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Wednesday, April 04, 2007
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...

  • "Sen. John McCain's top advisers bluntly told backers on Tuesday of plans to overhaul the campaign and delay its formal announcement until after a major speech on Iraq." (The Politico)

    "The maneuvers come at a time of sharp anxiety in Mr. McCain's camp, especially over his fund-raising, which is trailing all the major Republican and Democratic presidential candidates." (New York Times)

  • Mitt Romney's campaign launched a new ad this morning which will begin airing today in IA and NH. "I Like Vetoes" talks about "his pledge to bring fiscal discipline back to Washington." The ad is available on his website. (Release)

  • Rudy Giuliani's "two inaugural appearances in Iowa" yesterday "didn't draw enormous adoring crowds fit for a superstar." (AP)

  • "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad assured her of his willingness to engage in peace talks with Israel." (AP)

    "W. KICKS NANCY'S ASSAD" (New York Post headline)

  • "About 20 students lay in front of" Karl Rove's car "as it prepared to leave" after an appearance at American University last night. The students gathered "to make a 'citizen's arrest' of the presidential adviser." (Washington Post)

    PHOTO (via WRC-TV NBC 4)

  • And a breakfast with one DC power couple is bringing in $45,000 (!) so far in the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Auction on Which couple? Find out in Hot Topics below!

    President's Schedule:

  • The president heads to the Golden State today. At 3:30 pm ET, Bush participates in a National Training Center demonstration and then lunches with military personnel and families at CA's Fort Irwin. Bush will make remarks after the lunch, time TBD. Tonight, the president attends a Republican National Committee reception at a private residence in Los Angeles.

    Also on the Political Radar:

  • The House and Senate are not in session this week.

  • Rudy Giuliani heads to the Sunshine State, addressing FL State House and Senate members at the Governors Club in Tallahassee at 9:30 am ET. Giuliani will also meet supporters at St. Petersburg High School at 2:45 pm ET.

  • Mitt Romney holds a presser at the IA State Capitol at 9:45 am ET in Des Moines. Romney will take at tour of Pioneer Hybrids at 11:45 am ET in Johnston, IA, and later open his IA campaign HQ at 6:15 pm ET in Urbandale, IA. Tonight, Romney hosts a 7:30 pm ET "Ask Mitt Anything" tele-town hall at campaign HQ.

  • Former WI Gov. Tommy Thompson holds two events to announce he's running for president. He has a 10 am ET speech at Messmer High School in Milwaukee, then a 1 pm ET appearance at the 7 Flags Event Center in Clive, IA.

  • Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) holds a 10 am ET town hall meeting with Concord High School Students in Concord, NH. At 1:45 pm ET, Dodd holds a roundtable discussion with students at St. Anselm College Institute of Politics. He'll also give a guest lecture at 2:30 pm ET.

  • John and Elizabeth Edwards attend a 1 pm ET town hall at the Golden Leaf Banquet and Convention Center in Davenport, IA, and a 6:45 pm ET town hall at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines.

  • First Lady Laura Bush delivers 2:20 pm ET remarks in Austin, TX, at the announcement of the Texas Regional Office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

  • Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell gives the afternoon keynote speech at the 2007 Excellence in Government conference, 4:30 pm ET at the Washington Convention Center.

  • The NH Republican State Committee holds a 6 pm ET "Meet, Greet, and Eat" (pizza) with Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) in Nashua, NH.

  • Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) holds a 7:30 pm ET rally at North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, IA.

    Political Hot Topics

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

    IN "HARSHEST LANGUAGE YET", BUSH DECRIES DEMS' "SPRING BREAK": President Bush yesterday put a human face on the war-funding standoff with Democratic lawmakers, saying their failure to send him a "clean" spending bill that he can sign will keep some troops in the field longer and force others to deploy sooner than planned. Using his harshest language to date, the president upbraided the Democrat-controlled Congress for leaving on "spring break" without completing work on the bill -- 57 days after he requested $103 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "In a time of war, it's irresponsible for the ... Democratic leadership in Congress to delay for months on end while our troops in combat are waiting for the funds," Mr. Bush said at a Rose Garden press conference. Washington Times: Bush says war bill endangers troops

    BUSH VETO "WOULD THWART THE WILL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE," SAYS CLINTON: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) stepped up her criticism of President Bush's threat to veto legislation that sets a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, saying that doing so would thwart the will of the American people. Clinton hedged, however, when asked whether she would support legislation sponsored by other Democratic senators, including Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), aimed at cutting off funding for the war on March 31, 2008. As she traveled through Iowa, Clinton said she had launched a petition drive through her campaign Web site calling on Bush not to veto legislation now pending in Congress that, for the first time, would establish deadlines for the U.S. involvement in Iraq. "Mr. President," she said, "don't veto the will of the American people." Washington Post: Clinton Decries Veto Threat, Urges Bush Compromise on Iraq

    BUSH SAYS FUEL EFFICIENCY PROPOSALS SUFFICIENT FOR THE MOMENT: A day after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had the authority to regulate heat-trapping gases, President Bush said he thought that the measures he had taken so far were sufficient. But the court's ruling was being welcomed by Congress and the states, which are already using the decision to speed their own efforts to regulate the gases that contribute to global climate change. As a result, Congress and state legislatures are almost certain to be the arenas for far-reaching and bruising lobbying battles. Mr. Bush made it clear in remarks on Tuesday that he thought his proposal to increase automobile fuel efficiency was sufficient for the moment; he gave no indication he would ask the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions of heat-trapping gases. New York Times: Bush Splits With Congress and States on Emissions

    WHAT WON'T MONICA ANSWER? House Democrats requested yesterday an interview of an aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, arguing that she must tell Congress which questions she is refusing to answer in asserting her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The request for a voluntary interview with Monica M. Goodling, Gonzales's senior counselor, signals that Democrats intend to challenge her refusal to testify about the Justice Department's firing of eight U.S. attorneys. Goodling, who is on indefinite leave from Justice, has said that she will refuse to answer questions from the House or Senate judiciary committees, because Democrats have already made up their minds on the matter. She said she faces "a perilous environment in which to testify." Washington Post: House Democrats Seek to Question Gonzales Aide About Fired Prosecutors

    HBO PLANS FL "RECOUNT" MOVIE: HBO is planning to make an unbiased film, titled "Recount" and scheduled to premiere early next year, about the 2000 presidential election. That could be difficult, if not impossible, to pull off, because the director, executive producer, and writer of the movie are all Democrats. Oh, and Colin Callender, the president of HBO Films, is also a D. The Hollywood Reporter this week quoted Callender as saying the movie won't take sides and instead would be "a fascinating look at democracy." Callender has made political donations to then-Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.), Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). The Hill: HBO promises 'fair' recount movie made by Dem donors

    WEB SITES TRYING TO REV UP THE DEBATE, AND THE AD DOLLARS: Presidential candidates aren't the only ones hitting the campaign trail earlier and more aggressively this election. Internet sites such as YouTube, MySpace and Yahoo are also trying to carve out a bigger role for themselves. Their hope is that providing a venue for political debate will help drive traffic -- and campaign-advertising dollars -- to their sites. YouTube last month started a channel for candidate-created videos where voters can also post video and text responses. (So far, Mitt Romney's YouTube channel has amassed the most videos, at 70, while Joe Biden trails with 34.) Yesterday, MySpace announced that it would hold a "virtual election" on Jan. 1-2 for its 168 million members to vote for their favorite presidential candidate. AOL, meanwhile, in February, introduced a new feature that pulls together bloggers posting about the 2008 elections, among other political topics. Wall Street Journal: New Outlets For Political Junkies

    OBAMA'S '96 BARE-KNUCKLES CAMPAIGN: The day after New Year's 1996, operatives for Barack Obama filed into a barren hearing room of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. There they began the tedious process of challenging hundreds of signatures on the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, the longtime progressive activist from the city's South Side. And they kept challenging petitions until every one of Obama's four Democratic primary rivals was forced off the ballot. Fresh from his work as a civil rights lawyer and head of a voter registration project that expanded access to the ballot box, Obama launched his first campaign for the Illinois Senate saying he wanted to empower disenfranchised citizens. But in that initial bid for political office, Obama quickly mastered the bare-knuckle arts of Chicago electoral politics. His overwhelming legal onslaught signaled his impatience to gain office, even if that meant elbowing aside an elder stateswoman like Palmer. Chicago Tribune: Obama knows his way around a ballot

    McCAIN OVERHAUL: Amid growing internal concern about poor fundraising and the direction of his presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain's top advisers bluntly told backers on Tuesday of plans to overhaul the campaign and delay its formal announcement until after a major speech on Iraq. "This is clearly a moment in the campaign that says, 'Hello? Wake up!' " finance chairman Tom Loeffler said in a telephone interview. "It's not a time to jog anymore. It's a time to sprint in the fundraising efforts. We have learned the political fundraising realities of 2007, and we are making the proper adjustments." Drawing on some of the successful fundraising techniques of President Bush's two campaigns for the White House, the McCain campaign now plans to mirror the Bush-Cheney campaign's Pioneers, Rangers and Mavericks with the McCain 50s, McCain 100s, McCain 200s and other elite designations for top fundraisers who agree to raise $50,000, $100,000, $200,000 or more. The Politico: Chastened McCain Relaunches Campaign

    MITT WORKS TO GET HIS NAME OUT THERE: Mitt Romney dashed across southern New Hampshire on Tuesday, enjoying the media attention that has come with his new fund-raising haul while trying to raise his profile among voters... Mr. Romney's campaign announced Monday that it had raised $20 million in the first quarter, outpacing efforts by his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. But he has trailed Senator John McCain of Arizona and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, the most established Republican contenders, in most nationwide polls. His supporters say the reason is largely that few people outside Massachusetts, where he was governor until three months ago, and Utah, where he was chief executive of the organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics, yet know who he is. New York Times: Jackpot Won, Romney Now Works on Name Recognition

    MOBILIZED MORMONS: As he vies for a place in the top tier of contenders for the Republican nomination, [Mitt] Romney is reaping enormous benefits from being part of a growing religion that has traditionally emphasized civic engagement and mutual support. Mormons are fueling his strong fundraising operation, which this week reported raising $21 million, the most of any Republican candidate. And they are laying the foundation for a potent grass-roots network -- including a cadre of young church members experienced in door-to-door missions who say they are looking forward to hitting the streets for him. "When Mormons get mobilized, they're like dry kindling. You drop a match and get impressive results quickly," said University of Notre Dame political scientist David Campbell, who is Mormon. Washington Post: Mormon Base a Mixed Blessing for Romney

    NO "ENORMOUS ADORING CROWDS" FOR RUDY: GOP presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, the consummate New Yorker, sought on Tuesday to convince conservative Iowa Republicans he has plenty in common with them. "We're all much more similar than we think, whether you're in Iowa or you're in New York, or California or somewhere else, you've got the same issues," the former New York mayor said on his first visit to the important early-voting state as a candidate. Considered a hero in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Giuliani leads all other Republican contenders in national popularity polls. Yet, his two inaugural appearances in Iowa - one in the afternoon and another in the evening - didn't draw enormous adoring crowds fit for a superstar. AP via Yahoo! News: Giuliani campaigns to win over Iowans

    GIULIANI'S NH SUPPORT "REMAINS FIRM": Political observers have long predicted that Giuliani's early strong support in the 2008 Republican presidential primary would dissipate as conservative voters learned about his past support for gun control, gay rights, and abortion rights. In addition, the thinking went, some conservatives would be repelled to learn of his sometimes chaotic personal life and the tarnished records of some of his business associates. Yet as details about Giuliani's life and record have emerged in politically astute New Hampshire, many voters say their support remains firm. They maintain that his success in New York City and his views on taxes and fighting terrorism -- shaped by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- outweigh any personal foibles and positions on social issues that stray from the GOP party line. New Hampshire's readiness to embrace the former mayor is significant because it appears to contradict the conventional wisdom that the more Republicans learn about Giuliani the less they will like him. Boston Globe: Giuliani surmounts expectations in N.H.

    ELIZABETH'S GOOD NEWS: Elizabeth Edwards said Tuesday that she got some good news: She has a type of cancer that is more likely to be controlled by anti-estrogen drugs. Mrs. Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, expressed frustration with reports that she's likely to die within five years. She said doctors can't give her a reliable life expectancy and even if they could, the information would be of no comfort to her. "I don't care," she said in an interview with The Associated Press as she campaigned with her husband. "I'm going to fight exactly as hard if they tell me that I've got 15 years or if I've got 30 years. I'm still going to fight to get rid of this — if they tell me I've got 15 minutes I'm still going to fight. It doesn't matter what the prognosis is. So it's not an important piece of information to me." AP via Yahoo! News: Elizabeth Edwards gets some good news

    AU STUDENTS LAY DOWN IN FRONT OF ROVE'S CAR: Heckling protesters briefly delayed the car carrying top White House aide Karl Rove last night as he left the American University campus, where he had just given a speech. No arrests or injuries were reported after Rove's invitation-only talk. About 20 students lay in front of the car as it prepared to leave, a witness said. Josh Goodman, an AU junior, said other students kicked the car "and tried to stop it as best as they could." He said the car, with Rove in the back seat, left after those in front of it "were all pulled away." Goodman estimated that the incident lasted for "close to five full minutes," but Maralee Csellar, AU's acting head of public relations, said the delay amounted to a minute or two. She said there were 12 to 15 protesters. Washington Post: Students Lie in Front of Car, Delay Rove After Speech

    45K TO BREAKFAST WITH ALAN AND ANDREA: Judging by the bids in the ongoing Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Auction, an audience with Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell is worth more than one with any of the other famous-for-D.C. types who are donating their time and treasure. Breakfast and tea with Al and Andrea was fetching $45,000 as of Tuesday afternoon - about 10 times more than any other lot. (Maybe the bidders are looking for some investing tips?) The auction, conducted at, benefits the memorial's mission of supporting defenders of human rights throughout the world. Here are some other D.C.-related lots, along with their current prices. The auction ends Friday. DC Examiner: Now, how much would you pay?
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