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Thursday, April 12, 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...


  • Fred Thompson's "dramatic and very public revelation Wednesday that he was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 is another sign that the former U.S. senator representing Tennessee may end up running for president, supporters and political observers said." (The Tennessean)

  • Thompson, "who has yet to announce his candidacy, is ahead of a slumping John McCain" in the latest LA Times/Bloomberg poll. (Bloomberg)

    In the poll, Rudy Giuliani leads with 29% of probable Republican primary voters surveyed, followed by Thompson with 15% and McCain with 12%. Mitt Romney had 8%.

    "The Arizona senator's showing in the poll is his lowest in any national survey to date, marking a new benchmark in his flagging fortunes." (Los Angeles Times)

    FULL POLL RESULTS (pdf via LATimes.com)

  • "[S]truggling to reinvigorate his foundering presidential campaign, [McCain] delivered a robust defense of the war in Iraq on Wednesday, declaring that President Bush and the conflict's supporters are on the right side of history in the struggle against terrorism and extremism." (Washington Post)

    Also, McCain's "troubled presidential campaign is eliminating some non-senior staff positions and cutting some consultants' contracts." (AP)

  • PROGRAMMING NOTE: Elizabeth Edwards joins CNN's Larry King tonight for her first live primetime interview since the recurrence of her cancer. LKL, 9 pm ET.

  • In Rep. Duncan Hunter's (R-CA) formal FEC filing "making his bid official, Hunter misspelled 'president,' mangling the name of his committee as 'Hunter for Prseident Inc.'" (Roll Call)

  • "It was about the strangest medical contraption I've seen since the Dark Ages." - Witness on Sen. Tom Carper's (D-DE) "super-duper-bizarro splint," the "Roll-A-Bout" (manufactured in Delaware). He broke a bone in his foot in a half-marathon last month. (DC Examiner)

  • And how is the environmental movement comparable to the bodybuilding movement, according to CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger? Find out in Hot Topics below!

    President's Schedule:

  • President Bush participates in a 9:55 am ET meeting on No Child Left Behind Reauthorization in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

    Also on the Political Radar:

  • The House is not in session this week.

  • Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) holds kitchen table events on education at a private home in Des Moines (10:30 am ET) and at Iowa State University in Ames, IA (1 pm ET). At 2:30 pm ET, Dodd will get a tour of ISU's Center for Crops Utilization Research. At 5 pm ET, he addresses the Iowa State Education Association Delegate Convention in Ames.

  • DNC Chairman Howard Dean joins Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper for a Community Celebration of the Denver 2008 Democratic National Convention. Denver Convention Center, 1 pm ET.

  • Mitt Romney holds a 2:25 pm ET presser at the Hilton Suites Chicago in Chicago, IL.

  • John Edwards attends a 7 pm ET "Special Community Gathering" at Florida Community College of Jacksonville.

  • Elizabeth Edwards officially opens the IA HQ of the John Edwards for President campaign in Des Moines at 1 pm ET. She later addresses the IA State Education Association Delegate Convention in Ames at 4:30 pm ET. She appears on CNN's Larry King Live at 9 pm ET.

  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) attends the Southeast Michigan Ronald Reagan Memorial Dinner at 5:50 pm ET in Bloomfield, MI, and the Ottawa County Lincoln Day Dinner at 7:55 pm ET in Holland, MI.

  • Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) meets and greets Myrtle Beach and Conway Republicans at the Sidewheeler Restaurant, 7 pm ET in Conway, SC.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

  • The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook

    =================================================================
    Political Hot Topics

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

    ARMY EXTENDS TOURS TO 15 MONTHS: The military announced Wednesday that most active duty Army units now in Iraq and Afghanistan and those sent in the future would serve 15-month tours, three months longer than the standard one-year tour. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who announced the change at a news conference at the Pentagon, said that the only other way to maintain force levels would have been to allow many soldiers less than a year at home between combat tours. Mr. Gates said the problem was evident even before President Bush ordered an increase in troops for Iraq this year. Officials said the change became inevitable as the numbers of extra troops that were needed - and, most likely, the time the extra forces would have to stay - increased. New York Times: U.S. Is Extending Tours of Army in Battle Zones

    PELOSI AND REID WILL GO THE WHITE HOUSE: Democratic leaders last night accepted President Bush's offer to discuss the war-funding standoff, capitulating to the White House request after a day of alternately snubbing the invite and proposing meetings on their own turf. "We will be at the White House on Wednesday to talk with the president," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a joint statement released last night. "We will listen to his position, but in return we will insist that he listen to concerns of the American people that his policies in Iraq have failed and we need to change course," they said. Washington Times: Democrats will meet Bush on war funds

    BUSH RENEWS VETO THREAT AS SENATE PASSES STEM CELL BILL: For the second time in nine months, the Senate yesterday passed a bill that would loosen President Bush's restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research -- but once again fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a promised veto. Nineteen Republicans joined 44 Democrats and independents to pass, 63 to 34, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which would allow federally funded studies of stem cells isolated from embryos slated for disposal at fertility clinics... With the House having passed a similar bill in January, the two chambers are now set to work out compromise wording and send the legislation to Bush. But their victory promises to be short-lived. Yesterday, the president voiced his intention to veto the bill -- just as he had last July when nearly identical language passed the Senate, 63 to 37. Washington Post: Stem Cell Bill Easily Clears Senate But Lacks Votes to Override a Veto

    OFFICIALS' RNC-ACCOUNT EMAILS MAY BE LOST: Political advisers to President Bush may have improperly used their Republican National Committee e-mail accounts to conduct official government business, and some communications that are required to be preserved under federal law may be lost as a result, White House officials said Wednesday. Of the 1,000 White House officials with political duties, 22 - including Karl Rove, the chief political strategist - have Republican National Committee accounts that are supposed to be used only for campaign-related work. But recent revelations that some officials have used those accounts for Bush administration business, including discussions of a plan to dismiss United States attorneys, has prompted a Congressional investigation... "This sounds like the administration's version of the dog ate my homework," said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the dismissal of the prosecutors. New York Times: Bush Advisers' Approach on E-Mail Draws Fire

    CLOSE WALTER REED "AS SOON AS POSSIBLE," SAYS PENTAGON PANEL: A top-level Pentagon review panel has concluded that Walter Reed Army Medical Center should be closed as soon as possible, following revelations of poor care that the panel blamed on a "perfect storm" of failed leadership, flawed policies and overwhelming casualties. In a preliminary report released yesterday, the panel appointed by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recommended accelerating the closure of the Northwest Washington hospital but improving conditions there in the meantime. Under defense realignment decisions made two years ago, the hospital's facilities were scheduled to move to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda by 2011. Washington Post: Panel Calls for Closing Walter Reed Sooner

    STEELE SIGNS UP WITH LAW FIRM: Michael Steele, Maryland's 2006 Republican Senate candidate, announced Wednesday that he is joining LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP. "The synergies are right," said Steele. "The firm has taken innovative risks in the past with business and law. That is what I have done in the past with my own business and politics." Steele will be a partner in the New York law firm's Washington office. The former Maryland Lt. Governor expects to help elected officials and corporate executives prepare for congressional investigations under the new majority on Capitol Hill. "We want to send the word out to these individuals who are subpoenaed that we are there to help and can help network and provide solid counsel," said Steele, who is also looking forward to working with telecom and bioscience companies in Africa. The Hill: Steele joins top law firm

    "RETIREMENT RUMORS" FOR NM'S DOMENICI: The past two months have not been easy for Sen. Pete Domenici, the six-term Republican from New Mexico accused of pressuring his state's former U.S. attorney on a political corruption investigation. Some have even speculated the trouble might force the 74-year-old to retire in 2008. Domenici's campaign fundraising tally, however, may quiet speculation, at least for now, that his retirement is imminent. Domenici announced he raised $393,786 since January, giving him $541,116 in the bank. That is roughly comparable to what he had raised during the same period last time he was up for election, in 2001. It indicates he is on track for a strong re-election bid, said his campaign fundraiser, Heidi Fuller. Still, questions continue to be raised about his future. AP via Yahoo! News: Sen. Domenici faces retirement rumors

    ARNOLD COMPARES ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT TO BODYBUILDING: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged environmentalists to shed their past image as "serious tree huggers" and begin a new movement that doesn't make people feel guilty for driving their SUVs, but instead focuses on building more fuel-efficient SUVs. "For too long the environmental movement has been powered by guilt," Schwarzenegger said in a keynote speech Wednesday at a global warming conference at Georgetown University. "You know the kind of guilt I'm talking about: Smokestacks belching pollution and powering our Jacuzzis and our big-screen TVs and, in my case, powering my private airplanes. It's too bad for us that we can't live the lives of Buddhist monks in Tibet, but you know something, it doesn't happen."... Schwarzenegger compared the environmental movement to his beloved bodybuilding movement in early 1970s, which was seen as full of fanatics working out in "gymnasiums that were like dungeons." He said it took a public relations blitz to convince people that bodybuilding was linked to better health. San Francisco Chronicle: Schwarzenegger's guiltless green

    EAGLE PAC WILL RAISE CASH FROM MORMONS: A new congressional campaign group could piggyback on Mitt Romney's apparent success in rounding up political cash from first-time Mormon contributors. Neither the website nor filing papers for the Eagle Political Action Committee, or Eagle PAC, mentions Mormons. But those familiar with the PAC say one of the reasons Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), a Mormon, created it this year was to solicit money from Mormons for distribution to Republican congressional candidates. That has never been tried before, said Cannon's congressional chief of staff, Joe Hunter, who registered the group as a leadership PAC with the Federal Election Commission on his own time. The Politico: Mormon-Run PAC Aims to Broaden Its Reach

    ROMNEY WILL BE FIRST AT THE PLATE IN YOUTUBE'S EXPERIMENT: YouTube, the popular video Web site, wants you to have a little face time with the presidential candidates. Virtually speaking, that is. Starting Wednesday, White House contenders from both parties will take turns posting videos on YouTube's News and Politics site, and YouTube watchers will get to post their own video responses. The experiment is an outgrowth of YouTube's "You Choose '08" initiative that kicked off in February to let candidates showcase their campaigns on the Web site through their campaign videos. "Interactivity is what really fuels the engine on YouTube and candidates and users were striving for ways to communicate with each other," said Steve Grove, head of news and politics for YouTube. AP via Yahoo! News: Candidates to post videos on YouTube

    WILL CANDIDATES SPEND MILLIONS ON SUPER BOWL ADS? Drink beer, eat candy, buy a car. Now add a new pitch to next year's lineup of Super Bowl television ads: Vote for me. Politics? On Super Bowl Sunday? As states line up to hold presidential primaries on the first Tuesday in February, the Feb. 3 Super Bowl could look super inviting and super expensive to presidential campaigns eager to deliver a knockout punch. "That is a very ripe and timely target," said Mark McKinnon, chief media strategist for President Bush in 2000 and 2004 and now an adviser to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. "It would reach a huge audience at a very critical time. I think campaigns will look very closely at that." AP via Yahoo! News: Campaigns may consider Super Bowl ads

    THOMPSON CANCER REVELATION "ANOTHER SIGN" HE'S RUNNING: Actor Fred Thompson's dramatic and very public revelation Wednesday that he was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 is another sign that the former U.S. senator representing Tennessee may end up running for president, supporters and political observers said. "There is no other reason to reveal this information," said John Geer, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University. "The fact he's putting it out now is a sign that he is giving it serious consideration." Bob Davis, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and a friend of Thompson's, said the disclosure shows Thompson is honest. "That's the kind of leadership that America is thirsting for," he said. "This shows that he's serious about considering a run." The Tennessean: Thompson cancer disclosure tests water

    CLINTON: "SO WHAT, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SAY SOMETHING BAD ABOUT ME?" Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says the pain and turmoil of her White House years don't discourage her in the least as she wages a campaign she hopes will bring her back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. "I've decided this country is worth fighting for," she said, adding she is "distraught" about the last six years under President Bush. In a half-hour interview this week at the home of the Army's 10th Mountain Division, Clinton discussed her revised approach to health care reform and her daughter's view of her presidential aspirations. She also talked of why, after eight tumultuous years as first lady, she wants to return to the White House. Contemplating possible slings and arrows on the campaign trail, she said, "So what, people are going to say something bad about me?" She burst out laughing. "I mean really. I mean look. I understand how contentious American politics is. And why? Because there are big things at stake." USA Today: Clinton: Attacks won't scare me off

    IRAQ WAR "IS NECESSARY AND JUST," SAYS McCAIN: Sinking in polls and struggling to reinvigorate his foundering presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) delivered a robust defense of the war in Iraq on Wednesday, declaring that President Bush and the conflict's supporters are on the right side of history in the struggle against terrorism and extremism. Dismissing public opinion polls as offering nothing but "temporary favor" to the war's opponents, McCain directly confronted the biggest obstacle to his White House ambitions: his unyielding support of a war that more than two-thirds of the country has turned against. Washington Post: McCain Calls War 'Necessary and Just'

    McCAIN WON'T TAKE DONATIONS FROM TRIBES: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is refusing to accept campaign contributions from American Indian tribes for his presidential campaign in an effort that tribal representatives believe is intended to distance him from the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Lobbyists for American Indian tribes say McCain's refusal is part of a broader stigma that has adhered to the tribes since it was revealed that Abramoff was converting millions of dollars of tribal money into campaign contributions and donations to charities in support of his lobbying activities. McCain has not turned down money from other controversial interest groups, including some he has investigated in the Senate. For example, the Arizonan accepted several thousands of dollars from the office of the commissioner of Major League Baseball as he was leading the charge to force baseball to adopt tougher policies against steroids. Roll Call: McCain Refuses Tribal Money

    SLIPS TO THIRD PLACE: Sen. John McCain, once considered the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, has fallen to third place in a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, and is running behind Fred Thompson, an actor and former senator who has not even entered the race. Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani leads the crowded field of announced and potential contenders with support from 29% of probable Republican primary voters surveyed, followed by Thompson with 15% and McCain with 12%. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and a fundraising powerhouse, had 8%. The Arizona senator's showing in the poll is his lowest in any national survey to date, marking a new benchmark in his flagging fortunes. The surge of interest in Thompson is a sign of conservative dissatisfaction with the established field of candidates and underscores just how unsettled the Republican race remains. Los Angeles Times: Poll: McCain falling behind with GOP voters

    MAKING "MINOR ADJUSTMENTS" TO STAFF: Sen. John McCain's troubled presidential campaign is eliminating some non-senior staff positions and cutting some consultants' contracts. The Arizona senator's campaign characterized the moves as "minor adjustments" that are part of an overall effort to revamp its fundraising office and budgeting operation. McCain ordered a financial overhaul after he reported raising only $12.5 million from January through March, third behind his top GOP rivals, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. "A campaign is a dynamic organization like a business, and we have to take the necessary steps to ensure it's as efficient and effective as possible," said Brian Jones, a campaign spokesman. AP via Yahoo! News: McCain campaign to cut back on staff

    PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD: Even little 8-year-old Susie Flynn can spell "president," something that the architects of Rep. Duncan Hunter's (R-Calif.) run for the title of commander in chief apparently can't manage. In the California Republican's formal Federal Election Commission filing making his bid official, Hunter misspelled "president," mangling the name of his committee as "Hunter for Prseident Inc." On the bright side, although the field of candidates for the presidency is a bit crowded, Hunter is uncontested to be prseident. His signature song? "Hail to the Cheif." Roll Call: Heard on the Hill
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