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Wednesday, May 02, 2007
CNN Political Ticker AM
Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau

Making news today...


  • "On a day rich with symbolism, the president fulfilled his veto threat in the White House's main hall, hours after the House and Senate majority leaders sent Bush the legislation after a rare signing ceremony of their own." (Los Angeles Times)

    "Timing his veto for evening television newscasts, Bush said, 'It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing... All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength.'" (Chicago Tribune)

    "[K]ey Republicans started moving away from the administration's hard line against compromising with Democrats. Republican lawmakers, who thus far had stayed solidly behind the president, say they could support binding benchmarks on the Baghdad government as the debate about the war goes forward in Congress." (San Francisco Chronicle)

    Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) "has launched a closely coordinated strategy aimed at capitalizing on apparent divisions between rank-and-file Republicans" and "Senate Democrats are launching a nationwide public relations blitz lambasting Bush and Senate Republicans." (Roll Call)

    Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) "said the skirmishes over the emergency bill will pale compared to the 'big battle' to come when Congress tries to provide Iraq funding for 2008." (USA Today)

  • Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Tuesday joined the leading Democratic and Republican White House hopefuls in agreeing to participate in back-to-back New Hampshire presidential debates next month in the politically influential Granite State, which are being held by CNN, WMUR and the New Hampshire Union Leader. (CNN.com)

  • In Southern fundraising, "from Louisiana to the Carolinas, [John] Edwards easily beat his Democratic rivals and - perhaps more importantly - raised more money than the top three Republican candidates combined." (AP)

  • And AP asked candidates their "desert island necessity": Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, Duncan Hunter, and Mitt Romney said their wives. Chris Dodd said "coffee with cream and sugar." Tom Tancredo said a "boat."

    Which candidate would opt for his "Blackberry and a Davidoff cigar?" Find out in Hot Topics below!

    President's Schedule:

  • The president makes remarks to The Associated General Contractors of America at the Willard InterContinental Washington at 9:45 am ET.

    At 11:10 am ET, Bush meets with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the Oval Office, and at 2:25 pm ET, Bush meets with the Bicameral Bipartisan Leadership in the Cabinet Room.

    Also on the Political Radar:

  • HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt testifies on FY08 appropriations focusing on global health at a 9:30 am ET hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education.

  • DNI Michael McConnell testifies on FY08 appropriations for defense intelligence at a 10:30 am ET CLOSED hearing of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

  • John Edwards holds a 3 pm ET town hall meeting at the ILWU Local 8 Union Hall in Portland, OR.

  • Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) has a busy day in San Francisco, beginning with a 1 pm ET address to the ILWU 2007 Longshore division caucus. At 3 pm ET, Biden holds a "conversation" at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, and a 8:30 pm ET, Biden addresses the San Francisco World Affairs Council at the Crowne Plaza Union Square.

  • Al Gore keynotes the Hua Yuan Science and Technology Association (HYSTA) 2007 convention in Santa Clara, CA.

  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) attends a $4600/person fundraiser at the home of Jerry and Margie Perenchio in Beverly Hills, CA.

  • Mitt Romney appears on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

  • 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)

    CLINTON, OBAMA TO JOIN JUNE NH DEBATE: Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Tuesday joined the leading Democratic and Republican White House hopefuls in agreeing to participate in back-to-back New Hampshire presidential debates next month in the politically influential Granite State. Clinton and Obama were the final two presidential contenders to announce plans to participate in the debates, which are being held by CNN, WMUR and the New Hampshire Union Leader. Democrats will take the stage at Saint Anselm College on June 3, and Republicans visit the campus on June 5. Despite early statements that they would work within a debate sanctioning process instituted by the Democratic National Committee, Clinton, a New York Democrat, and Obama, an Illinois Democrat, announced within hours of each other their intentions to take part in the June debate. CNN.com: Clinton, Obama give thumbs up to New Hampshire debate

    BUSH VETOES BILL, CALLS DEADLINE FOR WITHDRAWAL "IRRESPONSIBLE": President Bush vetoed a Democratic war spending bill Tuesday that would have compelled him to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, a move that came exactly four years after he triumphantly landed on an aircraft carrier to announce the end of "major combat operations." "Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible," Bush said. On a day rich with symbolism, the president fulfilled his veto threat in the White House's main hall, hours after the House and Senate majority leaders sent Bush the legislation after a rare signing ceremony of their own. Democrats condemned Bush's action and accused him of misrepresenting their legislation. "If the president thinks by vetoing this bill he'll stop us from working to change the direction of the war in Iraq, he is mistaken," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Los Angeles Times: Bush vetoes Democrats' Iraq war bill

    STATE WORRIED ABOUT PTSD IN IRAQ'S FOREIGN SERVICE WORKERS: U.S. diplomats are returning from Iraq with the same debilitating, stress-related symptoms that have afflicted many U.S. troops, prompting the State Department to order a mental health survey of 1,400 employees who have completed assignments there. Larry Brown, the State Department's director of medical services, said that as early as this month the department will e-mail questionnaires to employees who have been posted in Iraq. The surveys, to be completed anonymously, are intended to determine how many returning diplomats and civilian employees are suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other problems as a result of exposure to a war zone, Brown said. State Department employees in Iraq seldom leave the capital's heavily fortified Green Zone. Even there, rocket and mortar attacks are frequent, and the sound of gunfire is constant. USA Today: U.S. diplomats returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder

    DEPUTY AG "WAS SURPRISED TO LEARN" OF U.S. ATTORNEY FIRINGS: Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told congressional investigators he was surprised to learn in late October of a plan to fire U.S. attorneys and didn't know why they were targeted for removal, Senate aides said. McNulty, questioned in private on April 27 by House and Senate lawyers, said he never asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales or his former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, the reasons for the eight dismissals, said one aide. The two aides spoke on condition of anonymity. Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that seven U.S. attorneys who were asked to resign on Dec. 7 were drawn from a "consensus" of senior Justice Department officials. Neither Gonzales nor Sampson, who also testified before the committee, could say why individual prosecutors were singled out. Bloomberg: McNulty Asserts He Knew Little of Firings, Aides Say

    "ANOTHER EXAMPLE" OF AG STATEMENTS CONFLICTING WITH ACTIONS OF AIDES: On Nov. 10, 2005, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales sent a letter to a federal judge in Montana, assuring him that the U.S. attorney there, William W. Mercer, was not violating federal law by spending most of his time in Washington as a senior Justice Department official. That same day, Mercer had a GOP Senate staffer insert into a bill a provision that would change the rules so that federal prosecutors could live outside their districts to serve in other jobs, according to documents and interviews... [T]he episode, which received little notice at the time, provides another example in which Gonzales's statements appear to conflict with simultaneous actions by his aides in connection with U.S. attorney policies. Washington Post: Residency Clause Adds Fuel To Dispute Over U.S. Attorneys

    "EXTRAORDINARY DISCORD AT HIGHEST LEVELS" OF WORLD BANK: Two former top officials at the World Bank have issued new statements disputing the contention of Paul D. Wolfowitz, the bank president, that they and others knew about his actions on behalf of his companion, who was employed there when he joined the bank in 2005, according to testimony released Monday night and Tuesday. The officials' testimony, providing new details of their conversations with Mr. Wolfowitz two years ago, laid bare the extraordinary discord at the highest levels of the bank after Mr. Wolfowitz became president. At issue was how Mr. Wolfowitz should handle the possibility of a conflict of interest resulting from his relationship with Shaha Ali Riza, who had been with the bank for seven years when he arrived. New York Times: Former World Bank Officials Detail Discord Over Wolfowitz

    GOP-ERS ASK PELOSI TO SAVE TIPSTERS LEGISLATION: Key Republicans are lobbying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to protect legislation that prohibits airline passengers from being sued if they report suspicious behavior that foreshadows a terrorist attack. Republican leaders used a procedural motion to insert that provision into a transportation-safety bill last month, but House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, has threatened to bar from becoming law all language entered into bills under such "motions to recommit." "We cannot afford to wait any longer to protect individuals who seek to do the right thing by speaking up to prevent a terrorist attack," more than a dozen Republicans wrote to Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, today in a letter obtained in advance by The Washington Times. Washington Times: Republicans lobby Pelosi to protect 'John Does'

    RENZI'S "GROWING POLITICAL CRISIS": Rep. Rick Renzi paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes while settling charges that his businesses improperly financed his first campaign for office, according to documents released Tuesday by federal regulators. The Arizona Republican already faces a federal corruption inquiry over allegations that he tried to use legislation for land swaps in Arizona to help a former business partner. He also is facing a growing political crisis, which could include interest by the House ethics committee. Tuesday's disclosure by the Federal Election Commission threatens to revive the older scandal over whether Renzi broke campaign finance laws when first elected in 2002. Arizona Republic: Renzi's taxes telling

    REAGAN DIARIES TO BE PUBLISHED: Ronald Reagan thought Alexander Haig was "utterly paranoid," considered former senator Lowell Weicker "a pompous, no good fathead" and was "surprised at how shy" Michael Jackson was. Reagan also refused to talk to his son after Ron Reagan hung up on him, felt that daughter Patti had "a kind of yo yo family relationship" and was invariably "lonesome" when his wife, Nancy, was out of town. A self-portrait of the 40th president -- determined, funny, wistful, at times clinging to his beliefs despite countervailing facts -- emerges from diaries that he faithfully kept from 1981 to 1989, his eight years in the White House. Historian Douglas Brinkley had exclusive access to the five hardback books bound in maroon leather, each page filled to the bottom with Reagan's neat handwriting. Vanity Fair magazine, in its June issue, is publishing excerpts of the book "The Reagan Diaries," edited by Brinkley and due out this month from publisher HarperCollins. Washington Post: Ronald Reagan, In His Own Words

    GIULIANI'S "SOFTER TONE" ON IMMIGRATION: Addressing a group of Latino small business leaders, Mayor Giuliani yesterday adopted a moderate stance on immigration, emphasizing the need to beef up security at the borders while maintaining America's tradition as the world's most popular destination for people seeking a better life. Mr. Giuliani articulated much the same position on immigration that he has on the campaign trail, but he began with a softer tone, casting the country's attractiveness to immigrants as a strength to be preserved. " America is the country that more people want to come to than any country, I think, in the history of the world," he said in a speech to the Latino Coalition, a nonpartisan group that endorsed a mixture of Republicans and Democrats in 2006. "So before we reflect on our problems, let's reflect on our strengths." New York Sun: Giuliani Adopts Moderate Stance on Immigration

    LAW FIRM'S ENERGY LOBBYING MIGHT "POSE POLITICAL RISKS" FOR GIULIANI: [Rudy] Giuliani has drawn support from Texans who were notable donors to President Bush, including a former Enron president, Richard D. Kinder, and business executives who direct many of the nation's oil, gas and energy producers. And a good part of this success, analysts say, stems from his affiliation with a well-established and politically connected law firm that is based in Houston and bears his name, Bracewell & Giuliani. That affiliation adds to Mr. Giuliani's personal wealth but also could pose political risks for him. The firm is perhaps the nation's most aggressive lobbyist for coal-fired power plants, heavy emitters of air pollutants and carbon dioxide, a gas associated with global warming. New York Times: Giuliani's Tie to Texas Law Firm May Pose Risk

    GIULIANI CALLS CHAVEZ "DANGEROUS TO U.S. INTERESTS": Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, whose law firm represents an American subsidiary of a Hugo Chavez-controlled oil company, said Tuesday that the socialist Venezuelan president is dangerous to U.S. interests. In a speech to Hispanic small business leaders, the Republican brought up Chavez while discussing ways the United States could become free from its reliance on foreign oil. "Isn't it annoying, upsetting and even in some cases a matter of national security that we have to send money to our enemies?" Giuliani asked. "We need a president who knows how to get things done so we don't have to be sending money to Chavez." AP via Yahoo! News: Rudy Giuliani assails Venezuela's Chavez

    McCAIN TALKS FOREIGN POLICY, DOES NOT SAY "IRAQ" IN HOOVER INSTITUTION SPEECH: Senator John McCain, a leading candidate for the Republican nomination to be the next president, made a pilgrimage to the Hoover Institution yesterday to address fellows and woo donors with a speech that outlined for the first time his plan to create a "League of Democracies." Speaking before more than 150 people in an underground auditorium adjacent to the Hoover Tower, the Arizona Republican took a hard line stance on Russia and China, criticized unilateralism, and called on the democratic nations of the world to "strike a new grand bargain for the future."... In more than 3,000 words of prepared text that he read from a teleprompter, McCain did not use the word "Iraq" once. But at a press conference after the address, the senator defended the ongoing U.S. troop surge. Stanford Daily: McCain unveils democracy agenda

    EDWARDS LEADS IN SOUTHERN FUNDRAISING: North Carolina's John Edwards says he's the only Democratic presidential candidate with any chance of winning the coveted South. If early fundraising is any indication, he might be right. Edwards placed a distant third behind Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama in first quarter fundraising, tallying $14 million compared to Clinton's $26 million and Obama's $25 million. But in money raised in the South, Edwards was the leader. From Louisiana to the Carolinas, Edwards easily beat his Democratic rivals and - perhaps more importantly - raised more money than the top three Republican candidates combined. AP via Yahoo! News: Edwards dominates money race in South

    SCHWARZENEGGER "DETERMINED TO BE A FORCE" IN 2008: He may be sidelined by the Constitution, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is determined to be a force in the 2008 presidential race, greeting candidates who want his endorsement and popping up in campaign forums where he's certain to attract notice. On Tuesday, the governor met privately with Republican candidate Mitt Romney in Sacramento. And Schwarzenegger will attend the GOP debate Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley as a guest of Nancy Reagan. He has already made joint appearances with Republican candidates John McCain and Rudolph W. Giuliani. Los Angeles Times: Governor positions himself to influence 2008 presidential race

    AP via Yahoo! News: WHAT IS YOUR DESERT ISLAND NECESSITY?

    DEMOCRATS:

    Delaware Sen. Joe Biden: "Jill, my wife."

    New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: "A good book."

    Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd: "Coffee with cream and sugar."

    Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards: "A book."

    Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: His wife, Elizabeth.

    Illinois Sen. Barack Obama: "Other than my wife and my kids, an inanimate object I would have to have would probably be a good book."

    New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: "Blackberry and a Davidoff cigar."

    ___

    REPUBLICANS:


    Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback: "Tarp."

    Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: "Books and music."

    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: "Laptop with satellite reception."

    California Rep. Duncan Hunter: "Mrs. Hunter."

    Arizona Sen. John McCain: "Books."

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: "My wife, Ann."

    Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo: "Boat."
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