Monday, January 22, 2007
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Compiled by Stephen Bach
CNN Washington Bureau
Making news today...
Bush will also "highlight a new health care plan," which "calls for a health care tax deduction of $7,500 for individuals and $15,000 for families," USA Today reports.
Bush returns to the White House via Marine One at 1:15 pm ET.
Also on the Political Radar:
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
SOTU... BUSH TO PUSH NEW HEALTHCARE TAX BREAK: President Bush vowed that the Iraq war would not deter him from engaging the Democratic-controlled Congress on a sweeping domestic agenda, including helping states tailor their own plans for health insurance... However, he said state plans should not lead to universal health care run by the federal government. "There's a lot of people in Washington that say the federal government ought to run health care. I'm not one," he said in a wide-ranging and occasionally testy conversation Friday. Bush said he will use Tuesday's State of the Union speech to highlight a new health care plan. The plan calls for a health care tax deduction of $7,500 for individuals and $15,000 for families. The tax break would apply whether people buy their own insurance or receive coverage through their jobs. USA Today: Bush draws up ambitious domestic agenda
NEW STRATEGY FOR GLOBAL WARMING: President Bush this week is prepared to unveil what his aides have billed as a bold new national strategy to confront global climate change and work toward energy independence, even as Democrats push their own, more aggressive approach to the issue. In previewing the State of the Union address the president will deliver tomorrow, administration officials have strongly hinted that Bush would outline steps the government will take to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which most scientists believe contribute to global warming. The White House has refused to discuss details in advance of the president's speech, though many in Congress and the energy industry expect it to include raising fuel-economy standards for automobiles, more support for renewable energy sources, and efforts to control emissions at utility plants and other big polluters. Boston Globe: Bush set to tackle global warming
"EDITOR IN CHIEF": Most Americans think of President Bush as the commander in chief. His speechwriters have another name for him: the editor in chief. "He always wants it to be logical and straightforward," William McGurn, the chief White House speechwriter, said in a hurried telephone interview on Friday, just four days before the State of the Union address. "That's his big obsession. I always say I've been edited by Bill Buckley at the National Review, Bob Bartley at The Wall Street Journal. And the president is the strictest editor, the most line by line." Mr. McGurn, a former Journal editorial writer, and his team of about a half-dozen writers and researchers have had more than their usual exposure to presidential editing this winter. The address on Tuesday comes 13 days after Mr. Bush's prime-time speech on his new strategy in Iraq, one that even some Republicans have criticized as uninspiring, a rhetorical dud. New York Times: Clock Ticking, Speechwriters for Bush Seek Perfect Pitch
McCAIN SKEPTICAL ABOUT CASEY NOMINATION: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said yesterday that he is inclined to oppose President Bush's appointment of Gen. George W. Casey Jr. as the new Army chief of staff, on the grounds that Casey's 2 1/2 -year tenure as U.S. military leader in Iraq was marked by "failed leadership." McCain, the senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee, which must confirm Casey's appointment, and a likely presidential candidate in 2008, accused Casey of presiding over "a failed policy" in Iraq, in which McCain said Iraqi forces were expected too quickly to assume growing responsibility for security matters there. Washington Post: McCain May Oppose Pick For Army Staff Chief
IS THE HONEYMOON OVER FOR PELOSI? Beneath the resounding Democratic victories of the past two weeks, tensions have been growing between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many new committee chairmen and other members over her aggressive management style and her approach to the war, according to lawmakers and advisers. Powerful committee chairmen have bridled at the California Democrat's decision to impose six-year term limits on them. Liberal Democrats say she is being too cautious in confronting President Bush on the war in Iraq. Rank-and-file Democrats say she erred in denying Republicans more say in the early legislation, making the speaker appear autocratic. And many Democrats complain that Pelosi is relying too heavily on a coterie of liberal allies from her home state and Massachusetts to the exclusion of more conservative lawmakers from the Midwest and the South. Washington Post: Emerging Grievances Within Party Likely to Test Pelosi
GOP LOOKS TO EXPLOIT "DEM DISSENT": House Republicans have been quoting some unlikely allies when complaining about the methods used by the new Democratic majority -- Democratic leaders. As the House approved the final piece of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's initial "Six for '06" agenda, Republicans lamented that the bills in the package did not go through committees and that amendments were not allowed. Backing up their point were Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada; Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York, House Ways and Means Committee chairman; and Rep. John D. Dingell of Michigan, the House's longest-serving member. "They are shutting out not just Republicans but all of the talented members of this Congress," said Rep. Adam H. Putnam of Florida, chairman of the Republican Conference. Washington Times: GOP seizes on dissent in majority
LOBBYING UNDER A NEW DEM MAJORITY... NOT AS BAD AS EXPECTED: From one end of the House Democrats' "first 100 hours" agenda to the other, businesspeople and their lobbyists have found success amid the fear in dealing with the new Congress. Surprising as it might seem in view of the Democrats' public rhetoric, business groups are getting their telephone calls returned. And they're getting plenty of face time with the new House and Senate leaders... Still, as the opening round ended, many business lobbyists expressed relief. In part, the business community's early influence reflects its status as a constituency Democrats can't afford to ignore. Los Angeles Times: Lobbyists find new Congress is open for business
34TH ANNIVERSARY OF ROE V. WADE: Today marks the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, and as thousands descend on the District to protest abortion, some new twists have emerged on the political landscape, including a Democrat-controlled Congress, an upcoming Supreme Court decision and a burgeoning presidential race. With Democrats in charge of the House and Senate, some pro-choice leaders see an opportunity to affirm and protect the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion a constitutional right. "I do believe that there are some opportunities for affirmative legislation that would protect women's lives and health," said Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation. "We don't expect further abortion restrictions to move through Congress." Still, it remains to be seen how Democratic leaders will handle the abortion issue. Washington Times: Roe's 34th year sees a new Washington
ARMSTRONG "CONCERNED" ABOUT PROPOSED CUTS FOR CANCER RESEARCH: Lance Armstrong wants voters to make cancer a political priority. In an interview with USA TODAY, the cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France winner says the country needs an army of advocates to push the disease to the top of the agenda. Armstrong says he's concerned that President Bush has proposed cutting funding to the National Cancer Institute for the second year in a row. The cuts would reduce the cancer institute's budget to just over $4.7 billion, a reduction of $36 million, or 0.8%, NCI spokeswoman Aleea Farrakh says. She noted that Congress has not yet set the NCI's final budget. "The people who want to be president in 2008 should talk about something that kills 600,000 Americans a year," says Armstrong, 35. USA Today: Armstrong still fighting strong
SWIFT ANNOUNCEMENTS MAY UPSET THE TRADITIONAL PRESIDENTIAL SCRIPT: Two years before the next president is inaugurated and a full year before the first vote is cast, the contest for the White House is off to a breathtakingly fast start, exposing an ever-growing field of candidates to longer, more intensive scrutiny and increasing the amount of money they need to remain viable. On Sunday, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, held her first campaign event, highlighting her focus on health care a day after declaring her plans to run. Another Democrat, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, entered the fray, the eighth member of his party to do so. And the day was not terribly different in its pace of activity from many others in recent weeks. The scale and swiftness of the action has the potential to upset the traditional timetables and conventions of presidential campaigning. New York Times: Rush of Entries Gives '08 Race Early Intensity
'08 CANDIDATES EMBRACING USE OF ONLINE VIDEO: [I]f last year was the year of the rogue videographers, the already-underway 2008 presidential campaign is likely to be remembered as the point where Web video became central to the communications strategy of every serious presidential candidate. Playing defense is only one use of Web video. Equally important, the candidates and their staffs see Web-based video as an inexpensive and potentially significant tool for telling their campaign story without the filters of the traditional media... Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), for example, is to participate in three live online chats starting tonight -- a rapid-fire follow-up to the announcement of her presidential ambitions via video Saturday. The campaign will solicit questions in advance, and Clinton will respond on her Web site. Washington Post: On the Electronic Campaign Trail
HILLARY PASSES ON PUBLIC FUNDS: For the first time since the nation launched its grand experiment with publicly financed presidential campaigns three decades ago, major-party nominees in 2008 are expected to turn down all public funds. The reason: The grant, expected to be $83.8 million, might not be enough to run a winning campaign. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York) is the first top-tier candidate to tip her hand that she intends to leave the public money on the table. Senior Clinton advisor Howard Wolfson said by e-mail Sunday that she would not take matching funds in the primary campaign or, if she wins the Democratic nomination, in the general election. On her campaign website, Clinton suggests that donors give her $2,100 for the primary and another $2,100 for the general - a sign that she won't seek matching funds in the general election. Candidates who take public money in the general election must forgo fundraising. Los Angeles Times: Just $83.8 million? No thanks
CLINTON STRATEGIST SAYS OBAMA, EDWARDS CAMPS ARE "STALLED OR FALLING": Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's pollster fired an opening salvo at Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards yesterday, claiming their campaigns are "stalled or falling" -- and suggesting Obama isn't tough enough to withstand GOP attacks in 2008. A day after Clinton announced she would run for president -- and win -- her campaign's chief strategist Mark Penn sent a memo to reporters intended to offset an avalanche of articles emphasizing Clinton's high disapproval ratings and questioning her electability. "She is not just strong, but the strongest Democrat in the field," wrote Penn, referring to a new national poll showing Clinton with a commanding 20-plus-point lead over Obama and Edwards, the Democratic nominee as vice president in 2004. Newsday: Clinton's camp fires first salvo
NYC POLL HAS HILLARY OVER BARACK 49-23%: If Sen. Hillary Clinton faced off with Sen. Barack Obama in New York City today, she would trounce him, says a Daily News poll released today. The survey shows that among city voters, 43% would choose Clinton and 24% would pick Obama. The other 33% said they were undecided or wanted another candidate altogether. Clinton did even better among registered Democrats, beating Obama, 49% to 23%. The survey points out a significant strength for Clinton: She bests the Illinois senator, who is black, in a liberal bastion with a heavy concentration of minority voters. But it also shows Clinton is vulnerable in a presidential contest, failing to get more than 50% of the vote in the heartland of her support. Her margin over Obama pales in comparison to her landslide reelection numbers last November. New York Daily News: Hillary crushes Barack in city
MICHELLE OBAMA "KEEPS HIM REAL": In the nearly 2 1/2 years since Obama's rousing address, the junior Democratic U.S. senator from Illinois has become a familiar figure on Sunday morning talk shows, the cover of Time and Newsweek, and the front pages of newspapers nationwide. Meanwhile, the woman who never really wanted a political life has stayed mostly behind the scenes. But Obama's announcement last week that he is exploring a 2008 bid for president inches Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama ever closer to the floodlights, to the strange blend of curiosity and scrutiny that awaits the wives of presidential candidates. Obama, 45, would never make a run for president without his 43-year-old wife's approval and careful counsel, those close to her say. Rest assured, Michelle, a devoted mother, has weighed the impact on the couple's two daughters, Malia, 8, and Natasha, 5. Chicago Sun-Times: The woman behind Obama
RICHARDSON JUMPS IN WITH "UNASSAILABLE" CREDENTIALS: Bill Richardson, the avuncular governor of New Mexico who is an internationalist with a gold-plated resume, on Sunday announced his intention to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, making history as the first Latino to have a credible chance to lead a national ticket. On paper, Richardson's credentials are unassailable. He has served as a member of Congress, ambassador to the United Nations, energy secretary and, since 2002, governor of a state in the heart of the rapidly growing Sun Belt. Yet he enters a contest already crowded with big names. Chicago Tribune: Richardson in '08 race
BOEHNER "LEANING STRONGLY" TOWARDS ROMNEY: Republican presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is making a concerted effort to build a coalition of House Members to act as campaign liaisons, and early signs indicate that Romney is the likely favorite of a growing number of Republicans, including Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio). Boehner has not endorsed Romney, but knowledgeable sources said the Minority Leader is leaning strongly in his favor. "He likes him — a lot — but he's not there just yet," said one source. Last Wednesday, Romney's exploratory committee announced that Ways and Means ranking member Jim McCrery (La.), a close Boehner ally, would serve as his lead liaison for outreach in the House. Roll Call: Boehner Leans to Romney
GINGRICH RUN WOULD BE "LAST RESORT": First, Newt Gingrich said he would run for president in 2008 only if no other Republican emerged as a clear front-runner. Now, the former House speaker says he will run only as a "last resort." His assessment came in response to a question by Chris Wallace, host of "Fox News Sunday." "You sound as if you think about running for president as a last resort, not as a first resort?" Wallace asked. "Exactly," Gingrich answered. "I mean, nobody's ever said it quite that way, but you're right." AP via Yahoo! News: Gingrich: 2008 run would be last resort
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