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Friday, December 08, 2006
CNN Political Ticker AM
For the latest, breaking political news, check for updates throughout the day on the CNN Political Ticker. All politics, all the time.

Compiled by Stephen Bach
CNN Washington Bureau

Making news today...

  • "President Bush moved quickly to distance himself on Thursday from the central recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group," the New York Times reports.

    Bush "expressed little enthusiasm for the central ideas" of the ISG report, the Washington Post reports.

  • "Speculation was raised that a report on the Foley scandal would be issued this afternoon, but staffers for the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct did not respond to rumors sweeping through Capitol Hill," reports the Washington Times.

  • A new Marist poll finds "Hillary Rodham Clinton is popular within her party but could have trouble winning the presidency," AP reports. "The former first lady held a double-digit lead over possible rivals," but "[f]orty-seven percent of registered voters said they would definitely not consider voting for" Clinton.

    See Hot Topics for more Marist results.

  • "Gov. Bill Richardson has not announced his candidacy for president, a Richardson spokesman said [Thursday] in response to a FOX news report that Richardson had announced his candidacy," reports the Albuquerque Tribune.

    In an interview with CNN, Pahl Shipley, Richardson's spokesman, also denied the FOX News report.

    "The FOX reporter took a hypothetical question out of context," Shipley said.

    "We are disappointed the FOX reporter took the governor's response to a hypothetical question out of context," Shipley said. "The simple truth is the governor made no announcement."

    "As the governor has said all along, he will decide if he is going to run in January," Shipley added.

  • And what did Mitt Romney say in 1994 that the Boston Globe reports "could haunt him" in a WH '08 bid? Find out in Hot Topics below!

    President's Schedule:

  • The President hosts the leadership of both houses of Congress at an 8:35 am ET breakfast.

    Bush also meets with South African President Thabo Mbeki at 1:15 pm ET in the Oval Office.

    Also on the Political Radar:

  • Barney Cam 2006

  • Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld holds a town hall meeting for Pentagon employees in the Pentagon Auditorium at 11 am ET.

  • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice holds a joint press availability at the State Department with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at 5 pm ET.

  • Rep. Bill Jefferson (D-LA) and LA State Rep. Karen Carter (D) debate tonight ahead of tomorrow's runoff in LA-2. 8 pm CT on WWL-TV.

  • Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) spends the night at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, in Angola, LA, which has "a dark history as one of America's toughest prisons," but has "emerged as an example of enlightened prison management," the Wichita Eagle reports.

  • The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook

  • The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook

    Political Hot Topics

    (Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)

    "LITTLE ENTHUSIASM" FOR ISG PROPOSALS: President Bush vowed yesterday to come up with "a new strategy" in Iraq but expressed little enthusiasm for the central ideas of a bipartisan commission that advised him to ratchet back the U.S. military commitment in Iraq and launch an aggressive new diplomatic effort in the region. On the day after the congressionally chartered Iraq Study Group released its widely anticipated report, much of Washington maneuvered to pick out the parts they like and pick apart those they do not. The report's authors were greeted with skepticism on Capitol Hill, and Democratic leaders used the occasion to press Bush to change course without embracing the commission's particular recipe themselves. Washington Post: Bush Appears Cool to Key Points Of Report on Iraq

    AFTER "HARROWING" IRAQ TRIP, ISG CONSIDERED "INTERIM REPORT": For some members of the Iraq Study Group, the turning point came during four days in Baghdad in September. They found the trip so harrowing, they said, that they wondered if they could afford to wait to speak out about the disaster in Iraq... They said the situation in Baghdad was so bleak — and in many ways, so much worse than they expected — that the four Democrats and three Republicans on the trip debated releasing an interim report as soon as they returned home. They worried that a final report released after the November elections, as planned, would be too late to have any hope of salvaging the situation. New York Times: A Turning Point for a Panel: 4 Harrowing Days in Iraq

    McCAIN CALLS ISG "RECIPE" THAT WILL LEAD TO "OUR DEFEAT IN IRAQ": Sen. John McCain, joining a growing list of critics, yesterday said the Iraq Study Group's widely touted book of proposals for settling the war in Iraq is a recipe for defeat. "There's only one thing worse than an overstressed Army and Marine Corps, and that's a defeated Army and Marine Corps," said Mr. McCain, the Arizona Republican who sits on the Armed Services Committee. "We saw that in 1973. And I believe that this is a recipe that will lead to, sooner or later, our defeat in Iraq." Like several other key members of Congress, Rep. Jack Kingston, Georgia Republican, said the report's 79 recommendations include many broad, long-sought goals but very few specific solutions to the concrete problems that have made the situation such a complicated mess. "It's about as daring as a glass of warm water," Mr. Kingston said. "They might as well have come out against crime. Do they think the president doesn't want to end sectarian violence?" Washington Times: McCain hits report as 'recipe' for defeat

    FRIST SAYS HE HOPES TO HAVE INSPIRED FUTURE "CITIZEN LEGISLATORS": Senate Majority leader Bill Frist thanked Tennessee voters Thursday for having faith in a political novice like him and said he hoped he had inspired future "citizen legislators" to follow his example. The Tennessee Republican delivered a 20-minute farewell speech to the Senate Thursday, an institution he led through four contentious and increasingly partisan years. "Those that come to serve after me as true citizen legislators will bring fresh perspective and new ideas that will in ways small and large make this country and institution better," Frist said. To Tennessee voters, he said, "I'm eternally grateful to them for giving me that trust and taking that chance." The Tennessean: Frist thanks voters in farewell salute

    '94 "ARCHITECTS" SAY GOP ERRED IN PUTTING "SELF-PRESERVATION" ABOVE "NATION'S AGENDA": Republicans who helped capture control of Congress 12 years ago blame the party's leaders for this year's debacle at the polls. Architects of the 1994 "Republican revolution," as well as current and former lawmakers elected that year, say the GOP repelled voters by putting self-preservation before the nation's agenda. "For the first six years of the 12 years, we were focused on policy and principles, and politics was secondary," says Rep. Zach Wamp of Tennessee, a member of the 1994 class who won his seventh term this month. "The second six years, politics became primary: raising money, going negative, consolidating power." "We did more good work the first 12 hours we were in Congress than the Republicans have done in the past five years," says Joe Scarborough, a class of '94 member who resigned in 2001 and is a talk-show host. "Republican leaders who took us to the point we are right now should be ashamed." USA Today: Republicans of '94 revolution reflect on '06

    "RUMORS" THAT FOLEY REPORT IS IMMINENT: The House ethics panel has not released its findings into the behavior of Mark Foley, the Florida Republican who left Congress in disgrace, despite looming adjournment and an October promise that the probe would conclude in "weeks, not months." Speculation was raised that a report on the Foley scandal would be issued this afternoon, but staffers for the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct did not respond to rumors sweeping through Capitol Hill. Mr. Foley resigned Sept. 29 when it was revealed that he sent sexually explicit messages to teenage boys who had served as congressional pages. That day, House members voted unanimously to send the matter to the ethics panel. A spokesman for Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi said the California Democrat would be disappointed if the investigation is unresolved when the House adjourns either today or tomorrow. "We said at the time we wanted to see it investigated thoroughly and expeditiously," Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said. Washington Times: Foley report awaited from ethics committee

    NOLA HOUSE HOPEFULS DEBATE JUST HOURS BEFORE RUNOFF: The last-minute campaign flurry before Saturday's 2nd House District runoff is missing two key players: the candidates. The incumbent, U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, flew to Washington on Thursday for a scheduled vote on an offshore royalty revenue sharing bill, while his challenger, state Rep. Karen Carter, D-New Orleans, was preparing to travel briefly to Baton Rouge for the start of a special session today. Their conspicuous absence in the district during what normally would be the race's climax represents just another unusual development in what has proved a weird campaign, even by Louisiana standards -- what with the key issue being the $90,000 the FBI said it found in the incumbent's freezer. What's more, the only runoff debate is scheduled for tonight at 8 p.m. on WWL-TV -- just 10 hours before voters polls open in the 2nd District, which includes most of New Orleans and part of Jefferson Parish. New Orleans Times-Picayune: Jefferson, Carter debate tonight in last leg of race

    PAPERLESS E-VOTING MAY BE "OBSOLETE" BY '08: By the 2008 presidential election, voters around the country are likely to see sweeping changes in how they cast their ballots and how those ballots are counted, including an end to the use of most electronic voting machines without a paper trail, federal voting officials and legislators say. New federal guidelines, along with legislation given a strong chance to pass in Congress next year, will probably combine to make the paperless voting machines obsolete, the officials say. States and counties that bought the machines will have to modify them to hook up printers, at federal expense, while others are planning to scrap the machines and buy new ones. Motivated in part by voting problems during the midterm elections last month, the changes are a result of a growing skepticism among local and state election officials, federal legislators and the scientific community about the reliability and security of the paperless touch-screen machines used by about 30 percent of American voters. New York Times: Changes Are Expected in Voting by 2008 Election

    IN SENATE "FISHBOWL," OBAMA-CLINTON MATCHUP IS "TALK OF THE CHAMBER": Neither [Hillary] Clinton nor [Barack] Obama has formally declared a candidacy, but their rivalry is already the talk of the chamber, an amusing sideshow for Democrats and Republicans -- at least the handful who aren't weighing their own White House bids... In the fishbowl of the Senate, interactions between Clinton and Obama are frequent and closely scrutinized. During a routine vote yesterday morning, Obama and Clinton brushed past each other on the Senate floor. Obama winked and touched Clinton on her elbow. Without pausing, she kept walking. The 100-member Senate has never run short of presidential wannabes, but this time, Democrats worry that the clash of titans will overshadow their legislative agenda, leaving mere mortals grasping for notice and potentially compromising the party's efforts to expand its Senate majority. Washington Post: For Now, an Unofficial Rivalry

    POLL NOTES "HURDLES" FOR CLINTON, GIULIANI: Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is popular within her party but could have trouble winning the presidency, according to a poll that also identified potential hurdles within the GOP for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The former first lady held a double-digit lead over possible rivals in the survey released Thursday by Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion. Clinton, who has taken steps suggesting a 2008 bid, had the support of 33 percent of Democrats to 14 percent for former Sen. John Edwards... Still, Clinton remains a polarizing figure, Forty-seven percent of registered voters said they would definitely not consider voting for the New York senator. Twenty-five percent said they definitely would consider voting for her while 28 percent said they would possibly consider it. Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of Arizona led the GOP field, with 24 percent favoring Giuliani and 23 percent backing McCain. Giuliani and McCain each led Clinton, 49 percent to 43 percent. But when Republicans were informed that Giuliani is "a pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-gay rights Republican," 47 percent said those traditionally liberal positions would be a major factor in determining how they voted while just 22 percent said they would not be a factor. AP via Yahoo! News: Poll: Trouble for Clinton, Giuliani bids

    FULL POLL RESULTS (pdf via

    TO BE CLEAR, RICHARDSON HASN'T ANNOUNCED... YET: Gov. Bill Richardson has not announced his candidacy for president, a Richardson spokesman said today in response to a FOX news report that Richardson had announced his candidacy. "The governor didn't say that. He said, like he's been saying, that he'll make a decision in January," Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos told The Tribune shortly after the report broke around 4 p.m. In a news release issued around 5:30 p.m. today, Gallegos added: "FOX News incorrectly reported that Governor Richardson has announced he will run for president. When asked directly whether he will run for president, Governor Richardson said he will make a final decision in January. "Other comments from the interview were taken out of context based on a hypothetical question that FOX News posed about the Governor's strengths should he run for president." Fox's Web site quoted Richardson as saying "I am Hispanic, which I believe is an asset. But I'm not running as an Hispanic. I am running as an American who is proud to be Hispanic." Albuquerque Tribune: Richardson's office denies he's announced run for president

    SOME CONSERVATIVES SEE ROMNEY AS "ACCEPTABLE MCCAIN ALTERNATIVE": New Hampshire activist Bruce Keough is signing up with Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's burgeoning presidential campaign for one reason: He considers Romney the opposite of John McCain. The Arizona senator's run-ins with the Bush administration have convinced Keough -- a former state senator who was wooed by both camps -- that Romney would be a more ideologically reliable Republican standard-bearer. "There are many conservatives who are not enthusiastic about John McCain's candidacy," he said. Converts such as Keough have pushed Romney to the top ranks of the Republican field. In Romney, who is courting social and religious traditionalists, they see a candidate who can energize Christian conservatives, stay on message and, in Keough's words, "become an acceptable McCain alternative." Bloomberg: Romney, Not McCain, Gains Support of Republican Traditionalists

    ROMNEY SANG A DIFFERENT TUNE ON GAY MARRIAGE IN '94: Comments Governor Mitt Romney made during his 1994 Senate bid, in which he said the gay and lesbian community "needs more support from the Republican Party," resurfaced yesterday, posing a potential hurdle as he appeals to conservatives for a probable presidential campaign. Bay Windows, the Boston-based gay and lesbian newspaper, republished excerpts from an August 1994 interview the paper did with Romney during his campaign against Senator Edward M. Kennedy. In the interview, Romney said it should be up to states to decide whether to allow same-sex marriage and he criticized Republican "extremists" who imposed their positions on the party. "People of integrity don't force their beliefs on others, they make sure that others can live by different beliefs they may have," Romney is quoted as saying. More recently, Romney's words and deeds have sent a very different message. Boston Globe: Romney's '94 remarks on same-sex marriage could haunt him

    PELOSI MAY BAN TOBACCO IN SPEAKER'S LOBBY: When the District goes smoke-free Jan. 2, at least one nicotine haven will remain: the U.S. Capitol. Lawmakers, several of whom enjoy a good cigar, have exempted themselves from the city's smoking ban, not to mention rules that forbid lighting up in federal buildings across the country. But winds of change may be blowing on the Hill. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat from smoke-free California and the next speaker of the House, is thinking of banishing tobacco from the most popular smoking spot in the building: the Speaker's Lobby outside the House chamber. "I'm not an advocate of smoking," Pelosi said yesterday, adding that she hadn't yet decided on a ban. "I think it's dangerous to your health." Washington Post: The Last Gasp of a Smoke-Filled Room?

    CHICAGO CITY HALL WORKERS ASKED TO DONATE ON MAYOR'S BEHALF: At many companies, it's a Christmas tradition for the boss to give gifts to the workers. At Chicago's City Hall, the boss--Mayor Richard Daley--also gets a gift. A memorandum sent out last month on city stationery asks department heads and senior staffers to give a "$35 voluntary donation (no checks please)" toward a gift for the mayor and his wife, Maggie. The offering will be presented at the Daleys' annual holiday party for staffers to be held Friday at Kendall College. In past years, employees have given the Daleys gifts such as a saltwater aquarium and a piece of artwork from China. This year's gift will be different. When the Tribune asked what the present would be, mayoral spokeswoman Jodi Kawada revealed Wednesday that a $2,300 charitable donation will be made in the Daleys' names. The money will go to After School Matters, a program overseen by Maggie Daley that offers activities for city teenagers. Chicago Tribune: Top aides urged not to forget the boss

    THE MEMO (via

    FLOTUS $8,500 FASHION FAUX PAS (X3): Someone call the fashion police! First Lady Laura Bush experienced every woman's worst nightmare when she turned up at a White House gala wearing the exact same $8,500 outfit as not one - but three - other women. The First Lady in Red had to quickly change out of her two-piece Oscar de la Renta embroidered tulle jacket and floor-length trumpet skirt after aides caught on to the extraor dinary fashion faux pas at the Kennedy Center Honors in D.C. on Sunday. "It must have looked like Oscar de la Renta had a great big sale," fashion critic Leon Hall said yesterday. "I mean, I think it is every woman's nightmare," added celebrity fashion reporter Robert Verdi, who said that for women of a certain age and pedigree, the situation is almost unavoidable. Glamour's style editor, Ashley Baker, said Mrs. Bush's couture anguish must have been made that much worse by the outfit's outrageous price tag: "I mean it's one thing to buy something from the Banana Republic or the Gap, but who knew that so many people could afford a dress like that?" New York Post: RED ALERT FOR POOR LAURA
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