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Friday, May 04, 2007
CNN Political Ticker AM
Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau

Making news today...


Though it "had the potential for illumination and clashes, the event was mostly civil, allowed little room for expanded or thoughtful responses and did little to change the shape of the race." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Republican operatives agreed that the debate did nothing to shake up the crowded GOP field." (AP)

Rudy Giuliani took the prize for the most references (5) to former President Ronald Reagan.

Total Reagan mentions: 19.

There were just four specific mentions of President George W. Bush by the candidates. (Ticker math)

  • Giuliani "separated himself from the other nine presidential candidates on the issue of abortion." (USA Today)

    He "effectively shrugged" when asked about overturning Roe vs. Wade. (Los Angeles Times)

    "...got tangled up in the hot-button issue..." (New York Daily News)

    "...struggled to clearly articulate his position on abortion." (Boston Globe)

    "...hedged when asked about his current position." (AP)

    "Rudy: I'll be next Reagan... but flubs a crucial quiz on abortion." (New York Post headline)

  • Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said he "got the ball rolling" for Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "to get a Secret Service detail after hearing of some 'evidence' -- Durbin declined to specify -- that he said was 'worrisome.' Several sources said there was not a single incident or specific threat that triggered the request." (Chicago Sun-Times)

    Friends of Obama "say he has resisted the idea of a U.S. Secret Service detail for fear it would limit what has been a great part of his appeal, namely his ability to make a close connection with voters." (Chicago Tribune)

  • The White House announced this morning that J.D. Crouch, Deputy National Security Adviser, is leaving his post. No reason was specified. (Release)

  • And as Fred Thompson gears up for a big appearance in the O.C. tonight, the LA Times reports some conservative bloggers are worrying about one of his more "charismatic" TV roles. Find out why in Hot Topics below!

    President's Schedule:

  • The president meets with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at 10:15 am ET. At 3 pm ET, Bush will make remarks at a celebration of Cinco de Mayo in the Rose Garden.

    Also on the Political Radar:

  • The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh continue their trip to VA. Click here for full details.

  • Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) spends a busy day in IA, starting with kitchen tables in Ottumwa (9:30 am ET) and Mount Pleasant (1 pm ET). He then travels to Keokuk for a tour of the Tri-City Energy biodiesel plant at 3:30 pm ET, and a town hall at 5:30 pm ET.

  • Rudy Giuliani talks economics at a small business, Rexco Equipment, in Cedar Rapids, IA, at 12:30 pm ET.

  • Tommy Thompson campaigns in Cedar Rapids, Grundy Center, and Clarksville, IA.

  • John Edwards addresses the National Conference of Black Mayors' 33rd Annual Convention at 3:30 pm ET in Baton Rouge, LA.

  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) fundraises in San Francisco and San Jose, and tours Google HQ in Mountain View, CA, where he'll hold a town hall with employees at 6:30 pm ET.

  • Al Gore keynotes ACCA-SoCal's 12th Annual Gala Dinner at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles.

  • Fred Thompson speaks to the Lincoln Club of Orange County at 11:30 pm ET at the Balboa Bay Club and Resort in Newport Beach, CA.

  • 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)

    "NOT READY TO BACK DOWN": House Democratic leaders are indicating they are not ready to back down in their confrontation with President Bush on Iraq, even as pressure mounts to approve new funding for U.S. troops. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other party leaders are considering a bill that would fund the war as Bush wants, but only guarantee the money through July. After that, Congress could block additional money from being sent if the Iraqi government does not meet certain political and security goals. The proposal, not yet endorsed or briefed to caucus members, would be a direct challenge to the president, who has demanded Congress fund the war with no strings attached. This week, Bush vetoed a $124.2 billion bill that would have provided money for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan while requiring troops to begin coming home by Oct. 1. AP via Yahoo! News: Democrats not backing down on Iraq Bill

    CLINTON PUSHES EXPIRATION DATE FOR WAR AUTHORIZATION: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, announced Thursday she is teaming up with Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, to introduce legislation that seeks to de-authorize the Iraq war. The legislation will propose that the president's Congressional authority for the use of force in Iraq should expire on October 11, 2007 -- five years to the day after the Senate voted on the authorization. "The American people have called for change, the facts on the ground demand change, and the Congress has passed legislation that requires change," Clinton said on the Senate floor Thursday. "It is time to sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq. If the president will not bring himself to accept reality, it is time for Congress to bring reality to him." The Ticker: Clinton seeks to de-authorize Iraq war

    RICE MEETS SYRIAN FM: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met on Thursday with her Syrian counterpart in the first high-level diplomatic contact between Washington and Damascus in more than two years. The 30-minute meeting with Syria's foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, came in the middle of two days of international talks on Iraq in which the Bush administration is seeking the help of Iraq's neighbors, and countries around the world, to quell the violence there and relieve Iraq's enormous debt. To that end, Ms. Rice also tried to speak with her counterpart from Iran, a country that the United States has no diplomatic relations with and that it has sought to isolate and contain. New York Times: U.S. and Syria Discuss Iraq in Rare Meeting

    EX-DOJ OFFICIAL SPEAKS HIGHLY OF FIRED PROSECUTORS: A former deputy attorney general told the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that he regarded most of the fired United States attorneys as highly competent prosecutors who should not have been dismissed. James B. Comey, who was deputy attorney general from 2003 until August 2005, testified that his experience with the ousted prosecutors was "very positive," and said he knew of no problems with their performance that justified their removal. The testimony by Mr. Comey, who was once the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, contrasted starkly with assertions of current Justice Department officials who have said the eight dismissed prosecutors were removed mainly because of failings in their performance. New York Times: Ex-Justice Dept. Official Defends Ousted U.S. Attorneys

    WH ISSUES VETO THREAT FOR HATE CRIMES BILL: After the same-sex marriage fights that roiled the 2004 elections and knocked gay rights groups on their heels, advocates seemed poised with the Democratic seizure of Congress in November to enact federal civil rights laws they have sought for nearly two decades. But four hours before House passage Thursday of a federal hate crimes bill that has languished since 1991, the White House issued a threat to veto the bill, which would be just the third veto of the Bush presidency. "It makes it apparent to a lot of people," said Rep. Barney Frank, a gay Massachusetts Democrat, "that as long as you have George Bush as president, nothing that tries to promote fairness for gay and lesbian people has any chance." Congress also is considering another measure, introduced in 1994 but never passed, to ban employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. San Francisco Chronicle: Veto threat for federal hate crimes protection for gays

    THE GURUS OF THE YOUTUBE/MYSPACE ERA: Every campaign has someone similar -- young, tech-savvy and committed to the transforming possibilities of the Internet. For these online political operatives -- or OPOs, as a few have taken to calling themselves -- the Internet isn't just a tool. It's a strategy, a whole new way of campaigning, a form of communication, from blogs to MySpace to YouTube, with far more potential than the old media of print and television. "TV is a passive experience, and the Internet is all about interactivity, all about making a direct connection," said [Obama OPO Joe] Rospars, waxing expansive in the way all the OPOs tend to do. Washington Post: Meet the OPOs

    CAMPAIGNS OFFER MERCHANDISE, INCENTIVES TO LURE DONORS: Clamoring for a John McCain mouse pad? It's yours for $75. For $20, Dennis Kucinich supporters can nab a ladies' T-shirt, adorned with a red, white and blue peace symbol. Bluegrass and country music fans can get their fix with a CD for a $50 donation to John Edwards. In their race for campaign cash, presidential candidates are scrambling to use new and old techniques to sway supporters to give. They range from Mitt Romney's decision to pay college students a commission for the donations they collect, to meetings with former president Bill Clinton, arranged by his wife's campaign. USA Today: Merchandise fattens '08 coffers

    DEBATE UNLIKELY TO "ALTER THE CONTOURS" OF GOP FIELD: The 10 declared Republican candidates for president introduced themselves to the nation last night in their first debate of the 2008 campaign season, displaying sharp differences over social issues, immigration, and the pursuit of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as they sought to make a strong first impression with voters. Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani struggled to clearly articulate his position on abortion. Arizona Senator John McCain reiterated his support for staying in Iraq but offered sharp criticism of the Bush administration's conduct of the war. And Mitt Romney, in his national coming-out party of sorts, delivered a largely comfortable, confident performance that left his advisers beaming. Boston Globe: Republican candidates show their differences

    GIULIANI OFFERS "SHARP CONTRAST" ON ABORTION: Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said last night that he would be "OK" with a Supreme Court repealing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. But Mr. Giuliani said he would approve of the justices upholding the decision -- a sharp contrast with the nine other candidates on the stage for the first Republican primary debate, who said they would welcome its overturn and one even saying that would be "the greatest day in the country's history." It was the latest stance for Mr. Giuliani on an issue that has dogged his campaign as he tries to win the nomination of an avowedly pro-life party whose social conservative base has such power in the primaries. "It would be OK to repeal. It would be also if a strict constructionist judge viewed it as precedent," Mr. Giuliani said during the 90-minute debate hosted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. "I think the court has to make that decision and then the country can deal with it." Washington Times: Giuliani wary of repeal of Roe

    NO SPECIFIC THREAT, BUT OBAMA GETS SECRET SERVICE DETAIL: Although Sen. Barack Obama has been drawing enormous crowds and intense attention during his presidential campaign, friends say he has resisted the idea of a U.S. Secret Service detail for fear it would limit what has been a great part of his appeal, namely his ability to make a close connection with voters. But those reservations gave way to security concerns on Thursday, when the Secret Service assigned a team to the Illinois Democrat - the earliest point in a campaign cycle at which the agency has ever taken responsibility for a candidate not already under its protection as an office holder. Chicago Tribune: Obama gets Secret Service protection

    FRED THOMPSON, BLOGGER: Fred Thompson plays a district attorney on TV and, in real life, a commentator on the Internet — two roles that give him plenty of visibility for a presidential bid. In recent weeks, the former Tennessee senator, who is considering a run for the Republican nomination, has used conservative Web sites to opine about tax cuts, the Virginia Tech shootings, even the NFL draft... The actor-politician had experimented with blogging, posting two- and three-sentence thoughts on the Web site for ABC News Radio, for whom he is a host and commentator. But not until several weeks ago, after declaring an interest in the presidency, did he start weighing in in earnest. Now his opinion columns are appearing on RedState.com, the Pajamas Media blog, National Review Online and his own blog, The Fred Thompson Report. Several other conservative Web sites have picked up the commentaries. AP via Yahoo! News: Thompson and his ideas are now online

    WOULD WHITE SUPREMACIST TV ROLE BE A LIABILITY? Ronald Reagan became president even though he worked with chimps in B movies. Arnold Schwarzenegger played a murderous robot, and that didn't keep him from becoming governor. So can "Law & Order" actor and former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) become the first presidential candidate with this credit? Thompson played a white supremacist, spewing anti-Semitic comments and fondling an autographed copy of "Mein Kampf" on a television drama 19 years ago. His colleagues say that he was just an actor putting everything he had into playing the role of a charismatic racist, named Knox Pooley, in three episodes of CBS' hit show "Wiseguy" in 1988. "Do you call Tom Cruise a killer because he played one in a movie?" asked show creator and writer Stephen J. Cannell. But in the age of YouTube, this performance could raise an intriguing political question: How does a performer eyeing a presidential run deal with a video history that can be downloaded, taken out of context, chopped into embarrassing pieces and then distributed endlessly though cyberspace? Some conservative political blogs are already considering the problem. Los Angeles Times: Will Fred Thompson's racist role have political repercussions?
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