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Thursday, April 19, 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...

  • Ahead of his highly anticipated testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Americans are split on the future of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, according to the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. When asked whether Gonzales should resign from the Justice Department, 38% say yes, 37% say no, and the rest are unsure. Overall, 28% of Americans have a favorable view of Gonzales, 33% have an unfavorable view, and 39% are unsure.

    POLL RESULTS: (pdf)

  • In other poll news, more CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey results released this morning show Americans might look favorably on Bill Clinton returning to the White House if Hillary Clinton is elected president. 60% say Bill Clinton would have a positive effect on a Hillary Clinton administration.

    POLL RESULTS: (pdf)

    Keep reading for more poll news!

    PROGRAMMING NOTE: Bill Clinton joins CNN's Larry King for his first TV interview since Hillary Clinton launched her presidential campaign. LKL, 9 pm ET

  • "FBI agents who raided Rep. John Doolittle's Virginia home" last Friday "were searching for information about his wife's fundraising business, the congressman's attorney said Wednesday." (Sacramento Bee)

  • It was "the most enjoyable 12 hours of my Congressional career." - A House staffer on the Blackberry outage. (Roll Call)

  • Fred Thompson "gave a virtuoso performance" yesterday at the Capitol Hill Club, "leaving many star-struck and gushing about the prospect" of a presidential bid. "His audience of 53 included five members of the House leadership." (The Tennessean)

    Oh, and a few reporters were there.

  • And why did NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg "blast" a city councilman's proclamation honoring Tom Cruise? Find out in Hot Topics below!

    President's Schedule:

  • President Bush travels to Tipp City, OH, just north of Dayton, for 1 pm ET remarks on the Global War on Terror at Tippecanoe High School.

    Also on the Political Radar:

  • Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a 9:30 am ET hearing on "Department of Justice Oversight."

  • First Lady Laura Bush travels to New Orleans, LA, for several education events.

  • Rudy Giuliani appears at a remembrance ceremony at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum's Center for Education & Outreach at 10 am ET. He also holds a 12 pm ET town hall at that location with former Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick.

  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) attends a fundraising luncheon at The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. Tonight, McCain is the guest speaker at the Clark County Lincoln Day Dinner (10 pm ET) at The Venetian in Las Vegas.

  • Democratic Presidential Candidates Bill Richardson (11:45 am ET) and Joseph Biden (5:45 pm ET) attend the National Action Network's annual convention in New York City.

  • Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) unveils his comprehensive energy policy plan in a 12 pm ET appearance at the Center for National Policy in Washington, DC. He'll speak to reporters afterwards.

  • Mitt Romney travels to the Hawkeye State for a 6:15 pm ET address to Scott County Residents at The Lodge Hotel and Conference Center in Bettendorf, IA.

  • Bill Richardson keynotes the "Give 'Em Hell Harry Dinner," a fundraiser for the IA 5th district congressional committee in Denison, IA.

  • John Edwards attends a 7 pm ET rally with a special performance by Dr. Ralph Stanley and appearance by Ben "Cooter" Jones at the Shaftman Performance Hall at Jefferson Center in Roanoke, VA.

  • 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)

    "WITH ANY OTHER PRESIDENT" THE AG "WOULD ALREADY BE GONE": When Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's top aide contemplated the mass dismissal of chief federal prosecutors two years ago, he advocated keeping the "loyal Bushies." Two years later, the question confronting President Bush is whether to keep Gonzales, the very model of a loyal Bushie. As Gonzales heads to Capitol Hill today for a long-anticipated public interrogation about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, at issue is the very concept of loyalty in Bush's world. With any other president, many in Washington say, the attorney general would already be gone. Bush has defied the drumbeat from both parties to remove Gonzales, but even the White House considers today's Senate hearing make or break. Washington Post: On the Hill, Gonzales Gets His Chance at Redemption

    WH, TOP DEMS "FAILED TO RESOLVE THEIR DIFFERENCES": After weeks of acrimonious sparring over financing the next phase of the war, President Bush and Congressional leaders softened their tone on Wednesday but failed to resolve their differences over a timeline for removing most American combat troops from Iraq next year. Mr. Bush met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the White House for nearly an hour, the first face-to-face discussion since the House and Senate passed emergency Iraq spending bills last month with provisions to end the war. Democrats said they would send the president legislation by the end of next week, despite his pledge to veto it. "We believe he must search his soul, his conscience, and find out what is the right thing for the American people," Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, told reporters after the meeting. "I believe signing this bill will do that." New York Times: No Solution in Sight as Bush and Lawmakers Discuss Iraq Spending Measure

    SCOTUS UPHOLDS PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION BAN: The Supreme Court broke new ground yesterday in upholding federal restrictions on abortion, with President Bush's two appointees joining a court majority that said Congress was exercising its license to "promote respect for life, including the life of the unborn." The court's 5 to 4 decision upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act passed by Congress in 2003 marked the first time justices have agreed that a specific abortion procedure could be banned. It was also the first time since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision of January 1973 that justices approved an abortion restriction that did not contain an exception for the health of the woman. It does, however, provide an exception to save the woman's life. Washington Post: High Court Upholds Curb on Abortion

    '08ERS RESPOND: The Supreme Court decision upholding a federal ban on partial-birth abortion predictably pleased the Republican presidential contenders and disappointed Democratic candidates. To the Republicans it was "a step forward" and "correct"; to the Democrats it was "alarming" and a "dramatic departure." But partisans on both sides agreed the decision is the beginning, not the end, of the abortion debate in the 2008 campaign. "This decision marks a dramatic departure from four decades of Supreme Court rulings that upheld a woman's right to choose and recognized the importance of women's health," said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat and the perceived front-runner for Democrats' presidential nomination. Washington Times: Ruling opens abortion debate for '08

    SPOTLIGHT ON GIULIANI SHIFT: The former New York mayor and other top Republicans vying for the White House welcomed the ruling while leading Democratic contenders said they deplored it. Giuliani, the only major GOP candidate who supports abortion rights, has tried for months to mollify conservative critics. On Wednesday, he praised the court for upholding the ban on the midterm procedure. "The Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion in upholding the congressional ban on partial-birth abortion," Giuliani said in a statement. "I agree with it." His praise for the ruling contrasts his position while seeking reelection as mayor in 1997. On an abortion rights group's questionnaire, he circled "yes" next to the question of whether he would oppose "legislation that would make criminals of doctors who perform intact D&X abortions" - the technical term for what critics call "partial-birth" abortions. Los Angeles Times: Giuliani shifts stance on abortion method

    DOOLITTLE'S HOME RAIDED... WIFE'S FUNDRAISING BUSINESS FOCUS OF SEARCH: FBI agents who raided Rep. John Doolittle's Virginia home were searching for information about his wife's fundraising business, the congressman's attorney said Wednesday. The FBI served a search warrant Friday on the Doolittle home, where Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions is based. The raid wasn't the first time federal officials, engaged in an ongoing probe of political corruption stirred by former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, sought records from the company. A grand jury investigating Abramoff, who last year pleaded guilty to three felony charges of defrauding Indian tribes and corrupting political officials, also subpoenaed Sierra Dominion records in 2004. Rep. Doolittle's attorney, criminal defense lawyer David Barger, said Wednesday that Friday's raid stemmed from a search warrant for Sierra Dominion records and not anything directly related to the congressman. Sacramento Bee: FBI raids Doolittle house

    POWERFUL EXECS GIVE TO BOTH PARTIES: "Double-dipping" -- giving donations to two political candidates in the same race -- isn't uncommon, nor are contributions from chief executive officers. What's less common is when the double-dippers are top executives giving to both parties. In the first three months of this year, at least 35 chairmen or chief executive officers, including Verizon Communications Inc. CEO Ivan Seidenberg and Brady Dougan, who becomes head of Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group next month, have contributed to both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, according to Federal Election Commission figures. These high-powered double-dippers have the means to make the major donations sought by candidates across the political spectrum and may be more likely to focus on winning powerful friends -- perhaps a future president -- than on ideology. Bloomberg: Credit Suisse, Verizon Executives Hedge Bets for 2008 Campaign

    GIULIANI'S LEAD HAS "NARROWED CONSIDERABLY": Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's lead over his Republican presidential rivals has narrowed considerably, while Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) has maintained her advantage in the race for the Democratic nomination, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), whose candidacy has been buffeted by lackluster fundraising and his embrace of President Bush's troop surge policy in Iraq, runs a solid second among GOP hopefuls. But there is fresh evidence in the new survey that his focus on the war and on attracting conservative support have made him more polarizing as a potential general-election candidate. Giuliani remained the front-runner in the national poll, but his support has eroded. Washington Post: Giuliani's Lead Shrinks, Clinton's Margin Holds


    GOP LEFT "STARSTRUCK" AND "GUSHING" BY THOMPSON: Fred Thompson took the stage and gave a virtuoso performance Wednesday during a private meeting with House Republicans - leaving many star-struck and gushing about the prospect of the former Tennessee Republican senator running for president. His audience of 53 included five members of the House leadership. "He was called presidential, and he was," said Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who arranged the meeting. "He was told that he is electable, and he is." Thompson skipped a repeat performance for the media, making brief comments after his one-hour afternoon meeting at the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill. The Tennessean: Looking 'presidential,' Thompson dazzles GOP

    "THE SHARPTON PRIMARY": Democratic presidential contenders are scrambling for support in what's being dubbed the Al Sharpton primary. The civil rights leader livened up the 2004 Democratic primary with his pompadour hairdo and sharp, witty oratory. This election, the high-profile Sharpton, fresh from the fight over Don Imus' derogatory remarks, is attracting all the party's major candidates this week for his annual National Action Network convention. The solid attendance - starting with John Edwards on Wednesday and continuing with Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama later this week - reflects Sharpton's prominence in the party, concern that he might run again and the Democrats' effort to appeal to the base, particularly black voters. No wonder the event was being called the Sharpton primary. AP via Yahoo! News: Democrats scramble to court Sharpton

    A STAFFER CONSPIRACY? That BlackBerry service blackout you heard so much about? HOH is developing a theory that it was somehow a conspiracy cooked up by Hill staffers looking for a little respite from the grind of being in their bosses' virtual clutches. Far from being angered by having their communications lifelines severed, staffers seemed thrilled to get a break from constant buzzing when the service that keeps the e-mail flowing (and overflowing) into the handheld devices of Hill denizens went down late Tuesday and early Wednesday. "It was the most peaceful night I have had during session in years," one House staffer tells HOH. "Not only was my bar time uninterrupted, but my return home was calm and my night of sleep peaceful." Another House-er called it "the most enjoyable 12 hours of my Congressional career." Roll Call: A Berry Quiet Night

    CORZINE'S LIGHTS AND SIRENS "INAPPROPRIATE," SAYS NYC MAYOR: In light of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine's horrific highway crash, it's "totally inappropriate" for politicians to use lights and sirens to speed to photo ops, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. The billionaire mayor said the billionaire governor's accident was a wakeup call for everyone to buckle up and drive safely in nonemergency situations. "I don't think an elected official that wants to get to some place for a photo op is appropriate," Bloomberg said. Corzine was heading to Princeton, N.J., for a meeting between fired radio host Don Imus and the Rutgers University women's basketball team when he wrecked on a guardrail on the Garden State Parkway. New York Daily News: I wouldn't drive like Corzine, says Mike

    BLOOMBERG KNOCKS CRUISE PROCLAMATION: Mayor Bloomberg yesterday blasted official proclamations drafted by a city councilman honoring Tom Cruise and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard for their roles in promoting a detoxification program for 9/11 rescue workers. "I don't think it's appropriate to do that," said the mayor, reacting to a report in yesterday's Post. "I think that reputable scientists do not think Scientology has any basis in science. It may be a cult, it may be a religion, it may be beliefs. It's other things, but it's not science, and we should only fund those programs that reputable scientists believe will stand the light of day and the scientific method." Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens) said he's honoring the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project - co-founded by Cruise and based on the theories of Hubbard - for providing free services that have improved the health of ailing rescue workers. New York Post: MIKE THUMPS TOM
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