrived in New York in late July, but only six showed up for classes at Montana State, federal authorities said. The FBI issued a nationwide lookout when notified by the school.

    Three were taken into federal custody Wednesday, and three more were being watched by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents a day later.

    "Preliminary investigation by FBI and ICE agents has not identified any credible or imminent threat posed by any of the eleven Egyptian students," the FBI said.
    Posted By Kevin Bohn and Kelli Arena, CNN America Bureau: 8/10/2006 02:36:00 PM ET | Permalink
    Rove called his 'friend' Lieberman on primary day

    Bush adviser Karl Rove called the conversation with Sen. Lieberman a "personal call" to one of his several Democratic friends.

    (CNN) -- Is top Republican strategist and White House political adviser Karl Rove helping Sen. Joseph Lieberman's re-election bid, on the heels of the latter's Democratic primary loss this week?

    No, according to White House spokesman Tony Snow, who on Wednesday denied an ABC News report that Rove offered to help Lieberman. But that doesn't mean the two men aren't talking.

    On Thursday, Rove addressed the matter with reporters aboard Air Force One, en route from Texas to Wisconsin. He admitted talking to Lieberman, but according to Reuters, described reports that he pledged to assist the senator as "completely inaccurate."

    "He's a personal friend, and I called him Tuesday afternoon -- 5:00, thereabouts -- and wished him well on his election that night," the GOP political guru said. "It was a personal call."

    Ironically, the conversation came a day after Lieberman's campaign turned the name of his "friend" into an adjective roughly synonymous with "dirty" and "underhanded." The senator's campaign manager, Sean Smith, issued a statement accusing supporters of Ned Lamont (who won the primary) of "Rovian tactics," accusing them of bringing down Lieberman's Web site. (Full story)

    Despite being a frequent target of Democrats' ire, Rove told reporters he did have good, social relationships with political opponents.

    "[Senate Minority Leader Harry] Reid has been at my house for dinner, so I actually do have acquaintances and friendships on the other side of aisle," said Rove.
    Posted By CNN's Washington Bureau: 8/10/2006 02:13:00 PM ET | Permalink
    Bush: Arrests a 'stark reminder' of 'war with Islamic fascists'
    GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (CNN) -- President Bush on Thursday called the uncovered terror plot targeting U.S.-bound airliners "a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom."

    Speaking on the tarmac of an airport in Green Bay, Bush thanked British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- a close ally -- and his government for "busting this plot."(Full story)

    "This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11," Bush said. "It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America."

    Earlier in the day from Crawford, Texas, White House spokesman Tony Snow called the alleged plot to use liquid explosives on trans-Atlantic aircraft a "direct threat." U.S. and U.K. authorities have been in close contact in recent days, officials said.

    Several congressional leaders said they were briefed on the plot.
    Posted By CNN's Washington Bureau: 8/10/2006 12:01:00 PM ET | Permalink
    Pakistan arrests led to thwarting of aircraft terror plot
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Information gathered after recent arrests in Pakistan convinced British investigators they had to immediately act on interrupting the plot to blow up airliners bound for the United States, U.S. sources say.

    The plot was the "greatest terrorist threat" against the United States since 9/11, government officials said privately. (Full story)

    The plans were "suggestive of an al Qaeda plot," said U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

    British police said they had arrested 21 suspects in the plot to blow up passenger jets flying between the United Kingdom and the United States.

    The plot involved hiding liquid explosives in carry-on luggage, U.S. officials said. A U.S. administration official said the plot targeted Continental, United, British Airways and American Airlines flights to New York, Washington and California.
    Posted By CNN's Washington Bureau: 8/10/2006 11:51:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Dems lead generic ballot, but majority say things going 'well'
    From The Morning Grind

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A majority of Americans say they will vote for Democratic candidates in the midterm elections, but the same number say things are going "well" in the country today, according to a new CNN poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.

    The poll is the latest sign that Democrats are within striking distance of taking back control of the House and perhaps the Senate in November. Such a scenario would all but neutralize President Bush in his final two years in office.

    Fifty-three percent of Americans said they favored Democrats in November compared to 40 percent for Republicans. And only 40 percent of Americans believe that the Republican led Congress has been a success since taking control in 1995. In 1998, when asked this same question, 58 percent of Americans said they believed the GOP was successful in leading the House and Senate. (Read the full results -- PDF)

    Still, 55 percent of Americans believe that things are going "well" compared to 44 percent who said things are going "poorly." And Democrats need to do a better job convincing voters they are better equipped than Republicans to lead the Congress. Only 41 percent of Americans believe that Democratic leaders in Congress "would move the country in the right direction." As for the GOP, 43 percent of Americans believe that Republican leaders in Congress "would move the country in the right direction."

    As for the top four issues on voters minds: terrorism, gas prices, Iraq and the economy.

    Democrats need to gain 15 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate to take back the respective majorities. The poll was conducted August 2 and 3 and surveyed 1,047 adult Americans.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/10/2006 11:22:00 AM ET | Permalink
    The last 48 hours
    From The Morning Grind

    To say the political world has been shaken up in the last 48 hours would be an understatement. Three incumbents go down in defeat to members of their own party. The biggest story, of course, is Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-Connecticut) loss and his decision to seek an independent bid for re-election, much to his party leadership's chagrin. The most overlooked race was Rep. Joe Schwarz's (R-Michigan) loss to a challenger from his right. Should centrist Republicans be concerned? Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia) loses for the second time in six years, but her defeat was the result of her own doing.

    In Connecticut, the national reporters have decamped, but Nutmeg State voters should expect them back. On Tuesday night, no fewer than 19 satellite and microwave television trucks were parked outside of Lieberman's campaign event beaming his declaration to continue on with his re-election campaign to viewers across the country and around the world, CNN's Mike Roselli reports. "That's big time," the veteran of three presidential campaigns, said of the coverage.

    Ned Lamont now has the backing of the Democratic establishment and we expect to hear more public endorsements of him today. Still, not everyone is abandoning Lieberman. It only took 11 words for Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) -- who is one of, if not the most conservative Democrat in the Senate -- to make his intentions known. "Joe Lieberman is my friend and I will support his decision," Nelson said in a statement released yesterday. Nelson joins a small list of colleagues including Sens. Tom Carper (D-Delaware), Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) and Ken Salazar (D-Colorado) who are standing with Lieberman.

    But Lieberman is not standing by his campaign team. It didn't take long for him to clean house. Less than 24 hours after he announced plans to launch an independent bid for re-election, the three term senator brought on a new campaign manager and communications director. Sherry Brown, the senator's state director, will now head the campaign. Dan Gerstein, who worked a decade for Lieberman, will be the new chief spokesman. Lieberman is also looking for a new media consultant and pollster.

    "I don't blame my staff for my loss on Tuesday," Lieberman said. "I bear that responsibility. But now that we are entering a new and very different phase of the campaign, I wanted to bring in a new team."

    Despite calls from the 'netroots' community for the Democratic leadership to strip Lieberman of his committee assignments, a Democratic leadership aide tells the Grind there is no plan to do that now. As for what happens next year if Lieberman wins, the aide said, "We are taking one step at a time."

    Despite getting the cold shoulder from party leaders, Lieberman has vowed to remain a Democrat and said he will continue to caucus with Democratic senators. And the Grind believes that if Lieberman does win in November he will retain those seats, specifically his senior post on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. After all, it was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who stepped aside to give independent Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vermont) the helm of the Environment and Public Works committee when he abandoned the Republican Party in 2001. As you might remember, the Jeffords switch handed Democrats control of the Senate and made Reid the minority whip.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/10/2006 11:18:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Bayh's political troops
    From The Morning Grind

    Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) is flooding Iowa with 25 campaign staffers to help Hawkeye State Democrats in the midterms, a move designed to help build good will with influential caucus-goers should he run for president in 2008. The Indiana Democrat is also sending 15 staffers to New Hampshire as well as three to Nevada and two to South Carolina. The Democratic National Committee is expected to ratify a proposal next week to have Nevada and South Carolina join Iowa and New Hampshire on the early part of the party's presidential nominating calendar. Five staffers will remain in Indiana, where the Democratic senator trained these new campaign operatives at his campaign school, "Camp Bayh."

    Bayh is not the only potential presidential candidate placing people in important early states this fall. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) has established a similar campaign training program, while Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) has a paid staffer on the ground in Iowa.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/10/2006 11:16:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Grind Trivia: Thinking Feller?
    From The Morning Grind

    Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut), now serving his third term in the U.S. Senate, made news this week by losing his party's primary to political newcomer Ned Lamont. Three terms is nothing to sneeze at, but former Tennessee Sen. Kenneth McKellar (D) had served a whopping 35 years before being unceremoniously booted in his party's Senate primary in 1952. McKellar's campaign slogan that year was, "Thinking Feller? Vote McKellar." What was the campaign slogan of the candidate who defeated McKellar in the primary?

    Submit your answer to The lucky Grind reader who answers this question correctly will win a mildly coveted, special edition "CNN Mardis Gras 2006" bead necklace and pendant. Sure to impress all of your raucous friends during your next visit to the Big Easy. If there are multiple correct answers, a winner will be selected at random by our departing political intern Josh Lipsky, whose last day is Friday. In your response, please include your first name, last name, and your home town and state. The answer and winner will be announced on Monday. Good luck!
    Posted By Robert Yoon, CNN Washington Bureau: 8/10/2006 11:13:00 AM ET | Permalink
    DAYAHEAD/Events making news today
  • President Bush takes a break from clearing brush on his Crawford, Texas, ranch to head to Wisconsin to talk about the economy and attend a fundraiser. Bush is expected to tour Fox Valley Metal Tech in Green Bay at 12 p.m. ET and then makes a statement on the economy at 12:35 p.m. ET. Afterwards, Bush heads over to Oneida, Wisconsin, to attend a 1:50 p.m. ET fundraiser for Assembly Speaker John Gard, who is running for Congress. Bush returns to Crawford tonight.

  • The Senate is in recess until September 5, 2006. (For more, see the Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook)

  • The House is in recess until September 6. (For more, see the House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook)

  • The Iowa State Fair opens in Des Moines.

  • Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) meets with graduates of his campaign school "Camp Bayh" today in Indianapolis. He addresses the group at 11:30 a.m. ET.

  • Former Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina), a potential presidential candidate joins Minnesota Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar at 1 p.m. for a Rally for Change in Minnesota. He then heads to Iowa to attend the third annual Democratic "Wing-Ding" sponsored by Cerro Gordo, Hancock and Winnebago County Democrats at 8 p.m. ET in Clear Lake.

  • Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), a potential presidential candidate, attends the Republican Party of Wisconsin's "Countdown to Victory Reception" in Milwaukee at 8:30 p.m. ET.
  • Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/10/2006 11:10:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Political Hot Topics
    TRANSATLANTIC AIRCRAFT TERROR PLOT FOILED: British authorities said Thursday they had thwarted a terrorist plot to simultaneously blow up several aircraft heading to the U.S. using explosives smuggled in carry-on luggage. Heathrow was closed to most flights from Europe, and British Airways canceled all its flights Thursday between the airport and points in Britain, Europe and Libya. Britain's Home Secretary John Reid said 21 people had been arrested in London, its suburbs and in Birmingham following a lengthy investigation, including the alleged "main players" in the plot. AP on Yahoo! News: British police thwart aircraft bomb plot

    PLAN AIMED FOR 'UNPRECEDENTED' CIVILIAN CASUALTIES: An alleged plot to kill thousands of people by detonating explosions in a "wave" of attacks on up to 10 transatlantic flights from UK airports was disrupted overnight. The home secretary, John Reid, said today that the alleged terror plot could have caused civilian casualties on an "unprecedented scale". The alleged plot was to cause near simultaneous blasts on multiple flights --with US-bound planes a particular target -- using explosives smuggled into passenger cabins inside hand luggage. London Guardian: 'Mass Murder Terror Plot' Uncovered

    TOP DEMS EMBRACE UPSTART LAMONT: Democratic leaders embraced their new antiwar Senate nominee Ned Lamont on Wednesday, but his defeated rival, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) vowed to wage an independent crusade to save his seat and prevent the party from being captured by forces he said are out of the political mainstream. At a unity breakfast in Hartford, state party officials, who had lined up almost solidly behind Lieberman in Tuesday's primary, including Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), pledged their support to Lamont in the general election campaign. In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement that Lamont would have the national party's support. Also laying on hands for Lamont were such powerful party figures as former president Bill Clinton, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.). Washington Post: Democratic Leadership Welcomes Lamont

    WILL CONNECTICUT PRIMARY UPSET MATTER NATIONALLY?: Liberal anti-war voters and bloggers angry about Iraq widely claimed victory yesterday after the defeat of Sen. Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary, but the state is unpredictable and not indicative of the rest of the country. "Connecticut is far from a bellwether state," said Donald Green, a Yale political science professor. "And a Democratic primary in Connecticut is far from representing Connecticut." Polls done before and after Tuesday showed that nearly 80 percent of the primary election voters oppose the war. That sentiment allowed Ned Lamont to transform from no-name candidate to national darling of the anti-war crowd and beat the hawkish three-term incumbent. Washington Times: Connecticut results mean little for national direction

    WATCH OUT, INCUMBENTS: So much for the benefits of incumbency. This week's Connecticut, Georgia and Michigan primaries provided hard evidence of what polls have been signaling for months: Voters are in the mood for change. The defeats of Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., and Rep. Joe Schwarz, R-Mich., came two months after Pennsylvanians ousted 17 state legislators in primaries. "Voters are not showing a reticence to vote against entrenched incumbents," says Charles Cook, editor of the non-partisan Cook Political Report. USA Today: Primary losses show incumbents can be vulnerable

    HILLARY DISTANCES HERSELF FROM OLD FRIEND JOE: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton embarked on her first major day of campaigning in her re-election bid yesterday, but wound up facing a flurry of questions about Senator Joseph I. Lieberman's defeat by an antiwar candidate in the Connecticut Democratic primary. In turn, Mrs. Clinton, a potential 2008 presidential candidate who has come under attack herself because of her refusal to apologize for voting to authorize the use of military force in Iraq, sought to distance herself from Mr. Lieberman. New York Times: In Clinton's New York Run, Much Talk of Connecticut

    ISRAEL ON THE MOVE INTO LEBANON: Israel decided Wednesday to move thousands more troops into Lebanon in a major expansion of its ground operation aimed at pushing Hezbollah and its rocket launchers farther away from Israeli cities. Near Lebanon, an Israeli paratrooper commander, wounded by shrapnel in fighting with Hezbollah, was helped to an ambulance on Wednesday. The decision, made at a six-hour security cabinet meeting, approved a plan drawn up by the military and Defense Minister Amir Peretz to move farther and faster into Lebanon. New York Times: Israel, Seeking Rocket Buffer, Sets Expansion

    SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS DOZENS IN IRAQ: A suicide bomber detonated a belt of explosives Thursday near a highly revered Shiite shrine in southern Iraq, killing at least 35 people and injuring 122, an official said. The bomber blew himself up while being patted down by police near the Imam Ali mosque in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, said Dr. Munthir al-Ithari, the head of the city's health directorate. Shiite religious leaders in Najaf accused Sunni loyalists of former dictator Saddam Hussein of carrying out the attack. AP on Yahoo! News: Bombing near Iraqi shrine leaves 35 dead

    RECOUNT UNDERWAY IN MEXICO: Mexico's power struggle returned to the ballot boxes Wednesday and spread to a new front at three major banks. Guarded by soldiers and under the watchful eye of rival party representatives, federal elections officials began recounting ballots cast in 11,839 of the country's 130,000 precincts. The officials have five days to finish the task and tally the results. However, it remained unclear whether the unprecedented recount will resolve a 5-week standoff that has divided the nation and put its young democracy to the test. Houston Chronicle: Partial recount begins in Mexico

    W.H. HOPEFULS HAVE FUN AT THE FAIR: Fairgoers won't be able to turn around in the pork chop line without bumping into someone thinking about running for president, from the looks of politicos planning to be around Des Moines in the next few days. A half-dozen Republicans and Democrats have made plans to stop by the Iowa State Fair. The granddaddy of Middle American cliches has never been about politics, as much as it's been about political stagecraft. The curtain will rise Friday, when New York Gov. George Pataki and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, both Republicans, stop by the fair. Pataki is expected to be there in the late morning, with Gingrich planning to spend most of the afternoon there. Des Moines Register: Presidential prospects flock to State Fair

    SUGAR LAND MAYOR JUMPS INTO DeLAY FRAY: Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace said Wednesday he will be a write-in candidate for the seat former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay abandoned, jumping the gun on the state GOP in hopes of becoming the party standard-bearer. DeLay announced Tuesday he was withdrawing his name from the November ballot, after the state Republican Party lost its legal battle to replace him with a candidate of its choosing. Mounting a successful write-in candidacy will be difficult, Republicans acknowledge, and some say it amounts to ceding the race to Democratic nominee Nick Lampson. Houston Chronicle: DeLay's ex-Mayor jumps into race

    GOV. NOMINEE SEEKS VOTE, HAWKS BOOK: Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann said yesterday that he wants to have a conversation with the people of Pennsylvania -- but that conversation may cost some voters $10 a pop. Standing in front of one of the Capitol's annex buildings, Swann said yesterday that, although he has spoken to hundreds of Pennsylvanians since announcing his candidacy, he wanted to take his campaign a step further. The result: a 143-page book, called "A New Direction: My Plan for a Better Pennsylvania," which Swann said is meant to give voters a better grasp of who he is and where he stands on major policy issues. Philadelphia Inquirer: Swann puts his message, policy ideas in a book

    INTERNAL PROBE FAULTS CONGRESS FOR CUNNINGHAM FIASCO: An internal congressional investigation has found that "major breakdowns" in legislative controls enabled former Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham to use his position on the House Intelligence Committee to steer classified government contracts to political cronies, according to a memo distributed this week to Democrats on the panel. The memo accuses Republicans of backing out of an agreement to subpoena Cunningham, and calls for the public release of a 20-page unclassified report documenting the findings of the investigation. The memo was written by Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), ranking Democrat on the committee, and circulated to Democrats on Tuesday. Los Angeles Times: 'Duke' Inquiry Cites Breakdowns
    Posted By Julie Hofler, CNN Washington Bureau: 8/10/2006 10:42:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Another government laptop computer stolen
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal government laptop computer with personal information on more than 130,000 Florida residents is missing, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, which owns it.

    The laptop -- stolen from a government car in Doral, Florida, on July 27 -- contains names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and addresses. The information is for 80,667 Miami-Dade County area residents with commercial driver's licenses, 9,500 Tampa area residents with automotive driver's licenses and about 42,792 Florida residents issued pilot's licenses.

    The computer is password protected, and the OIG said it is "unlikely that the perpetrators stole it based on any knowledge of its contents."

    Wednesday's disclosure was the latest in a series of incidents in which government laptops containing sensitive information was stolen. In June, police reported they recovered a stolen laptop that contained information on more than 26 million veterans and active duty military personnel.
    Posted By Jeanne Meserve and Mike Ahlers, CNN America Bureau: 8/10/2006 10:28:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Wednesday, August 09, 2006
    White House: Lieberman loss means Dems raising 'white flag'
    CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- The White House on Wednesday used Sen. Joseph Lieberman's loss in Connecticut's Democratic primary to blast opposition to the war in Iraq, saying national Democrats are "walking away" from the conflict.

    Snow said President Bush was not commenting on the primary results and would not aid Lieberman's independent bid. But he said the race indicated Democrats are ready to raise a "white flag" in the war in Iraq.

    The staunchly pro-war Lieberman lost the state's Senate primary Tuesday to anti-war challenger Ned Lamont in a race that turned largely on his support for the increasingly unpopular conflict. Lieberman, who has chastised fellow Democrats for criticizing Bush's handling of the three-year-old war, said he will run as an independent in November. (Full story)

    Snow said a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, as Lamont has called for, "would
    send not only a sign of weakness, but also of American unreliability, and it
    would enable forces of oppression and totalitarianism to rise again within Iraq and elsewhere."
    Posted By CNN's Washington Bureau: 8/09/2006 03:50:00 PM ET | Permalink
    Three of 11 missing Egyptian students in custody
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Three of 11 missing Egyptian students who failed to show up at a Montana university last month was in custody Wednesday, law enforcement officials said.

    One student, Eslam Ibrahim Mohamed El-Dessouki, 21, was arrested about 11 a.m. (noon ET) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the FBI said. Two others were in federal custody in New Jersey, with one law enforcement source saying that they had turned themselves in. (Full story)

    The students, all male and ranging in age from 17 to 22, were part of a group of 17 who had valid student visas. Upon arriving in New York on July 29, six went to Montana State University as part of an exchange program. But school officials notified the federal government the other 11 had not shown up.
    Posted By Kevin Bohn and Kelli Arena, CNN America Bureau: 8/09/2006 01:46:00 PM ET | Permalink
    U.S. Navy sailor charged with espionage
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Navy publicly acknowledged that a sailor who deserted in 2005 has been charged with espionage, believed to be on behalf of Russia, military sources said.

    Ariel Weinmann, 21, was a fire control technician third class assigned to the submarine USS Albuquerque on his first tour of duty when he deserted in July 2005, according to charges now pending against him. He was taken into custody March 26 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport by customs agent when he tried to re-enter the United States.

    According to the charges, Weinmann attempted on three occasions to pass classified information to foreign agents. These occurred in March 2005 in Bahrain; October 2005 in Vienna, Austria; and March 2006 in Mexico City. Weinmann also faces charges of desertion. These charges could result in the death penalty.

    Navy sources say Weinmann is likely to have had access to technical manuals and other material about how submarine weapons systems work. It is not believed he had anyone inside the Navy working with him.

    This is the second case of allegations of potential spying by Russia against the U.S. military. The Defense Department has said it believes Russia collected information from the U.S. Central Command in Doha, Bahrain, about U.S. intelligence in Iraq during 2003.
    Posted By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Bureau: 8/09/2006 12:40:00 PM ET | Permalink
    Probe clears FBI in Puerto Rican independence leader's death
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI was justified in its handling of the controversial shooting death last year of a Puerto Rican independence movement leader, a Justice Department investigation concluded.

    Filiberto Ojeda Rios, leader of the Macheteros movement, bled to death after he was wounded in September 2005 by FBI sniper fire. The killing prompted allegations in Puerto Rico that the FBI intentionally allowed him to die.

    But the inspector general's report rejected the charges, concluding the decision to delay by 18 hours entry into Ojeda's home, where the shooting occurred, resulted from legitimate agent safety concerns.

    The Macheteros organization has claimed responsibility for acts of violence since the 1970s in its campaign to win independence for Puerto Rico. In 1985, Ojeda was arrested for his participation in a 1983 Wells Fargo robbery and wounding of an FBI agent in West Hartford, Connecticut. He was convicted in 1992 while a federal fugitive.

    Inspector General Glenn Fine found "deficiencies in the FBI's conduct of the arrest operation," including delayed communications between FBI headquarters and agents at the scene.

    The FBI said the independent probe will "contribute significantly," adding: "Although careful planning and preparation are a part of every arrest scenarios undertaken by the FBI, shooting incidents are sometimes an unfortunate result given the nature of the FBI's mission."
    Posted By Terry Frieden, CNN Washington Bureau: 8/09/2006 12:17:00 PM ET | Permalink
    Joe-mentum hits a wall, but Lieberman vows to fight on

    Lamont, left, beat Lieberman by four percentage points.

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Six years after receiving the Democratic vice presidential nomination, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) failed Tuesday to win his party's nod for a fourth term to the Senate. He immediately turned to Plan B, announcing his intentions to launch an independent bid for re-election.

    But Lieberman will have to do it without the backing of the Democratic establishment. Senate Democratic leaders pledged their support this morning to businessman Ned Lamont, who defeated Lieberman in the Democratic primary. Later this morning, Lamont will join Connecticut Democrats at a unity news conference in Hartford.

    "The Democratic voters of Connecticut have spoken and chosen Ned Lamont as their nominee," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (New York) said in a joint statement. "Both we and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) fully support Mr. Lamont's candidacy. Congratulations to Ned on his victory and on a race well run."

    The race was framed by Lieberman's support for the Iraq war, which Lamont vigorously opposed. Lamont's message was spread nationally by anti-war bloggers who called for Lieberman's defeat. That message boomeranged back into Connecticut as support for the war continues to slip, according to a new CNN poll released this morning.

    In their statement, Reid and Schumer said that even though Lieberman "has been an effective Democratic Senator for Connecticut and for America ... the perception was that he was too close to George Bush and this election was, in many respects, a referendum on the President more than anything else. The results bode well for Democratic victories in November and our efforts to take the country in a new direction."

    In addition to losing the support of the Democratic leaders in Washington and Connecticut, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California), who recently campaigned on Lieberman's behalf, said she would support Lamont, as did Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana). Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), who did not make an endorsement in the primary, will, if asked, campaign for Lamont and help him financially, a Kerry spokesman tells the Grind.

    In an interview this morning on CNN, Lieberman said he would reject any calls from his fellow Democrats to abandon an independent campaign for re-election. (Full transcript)

    "I will respectfully say, 'No, no, no,'" Lieberman said on CNN's American Morning. "I am in this race to the end. For me, it is a cause, and it is a cause not to let this Democratic Party that I joined with the inspiration of President Kennedy in 1960 to be taken over by people who are so far from the mainstream of American life that I fear we will not elect Democrats in the numbers that we should in the future."

    A Democrat with close ties to Lieberman told the Grind this morning, "I take the Senator at his word, that he is concerned about the future of his party."

    Lieberman was one of three incumbents to lose on Tuesday. Georgia Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney lost a run-off election to former DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson, while Michigan Republican Rep. Joe Schwarz was defeated in a primary by former state Rep. Tim Walberg.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/09/2006 11:43:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Georgia's McKinney loses her seat, again
    For the second time in six years, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (Georgia) lost her suburban Atlanta House seat to a fellow Democrat who successfully argued she was not representing the needs of her district. McKinney was defeated by former DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson in a run-off election Tuesday after neither candidate received 50 percent of the vote in the July 18 primary. Johnson is favored to defeat Catherine Davis, the GOP nominee, in November. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry overwhelmingly carried the district as the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004 and McKinney, easily won election that same year.

    In her hour of defeat, McKinney was unbowed, unleashing a stem-winder of a concession speech in which she barely mentioned her opponent but praised leftist leaders in Cuba and Venezuela, took aim at the efficacy of electronic voting machines and offered several swipes at the media.

    "Members of the press, as well as our political leaders, don't give us explanations that explain, or conclusions that conclude," McKinney said. "There comes a time when people of conscience are compelled to dissent."

    Before she began her remarks, she played the song "Dear Mr. President," an anti-Bush anthem by Pink, and sang along, somewhat out of tune, with its critical lyrics.

    "We love our country, and that is why we dissent, because we care," she said. "Either we can be a force for good, or we can rely on force and upset the world. Sadly, this administration has chosen the latter."

    McKinney, who is no stranger to controversy, was involved in a much publicized altercation earlier this year when she allegedly struck a U.S. Capitol Police officer, who attempted to stop her from bypassing a medal detector in a House office building. While McKinney apologized for the incident, a grand jury declined to indict her. But the incident played into Johnson's charge that she was an "embarrassment" to her constituents.

    Without mentioning Johnson by name, McKinney concluded her concession speech by saying, "I wish the new representative of the 4th Congressional District well."

    She gave no indication about her future plans.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/09/2006 11:41:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Michigan Rep. Schwarz denied a second term
    Freshman Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-Michigan) lost his bid for a second term in office Tuesday, falling to former state Rep. Tim Walberg (R) in the GOP primary. Walberg was one of several Republicans Schwarz defeated in 2004 to win the Republican nomination. It was a major win for the Club for Growth, an organization that backs candidates who support limited government and less taxes.

    Last night, the Club took credit for helping Walberg raise $600,000 from its members as well as spending an additional $500,000 on radio and television ads criticizing Schwarz. Walberg is the favorite to win this race in a district in which President Bush defeated Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) by nine percentage points in the 2004 presidential election.

    "Rep. Schwarz was one of the worst examples of Republican politicians who have abandoned any real commitment to limited government and pro-growth policy," said former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), who now serves as the Club's president. "But Michigan voters have responded by replacing him with a true economic conservative who will work to enact the pro-growth agenda. We look forward to seeing Tim Walberg win in November and then serving in Washington in the 110th Congress."

    Despite Schwarz's loss, Sarah Chamberlain Resnick, executive director of the Republican Main Street Partnership, said her organization would continue to fight the Clubs' efforts to defeat incumbent Republicans.

    "We are very upset by Joe's loss and will do everything we can to make sure the Club doesn't succeed in its goal to drive the Republicans into a minority party," she told the Grind.

    In another high profile Michigan contest, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard won the Republican Senate primary and will face Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), who is favored, in November. Bouchard defeated Minister Keith Butler for the GOP nod. And Republicans officially chose Dick DeVos to challenge Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) in what is expected to be a very competitive contest. Full results for this and all other Michigan contests are available on the Secretary of State's Web site.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/09/2006 11:37:00 AM ET | Permalink
    In Colorado
    Former state Sen. Ed Perlmutter, who was backed by the likes of Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), defeated former state Rep. Peggy Lamm for the Democratic nod to take on Republican Rick O'Donnell in November.

    O'Donnell is the former head of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, defeated President Bush in this suburban Denver district by three percentage points, but retiring Rep. Bob Beauprez (R) easily won re-election that same year. This race is expected to be very competitive and will be closely watched on election night if the balance of power in the House is in question.

    In Colorado's other competitive contest, state Sen. Doug Lamborn emerged from a crowded primary to win the GOP nomination for the right to challenge Democrat Jay Fawcett, a former Air Force officer, for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Joel Hefley (R). Bush defeated Kerry by 33 points in this Colorado Springs-based seat and Lamborn, another candidate backed by the Club for Growth, is favored to win in November. In the uncontested primaries for governor, Coloradoans officially picked Beauprez as the Republican nominee and Bill Ritter as the Democratic nominee. This race is also expected to be competitive.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/09/2006 11:35:00 AM ET | Permalink
    In other Connecticut races
    Democratic voters chose New Haven Mayor John DeStefano to challenge Gov. Jodi Rell (R) in November. DeStefano, who defeated Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy for his party's gubernatorial nod, faces an uphill battle in trying to unseat the incumbent Republican governor. In the state's only contested primary for a House seat, Scott MacLean defeated Miriam Massulo for the GOP nomination and will meet Rep. John Larson (D) in November. Larson easily won re-election in 2004, and Kerry defeated Bush by 21 percentage points in that district that same year.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/09/2006 11:34:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Missouri Senate race set
    The Senate race is now officially set in Missouri as Sen. Jim Talent (R) and State Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) will square off in November. As expected, Talent won the GOP nod, while McCaskill won the Democratic nomination. Full results for this and all other Missouri contests are available on the Secretary of State's Web site.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/09/2006 11:31:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Opposition to Iraq war hits an all time high
    Opposition to the Iraq war has hit an all time high since polling on the subject began at the beginning of the war in March 2003, a new CNN poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation shows. (Full story)

    Sixty percent of Americans oppose the war, while only 36 percent favor it, according to the poll released this morning. A clear majority of Americans, 61 percent, would favor withdrawing some troops by the end of the year, but that number plummets to only 26 percent when asked if all troops should leave the country by the end of this year.

    "When most Democratic leaders in Congress signed onto a letter calling for the U.S. to withdraw some troops from Iraq by the end of the year, they may have finally found a message on the war that the public agrees with," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But that doesn't mean the public want to withdraw all troops by year's end, only a quarter want that to happen."
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/09/2006 11:29:00 AM ET | Permalink
    DAYAHEAD/Events making news today
  • The Senate is in recess until September 5, 2006. (For more, see the Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook)

  • The House is in recess until September 6. (For more, see the House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook)

  • Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman addresses the City Club of Cleveland at 7:30 a.m. ET in Cleveland, Ohio. Later in the day, Mehlman appears at a 3:30 p.m. ET rally for Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) in Highland Heights, Ohio.

  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Illinois) holds a 9:45 a.m. ET conference call to discuss the Tuesday primary results.

  • The Connecticut Democratic Party holds an 11 a.m. ET news conference in Hartford to announce their ticket heading into the November elections.

  • holds an 11:30 a.m. ET conference call with reporters to discuss the outcome of the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary.

  • Former Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina) attends a 6 p.m. ET fundraiser in Bismarck, North Dakota for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party. At 6:45 p.m. ET, he holds a media availability at the fundraiser.
  • Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/09/2006 11:26:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Political Hot Topics
    LIEBERMAN LOSES, BUT CONTINUES CAMPAIGN: With the nation watching, Connecticut Democrats thronged to the polls in unexpectedly high numbers Tuesday to reject Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman and endorse his anti-war challenger, Ned Lamont. Lamont, a first-time candidate for statewide office, defeated a three-term incumbent who had come to be defined by his defense of the war in Iraq, despite a late advertising blitz begging voters to judge him on a progressive labor and environmental record. Lieberman, 64, his party's 2000 vice presidential nominee and a presidential hopeful only two years ago, conceded at 11:03 p.m. in a Hartford ballroom packed with national and international press. He then defiantly announced he would press on as a petitioning candidate, forcing a three-way race in November. Hartford Courant: Lieberman Defiant In Defeat

    WORLDWIDE WEB, LOCAL SUPPORT BUOYED LAMONT: Almost no one saw it coming. Six months ago, Ned Lamont's name recognition was, within the margin of error, zero. He made campaign fliers on a copy machine. In a race against a Democratic senator with a national reputation, the political novice had two main things in his favor: substantial personal wealth and a potent issue. But while Lamont's success has been widely attributed to the rising power of the antiwar movement and liberal Internet bloggers, the 52-year-old upstart from Greenwich became a political giant-killer by blending both new- and old-style politics. Washington Post: Lamont Relied On Net and Grass Roots

    TWO HOUSE INCUMBENTS BITE THE DUST: In the shadow of the Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut, angry voters in three states showed their discontent last night by unseating two incumbents and choosing a candidate who campaigned against his primary opponent's bipartisan past. The defeat of Georgia's outspoken Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D) and Michigan moderate Rep. John J.H. "Joe" Schwarz (R) appeared to confirm the strong headwinds that polls suggest members of Congress will face in November from an angry electorate looking for change. McKinney lost to former DeKalb County commissioner Hank Johnson in a runoff election. Schwarz was defeated in the Republican primary by a conservative challenger, Tim Walberg. Washington Post: House Incumbents McKinney, Schwarz Fall in Primaries

    DID BLOGGERTYPES TAKE DOWN LIEBERMAN SITE?: When Senator Joseph I. Lieberman's campaign Web site crashed in the hours leading up to yesterday's Democratic primary election, it was hard not to read some deeper meaning into the problem. Was it a sign that Senator Lieberman was clumsy when it came to marshaling the technology that his opponents had used so well against him? Or had some shadowy, sinister bloggertypes who were championing his challenger, Ned Lamont, hacked into the site and shut it down, as the Lieberman campaign charged? New York Times: Charges of Dirty Tricks on Web Feed Speculation in the Blogosphere

    HAWKS ON DEFENSIVE, ANTI-WAR CHALLENGERS CONFIDENT: In October 2002, lawmakers in Congress were presented with a preelection test about where they stood on Iraq, and most answered it by siding with President Bush, voting to authorize his use of force against Saddam Hussein and promising an anxious electorate that they would be protected against a potential threat from Iraq. Four years later, with nearly 2,600 US soldiers dead and no trace of the weapons of mass destruction that the White House said Hussein possessed, it is the Iraq war hawks who are on the defensive, ahead of midterm congressional elections that could tip the balance of power in one or both houses of Congress. Boston Globe: Vote of Confidence for Antiwar Challengers

    McKINNEY ERA ENDS IN GEORGIA: It was once thought she had an invincible political machine that could turn out the masses on command. Late Tuesday night, that machine looked broken and her forces in disarray as six-term 4th District congresswoman and perennial firebrand Cynthia McKinney was soundly defeated by former DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson. Political analysts said it could spell the end of a political era for McKinney in the DeKalb-centered district that includes portions of Rockdale and Gwinnett counties. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: McKinney’s Machine Breaks Down

    GOP DOESN'T DELAY IN SEEKING DeLAY WRITE-IN REPLACEMENT: Former House majority leader Tom DeLay announced yesterday that he will make whatever moves are necessary to remove his name from the ballot in November, leaving the Texas Republican Party with no name on the ticket in his district but allowing GOP leaders to back a write-in candidate. DeLay's decision leaves his party with a difficult write-in campaign, in which it will seek to hold the retired politician's Houston area district in a year when Democrats have a chance to seize control of the House. Washington Post: GOP Searches for Write-In Candidate To Replace DeLay

    W.H. TRIES TO WORK-AROUND GENEVA CONVENTIONS ACT: The Bush administration has drafted amendments to a war crimes law that would eliminate the risk of prosecution for political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel for humiliating or degrading war prisoners, according to U.S. officials and a copy of the amendments. Officials say the amendments would alter a U.S. law passed in the mid-1990s that criminalized violations of the Geneva Conventions, a set of international treaties governing military conduct in wartime. The conventions generally bar the cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment of wartime prisoners without spelling out what all those terms mean. Washington Post: War Crimes Act Changes Would Reduce Threat Of Prosecution

    ISRAEL SET TO EXPAND WAR: Israel's Security Cabinet convened Wednesday to likely approve a broader ground offensive in Lebanon, with key ministers arguing that the military must deal more blows to Hezbollah and score quick battlefield victories before a Mideast cease-fire is imposed. However, a decision to send troops deeper into Lebanon is fraught with considerable risk. Israel would set itself up for new criticism that it is sabotaging diplomatic efforts, particularly after Lebanon offered to deploy its own troops in the border area. AP via Yahoo! News: Israel likely to OK broader offensive

    U.S., FRANCE AT ODDS OVER MIDEAST RESOLUTION: The United States and France appeared at odds Wednesday over Arab demands to change a U.N. resolution to call for a complete cessation of Israeli-Hezbollah hostilities and withdrawal of Israeli forces, diplomats said. France proposed new language on a total cease-fire and Israeli pullout, but the Americans rejected it out of concern that without a robust international force, a vacuum would be created in southern Lebanon, a Hezbollah stronghold, the diplomats said. AP via Yahoo! News: France's changes to draft rankle U.S.

    SHIITES DISCUSSING DIVIDING IRAQ: They have a new constitution, a new government and a new military. But faced with incessant sectarian bloodshed, Iraqis for the first time have begun openly discussing whether the only way to stop the violence is to remake the country they have just built. Leaders of Iraq's powerful Shiite Muslim political bloc have begun aggressively promoting a radical plan to partition the country as a way of separating the warring sects. Some Iraqis are even talking about dividing the capital, with the Tigris River as a kind of Berlin Wall.
    Los Angeles Times: Shiites Press for a Partition of Iraq

    HOUSE GOP UNSURE ABOUT BOARDING STRAIGHT-TALK EXPRESS: There may not be a secret handshake or a club T-shirt, but members of the Don't-Want-To-Talk-About-McCain Caucus in the House wear signature facial expressions, the slight knowing smile or the near wince of dread, and issue uniform responses when asked about the presidential prospects of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Fellow Arizona Republican Rep. J.D. Hayworth said, "We are focused on ways in which we can maintain and grow our majority and that is the one point of agreement that supersedes whatever disagreement there might be. I haven't thought about that and I will leave it to John to comment." In the words of one influential House GOP lawmaker, "[Republicans in the House] are quietly hoping another option will emerge." Concerned that McCain cannot afford to wait until November, supporters recently asked him to step up efforts to better engage House Republicans. The Hill: McCain Courts House Republicans for '08 Race

    PORK ON THE MENU FOR FALL?: Fiscal conservatives in Congress fear the Senate's failure to get a handle on appropriation bills will lead to a pork-barrel spending spree this fall, undermining repeated promises for fiscal reform. The Senate left for summer recess after completing one of 12 spending bills needed to keep government agencies operating next year, all but assuring the need for an omnibus package, which are typically laden with pet projects never discussed or voted on. Washington Times: Slow Senate Likely to Force Omnibus Bill
    Posted By Julie Hofler, CNN Washington Bureau: 8/09/2006 11:02:00 AM ET | Permalink
    U.S. Navy set to escort fuel tankers to Lebanon
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Navy vowed to escort two privately-owned fuel tankers from Cyprus to Lebanon if owners of those ships can finalize contract arrangements with the Lebanese government, according to a U.S. military official.

    Fuel supplies in Lebanon are running critically short. Details may be agreed upon fairly quickly, though the tankers and military escorts must make arrangements with Israel to pass through the naval blockade, the official said.

    The U.S. official said one of the fuel tanker owners had yet to reach a final agreement with the Lebanese government. The other owner was trying to work out arrangements to see if that tanker could go directly into port in Lebanon, or if the shipments had to be broken up into smaller ships.
    Posted By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Bureau: 8/09/2006 10:19:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Poll: 60 percent of Americans oppose Iraq war
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sixty percent of Americans oppose the U.S. war with Iraq, the highest number since polling on the subject began with the commencement of the war in March 2003, according to poll results and trends released Wednesday. (Full story)

    And a majority of poll respondents said they would support the withdrawal of at least some U.S. troops by the end of the year, according to results from the Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted last week on behalf of CNN. The corporation polled 1,047 adult Americans by telephone.
    Posted By CNN's Washington Bureau: 8/09/2006 09:17:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Tuesday, August 08, 2006
    Lieberman, McKinney and Schwartz fight for political survival
    From The Morning Grind

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) it is Iraq. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia) is battling personal controversy and Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-Michigan) is accused of being out of step with his own party.

    All three of these lawmakers are fighting for their political lives today, as they each seek to beat back challenges from within their own parties.

    It is primary day in Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan and Missouri as voters choose candidates to send into November's general election. In Georgia, McKinney is in a run-off election with Hank Johnson. There is no common thread that ties the Lieberman, McKinney and Schwarz races together, but the outcomes in Connecticut and Michigan could serve as individual barometers for the November elections and beyond.

    The highest profile contest of the day is in Connecticut where Lieberman is seeking a fourth term. Just six years ago, the Democratic senator was his party's vice presidential nominee, but his support for the Iraq war has energized anti-war Democrats who are backing businessman Ned Lamont in his bid to topple the incumbent. Several of Lieberman's colleagues including Vice President Al Gore refused to endorse him in the primary, although others such as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York), former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) are backing him. Sen. Clinton has already said she will endorse the winner of the primary and it remains to be seen how many of Lieberman's colleagues will continue to support him if he decides -- as he has vowed -- to run an independent bid for re-election.

    Lieberman trailed Lamont by double digits in a Quinnipiac University poll last week but he has closed the gap, according to the university's latest survey. Still, if Lieberman loses, early polling shows he would win the general election if he chose to run an independent campaign.

    But a Lieberman loss could provide a glimpse of how Iraq might be an issue in the November elections.

    In Georgia, McKinney is seeking to save her seat after failing to win 50 percent of the vote last month. She was involved in a much publicized altercation earlier this year when she allegedly struck a U.S. Capitol Police officer, who attempted to stop her from bypassing a medal detector in a House office building. While McKinney apologized for the incident, a grand jury declined to indict her. Still, the incident has helped fuel Johnson's bid to oust his fellow Democrat. The outcome of the McKinney race has no real national implications because it is largely about the incumbent's own conduct.

    One of the most overlooked primary battles of the year is freshman Rep. Joe Schwarz's (R-Michigan) struggle to overcome a challenge from his right for a second term. Republican challenger Tim Walberg has been greatly aided in his bid to topple Schwarz by the Club for Growth, an organization that backs candidates who support limited government and less taxes. A win by Walberg would send a chilling message to centrist Republicans that they are vulnerable to challenges from the conservative faction of their own party. It would also set up the Club's next challenge of trying to defeat Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-Rhode Island) in the September 12th GOP primary.

    In Colorado, there is a crowded Republican primary in the race to replace retiring Rep. Joe Hefley (R), while Democrats will field Jay Fawcett as their nominee. Meanwhile, Ed Perlmutter and Peggy Lamm battle for the Democratic nomination in the race to replace retiring Rep. Bob Beauprez (R). Rick O'Donnell will be the GOP nominee in that race. Beauprez will officially receive his party's gubernatorial nomination, while Bill Ritter will get the Democratic Party's nod for governor.

    In addition to the Lieberman primary, Connecticut Democrats will choose John DeStefano or Dan Malloy to challenge Gov. Jodi Rell (R) in November. And two Republicans are running for the right to challenge Rep. John Larson (D) in the general election.

    Michigan Republicans will choose either Michael Bouchard or Keith Butler as their nominee to challenge Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), while the GOP will officially pick Dick DeVos to oppose Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) in November. There are also several House primaries in Michigan and Missouri. Also, Sen. Jim Talent (R-Missouri) will officially receive his party's nomination today as will Democrat Claire McCaskill (D), who is challenging him for his Senate seat.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/08/2006 12:06:00 PM ET | Permalink
    GOP talking points
    From The Morning Grind

    Even though President Bush's approval rating remains well below 50 percent, he still enjoys strong support from the GOP base, a new Republican memo obtained by the Grind claims.

    The briefing paper from GOP strategist Fred Steeper to Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman predicts that turnout by the GOP base will be "extremely high" in November, which analysts suggest will be needed if Republicans hope to keep control of Congress.

    Expect to hear Republican candidates in the closing months to continue talking about their commitment to national security/war on terror, need to keep Bush's tax cuts permanent, social conservative issues and health care reform, which Steeper identifies, along with a handful of other topics, as important to the Republican base.

    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/08/2006 12:04:00 PM ET | Permalink
    What will DeLay do?
    From The Morning Grind

    We now wait word to see if former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) will run for his old seat or if the GOP will try to launch a write in campaign for another candidate, after the Texas Republican Party's request to remove DeLay's name from the ballot was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    DeLay, who is fighting a state money-laundering indictment, announced his resignation from Congress shortly after winning the GOP nomination for a 12th term in March. At the time, he acknowledged another Republican would have a better shot of getting re-elected in November.

    In order to remove his name from the ballot, DeLay moved to Virginia and registered to vote in that state. But a lower court ruled that state Republicans could not guarantee that DeLay would be living in Virginia on the day of the general election and could not have him declared ineligible until afterward. Should DeLay reverse course and run for his old seat, Democrats have told the Grind they plan to try and use DeLay to help nationalize the elections. DeLay, an outspoken conservative, has suffered politically from his association with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty to a variety of corruption charges and has been cooperating with investigators looking into allegations of corruption on Capitol Hill.

    While DeLay has not been linked to wrongdoing in the Abramoff probe, two of his former staffers -- Tony Rudy and Michael Scanlon -- have pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from the investigation.

    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/08/2006 12:01:00 PM ET | Permalink
    DAYAHEAD/Events making news today
    From The Morning Grind
    • President Bush is vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

      The Senate is in recess until September 5, 2006. (for more, see The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook)

    • The House is in recess until September 6. (For more, see The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook)
    • Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean addresses the Progressive Baptist Convention meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio at 11 a.m. ET.
    • Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York) addresses AFSCME's 37th International Convention at 12:30 p.m. ET in Chicago, Illinois.
    • Former Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina) heads to Helena, Montana to attend a minimum wage rally and raise money for state Democrats. Edwards attends the rally at 3 p.m. ET followed by a media availability at 3:45 p.m. ET. At 8:15 p.m. ET, Edwards attends a fundraiser for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee in Helena.
    • Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman makes several stops in Ohio today including meetings with "grassroots GOP supporters in Maumee and Cleveland. He also attends a Lucas County fundraiser in Toledo as well as a fundraiser for Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who is running for governor. Mehlman then stops by a "Victory Center" to talk to grassroots GOP supporters in Avon, Ohio at 6:30 p.m. ET.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/08/2006 11:50:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Political Hot Topics
    BATTLE RAGE IN SOUTHERN LEBANON: Battles between Israeli forces and Hezbollah guerrillas raged Tuesday across southern Lebanon as diplomats at the United Nations struggled to keep a peace plan from collapsing over Arab demands for an immediate Israeli withdrawal. Military planners in Jerusalem, meanwhile, said they plan to push even deeper into Lebanon to target rocket sites. Attempts to negotiate a cease-fire have come down to a step-by-step proposal backed by Washington and Lebanon's insistence -- supported by Arab nations -- that nothing can happen before Israeli soldiers leave the country. Arab diplomats and U.N. Security Council members were to meet later Tuesday at the U.N. in New York to try to hammer out a compromise. AP: Battles Rage in Southern Lebanon

    IRAQI LEADER SLAMS U.S.-AIDED ATTACK: Iraq's prime minister sharply criticized a U.S.-Iraqi attack on a Shiite militia stronghold in Baghdad, exposing a rift with his American partners on security tactics, as 24 people were killed Tuesday in a series of bombings and a shooting. An American soldier also died of wounds sustained in fighting in western Anbar province, the U.S. military said Tuesday. The latest violence -- in addition to the 10 killed in a suicide bombing in Samarra on Monday -- occurred amid a major U.S. operation to secure Baghdad in order to control Shiite-Sunni sectarian bloodshed that many fear will lead to civil war. AP: Iraqi Leader Slams U.S.-aided Attack

    POLL FINDS HOUSE INCUMBENTS AT RISK: Most Americans describe themselves as being in an anti-incumbent mood heading into this fall's midterm congressional elections, and the percentage of people who approve of their own representative's performance is at the lowest level since 1994, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. As attention turns to Connecticut for Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's Democratic primary showdown today, the poll found some of the same political currents that have buffeted his campaign flowing through the national electorate. The public has soured on politicians backing the Iraq war, which Democrats consider the most important issue of the election. Washington Post: Poll Finds House Incumbents at Risk

    LIEBERMAN AND LAMONT: DOWN TO THE WIRE: With a new poll showing a tightening race, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman spent a frantic day campaigning Monday, searching for votes and momentum going into today's primary. A Quinnipiac University poll showed Lieberman closing to within 6 percentage points of Ned Lamont, halving the anti-war challenger's lead in four days. Nearly 700,000 Democrats are eligible to vote today in Connecticut's first August primary, a nationally watched referendum on Lieberman's support for the war in Iraq. Since May 1, almost 29,000 new or unaffiliated voters have registered as Democrats. "I am very gratified about the poll results today, because they send us into Election Day with some real momentum," Lieberman said Monday. Hartford Courant: Lieberman and Lamont: Down to the Wire

    LIBERAL BLOGGERS APPEAR TO GIVE LAMONT A BOOST: As Connecticut Democrats head to the polls today for a closely contested Senate primary, many will be voting for a political novice, a cable TV businessman who was an unfamiliar name just three months ago. But Ned Lamont, a millionaire with little political experience, catapulted from anonymity to become a front-running Senate candidate with the help of a new political phenomenon: bloggers. Political analysts say that the network of Internet commentators -- some from as far away as California -- channeled voter anger against veteran incumbent Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and his support for the Iraq war into a huge boost for Lamont, drawing national attention to the race. Boston Globe: Liberal Bloggers Appear to Give Lamont a Boost

    MCKINNEY IN UNFORESEEN STRUGGLE FOR SEAT: As bleary-eyed drivers embarked on their Thursday-morning commute, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney stood at a busy suburban intersection belting out disco soul tunes. Her bodyguard didn't flinch, until a white passerby leaned out of a car and waved at McKinney and her campaign supporters. "White people don't usually wave," the guard said. Indeed, the outspoken McKinney, an African American Democrat whose campaign slogan is "Backbone in politics," is struggling to be reelected to the House after a significant number of voters in the northern, predominantly white areas of her suburban Atlanta district voted against her in last month's primary. L.A. Times: McKinney in Unforeseen Struggle for Seat

    GOP LOSES BID TO DROP DELAY FROM TEXAS BALLOT: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia refused yesterday to block an appeals court ruling to keep former congressman Tom DeLay as the Republican candidate on the ballot, all but ensuring that the former House majority leader will stand for election in November for his suburban Houston district. DeLay was under indictment in Texas and facing a possible House ethics investigation when he resigned his seat in June and announced he would move to Alexandria in hopes of removing his name from the ballot. But Democrats, eager to keep the politically tainted DeLay on the ballot, argued that he won the Republican primary this spring and cannot now decide on a successor without violating state election law and the U.S. Constitution. Washington Post: GOP Loses Bid to Drop DeLay From Texas Ballot

    NEW ORLEANS MOVES TO REPAIR ITS LEGAL SYSTEM: After months of chaos in the criminal justice system here, Mayor C. Ray Nagin announced the first steps Monday to replace the city's missing prosecutors, public defenders and police officers, along with its ruined courtrooms. A neighboring parish is lending prosecutors to New Orleans to help its overburdened district attorney's office deal with a significant backlog of cases, Mr. Nagin said. Pro bono assistance for poor defendants is on the way from the State Bar Association, which is also paying for a new system to coordinate and track cases. Courtrooms and jail cells are being rebuilt and brought into service. NY Times: New Orleans Moves to Repair Its Legal System

    GOP LEADERS ARE HOPING TO TURN THE WAR INTO A WINNER: Some Republican candidates are distancing themselves from President Bush in fear of voter discontent with the war in Iraq. But a new GOP strategy memo argues that the war could prove to be an advantage for many Republican candidates, citing it as one of the most effective issues that will excite the party base in November. The memo, based on a Republican National Committee poll of GOP voters and obtained by the Los Angeles Times, lists Bush's handling of "foreign threats" as the No. 1 motivator of the Republican base, specifically citing his leadership on Iraq. L.A. Times: GOP Leaders Are Hoping to Turn the War Into a Winner

    LOSS OF OIL FIELD PUTS PRESSURE ON PRICE: BP's decision to shut down the nation's biggest oil field roiled oil markets, putting pressure on prices at the pump during the peak summer driving season and prompting the government to consider dipping into its emergency stockpile. Crude oil prices fell 28 cents in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange early Tuesday, likely a result of profit-taking a day after prices jumped more than $2 a barrel in response to news of the loss of 400,000 barrels a day. BP said it will have to replace most of the 22 miles of so-called transit pipeline at Prudhoe Bay, which produces about 2.6 percent of the nation's daily supply including imports. AP: Loss of Oil Field Puts Pressure on Price

    MANY LEBANESE SAY PUT, DESPITE CROSSFIRE: Israeli warplanes dropped the leaflets on Sunday, warning residents that they should leave for their own safety. None did, according to neighbors, who were indignant that Israel would order them to flee their homes in this village just south of the port city of Sidon. Early yesterday, bombs fell on three of the village's apartment buildings, killing 15 persons and injuring 20, according to local police. The United Nations estimates that 70 percent to 80 percent of Lebanon's people south of the Litani River have abandoned their homes and moved northward for safety, part of a total dislocation estimated at more than 900,000 people nationwide. But thousands more still cling to their homes and fields in the war zone, refusing to leave for reasons of ideology or economics or just plain stubbornness, in spite of the imminent threat of Israeli bombing and a ground war with Hezbollah. Washington Times: Many Lebanese Stay Put, Despite Crossfire

    AIDE INSISTS ROMNEY IS JUST BEING CIVIL: It used to be that when Governor Mitt Romney hit the road, he made jokes about his home state of Massachusetts and the out-of-touch views of residents here. Now, in his continual courtship of the pivotal South Carolina Republican base, he seems to be going even further. Hosting a cocktail reception in South Carolina for local Republicans over the weekend, Romney joked about the attitude of some in the South toward the Civil War, referring to the region's views that the conflict was one of "Northern aggression" against the South. Romney made the remarks Saturday night in a 20-minute talk he gave in Charleston that his political action committee, the Commonwealth PAC, threw during the National Governors Association summer meeting. Boston Globe: Aide Insists Romney is Just Being Civil

    ALLEN ON TOUR TO WOO VOTERS: Sen. George Allen hit the road in a 35-foot van yesterday, embarking on a multiweek tour of the commonwealth and portraying himself as an outsider more comfortable with "all y'all" than Beltway insiders. The Republican combined re-election campaigning with his 11th annual "listening tour," greeting factory workers, retirees and other ordinary Virginians. Virginia Republicans once thought their freshman senator would cruise to victory this fall, allowing him to start the White House bid he has been considering. But with national Republican poll numbers tanking, Virginia Democrats are energized by the campaign of former Navy Secretary James H. Webb Jr., a former Republican and decorated Vietnam veteran. Washington Times: Allen on Tour to Woo Voters
    Posted By Julie Hofler, CNN Political Unit: 8/08/2006 11:26:00 AM ET | Permalink
    Monday, August 07, 2006
    GOP files emergency Supreme Court petition to block DeLay ballot ruling
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Texas Republican Party filed an emergency petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking for an order to block a lower court's ruling last week that said former congressman Tom DeLay's name cannot be removed from the general election ballot in Texas' 22nd congressional

    The application was filed with Justice Antonin Scalia, who has jurisdiction over appeals in Texas.

    The state GOP is asking that no action be taken until it can file an appeal with the full Supreme Court.

    The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals last week upheld a district judge's ruling that DeLay, who won a GOP primary in March before resigning his congressional seat, must remain on the ballot.

    The Republican Party wants to replace DeLay with another candidate to face Democratic nominee Nick Lampson in the fall election.
    Posted By CNN's Washington Bureau: 8/07/2006 03:18:00 PM ET | Permalink
    Ney to retire at end of the year
    From The Morning Grind

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Embattled Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) announced this morning he would retire at the close of the 108th Congress, abandoning a bid to win a seventh term to the House in November.

    Ney, who is under investigation by the Justice Department for his dealings with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, said the decision to step down at the end of the year "ultimately ... came down to my family.

    "I must think of them first, and I can no longer put them through this ordeal," Ney said in a statement released by his office.

    Ney made no specific mention of Abramoff or the investigation in the statement. Under pressure form House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), Ney relinquished his chairmanship of the House Administration Committee in January.

    While Ney has not been charged with any crime, federal law enforcement officers are investigating Ney to see if he performed official acts for Abramoff in return for a lavish trip to Scotland and other things of monetary value. Earlier this year, Ney's former chief of staff and Abramoff business associate Neil Volz, pleaded guilty for lobbying the congressman before the cooling off period for former staffers and lawmakers lapsed.

    In a separate statement, Ney's attorney Mark Tuohey said the Ohio Republican's decision to retire was "a political and practical one and not a legal one.

    "He recognizes that the ongoing investigation has created a tremendous amount of media speculation and has become an issue in the current race," Tuohey said in the statement. "Congressman Ney wants the voters of his district to be able to have an election focused on issues and not distractions, and for that reason, he has taken his name off the ballot.

    Tuohey added, "In terms of the ongoing investigation, we have repeatedly made clear that Congressman Ney has done nothing wrong, and there is no credible basis to charge him with a violation of law. If charges are brought, Congressman Ney will defend himself vigorously."

    In his own statement, Ney said he was "extremely proud of my 25 years serving the people of Ohio.

    "We've accomplished many things to make this state better and I will always be grateful for the trust my constituents put in me," Ney said.

    A source familiar with Ney's decision told the Grind this morning the congressman has amassed "hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills" and decided he needed to think about his children.

    "It's a sad commentary on just how costly it can be, both personally and financially, to defend one's self against the full force of the U.S. Justice Department even if you're never even charged with a crime," said the source, who spoke freely about the situation on the condition of anonymity.

    Later the source added, "It was a very difficult decision, because he truly believes he has done nothing wrong. But he ultimately felt he had to put his family and the party ahead of his own interests."

    It is unclear who will take Ney's place as the Republican nominee, but it appears as though state Sen. Joyce Padgett has the inside track. Padgett announced her candidacy this morning. The Democratic nominee is attorney Zack Space.

    National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Tom Reynolds praised Ney for his work on behalf of his constituents as well as his service as chairman of the House Administration Committee following the September 11 terrorist attacks. While not stating who would replace Ney, Reynolds predicted Republicans would retain the seat in November.

    "Ohio's 18th is a ruby red Republican district and I am confident it will remain in GOP hands come November," Reynolds said in a statement.

    But Bill Burton, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, immediately sought to tie Padgett to Ney and Gov. Bob Taft (R), who has been beset by scandal back in Ohio.

    "Bob Ney was forced out of this race by the reality of an electorate demanding change from the culture of corruption in Washington and a Congress that compulsively puts special interests first at every opportunity," Burton said in a statement.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/07/2006 12:34:00 PM ET | Permalink
    New poll shows Connecticut race tightening
    From The Morning Grind

    Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) woke this morning and learned a new poll by Quinnipiac University has him down six percentage points to challenger Ned Lamont on the eve of the Democratic primary. The new poll shows Lieberman has gained seven percentage points on Lamont since another poll conducted by the university was released late last week. The new poll has Lamont leading Lieberman 51 percent to 45 percent compared to last week's poll that showed Lamont with a 54 percent to 41 percent lead.

    Lieberman's campaign manager acknowledged Sunday that Lamont's television ads against the incumbent "have taken their toll" and said they would counter them with "positive message about Joe Lieberman's record" heading into primary day. Lieberman has already vowed to launch an independent campaign for re-election if he loses the Democratic primary to Lamont. Previous polling shows that under such a scenario, Lieberman would win re-election.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/07/2006 12:32:00 PM ET | Permalink
    Pataki reaching out
    From The Morning Grind

    Let there be no question about it, retiring New York Gov. George Pataki (R) is giving a serious look at a 2008 run for the White House. Over the weekend, Pataki made stops in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa to meet with GOP activists and help raise money for local Republican parties.

    Today, he will talk about his plan to help ease the nation's energy problems with a lunchtime speech before the National Press Club. This afternoon, he will huddle with a group of influential Washington, DC Republican insiders at the Mayflower Hotel, a source familiar with the meeting tells the Grind. Pataki is expected to meet with Brad Card; Latin Coalition President Robert Deposada; Ben Ginsberg, a top official in President Bush's two presidential campaigns; Lanny Griffith; Bill Harris, the CEO of the 2004 Republican National Convention; Lisi Kaufman of United Technologies; Andrew McKenna of Progress for America; DCI Chairman Tom Synhorst; and also individuals from the major GOP party committees.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/07/2006 12:29:00 PM ET | Permalink
    Grind trivia
    From The Morning Grind

    So who will replace Fidel Catro as the longest serving head of government in the world, if and when the Cuban leader dies? And what world leader moves into second place under this scenario? The question posed to Grind readers on Friday spurred an outpouring of responses from across the country. But it was Frank McDougall of Lebanon, New Hampshire who was the first person to answer this two-part trivia question correctly.

    So what is the answer? Omar Bongo, the president of Gabon since 1967 followed by Libya's Muammar Qaddafi, who took power in 1969.

    CNN's Keating Holland notes that several people guessed that the Sultan of Brunei, who has been on the throne since 1967, would take over the title when Castro dies. But although the Sultan has ruled since the 1960s, Brunei was not an independent country until 1984. King Tupou IV of Tonga was another good guess (he was crowned in 1965) but that island did not win its independence from Britain until 1970.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/07/2006 12:27:00 PM ET | Permalink
    DAYAHEAD/Events making news today
    From The Morning Grind

    • President Bush is in Crawford, Texas. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are scheduled to make statements at 10 a.m. ET about the situation in the Middle East.
    • The Senate is in recess until September 5, 2006. (for more, see The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook)
    • The House is in recess until September 6. (For more, see The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook)
    • New York Gov. George Pataki (R) delivers a 12:30 p.m. ET speech on the "nation's energy crisis" at the National Press Club.
    • Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) appears on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
    Posted By Mark Preston, CNN Political Unit: 8/07/2006 12:09:00 PM ET | Permalink
    Political Hot Topics
    ISRAELI AIRSTRIKES KILL 15 IN LEBANON: Israeli warplanes repeatedly bombed Beirut's southern suburbs and pounded other areas of Lebanon on Monday, killing at least 15 people. Fierce fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah guerrillas in south Lebanon killed one soldier, the army said. The new strikes and ground battles came hours before Arab League foreign ministers were to meet in Beirut for a hastily convened session to show solidarity with Lebanon. Both sides appeared to take advantage of the days before a cease-fire resolution, formulated by the U.S. and France, is put to a vote in the U.N. Security Council. Hezbollah rocket launched its deadliest rocket barrage on Israel on Sunday, killing 12 Israeli soldiers and three civilians. Israeli warplanes began carrying out a series of air raids on southern Lebanon early Monday. AP: Israeli air strikes kill 15 in Lebanon

    RICE CALLS U.N. PLAN CRUCIAL STEP TO PEACE: Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice pressed Sunday for approval of a draft U.N. resolution calling for a "cessation of hostilities" between Israel and Hezbollah, saying it is a crucial "first step" toward resolving the conflict. Acknowledging that passage of the resolution would not immediately end the fighting that has raged for most of the past month, Rice said that it nonetheless offers a framework that would not only eventually end the hostilities but also stabilize the area going forward. The resolution does not call for Israeli troops to immediately withdraw from Lebanon, a point that has drawn sharp opposition from key players in the conflict. Even as Rice called for the resolution's quick passage in the United Nations, Syria, which is one of Hezbollah's main sponsors, said the proposal is unacceptable. Washington Post: Rice Calls U.N. Plan Crucial Step to Peace

    FIGHTING IN BAGHDAD'S SADR CITY KILLS 3: Iraqi and U.S. forces raided a Shiite militia stronghold of Baghdad Monday, triggering a gunbattle that left three people dead, while 10 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a funeral in Saddam Hussein's hometown. A roadside bombing southwest of Baghdad killed three U.S. soldiers late Sunday, the U.S. military said. No further details were released. Seven other people were killed and six bodies were found Sunday. In Baghdad, sounds of heavy gunfire and explosions rattled the Sadr City district starting about 1 a.m. Monday and lasted for more than an hour. Iraqi government television and aides to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said U.S. aircraft were attacking buildings in the area. AP: Fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City kills 3

    ARAB WORLD FINDS NEW ICON: The success or failure of any cease-fire in Lebanon will largely hinge on the opinion of one figure: Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah, who has seen his own aura and that of his party enhanced immeasurably by battling the Israeli Army for nearly four weeks. With Israeli troops operating in southern Lebanon, Sheik Nasrallah can continue fighting on the grounds that he seeks to expel an occupier, much as he did in the years preceding Israel's withdrawal in 2000. Or he can accept a cease-fire -- perhaps to try to rearm -- and earn the gratitude of Lebanon and much of the world. Analysts expect some kind of middle outcome, with the large-scale rocket attacks stopping but Hezbollah guerrillas still attacking soldiers so that Israel still feels pain. In any case, the Arab world has a new icon. NY Times: Arab World Finds New Icon

    SENATORS SUGGEST WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQI CIVIL WAR: Two U.S. senators said an escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq could require a new congressional mandate, leading to the potential withdrawal of American forces from the country. "This is a civil war. I think the generals, the other day, were cautious in their language. But I think they were telling us something loud and clear to anyone who wanted to listen," said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat. "And I, frankly, don't believe that U.S. military people can necessarily play referee in that kind of a situation. "I think we're being asked to do something that is impossible for us to achieve under these circumstances," Mr. Dodd told CBS' "Face the Nation." His comments were echoed by Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican, who told CBS, "It is very wrong to put American troops in a hopeless, winless situation, just keep feeding them into what's going on. That's irresponsible, and that is wrong." Washington Times: Senators suggest withdrawal from Iraqi civil war

    GETTING IN LATE APPEALS IN CT SENATE PRIMARY BATTLE: Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman delivered a "closing argument" to Democratic voters Sunday, asserting that his support for an unpopular war in Iraq is no reason to reject him Tuesday. Two days before his primary with Ned Lamont, an anti-war challenger leading by 13 percentage points in a recent poll, Lieberman disputed that he is President Bush's "best friend and enabler," reciting his past criticisms of Bush over the war, the environment and social issues. But even as the three-term incumbent made his late appeal, accompanied by former Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, some advisers conceded for the first time that a loss Tuesday should prompt Lieberman to reflect before pursuing plans to continue as a petitioning candidate in a three-way race. Hartford Courant: Getting In Late Appeals In CT Senate Primary Battle

    NEW LIEBERMAN RADIO ADS HIT HARD: As their bitter primary campaign winds down with an appeal for the black vote, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman is contrasting his civil rights record with Ned Lamont's membership in a Greenwich country club "not known for its diversity." On the last weekend before the Tuesday primary, Lieberman's campaign diverted resources to television and radio ads, including a hardhitting spot heavily playing on black radio stations, "Membership." The 60-second commercial suggests that Lamont, a wealthy Greenwich cable television entrepreneur, was racially insensitive for his 16-year membership in the Round Hill Country Club. "It's terribly disappointing," Lamont said Saturday, dismissing the ad as the last gasp of a flagging campaign. "The idea that the senator at the end of an 18-year career would cast charges like that is very sad." Hartford Courant: New Lieberman Radio Ads Hit Hard

    DEMOCRATS MUM ON 'CORRUPTION': Democrats have reined in their use of the "culture of corruption" mantra in their efforts to oust congressional Republicans from power, fearing the slogan would backfire after two senior members of their own party were implicated in ethical scandals. Last year, minority-party leaders announced that they would offer something different from a culture of corruption, after a series of indictments and resignations involving Majority Leader Tom DeLay and other Republican lawmakers. The phrase became a regular Democratic refrain. Then, FBI officials revealed they found $90,000 in marked $100 bills in Rep. William J. Jefferson's freezer, and the Democrats opted to change course. Now, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who is regularly asked why the term has been shelved, spins the culture of corruption question to say Republicans are incompetent and beholden to special interests. Washington Times: Democrats mum on 'corruption'

    PROTESTERS RETURN TO CRAWFORD: The peace movement has returned to this tiny town near President Bush's vacation home, where thousands gathered last year to support activist Cindy Sheehan in her protest of the Iraq war. Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004, came back to Crawford on Sunday -- the same day that Arabs and Muslims from across Texas gathered at the Crawford Peace House, the modest headquarters for antiwar activity here, to protest the violence and the civilian death toll in Lebanon. Sheehan defended her decision to use a third party to buy 5 acres of land near Bush's ranch to conceal her identity. She paid for the property with insurance money she received from the government after her son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed. L.A. Times: Protestors Return to Crawford

    MOVEON LOOKS TO CT FOR 1ST 2006 ELECTION VICTORY: Other than the candidates, no one has more riding on this week's Connecticut Democratic Senate primary than, a liberal organization at the edgy intersection of politics and the Internet. With victory for Ned Lamont, the group can claim a role in helping an anti-war challenger dump Sen. Joe Lieberman, who supports President Bush's policy in Iraq and has the backing of the Democratic establishment. A come-from-behind win for Lieberman would mark yet another setback for MoveOn in its parallel campaign — to strengthen its credentials as a force to be heeded by Democrats as they seek congressional majorities this fall. AP: MoveOn Looks to CT for 1st 2006 Election Victory

    CRITICS SAY POLITICS DRIVING IMMIGRATION HEARINGS: When House leaders announced their plan to hold 21 immigration hearings in 13 states during the August recess, they said it demonstrated a commitment to battling illegal immigration and securing the border. But some Democratic and Republican lawmakers said the schedule of the hearings had only heightened their concerns that the Republican leadership was using immigration as a weapon in the battle over fiercely contested House and Senate seats around the country. Several immigration hearings are being held far from the border with Mexico, in districts where Republican lawmakers are engaged in competitive races for the House, including Evansville, Ind.; Concord, N.H.; and Glens Falls, N.Y. NY Times: Critics Say Politics Driving Immigration Hearings

    GOVERNORS EMBRACE HEALTHCARE CHOICES: Two years ago, the nation's governors were wrestling with soaring healthcare costs, rising populations, and agonizing choices over how to keep their Medicaid programs afloat. Now, as governors are holding their annual summer meeting, healthcare seems less hopeless. Their choices are vastly different as many states embark on unprecedented experiments to revamp the healthcare program for the poor, and healthcare overall. Massachusetts has captured the spotlight with a universal health insurance plan that demands everyone in the state get insurance, and gives them help to get it. In different shapes and sizes, other states have begun experiments, from West Virginia to Idaho, Florida to Maine. The fall elections also are a major topic at the three-day gathering of the National Governors Association, which opened Saturday. Thirty-six states will elect governors this fall.
    Boston Globe: Governors Embrace Healthcare Choices
    Posted By Julie Hofler, CNN Political Unit: 8/07/2006 11:22:00 AM ET | Permalink
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